SaabCentral Forums banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,464 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve had my head in the shop for a considerable time now. They took about a week to tell me what parts were needed, I was going to get them myself because it would take me less time to order them from eeuroparts than it would for them to get them from their supplier or the dealership. They finally told me all it needed was new valve seals. ???? I was figuring for a full rebuild they would need more than that, but maybe the owner before me had it rebuilt??? :roll: Anyhow, it only took me 4 days to get them the parts, that was over a week ago. All total I’ve had the head in the shop for about three weeks now. I’ve called them once or twice to check on it when I was going to be in the area and they always tell me they will call when its ready.

However I’m beginning to get a bit peeved. I almost wonder if perhaps, since I’m not commercial and don’t have any “deadlines” like a shop, if perhaps I’m not pushed to the end of the list. I can hardly see a shop waiting three, even two weeks for headwork. Perhaps they jacked something up on it and are desperately looking for a replacement, ha, good luck with that. ;)

If I had know all it needed was stinkin seals I would have done that myself, however I was limited on time, didn't have the tools, and figured it would be faster to let the professionals do a professional rebuild. So much for that theory. :evil:

So I guess my question is, is this normal for it too take so long to have a head rebuilt?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
Matt88S said:
So I guess my question is, is this normal for it too take so long to have a head rebuilt?
No it isn't.

That job, even on a 16v should not take a competant shop more than an hour to do at absolute most. I think they are messing you about. If I were you I would go pick it up, pay for a valve spring compressor (less than their fee) and do it yourself. Whilst you are at it you may want to consider getting some valve grinding paste and just making sure the seats are as tight as possible. Failing that, put the head back on the car and wait until you have time. You can change the stem seals without removing the head.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,677 Posts
I just had my 99 head ported and polished, skimmed and had coils put in some of the holes which had lots their threads. I think it had some new valve guides too.

That only took a week! and it was done by a bloke working from home. He took it to other places to have it skimmed and the threads done too.

I think that the place you have taken yours too are a bit slow and lazy!
 

·
Saab Mad
Joined
·
14,069 Posts
The 900's valve musn't be ground in. They are stellited and the grinding paste will remove that, soon resulting in burnt out valves.

Make sure all the valve train components are replaced in their original locations. If you do that, then only a light valve lapping will be needed to ensure a decent seal.

Stripping down a 900 cylinder head for replacement valve stem oil seals takes longer than one hour! If you want a "full rebuild" you should have new valve guides fitted too.

__________________
Best Car Insurance | Auto Protection Today | FREE Trade-In Quote
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
How do you lap the valves without grinding paste?

I did a recon job on a Renault Laguna head not so long back. I changed the stem seals and lapped, ground, whatever you want to call it, the valves briefly with the sucky cap stick, easily within two hours and this was only the second head I'd done. I'm no professional mechanic in a machine shop, but if I was I know I could have done the job in an hour. Maybe double that for a 16v. When I said an hour I based it on having the head sat in front of you on a bench ready to go as was suggested this one is. If it is on the car already then yes, it would obviously take longer.
 

·
Saab Mad
Joined
·
14,069 Posts
I must be a real slowcoach then ;) Took me lots longer to refurb the head on my T16, and that was with it off the engine.

There's a difference between grinding in and lapping valves, or perhaps it's just semantics. Grinding is the initial first-cut used on new valves and seats and with coarse paste. Lapping is done with a finer paste on existing valves and seats, just to tidy up the gas seal.

That's the first reasoning I read on the subject, and engine builders and books have backed that up. I guess everyone's philosophy and experience is different though and my experience and knowledge is that of a novice.

__________________
Best Car Insurance | Auto Protection Today | FREE Trade-In Quote
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,464 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I hope they didn't jack something up. I really really hope. :cry: When I dropped the parts off I said hey, you do know those are sodium filled stellited don't ya? And he said o yea they know all that stuff. I didin't leave with a good feeling though.....:eek:

On the other hand, my local autohaus, who does a lot of work on Saabs, recomemended the place, its where he has his Saab headwork done. So surely they know what they are doing right? Its a big place, its not just a little shop.

I'm going to call them today and see what the hold up is. Or maybe I should just buckle on my .45's and go up there, shoot up the joint, rescue my head, run out, throw it on my horse and ride into the sunset. :D


I want my car back. :( I'm tired of riding my horse everywhere darn it, they make your rear sore. :cheesy:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,464 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Mayday, Mayday

Well I called them. After sitting on hold the guy came back and said, ya need new lifters. And I said “come again“? And he said we’re waiting on new lifters. (no one told me I needed to get them new lifters, no one called me, (they have my home and cell #'s) and no one mentioned a thing the other two times I called, nada. :( And so I said, "all of them?" :confused: It seemed rather funny all of them would be bad, expecially since I hadn't been having any noise or head problems before I took it in, other than the gasket.

I said, well, you know those are hydrolic lifters don't you? And he said well, hold on, lemme get you the technician. So he got the technician, who, said, after talking them all apart and cleaning them, they just wont pressure back up, I've used air and everything. Which, if I know what "everything" is it was probably just air.

So what do you guys think? Did they jack it up somehow or do I just need to slap it back on the head and let them pressure back up?

I don't know if this was the right thing to do or not, but I told them to just put it back together and I'm picking it up this afternoon. I can install new lifters if I have to.

Is there anyway to see if they ground v.s. lapped the valves after I get the head back? :confused:

This is why I took it to these idiots in the first place, so I wouldn't have to deal with any of this #@$#, and so I could get it running again as fast as posible. Why do I ever let anyone work on my saabs? It always, always ends up like this, when will I learn?

:evil: :evil: :evil:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,550 Posts
I'd just go find another good head .Sounds like the shop is setting you up for a big repair bill. :eek: Let them have it. But if your going after it you will need a valve spring compressor to see if they ruined the valve seats by grinding them . (autozone rental)If they ground them they will actually be a little shorter.I bet they mixed up the lifters ( not interchangible .)thats why they told you needed new ones. I recomend you do change them .:roll: I agree, every time I trust someone to do any kind of job for me they mess it up and I gotta fix it. :( Sir In your case , don't trust the job was correctly , tear it apart and go over it or just throw it out.:evil: Pat
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,464 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What to do????

More bad news. They called and said it was ready, so I went to pick it up.

Something didn't feel right so I ask them a few questions about what kind of shape it was in and what all had to be done and how did the valves look and what all needed to be done there...................:cry: Thats when it came out. They ground all of the valves and seats, :evil: something I specifically told the guy at the desk not to do, something I had a feeling was never relayed along.

I talked to the manager a bit. He said they did that to all of them and sometimes manuals were wrong. I went down the street to the Autohouse that had recomended them and borrowed an official saab manual, it said the same thing.

Whats worse is they had been doing the same thing to all of the Autohauses engines. :eek:

BUT, they don't want to pay for the valves, claiming that they would have had to be replaced anyway.

BUT if I purchase the valves they will install them for me, (i assume without charge???)

So whats the verdict? Have they ruined the head?

Specifically does anyone know what exactly grinding the valves and removing the coating does to them? Does anyone know of any failures caused by doing this?

And moreover does anyone know of any Official Saab Documents talking about what it causes and how soon it happens. Both of the manuals I saw simply said grinding the valves would render them usless, but it didn't say exactly why, what would happen if they were used, how soon to expect you engine to blow up in your face, etc, etc.

If I could walk in there with a paper from Saab that said, expect valve failure within 3000-5000 miles, I am quite sure that I could convence them they don't want to be responsible for replacing my engine when it blows up in the near future when it would be so much easier to simply fix everything they jacked up.

I personally am fed up. They've taken entirely too much time, they screwed up the valves and the lifters, shall I stick around and see what else they can do to me?

And the head was in perfectly good shape when I gave it to them, lifters were making no noise, nothing was the matter with the head. NOTHING. I just figured since I had the head off the replace the head gasket it would be wise to have it rebuilt while it was off, that way I wouldn't have to have it done in the future.
If only we could turn back time, I would have never handed my head over.

I think they should be responsible for replacing the valves themselves. Its not my fault they are incompetent is it?

The lifters are another thing, they were fine before I took the engine off. And sure, maybe if the dope hadn't taken them apart and cleaned them, maybe they would still work fine. But how are you going to prove that? So I'll probably end up paying for those, but I’m still peeved that he took them apart, was that really necessary?

Its been almost a month since i've had my car and maybe i'm just experiancing withdrawal symptoms, but I really want to crack some heads here. :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,550 Posts
Matthew said:
The 900's valve musn't be ground in. They are stellited and the grinding paste will remove that, soon resulting in burnt out valves.

Make sure all the valve train components are replaced in their original locations. If you do that, then only a light valve lapping will be needed to ensure a decent seal.

.
This is the facts! I'd tell them they bought it. Find a good used replacement. And walk away.But if you insist on using it ,at the very least replace all the exhaust valves and lifters.Pat
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,464 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Repairable or not repairable, Sue or not sue?

I need some help here guys.

I’ve been having machine shop problems. Basically I took them a working head that had no problems and didn’t need rebuilding for any particular reason other than preventative maintenance.

After about three weeks I went up there.

They had ground the valves, I had told them it was a turbo and had stellite coated sodium filled valves.

I was informed that it needed all new lifters.

The lifters had not been making any noise when on the vehicle and to the best of my knowledge there was nothing wrong with my head when I removed it.

Have they done any permanent damage to the head by grinding the valves and seats? I am under the impression that the seats are grindable, only the valves are not. Am I correct in this?

Would it be possible to simply install new valves, lap them in, adjust the length, and be done with it?

Also the shop is claiming they have done nothing wrong and are not responsible for the damage. If I buy new valves, lifters, and have them finish it up, its going to cost me around $800-$900.

The head had nothing wrong with it when I took it there and I don’t feel as if I am responsible for their incompetence. However they are not trying to work with me whatsoever. I pay them to replace the parts or I pay them what I owe them and take my head and leave.

I am considering taking this to small claims court and had a question. Should I leave my head there, or pay for what they have done so far and then try to get my money back in court??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,365 Posts
Matt88S said:
I am considering taking this to small claims court and had a question. Should I leave my head there, or pay for what they have done so far and then try to get my money back in court??
I'm a little confused. If you didn't expect them to dismantle and rebuild the head, what preventative maintenance did you ask them to do?

I'm not wishing to be argumentative, just playing devils advokate in that if I were in the Magistrates court, this is what i'd be asking.

Did you ask them to provide a report first? Did you tell them that you were happy with the lifters etc?

David.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,464 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm a little confused. If you didn't expect them to dismantle and rebuild the head, what preventative maintenance did you ask them to do?
Rebuilding the head was the preventative maintenance. It was removed to replace a blown head gasket, and while I had it off I decided to have it rebuilt to prevent having to do the job in the future, also I planned to increase horsepower slightly and wanted to make sure the head was good and strong. :D And I did expect them to dismantle and rebuild the head, but I also expected them to know how to do it properly.

They ground the valves which according to both the Bentley manual and the official saab tech manual, renders them useless. I had told them they were coated valves and culdn't be ground, however they ignored me and did it anyway. They say they do it to all stellite coated vavles and have never had a problem.

I don't know what happened to the lifters. I do know that when I gave them my head that everything was in good working order. And now its not. How much of that is age and wear and how much is simple incompetence I don't know.

What worries me though, is they seem to have no clue how to rebuild saab heads. Now I'm worried about what angles they ground it at, how they adjusted the valves after they ground the seats, just all the stuff I expected them to know how to do.

I don't want to fight them, I just want what I walked in there with, a good working head. I've tried talking to the manager, I've tried to deal with them, I even offered if they would take the cost of new valves off of my bill I would just take my head the way it was and they wouldn't have to do another thing, I'd install the new valves myself and take care of the lifter problem myself as well. The owner flat out refused to see me until Monday, I asked politely, the manager even said he told the owner that I was vary polite about the whole thing. I havn't yelled, screamed, or made any threats. I just naturally assumed they would make right their mistakes, it never occured to me they would try to get out of it. I don't know why he wants to stall me until Monday. It seems kind of silly to make a major mistake on a customers head and then tell them they are going to have to wait till monday before you will see them about it, not to mention I drove a long ways to talk with them and ended up being an hour late for work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,365 Posts
Matt88S said:
Rebuilding the head was the preventative maintenance.
I don't have an argument with anything that you're presenting, I have my own cylinder head sorry story which I won't go into.

Given that you effectively said "here's my head, do stuff", they've "done stuff" and I think you might be on for a difficult ride to be honest but that's just my opinion. I don't think what you're asking for rectification is out of order either but that doesn't mean it won't be difficult.

From my painful experience, you need to be explicit, give them the head, ask for an examination followed by a quote, prior to performing any work whatsoever. If you didn't ask for this, that's going to be your biggest hurdle I suspect.

Sorry can't offer much more help than that.

David.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
Whoa there...

I've been thinking about this one. I'm not so sure they have done a bad job.

If the Saab place you know uses this shop to do its head work they must be able to do a reasonable job. If the Saab place found that every car they replaced the head on blew up shortly afterwards, I'm guessing they would very quickly stop using the machine shop. Maybe you should go ask if they have ever had any problems.

I think we may be getting ourselves a little mixed up over the definitions of grinding and lapping and what work was actually carried out. According to the Bentley manual "...valves should be hand lapped only. Refacing exhaust valves by grinding will remove this coating and render the valves useless."

Matthew made a few comments about this in the other thread. In this context, I think hand lapping refers to the suction cap stick and using 'grinding paste'. This is done when valves are only lightly pitted. This process is also however refered to as grinding by some people.

Grinding, as meant by Bentley, (I think) refers to using cutting stones to remove material from very badly damaged valves and seats. Damage which could not be removed by hand. A drill is used here with the appropriate cutter. Due to the amount of material removed this will remove the coating. This process may also be refered to as re-seating.

I'm thinking that the shop may have just lapped in the valves either by hand or using a lapping machine (NOT the same as a grinder). Your valves would have to be in pretty bad shape for this to be necessary. Ask to see the tool that was used for the job. What is grinding to one person may not be to another.

I'm thinking that if you just put the head back on you will have no problems. You could also measure the valve stem height to make sure the lifters will function correctly. Getting into a messy legal battle over a few valves and their fitting is probably not worth the hassel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,464 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Given that you effectively said "here's my head, do stuff", they've "done stuff" and I think you might be on for a difficult ride to be honest but that's just my opinion.
I know, I should have been more specific. I wrongfully assumed since they had been doing saab heads for a friend of mine's shop, that they would know what to do. But still, I did let them know it didn't have anything wrong with it, that it was a turbo, and that it had sodium filled and stellite coated valves, and I had wanted to leave my Bentley manual there for referance, but they assured me they had all the info they needed. :x

Today I went by a shop thats a few miles from my house. Its a smallish custom motor shop, they exclusivly build racing motors and I thought perhaps they could tell me a bit about stellite and if it was ok to grind them, etc.

I was lucky enough to be able to talk to the gentleman who does their headwork. He said they used a coating simular to stellite and that it is correct that you are not supposed to grind coated valves. In fact he said they should have know something was wrong when they were grinding the first valve, they are so much harder they will tear up the stone.
He also seems to think the valves should have still be usable, he said the ones on their engines had no problems, and he said he was talking about 600-700 HP engines. :eek: He also said that the head would probably function fine but it would fail prematurely.

That made me feel better. I had been feeling rather bad. The head shop I'm at had given me a guilt trip about how the valves would have had to be replaced anyway since the car had over a 100,000 miles on it so their grinding them didin't matter and in fact made things even better. :(

I'm going to talk with the owner on Monday. I'm also going to see if the shop owner whose saab heads they have been doing the same way would like to come with me.

:Edit:

I think we may be getting ourselves a little mixed up over the definitions of grinding and lapping and what work was actually carried out.
They made it quite clear it was ground on a machine. They also made it quite clear they thought hand lapping in valves was insane and could only be done on new valves. :roll:

Getting into a messy legal battle over a few valves and their fitting is probably not worth the hassel.
I agree, but my cost has went from $265+ parts, to a total of $800+. All this on a head that had nothing wrong with it when I took it in.

If the Saab place you know uses this shop to do its head work they must be able to do a reasonable job.
The gentleman, although a vary competent mechanic, was not aware that the valves were not supposed to be ground until I told him. It is my understanding that he expected the head shop to know how to do their job properly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,170 Posts
I sympathise with the predicament. It sounds like they are a complete shambles at this place. If their repair procedures were inadequate and caused the vehicle to fail prematurely then that would seem pretty clear-cut (although legally nothing is ever that simple). However, that hasn't happened yet - nothing has failed, from what I understand. So despite the weight of the general consensus, you're going to have a hell of a job getting anyone to stand up in the witness box and under oath swear that if the valves were ground a particular way that has to be established, that catastrophic failure would follow in the next [specified time frame/mileage].

On the other hand, this slightly curious situation where they then refuse to see you to discuss it might indicate that they are currently having a bit of a flap and trying to work out how to best extricate themselves. If things cannot be resolved amicably a letter from a tame solicitor/lawyer can sometimes work wonders in these situations. But you need a weight of evidence which seems to be in short supply in this instance, and you need to be careful that they don't call your bluff - you could end up not only facing the bill for the car, but some legal fees that would make the cost of the car seem tiny. One other thing to bear in mind - I know it's a cliché but it's true - Americans are rather quicker to start suing people than us lot over here. In this country it is a serious business that can bankrupt people and it does not often succeed anyway. So the advice you will be given from UK members will probably be different due to that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
They made it quite clear it was ground on a machine. They also made it quite clear they thought hand lapping in valves was insane and could only be done on new valves. :roll:
Ah. I was wrong then. They have indeed done a bad job and should certainly know better. For them to say that about hand lapping is a joke. What rubbish. Hand lapping is an extremely useful process as a way of keeping things in good shape. The Laguna head I did that I mentioned had worn valves, they were fine, the engine ran ok, but they were pitted and the seats were shiney and thus would not get the best seal. A good 5 minutes per valve had them like new with a nice wide satin band which would have sealed a treat. I don't think that is insane at all. I think it makes perfect sense. I would never take anything to that shop.

I agree, but my cost has went from $265+ parts, to a total of $800+. All this on a head that had nothing wrong with it when I took it in.
Ouch! I didn't realise it was that much. What were the seals that it did need? $10?

The gentleman, although a vary competent mechanic, was not aware that the valves were not supposed to be ground until I told him. It is my understanding that he expected the head shop to know how to do their job properly.
He might not know about the processes involved but he most certainly would know if his customers were coming back 2 weeks later saying their newly rebuilt engine was blown up.

Jezzadee is spot on in what he says. Proving anything will be really hard. Maybe you could get a specialist to examine it and give a statement. There is a bloke in Edinburgh we used once. We supplied a used engine with a guarantee and the bloke said it blew up and wanted a refund. It was an expensive engine and we knew there was nothing wrong with it because we knew the car. We got this chap to examine it and he produced a report detailing his findings and deduced from marks on the piston heads that the timing belt had been fitted incorectly. On the basis that the bloke had had his garage change the belt for him we refused to pay and told him to talk to the garage. He really did not like that suggestion. There is no point me typing his response because all it would appear as is ***********************************************************************.

Alternatively you could ask the garage to go halfs with you on the cost on the basis you won't sue them. OK, you might loose and they wouldn't have to pay anything but for several hundred bucks I'm sure they'd rather not have the hassel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
239 Posts
Matt has been done wrong! I tell you, WRONG!

:x
Just my opinion...

From following the thread, this sounds like one of he oldest scams on the auto repair industry: the ever growing job.

If I get this right,
  • Matt takes his head to have some work done.
  • They delay and give him the runaround.
  • They perform work he did not approve nor requested without an estimate.
  • They performed said work improperly and not in accordance to the official repair manual.
  • They are lying to him about what should or should not be done, in the face of the instructions in the manual.
  • His bill baloons from $250 to more than triple that.
  • They won't talk to him and they want to perform further work Matt didn't request nor authorize, this based on their doing stuff Matt didn't ask for.
I'm not sure Matt will get satisfaction or redress, but he has been done wrong, no question in my head.

Suing them and winning would be satisfying, but don't count on it. They can NOT show three times in a row, and you'll be left standing there, wasting a day of pay for nothing, and perhaps your expert's fee as well. They will eventually show up, and may or may not contest what you say and they most likely will bring their own employees to testify to what YOU said or didn't. Self serving, but legal. You may even prevail. The judge will hand down a veredict that they owe you money or work or both. Good luck collecting on it. The judge can pass judgement, but has no ability nor means to enforce said judgement; that is up to you and your resources. Trust me, I know. You will be tempted to sue them for not paying up the judgement and then you will find out why the judge cannot enforce the judgement.

Truth is, I would just let them have the head and walk away; let them try and sue you - but get your ducks in a row. File a complain with the BBB, General Atty, your grandma and the chamber of commerce in your town. This is not legal advice. YMMV.

You can buy a head with an engine attached to it for $300 or so on eBay and start from scratch and put this bad experience behind you and these people of dubious charachter and professionalism out of a position to poison your life with worry and horsecrap. Or buy a similar Saab for parts; they don't happen often, but they do. They have a 88 900 turbo for $650 up the block with a five speed in it. The body sucks, but the seats, dash and engine are in alright condition.

Matt, in five years this won't matter. Spend this time to have a beer with a friend you haven't seen in a while, or work on your garden (I grow tomatoes, to keep a memory alive) or whatever you do to decompress. Life is too short to deal with a55h0les voluntarily; avoid at all costs whenever possible.

Again, just my opinion and as stated YMMV.

Good luck, bud.

See a couple of eBay deals from a quick search here:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=7982375589&category=33615&sspagename=WDVW

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=7981329705&category=33615&sspagename=WDVW

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=7935029263&category=33615&sspagename=WD1V

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=20924&item=5521841919&rd=1&ssPageName=WD1V

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=7979479335&category=33615&sspagename=WD1V
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top