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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I have a 2002 SAAB 9-5.

Since March, I have had two radiator hoses blow and had to replace the radiator. Today was a warm day, and my 9-5 was running hot. The temp needle was around 75% of the way to hot. It got to 75% and stayed there for most of the 20 minute drive. On opening the hood, coolant was to the top of the overflow tank and some fluid had leaked out.

The mechanic who replaced the radiator replaced all of the hoses, and even upgraded the plastic connectors to brass. I've checked his work and it looks good to me.

I have another odd problem that may or may not be related... I recently did the transmission drain and fill, and I got the usual 3 1/2 quarts of out, but could only put 2 1/2 quarts back in before Transmission fluid started coming back up the dipstick hole. The stuff was black when I got the car, and this was the second drain and fill. The fluid still looks muddy brown. I pulled the dipstick today when the car was hot and transmission fluid came spurting out like a geyser.

I am not losing any fluid since the radiator replacement. Coolant is still bright green.

A) Is it possible for coolant to leak into the transmission fluid? I've never had transmission fluid come shooting out at me like that. How can I take 3 1/2 quarts out and only be able to fit 2 1/2 quarts back in? No other fluids in the car are low. The car shifts fine. This isn't my first drain and fill and it's always been a no-brainer.

B) What is a normal temp for a 9-5? Usually my temp needle is right in the middle like I'm used to with most cars. It was a hot day (90) here but still...

C) What could be causing my car to run hot? I don't want to blow another hose and deal with that again. What can I check? Mechanic has checked out the thermostat and verified its operation.

Let me know if there's anything I forgot to include, and thank you very much for your help.
 

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Have you replaced the thermostat? If not you really should change it as it may be sticking or not opening properly causing the irregularities
 

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I would agree with T-stat, do your radiator fans come on?
It should really not run hotter than 9 o'clock (50%)
As for the trans drain and fill again, you might have it clogged up and the easiest way is the multiple flush.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My mechanic says he tested it and it was working fine. Meh. I was hoping to avoid changing it. ;oops:

Agreed. It should be changed out. I am making some coolant manufacturers rich up in here, yo!

I have been searching/reading most of the night... The color of the ATF doesn't worry me too much, Frank Wulfer's site had some good pics from his flush and mine looks average. A third flush will probably do the trick.

However, I also saw several mentions that the tranny too full was very bad for these cars... Anyone care to explain why? I'm going to go ahead and change the thermostat and redo the drain and fill of the ATF. Just curious to learn more about the tranny if anyone has a link.
 

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The issue with too much fluid is the pressure of the fluid can cause damage.
It does not have a place to go and will start to be forced thru gaskets etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, so I redid the drain and fill of the transmission this weekend... Looks to have gone smoothly.

However, I got the shock of my life when I went to look for the thermostat! Me and two friends spent the better part of a half an hour looking for it. Finally had to look online just to find that I have to take the d*mn engine apart to get to it!

So, I called around to some shops... They want $300+ to replace a tstat, and on top of it they want to check for head gasket leaks, etc... So the repair bill gets darn close to $500. (Mind you the HG test they want to do is the same one I've already done. Chemical blue stuff.)

Now, I don't think that this is anything I can't do myself given a few days. :) But I've seen several different writeups, and I have the following questions:

1) Some writeups have you removing the intake manifolds. Some say "It's tight, but you can get to it without taking off the intake manifolds." Is it strictly necessary to take off the intake manifolds?

2) I see plenty of "OEM" spec thermostats, but I'm having to replace the OEM model at 120,000 miles! Also, it doesn't look like any of them are fail safe. Can anyone recommend an after market that is fail safe and reliable?

3) It looks like I need the intake manifold gaskets and the new tstat and housing with o-ring seal. Any other parts I have to worry about? I don't want to find out that I need a hard to find part once my car is disassembled.

4) The o-ring seals the tstat? No RTV?

5) Anything else I should do while I'm in there?

I'm looking to tackle this over the weekend and I pretty much suck at auto repair. Is this too much to bite off?

Any other tips or help would be much appreciated.
 

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It's really not that bad. Don't remove the intake. Take a few pictures before you start, then a few during the change just for reference. There is probably a ground wire on one of the bolts. I'd use sealer if the mating surfaces are pitted, otherwise you shouldn't really need it. Hose grease may help you


forget the ground wire on install - and it is ugly.
 

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I missed the part about it being a v6. I can't help you on that, except to say that this still holds true:
Take a few pictures before you start, then a few during the change just for reference. I'd use sealer if the mating surfaces are pitted, otherwise you shouldn't really need it. Hose grease may help you.
For sealer this

or
this:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've got permatex ultra grey...


Ok, so one other question... Is the thermostat part of a housing, or can I just use the normal thermostats I'm used to getting at Pep Boys for $7?

The link above seems to say it's just a plain thermo, while a few comments below says that the thermo is a part of the housing.

I see the housing sold separately at napa: http://www.napaonline.com/Catalog/CatalogItemDetail.aspx?R=BK_6051811_0328168832

They wouldn't sell just the housing if these were integrated parts, right? Napa doesn't have the housing/thermo together at all. Only place in town is Bap-Geon. Which is across town and not open when I'll be working. All of the auto places keep telling me that a "normal" $7 thermo is right for my car. Heck, the stupid O ring is hard to find around here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ummmm.... Wow. Thermostat is changed out and it only took me ~3 weeks!:eek:

I thought I'd come back and answer my own questions:

1) Some writeups have you removing the intake manifolds. Some say "It's tight, but you can get to it without taking off the intake manifolds." Is it strictly necessary to take off the intake manifolds?

Yes. You HAVE to remove the manifolds.

2) I see plenty of "OEM" spec thermostats, but I'm having to replace the OEM model at 120,000 miles! Also, it doesn't look like any of them are fail safe. Can anyone recommend an after market that is fail safe and reliable?

The housing holds a "normal" thermostat.

Here's the t-stat in it's housing.

Here are the two common types of T-stat. We want the one on the Left. The two metal "arms" at the bottom hook into the brackets on the tstat housing.

You do not need to replace the entire housing, just the thermostat inside.

3) It looks like I need the intake manifold gaskets and the new tstat and housing with o-ring seal. Any other parts I have to worry about? I don't want to find out that I need a hard to find part once my car is disassembled.

The biggest part of the job for me was parts. The intake manifold gasket was hard to find, etc...

You need:
Upper Intake gasket X 1
Lower intake manifold gaskets 1 set of 6 pcs.
New Thermostat and O ring.

Highly recommended:
Replacement Thermo housing - See below. In short, this is hard to get off and you might only have the option of breaking it. It can be hard to get, so soend the xtra $20 and have one on hand.
Clamp for the turbo downpipe - Mine was badly rusted and had to be removed with a rotozip. The part has also been superceded with a new clamp that has the screwhead facing down instead of up. It was $8 at the stealership and with the problems I had getting to that screw from the top, I'd replace that sucker.
O-rings for where the inlet pipe meets the thermo housing.
Extra clamps large and small.
Extra M8 x 25 MM bolts to replace any suspect manifold bolts.

4) The o-ring seals the tstat? No RTV?

Yes. No RTV was used at all, anywhere.

5) Anything else I should do while I'm in there?

Set aside extra time for general engine clean up. While waiting for parts, I cleaned the mating surfaces, top of the oil cooler, etc... I also cleaned all of the intake manifold, cleaned the throttle body, and replaced the temp sensor.


Bonus: What was the hardest part? Getting the pipe out that connects the upper rad hose to the thermo housing. First (because of the disagreeable clamp) I tried to remove it without taking off the turbo downpipe. Bad idea. Don't even try it. It won't work and you will hurt things trying.

Then the pipe just did not want to move. It's been there for 10 years. I ended up taking a large wrench and using leverage against the engine to pull it free. Other sites recommend breaking the thermo housing with a chisel.

While I was trying to get this out, the oil dipstick tube got slightly bent. there is one bolt that feeds through a bracket on that pipe, the oil dipstick tube bracket, and finally into the engine. With the dipstick tube bent it was a bear getting that bolt lined up.

Once I got it lined up and started tightening, the feed pipe did not want to go all the way into the new housing. I ended up snapping the bracket on the feed pipe. This was a Thursday night, no one had the part in town, so it had to be ordered online. I lost 5 days to that bracket by the time I got back to it Tuesday night.

The second time, I did the following:
Place the feed pipe loosely against the housing so it's easy to position
Feed your bolt through the brackets and tighten down 1 turn
Firmly press the feed pipe into the housing
Tighten down the bolt watching the feed pipe bracket for any sign it might be bending. Use washers as spacers if you have to.

I don't know if the replacement parts were slightly off, but I needed one M8 washer in there to make everything match up.


Jungle Disclaimer: Anything said in the post above is written only from my experience, and there's every chance that I'm totally wrong. I am not a mechanic and I don't play one on TV. If you're following MY advice on how to fix a car, you really should consider taking it to a real mechanic.
 
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