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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The car in my profile had a major problem today. Right after fueling, I drove for a while, and going about 50mph all the dash lights came on indicating the car was off. I found that I lost power stearing, so I coasted to a stop sign. It should be noted this happened with the clutch in so the engine was supposed to be idling. I restart the car, and drive along, I get over a hill and put in the clutch to coast down it to the next stop, and it does the same thing. So I roll start it going about 15mph in second gear. Go to the next stop light, dies. Turn car all the way off, and then back on. Continue driving, I notice that it seems a little sluggish, that I have to use more clutch and gas to get it to start.

When I get to my destination, I get out and look under the hood, things are hot that are supposed to be, but I notice that the fan isn't going, which it is when I usually stop the car. Go back inside and turn the car to the on position which normall turns back on the timed fan, nothing. So I go back under the hood, give the fan a twirl, then like a second later the fan starts up and stops 30 seconds or so later.

When it first happened I thought either I got some bad fuel (the nosel was sorta broken and I had to push it so it wouldn't spray gas), or maybe my alternator suddenly died. (though it was recently checked by Saab and they didn't say it needed replaced, they just wrote down its voltage and its output current) Now I'm suspecting something having to do with idle or that fan.

Please help me.
 

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When it first happened I thought either I got some bad fuel (the nosel was sorta broken and I had to push it so it wouldn't spray gas), or maybe my alternator suddenly died. (though it was recently checked by Saab and they didn't say it needed replaced, they just wrote down its voltage and its output current) Now I'm suspecting something having to do with idle or that fan.

nosel ??

sorta broken ?

Alternator brushes wear slowly but surely, they last from 75 to 150K miles..
When the directionals function slowly - that is one sign of low voltage(less than the necessary 12 volts)..
I like the concept of semi-annual engine tune ups- this includes the servicing of everything, including the battery/charging system,etc..
 

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I would start the car in neutral, with the hood open, and watch the fan. It should cycle on and off, as needed to cool the radiator. You can turn the AC on for good measure to make sure the fan WILL cycle.

If the fan did not work at idle at all, the engine would overheat, and the temp gauge would show something above the normal 9-o'clock position. 30 seconds or so is about right for an ON cycle when stopped.

The alternator and battery can be tested for free at an Autozone or other part stores. If the alternator is becoming intermittent due to worn brushes, the warning light may not light up right away, but the voltage and/or current will test low. You can compare the test results to what the Saab mechanic wrote on your work order.

Corroded cables and poor ground connections are another possibility, but so are larger items like a DI cassette or fuel pump going bad.
 

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The DI cassette is the big red thing on top of the valve cover on the engine. It fires the spark plugs (no distributor or spark plug wires in your car) and contains all sorts of vital electronics. Your car will be completely disabled if it goes out. How many miles do you have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have 96k on it. But remember, I personally have only driven about 300 on it. This came out of the blue, I've had some little electrical gremlins, but nothing like this before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well I just started it and let it run for a little while in neutral. After a few min it quieted down, then all the sudden.. It started reving up then down then up then down. Generally sounding like it was having a hard time keeping the engine at the same idle speed. The fan does come on and off though. Though I had to have the AC on to make it do so, that might just be because it wasn't on long enough to heat up.
 

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Hopefully you have some all-important repair history with this car, but I believe you have battery/charging system trouble.

The battery is a common service item - every 3 to 5 years - for all cars...About once a year to clean the terminals and connections..
12.6 is the minimum voltage; mine is at 13.2
11 during start up
14 - 14.5 at an idle
I'd say all of the newer cars are about the same...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't even have a user manual (if someone can find one online or copy theirs I'd be very grateful for the help especially ACC and SID). The battery was tested during my pre-buy inspection at a saab dealership. They didn't say the battery was in trouble, nor did they say the alternator was in trouble. Do I need to take it to a mechanic, and if so does anyone know of a good one in the North Seattle/Lynnwood area?

Could it be the idle speed actuator or anything like that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Would it help to change the oil? Please let it be the oil. ;)

The only thing saab told me that needed work was a motor mount, but I fail to see how that could be my problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm leaning towards bad gas, so tomorrow I'm gonna go and get some octane boost, and some of that lame fuel injector cleaner stuff. Change the oil. Drive it around for a while to work some gas through it, and see how she runs after that.

If it is the DI cassette (if I want to replace the spark plugs, is this what I need to get) then I better order one, there are a few on ebay right now. Would it be good preventative maintenance to just get one now, how hard are they to install?
 

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i had a problem a while ago with a similar symptom as you (that is the engine revving itself), except that would be a sign that it was about to stall. i replaced my spark plugs and DI cassette only to find out that it was the gas tank pressure valve (i can't remember the real name right now). but at least now i have an extra DI for when my new one fails...


PS: always happened after filling the tank.

i think the name of the part was the tank evap valve or something. i'll try to find a link to the part
 

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jared_kipe said:
Well I just started it and let it run for a little while in neutral. After a few min it quieted down, then all the sudden.. It started reving up then down then up then down. Generally sounding like it was having a hard time keeping the engine at the same idle speed. The fan does come on and off though. Though I had to have the AC on to make it do so, that might just be because it wasn't on long enough to heat up.
After looking at the electrical system as earthworm suggested, there are a few other things that can cause uneven idle issues:

IAC valve: This is how air gets into the engine at idle, when you are not pushing on the gas pedal and the throttle plate is closed. It can get gummed up with dirt, and may need cleaning - you can do this yourself with some carb cleaner and few tools.

Throttle position sensor: If the sensor has failed, is unplugged, or a wire broke, the rmp will fluctuate, up and down every few seconds.

The basics: spark plugs, injector cleaner, vacuum hose inspection, PCV valve and PCV lines etc.

The cars need a bit of maintenance at 100k miles, but aside from this, I hope you enjoy it...:D
 

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found it: part # 4442471 "900 96-98 Fuel Tank Vent Valve 4 cylinder" $64.00

http://www.thesaabsite.com/900new/NG900emissions.htm

it's located on the passenger side of the engine bay, on the side of the strut tower below the sway bar.

edit: i would also clean the IAC just for good measure. costs about $1.50 and 10 minutes of your time

edit #2: looking closer at your symptoms it sounds more and more like my problem. i'd fill up, and start driving and the engine would misfire, but i could keep the car moving by keeping it in gear and flooring it. if i put the clutch in at any time it would stall unless i kept the rpm's up manually (by pressing on the gas). it would eventually clear itself up until the next tank of gas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, you've given me some serious hope, and thats the best thing I can have right now. How many miles about does it take for it to quit acting like this, I'll take care of it, but its stuck right now, and the car I have at the moment is a loner.
 

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From what you have said, here's what I'd do.

  1. Check that the IAC needs does not attention. Give it a clean, although I would note expect this to be the culprit.
  2. You say that the engine went off after fuelling, whilst travelling at 50 mph. I would suspect an electrical fault. Check the brushes and black box on the alternator, and check all earthing points. Check the battery and leads for cleanliness. Simply tightening connections will not do.
  3. There maybe the possiblity that debris or sludge was disturbed in the fuel tank. Check fuel lines for blockages, and fuel filter, too. If this is a case of bad fuel, a tablespoon of white fluid in the fuel tank is recommended. This will rid of moisture.
HTH
 

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HTH, what is white fluid? Is it like dry gas?

Here is a link to a step by step set of instructions for cleaning the IAC. For lame injector/fuel system cleaners I like to go with Chevron's Techron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I forgot to mention it died while I was coasting down a hill at 50mph with the clutch in. Maybe the missing piece of the puzzle. It's only died when the clutch is in for coasting to stops, or down a hill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
How can you have dry gas? That shouldn't be possible, any of the gas or liquid HxCx molecules should never exist as a solid at room temperature except maybe near vacuum.

Anyway, I really don't do cars that well, so I'll follow instructions (if they're around for these things) but I really can't just check my fuel line or vacuum hoses.

Oh and how would I know if I got the gas that needs this white stuff you speak of?
 
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