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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2005 9-3 Linear, 87K miles. I had an issue where it was losing coolant and to make a very long story short, it turned out that the coolant was going into the oil, apparently due to a porous engine block. Mechanic managed to get the oil (sludge) out and put new oil in and we added GM seal tabs which seemed to help the coolant loss quite a bit. Everything seemed fine for about a month and now suddenly the car is losing oil at a very rapid rate. Mechanic says it is just do to the damage caused by having the sludge/oil starvation, says he has never even had a car engine survive after oil that looked like that, and he is surprised mine still runs at all. However, he says I should probably trade it in if I don't want to get a new engine, and that a new engine would cost about $4000 or so. He predicts that I will be adding 1-3 quarts of oil a week if I don't. Is there any hope or should I just try to drive it into a tree?
 

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When you say new do you mean new or a used engine from a junk yard?

$4K seems awfully high to me. You should be able to get a complete used engine with similar mileage for under $1K and maybe $1500 for labor on a bad day.

Also if you really want a new engine Neo Brothers in the UK has complete engines at great prices and say they can ship to US at competitive prices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks, I definitely meant used engine. I guess maybe I should investigate that myself as opposed to going by what the mechanic said. This is way out of my league, but it seems to me like it would be worthwhile to sink $2500 into a car with 87K as opposed to buying another car.
 

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Hopefully others will chime in with their opinions on pricing.
 

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car-part.com

You can find engines on there with around 100,000 on them for around 500-600 dollars.

Try to source out a friend or board member and install it with them. $4,000 is highway robbery.

Also if your mechanic says he has never seen a car's engine survive the sludging he found, why did he do the service and likely charge you to begin with?

Find someone else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The price they had quoted me of $4K was for the engine itself, based on a couple of calls they had made. Not sure what they charge for the install. They are not Saab mechanics, but there is no Saab specialist here locally any longer. I am just worried about throwing good money after bad at this point. Maybe this car is just a lemon and will continue to give me fits after replacing the engine for other reasons or the new engine could have the same issues as the old one.
 

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The price they had quoted me of $4K was for the engine itself, based on a couple of calls they had made. Not sure what they charge for the install. They are not Saab mechanics, but there is no Saab specialist here locally any longer. I am just worried about throwing good money after bad at this point. Maybe this car is just a lemon and will continue to give me fits after replacing the engine for other reasons or the new engine could have the same issues as the old one.

Well that is a risk you have to weigh. I can say, that the Saab 2.0T/t is a decent vehicle that generally has a driveable lifespan of a few hundred thousand miles.

Since you are not changing anything that is not electronically Saab specific, anyone with know how could perform the engine swap. There is no magic to the mechanical side of SAABs.
 

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Definitely worth getting a used engine and having that put in VS a new car. Do some shopping and research. Definitely use a different mechanic as advised. If possible for you keep the old engine which you may be able to use or sell for parts at some point
 

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I've gone the used engine before and found one with fewer miles than the one which came out. Go for it. Swapping engines isn't "rocket surgery."
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
An update to this story is that it has now been a week and I still haven't had to add any oil, it is nearly to the full line on the dipstick. However, there is quite a bit of smoke and a bad odor which I assume is oil. Is there something else that could be going on?
 

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Smoke out the exhaust pipe or from engine compartment? Has a compression test been done?
 

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OP, did you have this car since new? Or did you buy it used? Is it paid off? I ask because if you know the service history of this car it would help you make a more educated decision about whether or not to keep it.

If the car is in otherwise good condition, then $2500 - $3000, though painful, is still sensible to spend on the repairs. That money is a year (or less) worth of car payments.

I am also an advocate of having no car payment. It really is great, but there's certainly added work, in the form of maintainence and repairs.

The only thing I would add - is the cost and quality of your time. Both time you would take to maintain the Saab and time the Saab is out of service (planned vs. un-planned).

Eventually there's a tipping point and that point is different for everyone. For me, its when I worry that a car may leave me stranded. I had a '98 Jeep that I bought 2nd hand @ 110k with a questionable early life (it was cheap). I threw in the towel at 160k - as it had left me stranded multiple times and was not a reliable form of transportation. (I figured I had a motorcycle in a pinch, yeah try riding in Feb in CT. I did, it sucks.) But I got 50k out of it and 3 years for a cost of $3,000 (purchase price + repairs - sale of it). Certainly better than 3 years of car payments, so it wasn't all bad.

Personally, if you've owned this 2005 for the majority of its life (so you know how its been driven and treated) I would keep it. At least for a few more years. At 87k there's still plenty of servicable life in the Saab and its not so old / high milage that you'd worry much about it stranding you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've only had the car for about 18 months. It had 67K miles when I bought it, so I have put 20K on it in that time. I did pay cash for it, $7000. I'm like you, no interest in a car payment, and anything I would buy to replace would probably be a cash purchase in that same price range. In the midst of the recent repairs they had also replaced the oil pressure sensor, but at the time they had said that a leak that large was not likely to have been caused by that. Well, in light of the fact that it hasn't used any oil in over a week, they are now saying that maybe it was just the oil pressure sensor after all and the smell and smoke are just residual oil that had spilled burning off. There are still problems from the original oil starvation, mainly a clicking noise from time to time, but maybe if I'm lucky it is stable enough to nurse along for a while longer before I have to make any big decisions.
 

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I've only had the car for about 18 months. It had 67K miles when I bought it, so I have put 20K on it in that time. I did pay cash for it, $7000. I'm like you, no interest in a car payment, and anything I would buy to replace would probably be a cash purchase in that same price range. In the midst of the recent repairs they had also replaced the oil pressure sensor, but at the time they had said that a leak that large was not likely to have been caused by that. Well, in light of the fact that it hasn't used any oil in over a week, they are now saying that maybe it was just the oil pressure sensor after all and the smell and smoke are just residual oil that had spilled burning off. There are still problems from the original oil starvation, mainly a clicking noise from time to time, but maybe if I'm lucky it is stable enough to nurse along for a while longer before I have to make any big decisions.
You need to find a local board member and have them give it a once over. Guessing and or using the same garage is poor decision making. If a car was blowing through oil as quickly as you say, you should easily be able to see where it was coming from.

I'd get a scope in the crankcase and cylinders to check for scoring and metal pieces. I would also pay a shop to do a leak down and compression test.
 

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I'd say drive it, keep an eye on it, and see what happens. You have nothing to lose by doing that. If there's damage to the crank or bearings, it's already done.

You may find out that it's OK...or you may buy a few months before you are forced to replace the engine.
 
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