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Discussion Starter #1
2007 9-3 Aero Sport Combi
We have been having some "interesting" time with the coolant reservoir and I am wondering if anyone has any similar experience.

A few years back we started getting Coolant Low warnings. I would top up the reservoir and it would go for quite some time before happening again. A minor irritation since previously it hadn't happened at all, but still quite minor.

Then it started happening more frequently and we brought it to the mechanic who found a crack in the reservoir, presumably one that had gotten worse, so he replaced the reservoir. For a while, all was fine and then it started happening again only the progression to frequent refills was faster.

Back to the shop and another replacement and, again, a period of just fine and then it happened again and again to the shop and another replacement.

This time we had just had a couple of warnings when we drove to a town about 1/2 away. On the return trip the coolant warning came up and the car soon overheated. After a park by the side of the road it cooled down and we were able to return home. There was considerable smoke by the time we got home. There had been some smoke with previous need for replacement, but this time there was tons. After it cooled off I went to top up the coolant only to discover that the top and bottom of the reservoir had separated!

We towed the car in and the mechanic replaced the reservoir again and was about to check with us to see if he had done all we wanted when he found that the reservoir was cracked!

Apparently, all these replacements had come from a source other than Saab since Saab didn't have one available at the time. Now they do and that has been ordered so in a couple of days it should be replaced again.

Anyone with similar experience?
 

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That is my understanding, but I don't actually know. We were unaware of the source until last night when the mechanic updated us, but he did say that the original replacement came from a non-Saab source since Saab had none available and that he was not going to use that source any more and that Saab now had one available. So, I took that to mean that all except the one now on order had come from that source. Reinforcing this is that the mechanic did the repairs after the first one as warranty, suggesting that he may have made a warranty claim on the supplier.
 

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Several have reported problems with aftermarket replacements especially that junk sold on amazon ... just look at the reviews. They all basically read the same "worked short term then failed".

Out of curiosity did the car go into limp mode on that drive home? No engine damage? I remember reading about how this engine allegedly can drive short distance after total loss of coolant due to some "air cooling" effect and also being in limp mode with limited performance. But I've definitely seen posts about people overheating and causing damage.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, unfortunate to know there is crap in the market, but nice to know that there is a pattern and it is not just incredibly bad luck.

I don't know about limp mode and how I would know that it was happening. My wife was driving, so I don't have direct experience. I know that we sat at the side of the road for a while and the temperature dropped fairly dramatically after a while so we decided to proceed and see what happened. She drove more conservatively than usual by a good bit and there was no increase in temp during the trip. The mechanic seemed to think that there was no damage.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Searching Amazon on "saab 9-3 coolant reservoir" I come up with a bunch of products with varying ratings from 5 star to 2.5. This one
https://www.amazon.com/Dorman-Solut...nt+reservoir&qid=1566584074&s=gateway&sr=8-12
looks like the one in the car and has the kinds of reviews you indicate. Oddly, though, it is the same manufacturer as some of the 5 star ones.

Of course, could be tricky as one reviewer noted that they originally gave that unit 4 stars and then it failed and they changed to 1.
 

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Why you do not order this original replacement kit (with hoses): 93197033
 

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Discussion Starter #8
We were not the ones doing the ordering. The mechanic was. The latest replacement is coming from Saab.
 

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Well, new twist. The new reservoir from Saab has been received and installed and tested, but on one of the tests they detected something (carbon monoxide?? - second hand report) which told them that there was a leak in the head gasket so that combustion gases were being forced into the cooling system, over-pressurizing it. The cure is a head gasket replacement. This garage (not a Saab dealer, the nearest being over a hour's drive from here) has done head gasket replacements on 4 cylinder Saabs and 6 cylinder Suburus, but not on 6 cylinder Saabs before, so they are not sure what it will cost, but are guessing something in the $3-4000 range. Does that seem reasonable?
 

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Well, new twist. The new reservoir from Saab has been received and installed and tested, but on one of the tests they detected something (carbon monoxide?? - second hand report) which told them that there was a leak in the head gasket so that combustion gases were being forced into the cooling system, over-pressurizing it. The cure is a head gasket replacement. This garage (not a Saab dealer, the nearest being over a hour's drive from here) has done head gasket replacements on 4 cylinder Saabs and 6 cylinder Suburus, but not on 6 cylinder Saabs before, so they are not sure what it will cost, but are guessing something in the $3-4000 range. Does that seem reasonable?
That is ludicrous. The gaskets are about $31.00 each (https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog...434410,engine,cylinder+head+gasket+/+set,5412). Even with an entire day for labor, $3/$4K is crazy expensive. Bring it somewhere else that knows your car. An hour drive is not unreasonable for a good mechanic.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, I e-mailed my contact at the dealer ... the one being an hour plus away ... and he says that the diagnosis and price are in line and their charge would be around $4000.
 

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Well, I e-mailed my contact at the dealer ... the one being an hour plus away ... and he says that the diagnosis and price are in line and their charge would be around $4000.
Hmmm, I see you are in Illinois. Maybe @swedespeed7 can suggest someone different to work on it for you. ?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Note that I am in Champaign, 150 miles south of Chicago. The nearest Saab dealer is just outside of Peoria.
 
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