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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Thought I'd finally post this here, because I'm getting into build territory now and I'm going to need Saabisti expertise :)

First, here's a bit of history..

- - -

This no-runner cropped up on Gumtree in May 2017, for FREE! Sadly I missed it by 20 mins (enquired about 22 mins after listing..), so some other guy got it.

Fortunately he only wanted to make a buck, so relisted it later that day for $800. I spotted it and offered him $600 for it. SOLD!



Back home



It's a 2001 (MY2000) Saab 9-5 Aero w/ 5sp manual, which are extremely rare here.



  • 130,000 km
  • 5sp manual box
  • Heated/Ventilated power seats :love:
  • Sunroof
  • Top spec audio system
  • Cosmic Blue (my fave)
My initial detective work reveals a doctor as the original buyer (typical!), which explain the amazing spec sheet. It's obviously been owned by someone slightly clueless since, but actually looks in solid shape – no oil leaks, good compression (all 4 cyl around 180), everything seems to work. Even has all the info display pixels!

It starts but doesn't currently run for long – idles very rough, eventually slows and dies unless given gas. Original listing said it was a throttle body issue, and that may be right. I have 2 spare laying about, along with heaps of other parts, thankfully.

All being well here's what i'd roughly like to do..

  • Wossner forged pistons
  • Fuel pump + suitable injectors
  • 3.5 bar FPR
  • 3" full system
  • Bigger turbo, probably a 19T
  • Performance' intercooler
  • Bilstein/Eibach combo
  • Stage 4-ish software (aim somewhere over 330bhp/450Nm)
Very happy with it, when it runs it will hopefully turn out to be a spectacular cheap buy!
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Next, I made some progress replacing things and trying to get her to run smoothly.

- - -

So far I've..

- Replaced Throttle Body, made sure not in limp mode
- Cleaned MAF
- Checked compression (all 4 cyl around 180)
- Changed Plugs (w/ used)
- Swapped Ignition Cassette aka coils (x3 tried)
- Changed Crank Sensor (w/ used)
- Replaced all Vac lines
- Replaced the BPC
- Checked codes several times, nothing stored



It's not stalling like it was, but it's still really rough, vibrating a lot, and very lumpy. Almost sound like it's not firing a couple of cylinders. It's hard to capture the sound properly, but the sputtering exhaust at the end is probably most telling.

I'm buoyed by the excellent compression figures but there's still something very funny going on.

My next port of call is to test the pump pressure and injectors, and look for any other leaks.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I finally had a chance to solve the rough running.

- - -

The answer was pretty simple..

The cold side IC hose had blown off, and it had a dodgy MAF. The two together had caused serious failing in the adaptation and mapping.

Had a spare MAF and the hose went back on in 10 minutes. Quick oil and filter change and she runs a dream! Very quick after the '90, steers well but can feel a bit of work needed in suspension and alignment.

Next up, mounts, belt, filters, clean and polish, then run her for a bit while i work out what else might go wrong. So far, I love it!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Then...


Proof that it's running

Since driving it it's given me a P1110, which is the boost recirculation valve not doing its job right. Got on of those spare, though I'll probably buy a decent aftermarket one. Also need to replace all the vac lines again, with slightly larger silicon. Only had 3mm rubber stuff laying about at the time.

And then it had a quick wash. The roof needs a really, really good polish..
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Then, registration (inspection) was due

- - -

I had a big weekend fixing up issues

- Both top engine mounts (hutchison)
- Trans torque rod (hutchison)
- ARB / Sway bar links (meyle hd)
- Tie rod ends (meyle hd)
- tailgate struts
- bonnet struts
- cabin filter
- air filter
- sorted a minor oil leak
- pulled out the ancient and convoluted mobile phone kit (Nokia 6800 or something)
- had a bodge at alignment but needs doing properly

Went through its annual inspection without fuss, noted a minor oil weep which is probably the oil pressure sensor?

Running pretty good now. Few more suspension bits to replace and upgrade, rear springs and shocks are tired so trying to budget for a Bilstein/Eibach kit in the not-too-distant.



(not my house)

- - -


With the Aero safely on the road I had to perform a transplant and refresh of the cheap 2.5T AWD XC90 I'd bought as a family hauler (water pump failed, cooked the motor, and already had bearing troubles). I'd never worked on a Volvo before, but it all went pretty smoothly.



 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
5 months later..

- - -

Over the last few months it has continued to drop oil. I think it’s just a very poorly sealed pan (wrong adhesive) but I want to pull the head to have a look. I’m hoping it’s not the main seal or something like that.

The rear suspension has also progressively sagged. It creaks and moans in the back near side.

I haven’t got much budget for work at the moment, so not quite sure how to approach it. I do have some new parts kicking about, but not enough for a proper preventative overhaul.

New parts I’ve got:

- full set of bottom end bearings
- 2x head gaskets
- 3x Valve cover gaskets
- some rear suspension bushes
- Rear brake pads
- Front strut mounts + bearings
- Ball joint I didn’t have last time
- Aux belt (short mod)

I’ve always planned to go for forged pistons, but not sure I can budget for them until later. Likewise balance and timing chain might have to wait. No sign there’s anything wrong with these as yet..

I might have to splash out on suspension and leave the engine as is for now. Tempted to do the bearings but it seems smarter to leave that for doing with the pistons.

Anyway, started pulling it apart yesterday ready for the head to come off.



 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
almost up to date as of late Feb 2018..

---

Some chump has misaligned the timing cover in the past and then come up with a great solution - trim the gasket to match the misalignment, then just spam sealant around the rest, and hope for the best.











The head felt way over-torqued to compensate. You can now see there's a broken timing chain guide in the top photo. I think it was on the way out and I just upset it when i turned the engine over by hand with the tensioner out.

So, that's another engine coming out!

In the last photo you can see all the sh**ty permatex around the LHS, before I trimmed it off.

I’ve been told this is actually something dealerships always did to save time when pulling the timing cover. Yuck!
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
wise person said:
All good projects start with removing the engine.
Yup!

After I noticed that one of the timing chain guides is broken I've spent an hour here and there on this; now almost ready to pull the engine. It's all come apart nice and easy and I've found a few small issues I might not have noticed, like a ground wire completely detached.

So, new chain kit going in. I might push this out over a few months so I can get the forged pistons in while it's all out. No budget for it really but seems crazy not to.

Of course this also means having the cylinder walls honed and some other heavy engineering works kind of stuff.

I'm not hugely confident at this level, patience, workshop cleanliness etc all big factors.. not sure if I can afford to get an engineering shop to assemble it.. or indeed if I can afford not to!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
So then, the engine came out

- - -







- - -

that dump brings us up to date!

I owned an og9-3 which I took only as far as bolt-on mods (stage 3). I also owned a 9-5 4sp base spec, which blew a piston and then the replacement engine trashed the crank out of nowhere. I learned a lot on that car, which is why I feel more confident attacking this one now.

I also had a V6 9-3SC which I really enjoyed owning, but I prefer the 9-5 as a package overall.
 

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Nice job and it will be a great project!

I love the 9-5. It is such a well behaved car and very well put together. Mine seems current even today 17 yrs later.

The engine rebuild is not too hard, you should be fine with what you have shown already. I've never had a cleanliness issue and I've put together motors in terrible conditions before. Just clean as much as you can for assembly, and then change the oil when done!

The hardest part of the 9-5 build is replacing or dealing with balance shaft bushings. You may have to get some help to press those in and out, or delete them properly.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks guys. It's probably going to be slow going for a bit now as I acquire parts. I've got a few carts filled up with the intention of focusing on each job over a few months:

- Internal engine build
- External engine build (gaskets, bolt hardware etc)
- Subframe and suspension bushes
- Struts/shocks and springs

@Tboy thanks for the encouragement. That's one of the reasons I need this thread – to advise but also to push me to do it myself. I'll read up about those bushings.

I worry that when I did the HG on my first 9-5, I caused the piston failure by getting something in the bores. I didn't line them with grease before cleaning the mating surface. Live and learn!
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I have the engine up on the engine stand now, nice fragments of timing chain guide in the pan..

Question: The rear seal (ie: behind crankshaft, in the end plate) had a small diameter, long spring behind it. It seems to be trashed.

I've read this is something to do with the seal itself – keeping it in place? Does anyone know what this is called? I'll order a new seal, but it doesn't seem to come with this?
 

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It's called a garter spring and not all rear main seals have one. If it comes with a spring, then it needs the spring in order to seal properly. If it comes without one, then it's a standard lip seal and there should be no need for the spring.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks. I've got a new seal on the way, just wasn't sure if this spring would be integral or seperate – or from somewhere else!

Should have chance to pull the timing cover today. Do you _really_ need to pull the guide pins first per WIS? I'm guessing that's for when the head is still on?

So much sealant on this motor. Argh!
 

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Nice purchase and solid gameplan of upcoming work! Really love that color too! Best of luck with the project. ;ol;
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Cheers Josh. Confident it'll come together, unless I break something.

Slow and steady progress as I get chance. Looking pretty good in there, other than the chain guide..





Smashed up guide:



Carbon build up on piston crowns (also evident on the exhaust side valves)


Clutch disk


- - -

I think I'm going to push out the budget and get the Wossner's in, now I'm at this point. Just need to have the bores measured so I know what to order.
 

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I think I'm going to push out the budget and get the Wossner's in, now I'm at this point. Just need to have the bores measured so I know what to order.
How many sizes do the Wossners come in?

My experience has been to order oversize, then have the machine shop bore to match. A good shop will measure each piston, and bore the cylinder to that pistons size (plus clearance). If you can see the crosshatch in the walls and there are no scratches in the walls that would catch your fingernail, you are probably ok just ordering the FIRST oversize piston.

I've never replaced pistons with my saab motors, just on a Honda. On my 250k mile aero, when I rebuilt it i reused the pistons and the machine shop just did a light hone. All of my ring gaps were still in factory tolerance even after 250k miles!!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for the good advice @Tboy.

Wossners seem to come @ 90, 90.5, and 91mm. My bores look pretty fresh to me. Nice crosshatching.

A Saab master tech who has built a few engines (used to be on here – very knowledgeable guy) told me...

"The wossners are set for a 90mm bore but really need to be 1.25 thou bigger for correct clearance so if they are a bit worn its ok. Just have them professionally honed to size".
I know next to nothing about this stuff (other than it's important!) so hoping the machine shop near me is all over it.

The same guy said I would probably be ok @ 90mm, I was thinking 90.5 but if I can avoid overboring that'd probably be good ($). I need to get a quote regardless, in case this machining knocks my budget out. This sort of work isn't that cheap over here.

FWIW, the deck is marked "A" for each piston, which seems to be the "we got this one right!" bore from factory ;)
 

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Nice work. Thanks for bringing another SAAB back to life!

Love the color, love SC
 
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