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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read many many threads regarding head gasket issues, and I still can't tell whether my issue is a head gasket.

So here is the story. I was parked at DFW and get into my car (after it sat there for 5 days) and attempted to start it. It hesitated and gave up after being started for 2 seconds. I tried again and it did start, but it was very rough and stayed around 2000 rpms. I got out of the car and noticed a little white smoke coming out of the exhaust and could smell the fantastic sweetness of coolant burning. After about 30 seconds, everything died down and all was good. I drove the 110 miles down to Waco without problems, and performance was good, and I parked it at the house. Two days later I started it and it did not start the first time and was kind of a hard slam when attempted. I tried starting again and it repeated what it did in DFW. Quite a bit of white smoke, high rpms and unsteady idle for about 45 seconds and was good again. I stopped it and rolled it into the garage and started tearing things apart and looking things up here.

After looking at my oil and seeing a very obvious red tint, I knew the coolant was getting into the oil. I checked the coolant and I have no oil in the coolant and have only had a small loss of coolant over the past few months. I drained the coolant and the oil and the coolant looked very normal and the oil had no milky look to it whatsoever.

So my question is whether this is a gasket issue, or is it a head bolt retorque issue. I did retorque the head bolts around January due to coolant loss (radiator was cracked and has been replaced) and everything felt fairly tight. I'm assuming I can't retorque the head bolts again and was thinking maybe I should try replacing the head bolts with the new style and see if that fixes my problem.

On a side note, I did pull the plugs and noticed 1 and 4 have a cleaner tip than 2 and 3 (which look normal), but the pistons do not show any signs of steam clean (still lots of carbon deposits).

Any suggestions? Should I go ahead and replace the head bolts or should I purchase the gasket and do everything while I have it cracked open?

I have attached pics so you can see the condition of everything. Also, my car is a 2001 Aero with Auto.






 

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You can do a compression check to make sure.
If you already re-torqued the bolts I dont think doing it again will help.
From my experience cylinder 4 get the least cooling and fails the most.
Yes most likely head gasket... possible turbo? since both oil and coolant also flow thru.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A friend of mine (the one who has been driving me to work everyday...;oops:) has a compression tester, so I will be doing a compression test later this evening.

Can this have something to do with the turbo? I read that the TD04 in the Aero rarely has issues, and since my car only has 135k miles, I figured I was in the clear.
 

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More likely the head and or gasket
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow I feel stupid. I was continuing to tear things apart and I got to the oil filler tube and noticed the oil dip stick was still in the tube. I thought to myself, "didn't I remove this already and noticed coolant on the dip stick?", and that is when it hit me. I removed the transmission dip stick and somehow convinced myself that it was the oil dip stick. So the red color in the first picture is correct and should match the color of the transmission fluid.....;oops:

So as of right now, I have no coolant in the oil and I have no oil in the coolant.

Anyways, I continued to remove things (I don't get a lot done in the evenings due to wife being in school and me having to cook) and pulled the intake tube, throttle body, and cobra pipe off. I had a look at each and noticed a few things. There is 0 movement in the turbo besides for the rotational movement it should have. The turbo is clean on the intake side and the fins look very good. I have attached a picture. I also noticed there was a little oil residue in the intake pipe going to the throttle body. It is not enough to drip out or anything, but my rag had some black residue when I wiped the inside. I figured this is because I have a lot of black residue buildup on the cobra pipe which I'm assuming comes from the banjo bolt. Am I thinking correctly on this? Also, the throttle body has some buildup and black residue. The good thing is that I removed these items and the O ring on the bottom of the throttle body is completely flat (I have a new one), and the O ring from the intake tube to the throttle body was broken and had over a half inch of no ring for air to leak through.

blurry...




So now to some questions.

Before I order all of my parts this morning, does everyone (anyone besides for srmoose, no offense srmoose, just hoping for more opinions) still think this is the head gasket?
Can the turbo ever be the cause of coolant smoke out of the exhaust?
I removed the chain tensioner and measured it to be half an inch or a little over 12mm, should I roll in a new chain since I have it apart, or should I wait until the 15mm like the WIS says? (for reference, I drive my car around 3k miles a year, so it might take a while)
Does anyone have a parts list for everything I should replace when replacing the head gasket?
When I replace the head gasket, I plan to send the head to a shop here that will check it and mill it if necessary. Do I need to remove the cam shafts and/or the lifters or anything?

I realize that is a lot of questions, but I just am trying to figure things out as I go. Thanks in advance.
 

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No offense taken.:lol:
Ive done the head and turbo many times. (different Saabs)
 

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jmxcox44- Just curious how all of this worked-out for you? I have exactly the same problem. Coolant escaping, with no visible leaks anywhere...so I'm assuming it is going down into the cylinders. No oil in coolant or vise verca. Car is misfiring (get 4 different codes), which could be attributed to a cracked head of blown HG and maybe other things. But I'm contemplating to first re-torque the head bolts to see if that stops the leak and then remove the head to have the head checked if it does not. I was just curious what happened in your case. Thanks!
 

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Coolant escaping with no visible drips is generally the heater bypass valve (mine is out right now, I'm waiting on the delivery)

It's mounted to the firewall just below the throttle body. look in there with a flashlight and see if there is any coolant on it.

The reason you don't see anything is that it drips directly onto the hot down pipe and burns/evaporates before it hits the ground. You just have a mysterious coolant leak.

But the OP had other issues, with coolant coming out of the exhaust so he has a different issue.
 

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Ok, I will check the heater bypass valve - although i don't remember ever seeing such valve before in that area! A valve that I am aware of is the one further to the right of what your're pointing to. Sort of underneath the main electrical connector that is on the firewall on the drivers side, there is a bypass valve (with a diaphram in it). That broke on me once, is this what you're talking about or is it different. Also, I did not drive the car - I pressure testeded it and it was not dripping. So should it not drip down to the floor eventually if something is leaking (you said it drips onto the hot down pipe and evaporates but my engine was cold....)?
 
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