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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fitted with a new brake booster and master cylinder, my son headed off to college with his 2000 9-3 convertible linear with 99k miles. About 45 minutes into the 3 hour drive the vehicle started smoking profusely from the exhaust, causing a smoke screen on the highway. We checked the oil, which was low, and topped off. Upon starting, it continued to smoke but tapered off and I drove the car home. No noticeable smoking on the way home but as I slowed to an idle at a stoplight it seemed to want to die (slightly rough idle, skip). I put the car to bed since it was late. I started the car the next day and all seemed fine until it warmed up; then the smoke (very light blue to white) starting pouring from the exhaust again. I noticed a split crankcase breather hose. In fact both of the main hoses from the oil separator where soft, spongy, and split. I ordered the crankcase breather hose kit and am waiting for shipping to re-install these hoses, check valves, oil dump, etc. In the meantime I patched the hoses and started the vehicle but am still getting profuse amounts of blueish smoke from the exhaust. The smell of the smoke is like a mild burnt rubber tire smell. I've searched this forum and have gained valuable advise (e.g., bad turbo seals, pcv valve). I enjoy working on the car but would like to isolate the problem instead of trial-and-error parts replacement. I noted above that we replaced the brake booster. This was due to a fair amount of what appeared to be oil in the booster (based on consistency and odor). I pull the valve cover and seems to look normal for a 99k engine; all four plugs are fouled with burnt oil. The oil level goes quickly with all the smoking; I need to top off after several minutes of watching the smoke while trying to diagnose. As far as I can tell, she has thrown no engine codes; and the oil pressure lamp has not engaged. Idles fairly smooth but chokes quickly with a little push on the accelerator. Please help me narrow down the culprit as we are on a "putting a kid through college" budget. Also, if I can't nail down the problem is it okay to try to drive to nearest mechanic or will I damage his ride? Thanks in advance.
 

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Replace the PCV system ASAP with the upgraded version #6. I suspect that the brake booster failure was also related to the same issue. The brake booster hose was probably pushing oil to the booster and ruined it.

The fact the PCV hoses are that soft tell me you need to drop the oil pan ASAP and inspect for sludge. The blue smoke may also be a symptom of a turbo failure related to sludge. If the engine compression is normal and the PCV system replacement don't resolve the issue inspect the turbo.
 

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Good advice on the sludge inspection and the PVC system from Hkayssi.
Judging from the smoke color, I'd say that the turbocharger seals are worn out.
Is it possible to look inside the t-charger ?
One can do this indirectly by examining the induction hoses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the quick replies. The pcv/crankcase breather kit should arrive this Tue/Wed. Hope I ordered the correct versions (you said #6). I ordered the following from SAAB USA Parts:

Saab Crankcase Breather Kit (4cyl)(99-03 9-5)(00-02+03CV 9-3)
[BREATHERKIT]

Genuine Saab Crankcase Breather Kit. This is the breather renovation kit with instructions included. This is to remedy the oil leakage from the engine.

Please select model below to indicate which instruction set.

Note: for B205, B235 engines

Models:
1999-2003 9-5 All models with 4 cylinder engine
2000-2002 9-3 All models

In the meantime I'll attempt to have a look at the turbo to see if anything looks suspicious; although the turbocharger system is new to me.
 

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I would check the compression - you can rent a compression tester from Autozone for free - just to make sure the pistons/combustion chambers are OK. Judging by the fact that all four plugs are fouled up I would think it's the turbo seals - the turbo is "spitting" oil into the intake. Take off the charge pipes from the intercooler to the throttle body (easy to access, right on top) and check for oil there. You can also take the hose right off the turbo, the one on the discharge side of the compressor - that would paint a pretty good picture of the state your turbo is in.

Good luck with the repair.

And definitely check for sludge.
 

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I would check the compression - you can rent a compression tester from Autozone for free - just to make sure the pistons/combustion chambers are OK. Judging by the fact that all four plugs are fouled up I would think it's the turbo seals - the turbo is "spitting" oil into the intake. Take off the charge pipes from the intercooler to the throttle body (easy to access, right on top) and check for oil there. You can also take the hose right off the turbo, the one on the discharge side of the compressor - that would paint a pretty good picture of the state your turbo is in.

Good luck with the repair.

And definitely check for sludge.
Yeah but, since he already has bad PCV system components, it's more probable that a bad PCV system is letting oil escape through the crank case ventilation system to the combustion chambers thus leaving the blue smoke and foiled up plugs. The next probable cause would be bad oil seals on the turbo and the third is the bad rings causing low compression rates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Updated crankcase breather kit ... still blue smoke

Finally had a chance to update the 9-3 with the crankcase hose breather kit (#6). As I pulled the large intake hose from the throttle body and looked down into the throttle past the valve it was full of oil. After using a turkey baster to get the bulk of the oil out I started the car. As you might expect there was plenty of smoke for the entire neighborhood. After the plumes of smoke were somewhat under control I now get a steady stream of blue smoke out of the exhaust. She idles a little rough, actually smooth alternating with choking, but continues to idle without any push on the accelerator pedal. The check engine light flickered a bit (on and off a couple times). Then it went off for a little and now is steady burning. So I'm wondering what the next step would be (advice from the experts!). Is there still a heavy suspicion that it is the turbo/seal?
 

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If you found all 4 spark plugs oil fouled and oil in the throttle body, it could have only come from the turbo. You also have oil in the intercooler which will really degrade performance. You will to get this oil out when you replace the turbo. If you were burning lots of oil, the front O2 sensor may be shot... Ron
 

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I agree with the turbo diagnosis. The PCV system replacement/upgrade was a great idea, but now with the additional information its sounding like the turbo. If the old PCV was in poor shape as described, I would also be concerned about sludge. I'd consider dropping the oil pan to check for sludging and a clogged pickup screen as well. Good luck!
 

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Turbo.

...and I second dropping the pan, and removing the IC and the piping leading to the throttle body...
 

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Definitely do the compression test :
0.5 labor and a compression tester is a must for the successful DIY
Definitely do the sludge inspection
pull the valve cover and see how things look.
Another 15 easy minutes.... If so-so or worse, then inspect the oil screen.
If no sludge and good compression, then replace the turbo seals.
This is expensive.
 

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If it is determined to be a bad turbo - are you mechanically inclined enough to tackle a turbo replacement? If not, do you have a good indie shop who you can trust?

A rebuilt turbo runs around $600-700. A used one can be had for cheaper, but then you run the risk of its reliability. Going to the dealer on this one would be out of the question, as it would likely be in the multiples of thousands with their OEM-only parts prices and labor rates.

This job requires either DIY or a reputable indie shop that specializes in european cars (that wont rake you through the coals).
 

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On my 2000 9³ I flushed the oil pan and screen through the oil pump. While I didn't have any sludge I did flush out some pieces of the balance chain guide that had broken off. Had I seen a great deal of sludge I would have stripped it down.




Here's How I did it.
  1. Drain the oil through a permanent coffee filter ($4 at Wal-Mart) and see what the filter catches.
  2. Remove the oil pump
  3. Use a high pressure engine cleaner to back wash the screen then replace the plug.
  4. Fill the sump with a degreaser and let sit, pull the plug and drain. Repeat a few times until it starts running clean.
  5. Fill with dino oil and run it around for a few miles then change the oil and filter to the synthetic oil you want to run. I prefer Rotella T for Diesel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
All good advice; let me try to address the various posts. You may desire to freshen up your coffee/beverage (sorry for the detailed notes ahead of you). After the crankcase breather hose updates, and the initial smoking upon start-up, I let the car sit for a day. I started the car up with no problem, and initially no smoke. It didn't take but 5 minutes or less to begin the steady stream of smoke and irregular idle / mild choking.

1. I will check the compression; I've meant to get to this, I'm just trying to take each step wisely and do this correctly. I'm somewhat limited to weekends only for these DIY repairs.
2. I understand the potential for oil in the intercooler and a bad O2 sensor. I realize this needs to be flushed with the turbo repair and potential replace of the sensor. With oil in the throttle body and brake booster (first post on this thread) I can understand that oil is potentially deposited in anything connected to the various vaccum and breather lines. My question is, "What started all of the oil flow into places it doesn't normally belong?"
3. I mentioned earlier that I did remove the valve cover to have a look up top. The color was a beautiful metallic auburn/red/maroon ... probably not what it is supposed to be. I didn't notice any chunky sludge in the chain area but there appeared to be a slight gritty oil deposit/film near the top. Reminder that all four plugs were oil deposit laden. Would pictures help?
4. Regarding my DIY mechanical ability - I've done the following on various personal vehicles: standard brake jobs, radiator, altenators/generators, starting motors, water pump, fuel pumps, checked/adjusted timing, transmission (pan only), and things of this nature. I've not had much exposure to internal engine repairs (rings, pistons, valves) nor transmission/clutch. Never worked on a turbocharger. Do you think this past experience is enough to tackle what's in front of me? What are the best posts/threads for these repairs to give me an idea of any special tools, etc. to judge whether I have the means to tackle this?
5. There is a reputable shop in the area, experienced in european models; they are about a half-hour drive away. I assume I would need to tow the vehicle (i.e., not advised to try and drive it there)?
6. I've noticed new turbochargers for $500 - $900 on various sites. Is the GT1752 the correct replacement for this model? The first 10 digits of the VIN are - YS3DD78H5Y. There is advice to replace the turbo seals. Is this different than changing out the entire turbo itself?
7. Before I sink the cash into a new turbo, it is necessary to determine if other problems (e.g., sludge) were the original cause ... and therefore whether all of this is worth the time, effort, and cash (i.e., beyond hope)? Can I do a relatively simple "coat hanger" swipe of the oil pan as a quick check before going through the turbo purchase, or do I need to completely drop the pan and inspect?

I REALLY appreciate the replies. I enjoy reading your advice and have learned a bunch. Hopefully I can continue these repairs and get this beauty back on the road.
 

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7. Before I sink the cash into a new turbo, it is necessary to determine if other problems (e.g., sludge) were the original cause ... and therefore whether all of this is worth the time, effort, and cash (i.e., beyond hope)? Can I do a relatively simple "coat hanger" swipe of the oil pan as a quick check before going through the turbo purchase, or do I need to completely drop the pan and inspect?
The method I outlined above is a very simple test for sludge. Start by draining the oil through a $4 gold coffee filter. Go from there...
You could pull the valve cover and snap some pics if you'd like some opinions on the forum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Pics of oil drained and cam cover

I drained the oil through a coffee filter as suggested. There wasn't much solid matter at all; just a handful or less of very small particulate. I've taken a photo of this material. I didn't flush it yet. Also, I pulled the cam cover and took some photos of the cover and engine. There is one photo of the blue smoke; it smokes much more profusely now than it did when this photo was taken. Hopefully the following link will allow you to see the photos:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157622384971213/
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've drained the oil through the coffee filter as suggested. There was very little particulate in the coffee filter; really just 5-6 small/tiny pieces, each no larger than a grain of sand. The material was mainly soft; one piece was a very small shard of metallic. I pulled the valve/cam cover and took some photos. Currently I'm having trouble posting these photos (any suggestions?). I've not run the compression check yet.

I've read through the Haynes manual on turbo removal/refitting and it seems like a process I can tackle. Does it still seem to be a turbo issue (smoke) or should there be a concern with valves/pistons? If turbo, can I verify a GT1752 for this model before removing?
 

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I would definitely do the compression test before committing to a new turbo. The oil you were experiencing in your throttle body certainly points to the turbo though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Compression Results -195 across the board

I ran the engine compression test and yielded 195 on each of the four cylinders. Also, I then disconnected the crankcase breather hose from the turbocharger. The engine did not smoke profusely as it does with the breather hose connected; it just smokes mildly perhaps trying to rid the cylinders of all the deposited oil. Does this all now point to faulty turbocharger?
 
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