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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On my Saab 9-3, I wanted to ask if the head gasket replacement is a big job? I am an aircraft mechanic and did a timing belt change on my previous Honda Accord, so it is not an issue if it is complicated. I wanted to simply know if it is worth it with this vehicle.

The car has 220,000 miles on it and the first problem was the upper radiator hose, which blew and was promptly replaced. 4 weeks later the two small hoses going to the heat exchanger burst and were also promptly replaced. Two weeks after that I found the water was escaping through some small hole. I found it to be a crack in the radiator plastic, just under the upper radiator hose. So I patched it up and now am waiting for some new leak to appear :confused:. I did notice a scent of fuel fumes when I remove the coolant tank cap. I also need to add water to the cooling system even though there is no leak anywhere (the car burns the water?)

I did have smoke coming out of the exhaust during the winter months and a rough running engine after starting, including funny rough starts, which appeared to be due to water leaking into the cylinder bore.

I wanted to fix the car and give it to my wife's sister to drive, but don't want to start a job which will be too big or requiring special tooling.

Kind Regards,
K
 

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On my Saab 9-3, I wanted to ask if the head gasket replacement is a big job? I am an aircraft mechanic and did a timing belt change on my previous Honda Accord probably quite easy, I hope, on the old '88 it was done, and now on the newer '97, a task for next month, and I think its overdue(nearly 90K miles), so it is not an issue if it is complicated. I wanted to simply know if it is worth it with this vehicle.I think so, how its body, engine, transmission.??

The car has 220,000 miles on it and the first problem was the upper radiator hose, which blew and was promptly replaced. 4 weeks later the two small hoses going to the heat exchanger burst and were also promptly replaced. Two weeks after that I found the water was escaping through some small hole. I found it to be a crack in the radiator plastic, just under the upper radiator hose. So I patched it up and now am waiting for some new leak to appear :confused:. I did notice a scent of fuel fumes when I remove the coolant tank cap. Probably combustion fumes, this gasket is far beyond hope... I also need to add water to the cooling system even though there is no leak anywhere (the car burns the water?) Its trying to, given enuff coolant, the engine would undergo hydraulic lock up.

I did have smoke coming out of the exhaust during the winter months and a rough running engine after starting, including funny rough starts, which appeared to be due to water leaking into the cylinder bore.

I wanted to fix the car and give it to my wife's sister to drive, but don't want to start a job which will be too big or requiring special tooling.

Kind Regards,
K
Welcome to SaabCentral, K the aircraft mechanic.
The hoses are good for 150K, 10 years, you were deep into borrowed time.
I do not know how long an engine can withstand this abuse. This is hard on it.
Any oil in the coolant, or coolant in the oil??

Do aircraft use any anti-freeze to cool the engine? I'm thinking everything is forced air cooled....I only built a section of the fuel tank, the wing, back in the 60s.
So am I for that matter, we can, more or less get away with this, on an aircraft? - NO..
 

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I just did a head gasktet on my saab. I would probably say it took about 24 hours of work for me (a shade tree mechanic). Of course I took it slow and very methodical, but I also got a good result. No really special tools other than torx wrenches and star shaped sockets (for head bolts). These tools are not that expensive.

Is it worth it? You'll have to answer that question. I found that finishing the job was very rewarding.

Just my 2 cents....
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the replies.
There is no water in the oil, but smell of gasoline in the coolant. I guess having all the tools I need I may go for the job after all.

There are only a couple aircratf which operate with water cooled engines. It is not practical since all the air is available right after engine start from the propeller. It is very important however to keep all the baffles and seals tight for best cooling results.

Looking at generations in the future, I can imagine some young kinds with hot wheels will laugh at the prehistoric vehicles we drove :lol:, with liquid fuel and water cooled engines.

Kind Regards
Kris
 
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