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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

I have a 1995 900SE Turbo conv. I was on my way to visit my mother and hit some pretty heavy traffic, didn't see a pothole and it gave a pretty good bottoming out. I continued down the road a bit (slowly because of traffic), and noticed a puff of white smoke from the passenger side-hood. I was at an offramp, so I managed to pull over in about 7 seconds or so, and turned off the car as fast as I could. I should also mention my temp gauge is kinda shotty- sometimes it reads normally, and sometimes it doesn't read at all. At this point it was reading about 1/2 way in between 0 and normal. No warning lights went off.

I popped the hood and the white smoke smelled sweet, and it looked like it was on top of the engine. Underneath the car there was a pool of what looked like antifreeze, however, the level in the reservoir was still pretty full. I could see a trail of liquid behind my car. At this point I thought it was just overheating, there were no apparent engine problems.

I got a tow across town to a shop near my house and left it overnight. The next day I came back to check levels again- still plenty of antifreeze. I checked the dip stick looking to see if any coolant leaked into the engine- to my surprise there was no oil at all! At this point I am starting to panic a little.

The pothole had knocked a 2" by 1.5" hole in my oil pan.



Again, no warning lights came on (oil pressure, check engine), but the engine did get hot enough to produce smoke. Where would the antifreeze come from?

I assume I could have a variety of problems, but I was hoping to get some advice on what to do next? The repair shop gave me a quote of $900 for the oil pan replacement. Given the size of the hole, this is probably a good option, but it just seems pretty costly not knowing whether or not the rest of the engine is still intact.

It wasn't covered by my insurance, but I am going to file a claim with VDOT- I just have to have someone drive me out to the spot so I can document it.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
Noah
 

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You mean you aren't supposed to have that hole? I thought that was put there for those extra fast oil changes! :cheesy:
First things first, put your key to the on position in your car and see if the oil light comes on (DO NOT START THE CAR). If the oil light is on, thats a good sign. That means you never lost oil pressure, and therefore should be good to go with a new pan. If it doesn't come on, you have a bad oil pressure switch and all bets may be off. Good news, however, is I've seen these cars started after oil changes where the tech forgot to put oil in it. Car has run for a minutes or two before the tech found out, filled it up, and it was good to go. I think you'll be okay.

As far as the quote, it is too high. I think the total time to do a pan is around 2.5 hours, and a used pan should be around $100. Get a second opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You mean you aren't supposed to have that hole? I thought that was put there for those extra fast oil changes! :cheesy:
First things first, put your key to the on position in your car and see if the oil light comes on (DO NOT START THE CAR). If the oil light is on, thats a good sign. That means you never lost oil pressure, and therefore should be good to go with a new pan. If it doesn't come on, you have a bad oil pressure switch and all bets may be off. Good news, however, is I've seen these cars started after oil changes where the tech forgot to put oil in it. Car has run for a minutes or two before the tech found out, filled it up, and it was good to go. I think you'll be okay.

As far as the quote, it is too high. I think the total time to do a pan is around 2.5 hours, and a used pan should be around $100. Get a second opinion.
Thanks for the quick reply! I will head over to the shop again to check the light. And yeah, the quote seems pretty high to me as well. I found some pans on the web generally running about $150, which would take about $300 of their quote, and save me $150.
I will ask around- I really hope this is an easy fix-- If the engine overheated, there still could be some problems beyond the pan.
 

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FYI - it would be good to have a Saab mechanic who could check a bearing while the pan is off to see if it starved, but any competent mechanic should be able to handle the pan change and the bearing check... though maybe not the interpretation. It's not a specialized job.

Be sure they change the o-ring on the oil pickup tube and the two rings at each end of the oil delivery tube while he's in there. They get old and stiff.
 

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I'm guessing new engine time... pan holes never end well. Just ask any lowered VW 1.8t owner
 

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My concern would be the apparent overheating, I'm thinking the coolant you saw everywhere had been forced out of the expansion tank, that would explain why the level was still high in the tank and it was all over the engine bay but with no apparent leaks. The question is what caused the overheating, if it was a result of increased friction due to lack of oil, serious damage could have been done. If it were me, I would seal the hole with aluminum tape and refill the oil and run it for a minute to see what sounds the engine is making before spending any money on it.
 

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^ That's what I'm thinking - cooked engine
 

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My concern would be the apparent overheating, I'm thinking the coolant you saw everywhere had been forced out of the expansion tank, that would explain why the level was still high in the tank and it was all over the engine bay but with no apparent leaks. The question is what caused the overheating, if it was a result of increased friction due to lack of oil, serious damage could have been done. If it were me, I would seal the hole with aluminum tape and refill the oil and run it for a minute to see what sounds the engine is making before spending any money on it.

Id probably do something like this too. Is that 68k on that engine?? Thatd bring a little tear to my eye if she was shot, that things not even broke in yet. To me 900$ seems way to high to change an oil pan. I was able to to get mine in and out without completely dropping the subframe.
 

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hoses

my son cracked his pan and lost oil causing a quick overheat that popped his upper rad hose and it sprayed all over engine. lucky he shut it down as quick as he did, i put jb weld on the pan, new rad hose, all good. hope you didn't smoke your bearings.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Update

Hey everyone, thanks again for your replies and ideas. Aluminum tape doesn't seem like it would do much to stop the leak. I feel like with the pistons and oil moving around so much the tape wouldn't hold with a hole this big. I decided "the hell with it" - yes the engine is only 68k- I am going to do the repair and hope everything is ok on the inside.

Also, unfortunately, everyone I asked quoted me $600 without the pan. Eesh.
Until the change is complete (By Monday afternoon), I hope I don't get a phone call from the shop with bad news :confused:
 

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I wasn't suggesting using it has a permanent fix, just enough to stem the flow of oil so you could keep some in the pan and run the engine for a minute and check for damage before dropping $600+ into it. The sump isn't under pressure like much of the rest of the lubrication system.
 

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I think you'll be okay. Like I said, I've seen these engines run without oil and all things considered they do much better than other engines. B204's don't need no stinkin' oil!
 

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Tom .. I hope for the owners sake you are correct , but I don't share your optimism ...

After gouging the hole... *he continued on down the road A bit in heavy traffic * ... to me suggesting some significant elapsed time ....

The whiff he saw and then shut down was from Overheating ..For his engine to get that hot that quickly there has been oil starvation . I feel for him , but it is what it is .

If he is already locked into replacing the pan ... At least ask the mechanic that a bearing shell be removed and inspected . A good workshop would suggest this anyway with all things considered . a good mechanic would be curious of this by his very nature . If at least they do this then there is still the potential to save further labor dollars and Oil on what could ultimately be a sea anchor . instruct the shop to stop once damage is found then evaluate next steps .
To my thinking a temp sump repair to at least test the sound of the engine was a clever suggestion . and it could be suggested to the shop .. before spending dollars on removal refit of a sump .

Saabs engines are tough , sure , and they may well survive a mechanic? not putting oil in .. and for sure still being good to go.... .... Heh ... the owner will never know ..! :cheesy:..

Lets not fool ourselves tho that such actions are not detrimental in some way to the longevity ...if even in a small way .
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Update!

Hey guys,

Some interesting things happened. :cheesy:

So, I gave the go-ahead to the mechanic to order the pan and make the change. The pan came in, and I got a call- they wanted to let me know that they would have to cut the frame then re-weld it after the change. This struck me as complete BS, I asked why they would need to do that, and the guy replied it is because it is a foreign car and they don't have the right tools. As far as I understand, there isn't really any specialty tool needed for this job. I told him I would call him back but not to do the work.

I did some calling around and found this place locally http://www.barrysperformanceimports.org/
The guy that answered the phone, told me they were indeed trying to cut corners and offered a tow service to come get the car, which I said hell yes to.

Today, within 15 minutes of looking at the car, Barry determined that:
1) The car engine still runs great (He did exactly what Jakejm79 suggested, temp fixed the hole, filled it with oil, and started it!)
2) There was indeed a coolant hose knocked loose, but they need to do a pressure test to see if there are any other locations
3) The car never ran out of oil on the highway! The gauge works fine in the shop still, and the light never came on. He thinks the car lost oil during the original tow- and he said it was not that uncommon for Saabs to get holes in their oil pan from a bad tow. This makes sense because I didn't see oil under the car, just antifreeze. And under my car after the tow there was oil.

Definitely on the right track and things are looking up :)

I'll update again when I hear back from Barry's

Noah ;ol;
 

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Whoa Whoa Whoa, an actual automotive shop wanted to CUT your subframe to install an oilpan?!?! That is a first I've EVER heard. Happy to hear you've found your way to a real shop that knows how to work on Saabs. One of the main reasons Saab got a bad name was due to mechanics not being able to work on them, but a NG900's is about as straight forward as a Saab gets. Shame on them.

And, as I had projected, you're motor is fine. Oil? Saab engines don't need oil...
 

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"and the guy replied it is because it is a foreign car and they don't have the right tools."

I guess a socket wrench is hard to come by.
 
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