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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi everyone so i just bought my 96 900se 2.0 turbo 5speeed. has 176k miles but otherwise in great condition, runs and idles so smooth, and in overall good condition with good power and nice shifting. 2 days after i bought the car i noticed smoking while idling. its white smoke and im 99.99% postive its oil. it smells like oil. please no one say allll blue/white is coolant because that is just absolutely untrue. im 99.999% positive its oil. i have read a lot of things and i think ive narrowed it down to valve stem seals. here are my symptoms

on cold startup there is no smoke. none at all

when i just get to a stop and just begin idling there is nooo smoke

but after about 10 seconds of idling it starts smoking pretty bad

then after i get on the gas the smoke really starts and i feel bad for the people behind me. but after about 10 15 seconds on the gas the smoking stops and will not start again until i start idling for a little
so im really thinking valve stem seals. please any input is appreciated. thankyou
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
the person i bought it off said that he got a rebuilt turbo put on last year. i do not think its a leaking turbo because my power is good and the turbo is building boost exactly how it should (i know this doesnt rule out turbo failure, however) . i also dont think its the turbo because its not a constant stream of smoke. it goes away when on the gas for 15 seconds. i havent had it long enough to notice antifreeze lose but it smells good and looks green. so hopefully not head gasket.
 

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Isn't the classic issue of valve stem seals a huge cloud when you start it up after it has been sitting, that quickly dissipates and then you have essentially no smoke when it is running?

Maybe turbo seals?
 

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Sounds very like turbo seals to me. In fact it sounds classic symptoms and I'd lay money on it. Don't think it's valve stem seals. The mileage isn't that high. Only problem is you say it's white smoke which is normally water, but you would know about that if you were loosing it. Time for a turbo rebuild or exchange. You can test for radial play on the turbo by removing inlet hose and pipe and test for play on the inlet fan. If you can feel play of at least 1mm it's likely the seals have gone.

PS If this is the original turbo it's well past it's sell by date at 176K.

PPS BTW You are in the wrong forum. This is for classic 900 before 93/94.
 

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Also suggest the turbo, despite what the prev owner said. Mine did this pretty much the same and then switched to full smoke screen. The turbo was bad. Mine was also white-ish smoke, i think the oil was vaporizing in the exhaust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
wow thankyou all so much i wasnt expecting all of these replies already. i appreciate it. i was just reading up on a section of the valve stem seals and it was saying that it smokes durin idle because the oil builds up in the head and then clears out when youre on the gas. but if you guys say turbo then id say that is a lot better news. any reason to why it all builds up when im idling then sort of goes away when im cruising?

ill start calling around for rebuilt turbos tomorrow. is a turbo replacement pretty easy? i feel like i could do it myself but the previous owner said when he got the current rebuilt turbo put on the car he paid like 400 with installation so..

again thanks so much for all the quick replies
 

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wow thankyou all so much i wasnt expecting all of these replies already. i appreciate it. i was just reading up on a section of the valve stem seals and it was saying that it smokes durin idle because the oil builds up in the head and then clears out when youre on the gas.
well no, it can't build up in the head when the engine is running!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh ok. Well The turbo will be a lot easier and cheaper than what I was thinking it might be. Just curious what would be the reason that it starts smoking like 10 seconds after I start idling? Is it because the turbo is spinning slower and that has something to do with the oil leaking into the turbo?

Next question is can I check the turbo hypothesis by just taking the intake off the throttle body And seeing if there is oil in there?! Because that would be a simple answer to my question

another thing I read is the turbo oil lines could be leaking? And it could be like a $20 fix? Most likely need a whole new turbo but that's ok

also, is it just a myth or does a bad turbo really lead to a blown head gasket?

Thanks everyone for your help. This is a great forum
 

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I think the smoke comes from the exhaust side of the turbo. Oil will leak out into the compressor side as well, but it's got a long way to go before it gets to the throttle body. It will condense in the IC and on the walls of all the piping.

The reason it takes a few seconds to start smoking is that it takes a little while for the turbo to get hot enough to make smoke. While idling, oil is building up in the turbo, when you put the gas to it, it really gets the smoke going until it burns off what built up, then it will taper off some.

There are a bunch of threads on re-sealing/re-bushing(ing) a turbo. It is a DIY if you have the specified tools. There are even some vids on YouTube. You can also find a decent turbo at a wrecking yard from time to time, but that is a crap shoot at best... Removing and replacing the turbo itself is fairly straightforward. You might want to get new gaskets in case yours are toast.

EDIT: I don't see a direct correlation to head gasket failure because of departing seals in the turbo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Saabcrazee thank you so much.

I'm gonna search and try to find a write up on the uninstallation/reinstallation. If anyone had a good link for me that'd be great.

Only one question, when you say "it's a crap shoot" you mean because a turbo that I find in a junk yard is a risk because it could just go bad at any time, or are you saying that it will be hard to find the right one?

And I have a Garrett t25 I believe correct ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Also I was wondering what cars came with my turbo? Is it somehing like 94-99? Did the 9 3 or 9000 come with the same one? I kno that a lot of turbos will do the job but I want the exact one. So if you guys could just let me know what other cars came with my exact turbo and exactly what turbo it is (including part number would be very very appreciated)

Thanks again everyone
 

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A crap shoot because at least in my area there are very few Saabs in junkyards, so finding one with a good turbo might be tough. Try Goldwing Saab, I did a search and they have 15 turbos or so of various model years. I'm not sure what their policy would be on a guarantee..

http://www.goldwingsaab.com/

I would however pull the downpipe and check for play on the exhaust side of the turbo, and also for the presence of oil, before you start buying parts. Mine had probably an 1/8" of play in it when it started dumping smoke.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
ok gotcha guys thanks a lot. ill do that tomorrow and let you guys know what i find. my last question for now is, is it ok to drive the car? if its not on the intake side and its just on the exhaust side then its not going into the engine or affecting it, its just going right out the tailpipe right? i guess thats why i havent had any performance issues at all
 

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I dont see why not for limited distances. Keep an eye on the oil level. It may foul the cat though if you drive it too much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I dont see why not for limited distances. Keep an eye on the oil level. It may foul the cat though if you drive it too much.

thanks a lot. thats exactly what i was thinking, just the cat. thanks a lot everyone ill keep you updated
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If anyone has a write up that'd be great. I can't find sh*t on the turbo removal and installation looks pretty straight forward just disconnect everything and put it back but I'd like some inductions . Thanks a loT
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
http://65.55.85.199/att/GetAttachme...4a3600d6fed8d3ef72deb3ec727b2cdf55&oneredir=1

Ok so I hope that picture works. Let me know if it does. I didn't pull the downpope because I saw all this oil/residue on the intake side of the turbo. That black stuff around towards the bottom of the pipe youre seeing is all built up oil on the air inlet of the turbo. The only place that I can think it could possiblly be coming from is the oil line. It comes close to that area. It's not fresh oil it's more like built up soot. Let me know what you guys think? Could it just be the oil lines causin this? Thanks a lot
 
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