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Discussion Starter #1
I've had it with my 2001 Aero wagon.

It spun a rod bearing last October and I bought a used engine and installed it around the end of the year. Things seemed good

Then I sprung an oil leak, after a lot of investigation it was leaking down the front of the timing cover coming out from under the chain tensioner. I hoped I'd get lucky and replaced the o-ring and seal on the tensioner but no luck. So today I did the dreaded head gasket job. There is oil everywhere and it's caused me to have two failed accessory belts.

Cleaned up the head, extracted two broken exhaust studs, new head gasket and affiliated parts and damn it the leak is still there. Genuine Saab gasket, new head bolts, new VCG, new intake and exhaust gasket and another new timing tensioner seal just for good measure. Covered the area around the 3-way joint with aerobic sealant, actually all the way around the timing cover and onto the block.


It's not the valve cover gasket (replaced anyway), head gasket, tensioner seals but the oil is running out from under the tensioner, down the timing cover and then gets on everything.

I'm thinking I may be done with this car. I was really expecting that the head gasket would do the trick. What the hell else could this be?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I thought about this more last night and can't for the life of me figure out where this could be coming from.

I did a pretty thorough clean of the head and the block deck where the timing cover meets. I guess this could be the timing cover near that top and the oil is coming "up" but that's really going to piss me off since I really don't feel like taking the engine out

the head didn't have any cracks or gouges in it in that area

The tensioner could be cracked. I do have another one lying around somewhere that I could swap. That's not a horribly difficult job.

it's not the VCG there is no oil running down the back of the head

where else could this be coming from?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Power washed it today on the way home from the beer store and then looked closely. the oil is not coming from the tensioner, it's dry and clean. it's coming from under the tensioner

It's either that I installed the head gasket wrong or that it's coming from the joint between the timing cover and the block and weeping "up"

So now the big question: Take the engine out, do the head gasket job again (I have a spare head so I might get it checked for flatness and vacuum checked) and take the timing cover off and seal that up good as well. Or just get rid of the car and move on.

(the car needs subframe bushings as well and will need a set of tires in the spring)


I'm leaning toward getting rid of it but the card is in reasonably good shape since it came from California, has no rust, runs great and I have a large supply of spare parts. (oh, and it's paid for!)

But I'm not sure I'm in for a complete engine-out experience again and have no idea of what I'd buy to replace it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Engine out to fix oil leak AND subframe bushings? I love my Saab but I don't know if I love it THAT much.
Agreed

I can't see doing the timing cover in the car when I can take the engine out just as easily. I can't see any other reason why it still leaks unless somehow the head was warped in that very specific spot. I should have put my spare head on it while it was off!

I was going to try the in-situ poly bushing installation like the video on eeuroparts web site. Essentially take 4 of the 6 bolts out, drop the subframe enough to cut out the rubber and then cut the sleeves and use the weight of the car and a jack to pop the poly bushings in. Then switch from back to front and do the other ones. figured it was worth a try.

@bob3000 you're welcome to come buy it. It's drivable with the exception of the oil getting all over the accessory belt and destroying it. But if you had a new one in the car and the right tools (18mm, 16mm, 1/2 breaker bar, 10mm and a jack) you can change it in a half hour or so should it go bad.

Red wagon, 2001, Aero with ventilated tan seats and BBS RK2's! A couple of dents in it but nothing major. Comes with a spare head, spare turbo, spare half shaft, MAF, cup holder, alarm siren, chain tensioner and a bunch of other stuff that I can't think of. Oh, I also have a Stage 1 tuned ECU and a set of plugs that I haven't put in yet. Bought it when eeuroparts was cleaning those out. Make me an offer!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Oh, the RK2's are in pretty rough shape, most of the clear coat has peeled off of the wheels, the centers are in reasonable shape. I also have the tool to take the bolts out as one day I was fantasizing about refinishing them.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Oh, the RK2's are in pretty rough shape, most of the clear coat has peeled off of the wheels, the centers are in reasonable shape. I also have the tool to take the bolts out as one day I was fantasizing about refinishing them.
And for the right price I may even throw in a Tech 2!
 

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You know 1000X more about this stuff than I do but did you put the 2 bolts back into the timing cover, that go into the head? Any chance the there's a loose or broken head bolt?
 

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I wish I could be in the market. I got too many parts around here. I do need tan ventilated seats, but the 2002+ with the thicker bolsters. Remember I got those seats from you for my wifes's 2001 wagon. It got totaled and I lost the seats.

I got RK2s on the 2000 red aero wagon. nice original ones. I just had another set redone by a top hot rod wheel guy and will take them apart to paint with the car.

My focus is to get the red wagon painted. Prep is 90% there. Mechanical all done including new trans, brakes etc...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You know 1000X more about this stuff than I do but did you put the 2 bolts back into the timing cover, that go into the head? Any chance the there's a loose or broken head bolt?
yes, the two bolts going into the timing cover are in
No, there are no broken head bolts, they were new when I installed them. All torqued in 3-stages as specified in the WIS.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
OK, so opinions:

I think I'm going to pull the engine and fix it. I'm going to be real good at this at some point!

Since I just replaced the head gasket and all of the head bolts what would you do? Pull the timing cover and leave the head on the engine, seal up the bottom of the head gasket and the timing cover and put it back or pull the head again and do the whole thing?

Don't want to spend the extra bucks at $5/bolt for the head bolts and the head gasket if I don't have to. But if I do then I'll suck it up and do the job.

While I'm at it I'll probably turn the engine upside down on a stand and do the oil pan. I did take the pan off when I put the engine in the car a year ago and it was clean, and I did replace the O-rings but I'll take the pan off and re-seal it while I've got the engine out of the car. (plus if I'm going to not take the head off taking the timing cover off and getting it re-sealed on teh pan with the pan still on is probably impossible)
 

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I think I'm going to pull the engine and fix it. I'm going to be real good at this at some point!
Clearly you're pretty good at it already, I think (obviously from afar) that the car is worth it and it will reward your efforts.

Either that or just haunt you for a while longer...fifty fifty on that. 😁
.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
yea, got the wife's BMW fixed today, the right front CV joint was bad and clicking. Now I can dig into the Saab.

I bought a set of poly bushings from eeuroparts, going to try to squeeze them into the subframe without taking it off. This should be interesting. Wish I had a lift though.

And then the engine comes out. Debating what I'll do when it's out. I took my spare head to the machine shop yesterday and dropped it off to be checked for flatness. It should be good since it had been done a while back before the engine spun a rod bearing. I think what I'll end up doing is swapping the heads, new head gasket, renew the timing cover sealant and pan sealant and then put it back. And if it still leaks I'll drive it into the river and buy me a Mini Clubman
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Subframe bushings done, now it's the engine. Got to go past the machine shop to see what's up with my spare head. then I'll order up all of the parts and yank the engine. I'm not looking forward to doing it again (I bought this wagon with a blown engine and put the one from my son's sedan in it, then it spun a rod bearing a couple of years later and I swapped it again. This will be the third time!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm pretty damned sure it's the joint between the timing cover, head and block. The oil is running down from the top of the timing cover under the tensioner and then down the front of the timing cover to get blown and splashed all over the place. (was fun doing the subframe bushings with everything covered with oil!)
 

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It won't be the work you have already done. It won't be the head. If you can see down the cover of the timing area that is what it must be. But you wrote that you had sealed that with anerobic sealant so again, how can it be that? It's not splashing upward? Not a loose 1/2 inch bolt in the sump worked loose?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I put the sealant on the top of the timing cover and continued to about 1" inside the block on both sides.

haven't checked the sump bolts because I can see the oil running down the front of the timing cover, coming from just under the chain tensioner. The only thing that I can think of is that the timing cover is leaking along the "front" of the block and it's flowing up and out the top. But this is a pretty large leak so I'm not sure how in the hell that can happen

I found out from the machine shop yesterday that a couple of the valves in my "spare head" are bent, I must have set it down too hard on my workbench because it came from a running engine. So. my plan to get everything for a quick in-out has gone awry.
 
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