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Discussion Starter #1
Hi
Here again !! So just picked up my 1992 2.1 900 after having the timing chain and head gasket done only to discover top end knocking that doesn’t go away. The car has done around 170k miles - just spent the equivalent of 800 dollars. The mechanic thinks it’s the valve lifters but I’m starting to worry if I’m throwing too much money into this one. I’ve had high mileage Saab’s before and never really considered 170k to be anything to worry about on these engines. But I’ve heard the 2.1 engines can sound harsh compared to the normal 2.0. When I put my ear in the engine bay I can swear I hear a low end knocking too. Anyway I’m thinking of doing the lifters at the cost of about 300 dollars but any advice is appreciated at this stage
Thanks in advance
Troy
 

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I can't hear the videos now, but rapping from the top of the engine is often lifters. You could pull the valve cover off and wedge a screw driver between cam and lifter and see if any are deflated.

Refresh my memory - why was the chain and HG done?

The 2.1l valve train is no different from a 2.0l, and the complete assembly was also used on all 2.3l motors, turbo and non. All of my c900s going back 20 years have run the 2.1/2.3 head including both current c900Ts.

The big fault commonly associated with the 2.1l motor has to do with the quality of the block and resultant deck erosion. Not something that causes noise... if it did, people wouldn't have ruined their motors. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok. Yeah this was the one that had some timing chain rattle and some oil leaking - check engine light was on permanently- my Machanic who is Swedish and had mostly only worked on Saabs for 40 years said the oil leak was from the head gasket - plus with the miles and apparently the 2.1 prone to eating head gaskets we decided to do it. Had the head skimmed too so it’s been properly done. Now the check engine light doesn’t come at all and it drives fantastic albeit except for the valve noise. I’m happy to get the lifters replaced - this guy is very reasonable in terms of usual Swedish costs for repairs , plus this 2.1 is one of the best looking rust-free Saab’s I’ve found here and want to hold on to it
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Ok - do you think this happened due to head being off ? I didn’t have any valve noise before the head gasket job. I’ve heard from others before that the lifters drain when the head is off and this can lead to a stuck lifter later. Anyway I’m concerned as this my daily driver and I’m doing 30 mile work and school runs everyday - I can’t get to investigating it for at least a week but should I be driving it with that noise ? I don’t want to make matters worse
 

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Discussion Starter #12
One other addition to this thread - there was no valve noise before the head gasket was done so I’m wondering if using a different oil may be a factor ? I was using 5w30 but there’s now 5w40 in there , however when I bought the car 6 weeks ago and test drove it - there was no valve train noise at all and the owner said there was mineral 10w40 oil in there ..
 

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It's not an oil viscosity problem for sure. Anything in there is fine. I have killed (presumably weak) lifters by having them removed from the car for too long... put them back in and they clatter.

Is it possible your mechanic didn't bleed them? I know you said he's a long-time professional, but noisy lifters is a thing on '88+ heads until they're bled. Remove the valve cover, loosen the right-most, top-most black bolt, put the valve cover back on with a couple bolts, and run the engine for a minute. That's IIRC - I always double check Bentley - but I'm pretty sure. If you don't bleed the followers like this, air remains trapped and everything is noisy.

You could do both - check the lifters with a screwdriver and bleed the followers at the same time. It's 30 minutes of work, you pretty much only need a 13mm socket and a torque wrench. (Assuming dude didn't glue the valve cover gasket on... if so, you'll need a new one probably)

Although EXTREMELY unlikely it could also be an oil pressure problem. I think it would be worth checking that quickly before taking anything apart. Just remove the idiot light sensor off the filter adapter and thread in a parts store oil pressure gauge to be sure.

Edit: Also EXTREMELY unlikely but when I went through this recently on my '85, it turned out I'd forgotten to torque down the cam sprockets properly. Still angry at myself over that. But, point is, don't assume everything is ok. There shouldn't be a noise. Find it before you sheer the key off your only set of cam gears like I did.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
ok thanks for the advice - the mechanic has had a lot of work from me and he’s going to replace all
The lifters for me for free if I buy a set and I got a good deal on some - any good ones I’ll keep as spares seeing I have 3 900s . Don’t want to teach a Swedish Saab mechanic anything but maybe I should remind him to bleed the lifters etc
 

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Noisy lifters on start-up are quite common with b202 and b212 motors apparently. Particularly if a motor hasn't run for a while, or a long time. How long should it persist? I'm led to believe that a rule-of-thumb is about 5 minutes max is considered acceptable.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I’m starting to question my mechanic - he’s a nice old guy and he has saved me so much money because here in Sweden there aren’t many independent garages and even fewer that know Saab’s. I’ve had no problem before with any work he did but I think he’s dropped the ball in this one and perhaps he didn’t bleed the system etc Like you said I’m concerned he sent the car out with noisy lifters - I’m going to go back to him on this
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Jvanabra I don’t have a Bentley manual but the way you described to bleed the system - I may try that -the right most top most bolt ?
 

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Yes, the black bolt on the #5 follower on the intake cam. Loosen it a couple turns, run the engine for a minute or two, then tighten it back up. During the bleed you can keep the valve cover in place with just two or three bolts - just enough to keep oil from making a mess.

I would personally

0. Check oil pressure with a gauge
1. Check lifters
2. Verify cam timing
3. Check torque on all the followers
4. Bleed the system

It's not a big time investment, and should get you to solution.

I wouldn't just assume your guy made a mistake, but maybe he did. Should be a pretty painless fix regardless.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Ok I will take a look tomorrow. Can i ask one more thing - when in normal driving the overrun of the engine in between gear changes is very harsh and sounds like a rattling timing chain but is that the sound of the ticking lifters ? The timing chain is new and you can’t hear anything from there when I rev the engine with my head in the engine bay but inside the car when driving it sounds awful - it’s not the gearbox and gear changes are good this is engine sound but I guess it is the high speed clacks of the knocking lifters ? I even feel a vibration in sync with the engine speed through the pedals through gear changes. Before the head gasket change there was nothing like this going on and I’m pretty peed off that I spend 800 dollars to have the car back worse than I left it
 
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