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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Good Day, Everyone -

It's Saturday morning and I'm starting my head gasket replacement project.
Patient is a 1997 SAAB NG900 2.0 Turbo Convertible.
Does anyone have any suggestions/warnings on curveballs and pitfalls ahead?
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I've read the discussions about manuals and am disappointed that the good
old "fat, Red, 900" - type manuals are apparently a thing of the past...
Does Bentley even make a manual for the NG900 2.0 Turbo? Is the Haynes
Manual really worthless for head work?
Thanks to everyone in advance.
Craballey
 

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Isn't the Saab service manual for the engine available from eEuroparts for about $20? p/n 0349183... I think it is the same manual I saw a mechanic use as a reference for my engine.

The Haynes section on engine overhaul seems pretty detailed, but I suppose it could be a little too basic for someone with experience doing engine work. The text is step-by-step, and not organized to look up specific things.
 

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I suspect that the red bentley guides went out when GM bought the company. This is the first car I've had that I couldn't get a bentley guide for. I think you can buy factory service manuals for specific parts of the car though, as PMI said. Saab central is a great resource, and the haynes book is ok, but I think you'd want the most official publication you could get for a head gasket.
 

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Craballey said:
Good Day, Everyone -

It's Saturday morning and I'm starting my head gasket replacement project.
Patient is a 1997 SAAB NG900 2.0 Turbo Convertible.
Does anyone have any suggestions/warnings on curveballs and pitfalls ahead?
=====
I've read the discussions about manuals and am disappointed that the good
old "fat, Red, 900" - type manuals are apparently a thing of the past...
Does Bentley even make a manual for the NG900 2.0 Turbo? Is the Haynes
Manual really worthless for head work?
Thanks to everyone in advance.
Craballey
Goog luck on the replacement. Take pics as you go alone and write up a DIY for the rest of us :lol:
 

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Search these forums; I have seen stuff, complete with photos that is better than the best manuals..

Check out the "Sticky" FAQs...

Why did this gasket fail ?
Was the coolant changed as per schedule ?
Or did the engine overheat ??
I, for one, do NOT change, but use anti-rust as an additive to the old green....
Some swear by the new Mercedes anti-freeze..
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi, again everyone -

It's Saturday evening, and all is going well.
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Thanks for your replies! I have ordered the engine manual per PMI's instructions.
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Psymon - I thought about taking pics (mainly to help me remember what goes where) but this has gone so quickly that I haven't gotten the camera out...
Both manifolds and the valve cover are off now; can see the cams and the drive sprockets, chain, etc.
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earthworm - you called it! There was a crack in the lower radiator hose - right at/under the clamp. The system would lose coolant (I would fill it again), lose, fill, etc... It was acting like a stuck thermostat... temp gauge needle would go into the red, come back down, I'd fill the system and it would be OK for a while. I began to notice coolant stains under the car, but figured it was residual overflow coming out of the frame (?). I wasn't sure exactly where the coolant was coming from until a few days ago (warmer weather) on our way over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge into Annapolis, the hole in the hose opened wider and started leaking water (yes - I haven't been spewing ethylene glycol for the past few weeks) at a pretty good clip. Despite my precautionary hauling of two gallons of water in the trunk and filling the system as I tried to make it to work, the engine apparently got too hot and blew the head gasket... c'est la vie.
Good call!
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OK, guys - thanks for getting back to me on this. I'm now facing the head bolts - they're star-shaped. Never seen anything like them... they look sort of like a huge TORX socket sticking up out of the head. Are there socket wrenches available to remove the head bolts, or do I have to go to SAAB for a special tool? Any suggestions?
Thanks again.
Craballey
 

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Craballey said:
I'm now facing the head bolts - they're star-shaped. Never seen anything like them... they look sort of like a huge TORX socket sticking up out of the head. Are there socket wrenches available to remove the head bolts, or do I have to go to SAAB for a special tool? Any suggestions?
Thanks again.
Craballey
They're what's called "Reverse Torx", and the size you'll need is E16. I just got a set from a place called Bob's Tools in Iowa (they have just that socket, for $3), but Sears has the set for $20.

T
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
HI, Everyone -

Well... I found my external TORX Socket - E16 did the trick. Nice call, Tarpot!
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I've removed all the head bolts and the head is loose. The head bolts were surprizingly easy to loosen - thought there'd be a lot more torque on them.
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How do I deal with the timing chain without having it fall into the oilpan? I'm assuming there's a "master link" in it somewhere. I can see timing marks on the sprockets... I'm assuming there must be a tensioner on it somewhere...
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I've ordered the engine manual (per PMI) and I made connections today with Haynes (in Tennesee) and ordered the "SAAB NG 900 1993-1998 (not V6)" Manual. I expected to see the engine manual today, but nothing doing...
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Any suggestions on how to proceed? I've removed both manifolds... the timing chain is the only thing between me and the road...
Thanks in advance!
Craballey
 

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The tensioner comes out, then the sprockets and so on... Did you ckeck this out for head removal?

http://www.saabcentral.com/~munki/technical/engine/mechanical/cyl_head_removal.htm

The timing chain tensioner is here:



Link to what I know about removing and measuring it:

http://www.geocities.com/ng900set/TC_tensioner/tc_tensioner.html

Let us know how it goes!

The 97 and up models had a rash of loose headbolts, cause debated over quite a bit. Saab actually has a service bulletin on retightening them. Good chance that is why they came out easy. The questionable bolts had a floating washer and a different torque spec. from the earlier type.

For example, third tsb from the top, here:

http://www.saabsite.com/900new/NG900tsbbottom.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
PMI -

Your help/photos/encouragement/instruction/references are truly phenomenal! I've printed everything off and will study it hard today. Will proceed tonight. I'll be in touch.
Thanks for everything!
Craballey
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Good Day, Guys,

Well... it's Friday Morning. I've been working a couple of hours each evening for the past few days. The head gasket is installed, head reinstalled (torquing involved bringing the head bolts to specified torque and then pulling them through "another 90 degrees" (?). Do I retorque them after 10 or 15 hours of running time? If yes, to what torque, or do I do the "90 degree" thing again?) (they DO seem a lot tighter than I found them), the timing chain/ sprockets/ tensioner reinstalled. The exhaust manifold is also reinstalled.

RE: exhaust manifold: when I removed the exhaust manifold, three of the studs stayed in the block. This was OK when I removed the head (I had removed 4 exhaust pipe nuts also to free the Ex manifold completely), but took a lot of balancing/juggling trying to reinstall head/Ex manifold together (because of studs sticking out of the block.) It would have been a lot better to have removed all the studs from the block. I gave that a try (vice grips, pipe wrench, etc.) But to no avail. If I had had a decent technique for removing the studs without breaking them I would have (didn't want to go through the breaking/drilling/extraction ritual). NOTE: the "Engine Reinstallation" sequence places reinstalling the Ex manifold toward the end of the sequence. With studs still in the block, this would have been impossible.

I'll be reinstalling the intake manifold this evening, and starting the buttoning up process,

Question: There are two intake manifold gaskets in the gasket package. Do I install both or only one?

Thanks in advance!
Craballey
 

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Never looked into the intake gasket, someone else will have to take that one.

The headbolts are only tightened once, per the Saab spec, including the 90 degrees at the end. The "retightening" means one time after the car leaves the factory. I am curious if your headbolts were of the floating washer type, or the solid head?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi, PMI -

Thanks for your reply. I think I'll go in with one intake gasket - doesn't make sense to use two... unless someone out there has other info.

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RE: head bolts - thanks for the tips on re-tightening. If the head bolts are retightened after leaving the factory, isn't replacing the head/head gasket similar to original engine assembly? Just curious. I may do some recreational tightening (according to spec, of course) after a while, just to be sure.

The head bolts (which I reused) were solid. They have the external TORX head and an integral "collar" interface with the head, but no "floating washer".

Thanks again for your help and instructions/references, etc.
Hope to finish this up this weekend.
Best Regards,
Craballey
 

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Craballey said:
If the head bolts are retightened after leaving the factory, isn't replacing the head/head gasket similar to original engine assembly? Just curious.
I don't think so. The theory (not mine), is that something went wrong with the factory tightening, which is done by a machine, or with the coating of the bolts, or something like that. May be different from the head bolt issue on the later 9-3 models, because the Saab TSB on retightening came out before the 9-3 rolled off the line.

I may do some recreational tightening (according to spec, of course) after a while, just to be sure.
That may not be a good idea. I believe the bolt actually stretches a tiny bit in the last step, the 90-degree turn. Do this more than once or twice, and metal fatigue may set in. I would just test how tight they are by using a torque setting less than the first stage. If loose, it may be time for a new set of bolts (cheap compared to a new engine).

The head bolts (which I reused) were solid. They have the external TORX head and an integral "collar" interface with the head, but no "floating washer".
That should be the better of the two styles.

I am still a bit puzzled by the two intake manifold gaskets, but according to the EPC CD, some models have an "intake air heat plate", and two intake gaskets, both with the same part number. Perhaps that explains it. The description in EPC reads as follows:

Article : Gasket
PartNo : 9138884
For cars with intake air heat plate.
Engine --V054178
Order Quantity : 2
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Good Morning, PMI and fellow SAAB enthusiasts,

Well - here I am on Saturday morning again - I installed the intake manifold (with one gasket) last night. RE: gaskets - when I dissembled the In manifold, there appeared to be only one gasket in the one interface between the In Manifold and the head. I'm assuming that the "Intake air heat plate" is a third piece in the In Manifold/plate/head interface. If this is right, I would need a second gasket for the second interface. There's no evidence of any "heat plate" in my engine; the gasket guys may be covering the "some models" thing by throwing in an extra gasket. I'll see what happens...
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I'll leave the head bolts alone (maybe check them after a while, as PMI suggests). I'm sure there is further stretching as the head expands with the heat of the engine. No use tempting fate.
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PMI - thanks again for your detailed research and clear alternative approaches. I'll be in touch. Time to button this thing up and see if it runs!
Craballey
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Follow up August 2, 2005

HI, everyone -

HArd to believe it's been over a month since I chatted with you guys.
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My 97 Turbo convertible is still sitting in the drive way - I've removed and installed the head a total of three times - the most recent removal was to take it to the machine shop and have it resurfaced. They also did the valve seals.
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I've reinstalled the head and checked the compression - compression is good.
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One major problem: while I was checking the compression (I had pulled all the spark plugs) raw gasoline was sloshing out of the number one cylinder. I extracted about a quarter of a cup of raw gas out of #1. The oil smells of gas (gas has leaked thru the rings into the sump). It sounds worse than it is. I'll change the oil and filter and keep an eye on it, but only after I solve the overflowing/flooding problem in #1. Any suggestions?
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One other thing has been bothering me and could be related to the flooding problem (?)... After reinstalling the head and connecting all the tubes, wires, pipes, etc, I had one electrical plug "left over". It comes out of the wiring harness that lies along the fuel rail. The plug is about mid-way across the fuel bar, has about 5 inches of wire associated with it, and has orange "gills" on it. Is this the plug for the (not installed) manifold heater? Any ideas will be helpful.
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My smartass son-in-law said, "Time to take it to the shop" the other night - not yet!
Thanks in advance for your comments and ideas.
Craballey
 
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