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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After taking the advice of some people on here, I began replacing my timing chain in a 15F windchilll. That was mistake number one.
Mistake number two, one of the plastic straps that I used to connect the old chain broke right at the crankshaft sprocket. The chain fell clear out of the sprocket.
Has anybody been able to recover the chain from above or should I just begin dismatling my engine and timing cover? Also, if the timing cover has to be removed, what is the procedure?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I will immediately write to 900t.

Can't believe how much trouble I am having with my cars... I am about to purchase another car, a SPG which will need its clutches replaced. I gotta do the chain tomorrow otherwise I'm in very deep guano.;oops:

But I have to admit- your camshaft removal method worked like a charm...All I had to do is just loosen the bolts until all the valves are closed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
All the valves are closed, yes. I can see the sprocket, too.

There is no chain in the engine right now. I repeat, no chain. I work at a whole metal shop with a lot of tools, so maybe I'll be able to create something similar.
Maybe my 2 years of working as a blacksmith will come in handy now....

OK, lets say that I manage to get the chain through. Lets say I join the two ends together. Then how do I distribute the slack properly? I found a good way to lock the flywheel tightly. The thing is, I removed the plastic clutch cover and I can see something that resembles a mark on the metal bellhousing at the 12 o clock position. I am assuming that this is where I have to align the "0" mark.
I will take pictures tomorrow so we can put this in the FAQ as I think right now I am battling a near-worst case timing chain replacement scenario.

I used those plastic zipties and it decided to break....spawn of satan!
Don't ever use these for this job!!!!!!!!:evil:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I will be attempting this tomorrow. I still can't believe this has happened.
This Coloradian weather is very inappropriate for working on your saab under a tree.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, naturally I encountered a snag.

I was able to recover the chain after multiple mistakes and I timed it according to the bellhousing mark. Well, now the car will start to fire and everything, but it is misfiring completely and can barely idle.

I need to know; which mark do I use- the plastic cover one or the notch on the bellhousing? It has all reached a boiling point and I don't think I'll ever attempt to work on anything on the car again.
If I don't fix this immediately, I will lose the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well unfortunately I used a different marking.

I am pretty sure the repair shop will re-time the engine.

I can't believe this! I've overhauled the entire suspension, interior, and many other wear items on the engine. Now the timing chain has stopped me in my tracks. I am a very poor mechanic.;oops:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
White and euromobile,

thank you for the encouragement. And what you said about "becoming a machine" is extremely appropriate. That'd be a great slogan.

See I'm a man of arts, not bolts and ratchets. Regardless, I have to get this thing done. I want a comfortably functioning Saab that doesn't sound like it's going to explode when you're driving.
I will attempt to retime this beast tomorrow. I took a lot of pictures, too.
It certainly is harder than I thought.

What a test for patience. I thought the patience I acquired while flying planes would qualify me for repairing cars. Wrong, I was.

But as you noted, the car has no feelings. I shouldn't be making this such a complex situation , but frankly tomorrow I'll be missing school. Even though this whole thing has been a big mess, and I have another car which I have to buy and fix for my father (who managed to recover the lost chain in 2 minutes), I can see that there is at least a reason for doing all this. Hopefully someone benefits from this...I hope we can make the FAQ so someone avoids my mistakes....
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I still can't time it right. Now it wont even fire. I used the flywheel mark and one the first rotation it lines up perfectly with the cam marks, but on the second the cam marks are 180 deg off. I don't get it. Also, I think I messed up the distributor drive...how do you synchronize it with the cams?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
The repair shop wants 280 f*****g dollars to retime the engine. I told them to piss off.

The tensioner and guide doesn't tension the chain properly so I extended it two notches to tighten the chain. Chain was perfectly tight between all the sprockets. After one rotation, the cams were aligned but the flywheel was a couple of inches ahead. What the hell? It cranks and backfires a little but doesn't fire. Also, the tensioner is puking oil like crazy...I think a lost a quart of oil while cranking....

The crankshaft sprocket seems to be rotating in front of the cams...Yet there is no visible play in the chain. I don't get this. I must have removed the Valve cover 3 times today.

I need someone from my area who's done this before to help me out. I'll pay if I have to.

Anyone who lives near Denver Colorado and has replaced a four cylinder saab's timing chain let me know immediately.

I can honestly say that I'll never tamper with any part of the valve timing system on a car EVER AGAIN!
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 · (Edited)
Euromobile, I can assure you that I haven't bent any valves as the engine's resistance whenever I turned the flywheel by hand wasn't excessive. Of course, we'll know when I manage to fire up the engine...How do you know if a valve is bent anyway?;oops:

Mmoe, I did exactly the same as you have said in your post; I've tried it two days in a row. I am outside, in the cold, and have limited tools.
The starter sounds a little strange but there are no noises of valve to piston impact.

This is my procedure: find the zero mark on the flywheel scale, align it with the block. Lock the flywheel tightly. Then, fine tune the chain and cams, removing all slack between all sprockets. THERE IS NO SLACK AT THIS POINT.
I then turn the engine over until the camshaft marks align at cylinder one TDC.
Then I look at the flywheel and to my surprise it has passed the "0" mark by at least 2 inches. The cams are still at TDC....

What everyone here is talking about is different from what's happening to me.
I just don't get it. Thanks for trying to help mmoe....
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
The only thing I can think of is that I always turned the flywheel back to the timing mark every time I tried to align it. I am going to try one more time just rotating it one way.

Anyway, I need some info on the distributor drive....I am not sure the dist timing is right either...The little plastic joint that connects it to the exhaust cam broke in two and then I glued it back successfully, but the circular ring around the distributor shaft inside the head is lost. Is this a vital part? Looks like its made out of bakelite/ resin.

I need some answers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
I'm pretty sure its not the o-ring.

It's some sort of an insulator part. Between the inner wall of the head and the plastic joint that connects the rotor to the exhaust cam.

Is it possible to mistime the rotor drive? I kept the distributor steady while I put back the plastic joint.

About the TDC:
There is a dead zone where you are rotating the crank and the piston doesn't move. Besides, how could the flywheel mark be inaccurate?
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
So the tensioner is properly functioning, and the last time I did this, there was NO slack anywhere in the chain.

The tensioner didn't operate properly the first time, but then I gave it another notch of tensioning and that solved the problem.

I will be trying again tomorrow, this time I will turn the flywheel only one way, because so far I've been turning it past the mark and then pushing it back.

A friend will help me out with some testing equipment for spark and compression.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Well I finally got it so the timing always stays the same regardless of how much you turn the flywheel (before the marks would get unsynchronized on the 1st rotation).

However, due to stress and fatigue, I mistimed the intake camshaft by one tooth. It cranks fast, backfires now and then, but won't catch. I also checked the cam followers to make sure they are at the same height and they were. So I'm assuming I haven't bent a valve yet.

It's been such a drag and the worst part is that the car is located in a neighboring city at a workshop. I have to travel 25 minutes just to get to it.

I also checked spark and it arcs in white color so no problems there.

It has to start this time...if it doesn't, then I am permanently fooked.;oops:
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 · (Edited)
SHE LIVES AGAIN!!!!!;ol;;ol;;ol;

I finally got the timing right, and a very thoughtful friend told me to check the distributor timing which turned out to be completely off.

But now for the cheesehead move of the decade:

The hose for the AIC was removed....no wonder the car couldn't start- the mixture was too lean!!

I can't really express how I feel...but very relieved.

I'm pretty sure I screwed up everything that could possibly get screwed up.
I did this in approximately 8 days. In very bad weather.

I recovered the timing chain after removing it from the engine and connected it only to find that it was out of it's guide.... I had to remove it again and later reconnect it.

I must have removed and tightened down the valve cover at least 5 times.

The car is running better than before for sure, but the noise is still there. However the rattling noise on startup is gone.
It takes only one crank to start now as opposed to 3 cranks before.

I swear to the machine Gods that I will never attempt to mess with a car's timing system ever again. Lesson learned for sure.

I did a few 0-60 pulls and drove the car about 30 miles- everything is perfect!

I am going to admit, too, that I did have the pistons contact valves a few times. Once when I was removing a cam sprocket and once when I was rotating the engine without the tensioner. No apparent damage and the compression test gives me even compression. 450,000 miles! How is this not a reliable and extremely robust car? Shame on whoever despises the C900!

Thanks to 900t, euromobile, mmoe, jeffcullen, white65, and ludichris! Couldn't have done it without you.

Now...who'd like me to post a how-to thread?
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
I'm glad to hear that valves can touch the pistons lightly without bending.
It wasn't too light actually. A wrench was stuck at the camshaft flat and it flew out while I kicked down with full strength the ratchet at the sprocket. My whole force was applied to a set of valves. Really, the compression test showed no faults and the tester was rented from autozone in nearly brand new condition.


You're a hell of a lot more mechanic than I am at this poin
Thanks, but I'm not too proud of that. I want to concentrate on higher scale projects, rather than messing around with machines. I just don't think that it's too creative.
It really was an insane week. I'm glad this is over. The Gods really are mysterious.
 
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