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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi friends, need your help.

My 2007 Saab with just over 200,000 miles on it got a leak somewhere, which ran out the coolant and overheated the car while I was out of town driving on the highway.馃槪

I popped the hood and saw steam rising from left side toward the back (facing the car), and saw the coolant was almost gone!

Fast forward two weeks later. A good friend who fixes almost everything on his own BMW saw two swollen hoses - one toward the the front left around the filter area and another was 1 of two heating hoses (minus the metal shields) to protect it from the engine's heat, but the new one that replaced it has the metal covering.

Each time he thought he'd fixed it by replacing the hoses and testing the car under pressure (I think "under pressure" means revving up the engine?) to make sure coolant no longer leaked anywhere... the problem appeared resolved....

Coolant remained in the tank at that halfway mark and nothing dripped or leaked... until the car sat for a few hours. I'd reverse the car and immediately the sensor light "low coolant" message would display, and when I'd pop the hood, the coolant tank would be almost empty and I'd see it on the floor. This happened several times.

Finally got it towed back to my place in Ft. Lauderdale (thank God for AAA membership). What do you think is wrong here?

Also, can anyone recommend some trustworthy indy Saab mechanics (Fort Lauderdale) who won't rip me off? OR is there a DYI fix that a non-Saab expert like myself can do? Also, please use layman terms when explaining any how-to's. I'm just a girl with a Saab (story)馃檲... I'm no car aficionado.馃槵

Meantime, I've spotted where it's dripping under the car and took a short video but unsure what file formats are accepted on this site for the upload. Anyone know?

Last thing, I just had my belt replaced last week, got spark plugs changed out (NPK), had several coolant flushes during each hose replacement, and I have a new thermostat. And my mitsubishi coils got checked and are still firing good.

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

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The only ways to pressurize the system is either to let it warm up fully until the thermostat opens and the upper rad hose gets hot, or using a pressure tester kit. Revving a cold engine won't accomplish this.

Look carefully at the reservoir tank. It is known to crack and leak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you! And I think the engine was quite hot when I revved it up for my friend... the engine had been running for close to an hour.

Hmm... my friend checked it and even had to replace the cap with a new one because it broke when he removed the tank... But now that I'm back home, I'll take a look.鈽

Do you think a novice could do the pressure check? Maybe I could rent a kit?
 

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It depends on the order. After filling with coolant, you need to let the engine run. When the thermostat opens, the coolant level will typically drop a lot, as the flow flushes out various air pockets. You are running with the reservoir cap off at this point.

Once the coolant has dropped, add coolant up to the half-way mark on the tank, shut off the engine and let it cool completely. Adjust the coolant level again when the engine is cold.

NOW you can put the cap on, and fully warm up the engine. The coolant system should pressurize at this point, because it has the proper amount of coolant in it, and no air pockets.
 

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And to add, when I got "Fill coolant" on my 2004, even though the reservoir looked good, one of the small hose connections up top was bad and coolant was happily leaking out there. Replacing the reservoir fixed the problem.

While you are in there, you might want to replace the T fitting that you can find by the right (passenger) side of the engine, after the black "SAAB Turbo" cover is removed. That T can fracture, and then you lose all the coolant in a hurry.
 

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The water pump is located on the passenger side, low and towards the back of the engine, and is mounted within the timing cover and driven by the timing chain (unlike other Saabs where the pump is external and visible). Also, there is a 1-1/2" coolant tube that runs horizontally along the back of the engine between the water pump and thermostat housing. The tube has large o-rings on each end that can leak. They are a pain to replace.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thank you for spelling this out so super clearly! So is this instruction to fix the leak? Are you saying that by replenishing the reservoir tank this way (by cooling, then heating up the engine), that any leaks will seal up?

Also, how can I tell when the thermostat opens? I'm also unsure of where it is or what it what it looks like.馃ゴ

And via the methodology you laid out, would I no longer need a pressure kit?

Thanks for taking time to help me, EdT.鈽

It depends on the order. After filling with coolant, you need to let the engine run. When the thermostat opens, the coolant level will typically drop a lot, as the flow flushes out various air pockets. You are running with the reservoir cap off at this point.

Once the coolant has dropped, add coolant up to the half-way mark on the tank, shut off the engine and let it cool completely. Adjust the coolant level again when the engine is cold.

NOW you can put the cap on, and fully warm up the engine. The coolant system should pressurize at this point, because it has the proper amount of coolant in it, and no air pockets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thank you, Steve12955. There's no room toward the back of the engine?馃槦 This now sounds daunting, but I appreciate the info.鈽


The water pump is located on the passenger side, low and towards the back of the engine, and is mounted within the timing cover and driven by the timing chain (unlike other Saabs where the pump is external and visible). Also, there is a 1-1/2" coolant tube that runs horizontally along the back of the engine between the water pump and thermostat housing. The tube has large o-rings on each end that can leak. They are a pain to replace.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
OK, I can try to do this too. Do you or anybody in this thread have a pic of what this T-fitting looks like? I feel like I almost need a video clip to see where someone is accessing it from inside the engine.

Thanks EdT!

And to add, when I got "Fill coolant" on my 2004, even though the reservoir looked good, one of the small hose connections up top was bad and coolant was happily leaking out there. Replacing the reservoir fixed the problem.

While you are in there, you might want to replace the T fitting that you can find by the right (passenger) side of the engine, after the black "SAAB Turbo" cover is removed. That T can fracture, and then you lose all the coolant in a hurry.
 

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...get a pressure testing kit & start with that. Your plan is one of combined ADHD & Schizophrenia. Do the pressure test, leave the system pressurized for at least 30 - 60 minutes if it doesn't leak right away & figure out where you should be concentrating your efforts. If you don't know when the t-stat opens, etc you likely don't have the knowledge required to troubleshoot with a parts gun & not a parts cannon so DEFINITELY start with the most basic diagnostic step.

FWIW a pressure tester kit doesn't test the radiator cap (somewhat obvious but still should be said) & there are certain slow leaks that only show when the system is at operating temp due to heat expansion of components/seals. You probably don't have to worry about this if you hav a visible leak with the car running. Make sure your system is actually full, I.E. still has coolant in the reservoir when fully pressurized while testing. "New t-stat" always makes me think that's the site of the leak until proven otherwise...YMMV
 

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Usually, the cooling system needs to be pressurized to find the leak. (Unless a hose or something has burst, then it's obvious.) When the system is pressurized, the hoses will feel firm and you won't be able to squeeze them. Since you don't know where it's leaking, you need to pressurize the system.

If you can't get the system to pressurize, then there is definitely a largish leak.

It is indeed safer and easier with a pressure tester, as you can pressurize the system while it's cold.

The leak could be a crack in the overflow tank, a bad hose, a bad hose clamp, the radiator, the heater core....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Bob, love how you described how my plan should be ... "one of combined ADHD & Schizophrenia"馃槅. Thanks for the user-friendly instruction! This weekend, I'll get out and rent a pressure testing kit.
...get a pressure testing kit & start with that. Your plan is one of combined ADHD & Schizophrenia. Do the pressure test, leave the system pressurized for at least 30 - 60 minutes if it doesn't leak right away & figure out where you should be concentrating your efforts. If you don't know when the t-stat opens, etc you likely don't have the knowledge required to troubleshoot with a parts gun & not a parts cannon so DEFINITELY start with the most basic diagnostic step. FWIW a pressure tester kit doesn't test the radiator cap (somewhat obvious but still should be said) & there are certain slow leaks that only show when the system is at operating temp due to heat expansion of components/seals. You probably don't have to worry about this if you hav a visible leak with the car running. Make sure your system is actually full, I.E. still has coolant in the reservoir when fully pressurized while testing. "New t-stat" always makes me think that's the site of the leak until proven otherwise...YMMV
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
OK, I really feel like I can do a good pressure test with this instruction. Just gotta wait for Hurricane Ian to get lost and then I can get to work on this car!

Thanks, EdT.鈽
Usually, the cooling system needs to be pressurized to find the leak. (Unless a hose or something has burst, then it's obvious.) When the system is pressurized, the hoses will feel firm and you won't be able to squeeze them. Since you don't know where it's leaking, you need to pressurize the system.

If you can't get the system to pressurize, then there is definitely a largish leak.

It is indeed safer and easier with a pressure tester, as you can pressurize the system while it's cold.

The leak could be a crack in the overflow tank, a bad hose, a bad hose clamp, the radiator, the heater core....
 

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Place a large piece of cardboard under the car the night before doing the pressure test. Take note of any water that drops on the cardboard to give you an approximate location of where the leak is. Since you said that the steam came from the back left of the engine bay, I suspect you might have a leaking water pump which would need to be replaced. Do the pressure test and see what comes of it. I took the liberty of searching for a Saab club in Fort Lauderdale, but there isn't any. They might have steered you to a good mechanic. Next I did a prelim search on Yelp for a mechanic. Here is what came up: https://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=mechanics&find_loc=Fort+Lauderdale,+FL just in case.
 

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Another thought - Autozone loans tools, including pressure testers. You leave a deposit and get it back when you return the tool, so it's free to use. Might wanna call your local AZ to see if they have a PT to loan.
 
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