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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The sludge problem is caused by poor engine venting and I fell that since the pre 1999 Saabs, which have no sludge problems, must have had a better PCV system.
As mentioned in my other posting :

  • My 1999 9-3 2 ltr turbo - PCV system does not have all the restrictive plumbing and oil trap. my 99s PCV system simple consists of the y nipple at the valve cover with the larger hose connected directly to the metal tube that goes just before the turbo and the smaller hose to a check valve and then to the bottom of the throttle body. What wrong with that?
  • Instead of the also restrictive PCV update -- why not just simply go back to the pre 1999 PCV vent. system which is super easy and works.
 

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It sounds like the pre-99 system doesn't do a good job filtering the air / oil mix which could lead to excessive oil in the intake which is not good for performance (promotes detonation).

It's not an "oil trap" it's an air / oil separator. A device most performance cars have. I have two pre #6 units I plan on cutting up, just curious about the changes.

I already have the #6 PCV, my next step will be installing an additional air / oil separator between the current system and the intake.
Something similar to the kit 034 offers for the VW Turbo motors:

http://www.034motorsport.com/product_info.php?cPath=28_61&products_id=19167
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It sounds like the pre-99 system doesn't do a good job filtering the air / oil mix which could lead to excessive oil in the intake which is not good for performance (promotes detonation).
/QUOTE]

Well... what you say sounds interesting and of-course it makes sense that some of the vented oil vapour could enter the intake system -(no big deal)---- but the facts are that the pre 1999 Saab engines with out the oil separator are bullet proof and did not and do not suffer from the engine killing sludge problem.
 

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Sounds like an interesting project. Don't forget to post the results and take pictures of your progress!
 

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your 99 9-3 is t5, its a different engine.
It doesn't have the same pistons as the t7 engine, and as such doesn't seem to suffer piston ring blow-by that is turning the oil to cak.
 

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It seems that the sludge issue was big with the B235 engines in certain years. GM/SAAB didn't help either by recommending 10K oil change intervals on conventional oil.:nono;
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It sounds like the pre-99 system doesn't do a good job filtering the air / oil mix which could lead to excessive oil in the intake which is not good for performance (promotes detonation).
As I mentioned earlier - I will order the PV update kit... However it makes sense that if you bypass all the tubing and oil seperator - and connect directly to the metal pipe that goes to the top of the turbo -- would result in muuuch better venting. Just as an experiment -- I have connected a hose from the valve cover nipple to an empty plastic water bottle, in other words I am venting the engine to the atmosphere ( like they used to do in the olden days) which I know is not a green thing. I have driven the car with this mod for approx 250 km and there is very minimal oil in the bottle.
 

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I understand where you are going with this, but removing the air / oil separator from the mix is not a good idea IMO.

The idea of having the oil vapor system connected to the intake is to create a vacuum to draw the vapor out of the engine. Problem is, this vapor is full of suspended oil that must be separated out.

I am not familiar with the previous system so I cannot comment on how or why it's setup the way it is. I have a feeling it had some type of venting system to the atmosphere which is not allowed per EPA and other regulations and / or there is more to it that is not very obvious.

I've been assuming something changed with these regulations around 1999 since that is the start of a sludge problem with quite a few cars (not just SAAB's). It's unfortunate it took so long for these manufacturers to figure out how to abide by these regulations while also preventing sludge.


  • Extended Oil Change Intervals
  • Crappy Oil
  • Short drives that do not fully warm up the oil (never burns off the condensation
  • Turbo which really cooks the oil - magnified by cheap oil (reason why I'm using Redline)...ironically this can help with the short drive issue.....
  • The small oil filter and tiny sump is not helping either
  • Something with the valves in the PCV system freezing, still looking into that one....
  • PCV system that is not well designed (the original one)
I haven't read any specifics on this, but it appears there is a push to limit the amount of fluids cars use, which is why sump sizes are dropping so much. This isn't SAAB's idea, it's environmental.
 

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Sludge and PCV

I've been assuming something changed with these regulations around 1999 since that is the start of a sludge problem with quite a few cars (not just SAAB's). NOT A REGULATORY ISSUE! It's unfortunate it took so long for these manufacturers to figure out how to abide by these regulations while also preventing sludge.

I haven't read any specifics on this, but it appears there is a push to limit the amount of fluids cars use, which is why sump sizes are dropping so much. (9-3ss is 6qts, rather than the little over 4 in the 9-3 and 9-5) This isn't SAAB's idea, it's environmental.
The PCV system, although a problem (hence revision #6), was only a problem because of a change in engine design from the T5 cars to the T7 cars. The T7 cars did not only have a different engine management system, but were also designed to be "low friction" engines. One of the primary means used to accomplish that was to reduce the number of piston rings from 3 to 2. This led to greater blow-by and greater crankcase pressure and therefore a better flowing PCV system (not more restrictive, just not originally free-flowing enough). AFAIK, the T5 PCV system was judged to be inadequate for the T7 cars, so was redesigned. Unfortunately, it took the 6th revision to get it as right as they are going to. The sludge issue is not just one of the PCV system, although it is a contributor. Factory recommendations for longer oil change intervals originally specifying semi-synthetic oil and a catalytic converter right next to the sump also contributed to the problem. Most of us believe that by doing the PCV #6, using ACEA A3 rated synthetic oil changed at intervals of no more than 5,000 miles will keep the sludge monster at bay. That no single solution is enough.
 

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Good info, like I said it was just an assumption since VW and Toyota are having the same (if not worse) sludge issue from cars starting right around the same time.

It still could be related to new regulations. Designing a low friction engine to meet ever changing and rising MPG standards could be one possible scenario.

Just thinking out loud, I have zero data on this, just speculation.


It's also a catch 22 since excessive oil in the combustion chamber can cause or increase the chances of detonation.......detonation can cause increased blow-by. Nice nasty cycle.
 

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......and a catalytic converter right next to the sump also contributed to the problem.
And on the other hand, you could expect that this could help in the 'short distance' trips......- not that I agree with short trip logic.

What a nightmare.......I want to buy a 04 Arc...........and this stuff rattles my brain to explore the pros and cons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The sludge problem is caused by poor engine venting and I fell that since the pre 1999 Saabs, which have no sludge problems, must have had a better PCV system.
As mentioned in my other posting :

  • My 1999 9-3 2 ltr turbo - PCV system does not have all the restrictive plumbing and oil trap. my 99s PCV system simple consists of the y nipple at the valve cover with the larger hose connected directly to the metal tube that goes just before the turbo and the smaller hose to a check valve and then to the bottom of the throttle body. What wrong with that?
  • Instead of the also restrictive PCV update -- why not just simply go back to the pre 1999 PCV vent. system which is super easy and works.
OK .... I followed the advise given and have just finished installing the latest PCV update Kit # 55561200. It may be of interest that the my local GM dealer quoted and sold me this kit for less then I could buy from after market suppliers. I paid a total of $69 and obviously even saved on the shipping. The new set-up is very similar to the original with the only exception being that an additional tube now is spliced to the return line which connects to the body of the oil filler tube. ----

  • I don't want to be a block head but I still feel that connecting directly from the valve cover to the metal tube that goes to the top of the turbo would be a much less restrictive and better set-up.
 

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Rather than start a new thread, Ill add this if you dont mind.
Had PCV#6 fitted a couple of weeks ago and my oil consumption seems(fingers crossed) to have vastly improved, well in 2 weeks the level is still on the full mark.
Previous to this I had topped up since last May approx 6 litres!
And instead of the Mobil 1 0-40W it was refilled with Saab oil 5-30W.
 

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Couple of Saab mechanics down here have done the direct tube mod, and bypass the 'trap'. Seems to do the job, but not sure over the long term.
Short trips in winter see the PCV systems suck air past the oil filler cap, making the dreaded 'mayo', which is a major issue. The #6 does not do this at all. I have done the mod to both my cars with success. Interestingly one continues to use oil, the other does not but this seems to unrelated to the PCV, as there is no change in consumption after the change. In the 'trap' box the holes are a different size, that's really it. But the main change is different plumbing circuitry and extra check valves.
I recommend doing the #6 mod, because it works. My two cars drive in very different traffic and one was 25% blocked up, the 2.3t engine. Now 2 years later it is very quiet, more economic, has more power and hasn't missed a beat. Seriously.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Now 2 years later it is very quiet, more economic, has more power and hasn't missed a beat. Seriously.
As mention previously I have just bought this car and have done the #6 PCV update. This car has approx 130,000 km and runs fine, I hope that it's not too sludged up inside and at least with the PVC update it will not sludge up any more.
 

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Will you at some time drop the sump to see if anything is building up in there? Or did you ever pull the valve cover to see what the top side of the engine looks like?
When the folks on the forum recommend the PCV update that is usually in conjunction with the sump being dropped and cleaned along with strainer and replacing the O ring. If the car has a possible sludge issue just updating to the PCV # 6 is not enough unless you know for sure that there’s no sludge build in the engine. You can use an engine flush as well as using full synthetic eng. Oil but that’s no guarantee. Mostly all of us here on the forum pull the sump or get it done because we want to know for sure. These are some pictures of an engine that was on its way out due to sludge. It ran but the oil light kept flickering, the engine could've been saved but the car was purchased as a parts car.






 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
i don't want to take anything apart because this car runs fine and has absolutely no oil leaks. What I did do as soon as I received this car, (perhaps a bit excessive) is:
(1) drained the oil and installed a new filter and quality Dino oil.
(2) Drove the car on a short approx 60 KM round trip.
(3) Changed the oil again (dino) and filter and also put in a ltr. of engine flush and let it idle for half hour.
(4) Drained the oil again and installed yet another new filter and 4 ltrs of pure 5w-30 synthetic oil.
(5) Then installed new plugs, air filter and a GAS FILTER
(6) Installed the PCV update Kit.
The previous owner advised that they also since new had only installed synthetic oil, but who really knows at what intervals. However the car runs fine, it starts at the touch of the key, does not smoke at all and seems to get fantastic MPG. I just hope now that I didn't jinx it by stating the above.
ALSO of interest is that I priced and then bought all my parts including the PVC update Kit ($70) from my local GM dealer for less $$$ then I was quoted from auto-parts stores on the web.
 

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i don't want to take anything apart because this car runs fine and has absolutely no oil leaks. What I did do as soon as I received this car, (perhaps a bit excessive) is:
(1) drained the oil and installed a new filter and quality Dino oil.
(2) Drove the car on a short approx 60 KM round trip.
(3) Changed the oil again (dino) and filter and also put in a ltr. of engine flush and let it idle for half hour.
(4) Drained the oil again and installed yet another new filter and 4 ltrs of pure 5w-30 synthetic oil.
(5) Then installed new plugs, air filter and a GAS FILTER
(6) Installed the PCV update Kit.
The previous owner advised that they also since new had only installed synthetic oil, but who really knows at what intervals. However the car runs fine, it starts at the touch of the key, does not smoke at all and seems to get fantastic MPG. I just hope now that I didn't jinx it by stating the above.
ALSO of interest is that I priced and then bought all my parts including the PVC update Kit ($70) from my local GM dealer for less $$$ then I was quoted from auto-parts stores on the web.
Definitely a different approach I don’t see a problem doing it that way.
 

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Double oil changes and using a flushing additive is a great idea. I am doing all changes now at 10,000km too.

Looks like you have the thing all sorted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Double oil changes and using a flushing additive is a great idea. I am doing all changes now at 10,000km too.

Looks like you have the thing all sorted.
Would suggest you change the oil at 5,000 km (3,000 miles) intervals. I have been doing this with all my cars over the years. Many years ago I remember an old oil commercial which went something like this "pay a little every so often now or pay a lot later".
 
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