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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a 2000, 9-3SE which has become inoperable due to what I am guessing is a major leak with the engine coolant.

I first noticed the problem when I was driving along and saw white smoke coming from under my hood and a smell of water touching a hot surface and being evaporated away quickly (its a certain smell, hard to describe). My car displayed the "refill engine coolant" warning. When I got home I noticed the coolant was empty, so i refilled it. The next day the same thing happened again, this time I opened the hood and noticed something leaking onto the lower part of the chassis directly under the engine. As the liquid would leak on to the surface, it would create all kinds of white smoke and that distinct smell described earlier.

I am attaching images of the problem area (images are big).


I was really hoping to sell this car before I go back to school, but I am guessing I should look into this problem first so I know whats going on. Anyone have any ideas as to what this can be? I am in Queens, NY and dont know anyone who will work on a Saab, most have turned me away, and the Saab dealerships are definitely ripping me off for what they try to charge.
 

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sounds like ur head gasket is toast! Hows the oil and coolant look? is it milky?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have not noticed any milky discoloration to the oil or coolant, looks like the normal color. The oil has a very slow leak, but I have always replaced it every 3k.
 

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i misread i thought u wrote white smoke out the exhaust hence why i said head gasket... its probably not that.. try checking all surrounding hoses for any leaks and just peak around see if you can find anything.
 

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Try some coolant system dye.
Re-torque the cylinder head bolts.
An "economy car you have not.
Remember the old VWs ?
Even a two stroke Saab?
Tempting to have one of these for a daily driver..
Economy...a thing of the past.
Also try the tailpipe sniff test.
Try to sense the coolant(if any) at the pipe after the engine has warmed up and condensation is not a factor.
Anti-freeze has a distinct sweet smell, maybe bittersweet. and its sticky/icky to the touch. The dye....I know nothing about this, but it seems to be a good idea...and should leave a distinctive residule.
 

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Pep Boys sells the dye.
Maybe I have a split personality?
Wulf has been taken.
Never could find a worm avatar, I wonder why???:cheesy:
 

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I recommend using UV dye..then you just go under the hood with a UV light and voila things get interesting....make sure to look at you engine and lines in UV light before applying the dye so you know how it looked before..
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I tried turning the car on today and letting the engine warm up, then I noticed the smell, its the odor Earthworm was describing.

I also looked around the engine as it was running and I found where the liquid is dripping from;
http://vacantbeat.com/images/IMG_0576.JPG

Its definitely the engine coolant, as I let the car run, the coolant was fine. But when I took it around the block and parked again, it was bone dry and my engine was overheating.

I keep my car in a public garage which makes for a lot of these self repairs impossible, I also hate to admit that I really am the least mechanical person around :roll:.
 

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Check your heater core hoses. Mine blew up and caused the coolant to evacuate the engine very fast...

and due to the splatter it made me think it was coming from under the valve cover also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The splatter you where seeing came from me refilling it on a windy day, just splashed everywhere. Ill look in my manual to find the heater core hoses, not sure what those are ;oops:.
 

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From your pictures it looks like the coolant is leaking out the joint where the cylinder head meets the block. This means one of two things: you need a new head gasket or to retorque the head bolts. You said the oil and coolant don't seem to be mixing which leads me to believe the gasket is fine, but not tightened down enough. This is a common problem, for some reason a lot of the cars come from the factory with the headbolts improperly tightened. Gimme 20 minutes and I'll have some pictures and info on how to fix this, you can do it in your parking garage if you have the tools, or take it to a mechanic and it should be a cheap fix
 

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The bolt retorquing procedure can be found here >> http://www.genuinesaab.com/psi/files/headretorque.htm

Here's a good picture of the valve cover bolts
http://photo.platonoff.com/Auto/20060704.Saab_B204_B234_Engine_Assembly/?i=20060704m.Valve_cover.jpg

And I attached a picture of yours with some details that go with the bolt retorquing procedure. If you do attempt this you must follow the torque guidelines in the first link EXACTLY. If you don't feel comfortable doing this print out that first link and bring it to a mechanic who works on saabs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you for getting that all together for me Nick, I am going to bring the car by a mechanic with the the info printed out. Hopefully it is just a small quick fix! I will post with the outcome.
 
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