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Definitely head gasket - all the usual symptoms but if pressurizing a cylinder blows air into the coolant system, it's head gasket. Or a severe failure like a cracked block, but that is beyond unlikely. Never happens. Pull the head, get it checked by a machine shop, put it back. :)
 

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I did a head gasket on my 99 9-3 last year and kept some notes...PM me with an email address and I can send the document to you. Notes, tips, tricks, etc.
 

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Personally, I'd still warm it up if it can run safely and do a compression test. If you have cylinder damage, you want to know. Unfortunately, if the headgasket is bad into a cylinder - and it sounds like yours probably is - that one (or two) cylinder will test bad. But, at least you know the other do or don't have good compression. Do the test wet/dry and that will tell you how good the rings are or bad the valves are.

You don't want to pull the head, look at the cylinders and say "that looks a little worn" but not know if you should be doing a full rebuild / replacing the motor or should steam ahead with just a headgasket.

Note: I'm far from an engine guru, so if others advise differently, they might be more right than me.
 

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Bob
Way too technical. Rent a weasel and put a small USB camera on it's head. He'll know the answer right quick. I think the local NAPA is using the weasel pilot program to hopefully roll it out by the end of June. They are all vaccinated and they give you a small taser in case it gets out of control. It looks like a win-win to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Hi bob sabbit, not sure if you understood, but I did run it for about 15 mins today to warm it up and and do compression tests
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Oh, I missed that. What kind of numbers did you get hot? Did you do wet/dry?
I did dry only. 135-140lbs. 170 on the wet cylinder. Honestly I'm not sure if this HF gauge is right or not. That seems low to me, but it's similar to what I've gotten on my 2002 9_3 so maybe the gauge is off.
 

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I like that Bob. Unfortunately for the OP that little rascal appears to be well versed on the fuel system. He does not seem to understand the cooling system (can't get the cap off, drinks spilled a-freeze).

Hey, and I know you've heard this one. Put a thousand monkeys with a thousand tools plus the Ford parts bin in a room together and you get: The PINTO!
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Pulled the head today. The pistons look fine. I'll take it to a local machine shop tomorrow.

Couple more questions: the head gasket didn't look obviously blown anywhere, though a couple of head bolts in the front had a some weird dried crud down in the threads which the others didn't have. Seems like maybe that was from coolant getting to them? Some of the bolts had some oil in them others had none. is that normal?

the other thing is: I see all the passageways in the engine for the coolant and oil to move between the block and head , but on the new head head gasket some of those holes are not perforated, even though the traces are there for them. Most of them only have little 1/4" holes drilled within those areas. The head gasket which was on the car had even less of these passageways open than this new one. Is that correct or should each of them have an opening? I'm wondering if this is in some way a universal or multi application SAAB engine headgasket that needs to be fitted to the engine?
 

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Discussion Starter #34
thx. and a correction on my last post, on closer inspection the new head gasket has the same small holes in the same spots.
 

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It's normal for some of the head bolts to be oil coated and others not. I think it's the two in the front that come out oil soaked. Can't comment on the crud, but if the gasket was leaking, perhaps it polluted them.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
One other thing: I guess I didn't expect to see soot like this in the intake. Normal, or pointing to something else going on?
271854
 

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Looks like a lot going on there - all that carbon buildup in the intake runners are well as corrosion in the cooling system. How many miles are on motor? How is the PCV system? Grommets, hoses, check valve, etc?

Be careful when cleaning that stuff up - you don't want to drop gritty bits into the cooling system or the sump.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
235k-ish I've replaced all those PCV parts in the past, so they are relatively up to date. I was planning to redo the vacuum hoses and check valve now as well.

Yeah, I can see cleaning will be fun..not! Do you cover it and just do small areas at a time? Got any tips/preferred methods?
 

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Use aluminum foil to cover passages/things...it's cheap, quick, and easy. Al foil works great as a masking when spray painting, too.
 

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A+ to foil. In a pinch a piece of heavy cardboard bolted to the deck works too.

For cleaning the deck itself, I usually stuff pieces of paper shop towel into the passages, go over it with a sharp razor and use a shop vac to clean up the mess, including sucking the paper tower of the passages.
 
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