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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1999 9-3 SE Convertible B204R Turbo 5 speed, 90k miles. I had to be towed 136 miles from Florida's Turnpike.
Symptoms:
1. Oil light came on thankfully near a service plaza. Added 3 qts. of oil.
2. After making sure oil level was OK, still had oil light at idle and some valve tapping niose. If I revved the engine a bit, the oil light would go out but then come back on in a few seconds.
3. When I tried to rev the engine, the engine would continue to rev on its own to about 2500 RPM like a Toyota with floor mats. (never done this before)
4. After getting the car home, I removed the oil filter to check for sludge. I found a lot of metal in the oil. The metal appears to be gold color like brass plus some other non-ferrous stuff.
There is no indication as to where 3 quarts of oil went, no abnormal leaks or smoke. Since the engine revs on it’s own, I’m thinking something with the turbo, but there is no abnormal noise from the turbo.
Any ideas?
 

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You cant tell if your engine is sludged by removing the oil filter. You have to drop the oil pan, but T5 cars aren't prone to sludging like T7 cars. My guess is one of the bearings in your engine.
 

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Let us know which bearing failed. Most times it's the bearing that's farthest from the oil pump.

A main bearing set at eEuroparts is less than $80; rod bearing set $75. If the crank is not gouged, the bearings can be carefully changed in the car. If the crank is gouged, the engine needs to come out. At that point, a used engine might be the better way to go.

Either way, if you DIY you will save lots of money... Ron
 

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1999 9-3 SE Convertible B204R Turbo 5 speed, 90k miles. I had to be towed 136 miles from Florida's Turnpike.
Symptoms:
1. Oil light came on thankfully near a service plaza. Added 3 qts. of oil.
2. After making sure oil level was OK, still had oil light at idle and some valve tapping niose. If I revved the engine a bit, the oil light would go out but then come back on in a few seconds.
3. When I tried to rev the engine, the engine would continue to rev on its own to about 2500 RPM like a Toyota with floor mats. (never done this before)
4. After getting the car home, I removed the oil filter to check for sludge. I found a lot of metal in the oil. The metal appears to be gold color like brass plus some other non-ferrous stuff.
There is no indication as to where 3 quarts of oil went, no abnormal leaks or smoke.If the oil loss is slow, then leaks, smoke will be hard to detect, so this should be checked every 1,000 miles or so. Since the engine revs on it’s own Probably in need of major servicing(vacuum hoses, the IAC, the throttle body as necessary).., I’m thinking something with the turbo, but there is no abnormal noise from the turbo.
Any ideas?
Welcome to Saab Central, Neutron
Some welcome, huh? :cry::roll::x
What interests me is the how and why of things.
How do you think this happened?
Many, if not most of us run well over 100K miles sans problems (major,engine).
I'm at 165K ...the only fluid I really monitor now is the PS and the air at the tires....spring time will be a busy time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
update

Welcome to Saab Central, Neutron
Some welcome, huh? :cry::roll::x
What interests me is the how and why of things.
How do you think this happened?
Many, if not most of us run well over 100K miles sans problems (major,engine).
I'm at 165K ...the only fluid I really monitor now is the PS and the air at the tires....spring time will be a busy time.
The problem seems to be the main bearings; the cause would be running the engine without enough oil. The engine revving on its own is the knock sensor picking up the valve tapping frequency and putting the engine in safe mode, so that clears up that question.
The oil was last changed 5400 miles ago and the main driver never checked it. Ironically, it was traveling to my house for service, inspection and tires. The car either uses some oil or it was not properly filled the last time it was serviced by one of those 10 minute places.
Some of the metal does appear to be steel. I am in the process now taking the pan off so I can see if the crank is gouged or not. More later. Thanks for to comments.
 

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a little insight..

I can tell you from my experience, anytime these engines (t4 & t5) have run low oil pressure from either clogged pickup or low oil levels, it's the No 3 main bearing that spins first, usually followed by no 2 main, rods hardly ever go, unless driven for a distance with no oil..and once they spin a main (check for scoring on the back side of bearing) they require a complete teardown and block line bore. (that is if you want the repair to last) and if you are going to do the repair, I strongly suggest doing the full timing chain/gear/rail service at the same time :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Update 2:

I can tell you from my experience, anytime these engines (t4 & t5) have run low oil pressure from either clogged pickup or low oil levels, it's the No 3 main bearing that spins first, usually followed by no 2 main, rods hardly ever go, unless driven for a distance with no oil..and once they spin a main (check for scoring on the back side of bearing) they require a complete teardown and block line bore. (that is if you want the repair to last) and if you are going to do the repair, I strongly suggest doing the full timing chain/gear/rail service at the same time :)
Thanks for this info.
I have the oil pan off and the gear that drives the 2 balance shafts is broken and laying in the pan. One of the shafts appears to be out of place to me so it may have seized, shattering this gear and opening its oil journal and dumping the oil pressure. (My theory anyway)
This might be above my level of competence so I will be talking to an independent shop today for an estimate, etc. Also, I am not equipped to take an engine out of the car.
I am hopeing the medal was dumped in the oil where it was picked up and trapped in the oil filter and protected the rest of the engine.
 

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Many people have just cut the balance chain and pulled it out to eliminate a point of failure. They have left the balance shafts inplace without removing the timing cover.

What is the history on this car? Was it just purchased? Nothing posted so far explains where 3 of the 4 quarts of oil went, unless it was driven many, many miles in between oil changes.

Post some pictures of the broken drive gear. I've heard of the chains breaking, but never a hardened drive gear... Ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Many people have just cut the balance chain and pulled it out to eliminate a point of failure. They have left the balance shafts inplace without removing the timing cover.

What is the history on this car? Was it just purchased? Nothing posted so far explains where 3 of the 4 quarts of oil went, unless it was driven many, many miles in between oil changes.

Post some pictures of the broken drive gear. I've heard of the chains breaking, but never a hardened drive gear... Ron

Car was purchased last July. Oil change in August, 5400 miles ago. Driver probably too lax to check oil regularly ... bet he will now! I believe I can see the journal on one of the balance shafts so I think it might have moved out of place or seized and shattered the gear and opened its oil path. Does that make any sense?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update 3


Someone has been into this engine and must have left something loose. The engine is way too clean inside for 90k miles. one of the balance shafts has moved out of position. You can see the balance shaft journal below #3 connecting rod.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
update 4


The engine is out of the car. It looks like a bolt came loose on the exhaust side balance shaft. The balance shaft slid back into the engine opening up the oil journals and dumping the oil pressure.

We plan to try to repair this engine, should be around $400 +/- in parts. I need at least one balance shaft that is bent and both thrust plates plus many other parts.

Looks like the timing chain is ok but will replace both chain guides



Some of the missing parts were found in the oil pan.
 
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