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Discussion Starter #1
My 2000 9-3 2 door runs perfectly, no symptoms but...
The level in the coolant tank does drop a little, I'd estimate perhaps 100ml per 200k.
Not excessive but I'm not happy about it.
There's no sign of tailpipe steam, nothing else. Runs an absolute treat. Is there anywhere the coolant could evaporate off? The cap seal is no problem.
 

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With a B20x engine this is usually a sign of loosening head bolts, which is an endemic issue with these vehicles but easily fixed. Saab issued a service bulletin for it. The coolant leaks out from the corner at the right hand end of the engine when viewed from the front.

If its that the fix is simple and easily done at home if you have basic tools and a torque wrench.
Pop the valve cover, withdraw one bolt at a time and replace with new, torqueing down to spec, this will nail the issue. There is a specific order in which this must be done - plenty instructions on here
 

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In the states most of our parts stores have tool loaner programs. Maybe you can borrow a coolant pressure tester. Pressurize the system and look/listen for air escaping through tailpipe, oil filler, exterior around head gasket, hoses and connections, etc. If you hear air out of oil filler you can pull plugs (or pull them when you start) and see if you find one (or more) cylinder(s) with head gasket leak.Pretty much eliminates the guess-work in most cases.

Almost forgot - Love the avatar! Yakety Sax....
 

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I like both ideas above. You should do the TSB on the head bolts no matter what (Unless you have a bigger problem that you find with jmk's test that will require pulling the head... assuming you can get the test tools where you are). You can often see a least an oil leak on that front left corner of the motor.

FWIW, another popular leak is the o-rings at the waterpump. You never see it because it's underneath and it's never enough to drip, but it seeps and levels drop. Sometimes you can see crystallized coolant in the area.

Here's the TSB. Use NEW bolts, don't reuse the old ones no matter what the TSB says. It feels much better that way: Head Gasket Leakage
 

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I'd definitely start with the water pump O-rings. That's affected virtually every 9-3 I've owned or been responsible for. If the car has more than 100k on it and the pump hasn't been done, I'd just do it.
 

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another possible culprit , that starts off as small weep is the heater by pass valve .
It sits just next to the Power steering reservoir , It can begin leaking at the top disc that the vacumn line connects too . If this is a culprit you will see evidence sitting on the gearbox below . Had exactly this last week on Sons viggen , fortunately he was vigilant and spotted straight away .
Looking at your spark plugs may provide a clue re a head gasket weep , but I have found that to be usually accompanied with a rough idle on start up till it warms a little . (damp spark plug )
 

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I'm not sure that's a thing in US!
Wow , there ya go , thats a surprise . It is a pesky thing that seems to serve little purpose anyway . $40 part that fails and can create big issues if not caught ....
It certainly is on Australian cars so it is certainly a possible culprit for the OP
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks a mill' for those solutions boys, I think I'll do the head bolts first. What sort of gasket is on the cam cover? Re-usable if I remove it carefully?
 

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I'm betting a bypass valve is part of a "hot weather package" and the US on average isn't hot enough. I've seen that sort of thing on other cars.

VC gasket is rubber and "can" be reused usually, but if it's more than a year or two old it's probably compressed and dried out and should not be.
 

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Yes, the bypass valve is noted for "tropical" climates, so the OP has one. None in the US on OG9-3. 9-5 folks have them in the USA and they notoriously (eventually) leak. I was considering one for my 9-3 to reduce TB warming in hot weather but the 9-5 guys convinced me otherwise.

Yeah, replace the VC gasket like Jvan says. It's only a $15 item for the original Elring gaskets. Not worth the trouble of a leak... and you're really asking for one by pulling the cover, even if it's not leaking now.
 

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Javanbra mentioned water pump orings. Oddly enough that's one place where you get a small leak and it's a very hard to spot. But I'm putting my money on that spot as well as I've dealt with this before. If it is leaking through that spot you'll be able to see it if you put the car up look underneath the turbo. Get the two front wheels up in the air so you can have the car running. Pay close attention truth a little metal tube behind the water pump that is part of the water pump and contains the O-rings if I had to bet my money it be there.good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You're going to hate me for this, I know the info is available on the site, but I just can't find it. Search reveals nothing, can't find it on WIS either.
Just very basic info on head bolts: A the bolt size, (are they Torx type?) B: Any washers needed?
 

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if you have Total Tools near you , they sell the E16.
Confirm it isnt O rings at water pump or the bypass valve before you disturb the VC gasket
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thx boys, I've just ordered the bolts and gasket from our Aussie Saab outfit. Thanks so much for all the advice. I do have a torque-wrench, but I'm going to borrow a better quality one to do the job. I'll come back with any worthwhile feedback.
Thx Aussie, I did look on TotalTools and couln't find it, but I'll look again.
Water pump sounds like a big deal,, ? (if it's anything like my half-a-milL' ks Accord)
 

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You can do it in one sitting .within 8 hours.you have to move some things to get at the water pump.I didn't find it to be very hard though.a little time consuming.If I was you I'd definitely lay eyes on it before I started fixing anything.no sense in doing unnecessary work.either way good luck .
 

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just a thought .good chance it won't be easy to remove the old head bolts.if any break it'll be a pain .also there is an order and torque specs for tightening these bolts that's very important.I would much rather do a water pump than mess with the head.dont want to disturb it and get dirt in the cylinders.So once again I strongly urge you to do your due diligence and check that water pump.You may save yourself a lot of aggravation.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Only thing is, I can see a (very) little evidence of GREEN (coolant fluid) just below that front cyl bolt area, so I'm inclined to do that first. Anyway they're bought now. I need to do some homework on how/where to check the waterpump. Guess that can come next. Seeing as there was a factory bulletin about the cyl head bolts / tension it seems 'due diligence' to cover that off first. There's no issue about dirt in cylinders, I'm not lifting the head, just re-tensioning the bolts. Yep, ta, I'm 'across' the method from the WIS so should be okay. Yes, bolt breakages can be a nightmare I know, but I've got enough sensitivity to hopefully feel that before it happens. I would be assuming that these sort of 'stretch' bolts are not likely to get tighter when cold, maybe I'm wrong?
 
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