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I have a 95 900s with about 204k miles on it. I have maintained the car and have the service logs of the previous owners. I wish I would have found this site earlier but maybe after reading all the advice that’s been given, something can still be done.


Last May while driving home the windows fogged up and we could smell coolant. I was told the heater core may have gone out.

A few weeks later I was driving along and noticed my temp gauge was in red. I went to the nearest station and filled the reservoir/radiator up.

Kept an eye on the water level and filled up when needed.

In August my heater started putting out heat again on its own?

Mid September while driving on freeway the gauge moved into the red zone.

Pulled off and filled reservoir/radiator with water, temp went down and drove home. Figured water was going somewhere but not sure where as there was none in the oil and none on the floor.

Once again kept a close eye on water level and tried finding a leak. Hoses all good (all had been replaced just the year before when I got the car) and connections tight and the heater was still putting out heat.

End of October I was driving down the same freeway and at about the same place I felt the car loosing power (about 10mph per lane change) and decided I better get into the right lane incase something would happen. Just as I got into the far right lane I felt the car die. Luckily we were able to coast down an exit and through a light and around a bend and right into a parking slot next to the water an air pump at a gas station. Temp gauge was in the red and steam was coming out from under the hood.

We tried refilling the water but could not get the car to start and ended up having it towed back to my home.

The next day tried starting again but the battery was dead. Tried jumping it but could not get enough charge to turn it over. Put the battery on a charger over night. I also tried filling the res/radiatior with water and found it basically just poured out from somewhere in the middle of the car.

Next day tried starting but it would not turn over. Checked the S belt was moving and the pulleys spun but it sounded like it was not catching/cranking over.

We checked the sparkplugs and the distributor both good. Checked to see if we could hear the fuel pump kicking on when car was turned on, good there.

We replaced the coil but the car still won’t start.

Decided to look for the leak and put in 3 gallons of water only to have it pour out of a hose I believe it is connected to the heater core and nothing else. At first we thought that the water had blown through the sealed end of the hose but after closer inspection it looks like the end was not sealed and have no idea why its there or what its actual purpose really is.

Decided to just bypass the heater core all together and see if we could get the car started. After a couple of tries it sounded like it almost caught when noticed the water pouring out the exhaust tip.

Checked the oil and although its not separating oil and water on the dip stick it does seem very liquidly. So if there is water it’s very well blended together with the oil. It’s still not starting nor is it holding water.

Did we blow the head gasket? Did she officially die? Any ideas or suggestion would be greatly appreciated.




997 Posts
I would also go with the head gasket. Drain the oil and see if water is in it.

There could be other things going wrong with such high mileage but the head gasket would be the most obvious solution. The car could be losing coolant from a number of places, hoses, freeze out plugs (not sure where they are on a Saab though or if they have them, I assume them do) and the starting issues could be totally unrelated to the coolant lose.

But this is hopeful thinking as you mentioned it red lined a couple of times and seems to be losing a ton of coolant (sounds like a head gasket).

21,583 Posts
Over 200K, too bad Saab does not have the "big rig" quality and durability ..

These are good for a million miles plus, then their routes are shortened and their use is not so critical.
The million mile Saab do go thru a number of head gaskets, part of the price of greater efficiency(mpg, performance, and low emissions).
Is it worth it ?

The OEM hoses are of high quality; it appears as if a replacement failed...

I have never known a failed head gasket to leak coolant that fast, not in the same/similar manner as a burst hose..

To quote ::Last May while driving home the windows fogged up and we could smell coolant. I was told the heater core may have gone out.

This leak should have been repaired then...:nono;

Water leaving the exhaust pipe tells me that the head gasket is "blown" no un-certain terms...

I believe we now have two things amiss at the same time.
Do the diagnosis - check the plugs, the fuel pump, ect..Replace nothing until we know that that part has failed...

7,876 Posts
Is the car cranking but not starting or the starter won't turn?

EW is right on all counts. This was preventable and very predictable if repaired in time. There were too many hints as to what was happening that went ignored until this happened.

If it's turning and not running test the compression. I think you have no compression in the engine. The gasket could be blown and you may even have a cracked head as well.

If it isn't cranking at all, it's a siezed engine :cry:

Good luck man. I hope I'm wrong :cry:
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