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Discussion Starter #1
Just took my '93 9000 CSE Turbo in for a checkover before possible road trip.

One thing I was concerned about was that the "check engine" light had come on. This happened the same day an express oil change shop had begun cleaning out the fuel lines on my car. They stopped when they realized that my car was a turbo, because the additives they used would've hurt the turbo and then the engine. However, they did spray some surface cleaner into the air intake valve before stopping.

After taking the car into a Saab mechanic (not a dealer) for a complete checkover a couple days later, the mechanic said that the initial problem with the engine light was that someone (I presume the express oil guy) had accidentally unplugged something under the hood.

He also said, though, that after running the car through the computer, it inidicated that my MAP sensor was out, and would need to be replaced. (I believe he also said that this was also triggering the check-engine light.) He quoted a price of around $160.00 for a new one, and about $80.00 for a used one. He noted that there would be no labor charges because it was such a quick operation. He didn't think it was possible that the express-oil guy messed this up, because of its location.

Aside from that, he said that the brakes would need to be replaced, and the rotors reground.

A couple questions:

I decided to hold off on the MAP sensor, being short on cash and wanting some other estimates. (The MAP sensor apparently helps regulate the fuel/air mixture flowing into the engine. It therefore apparently affects performance, but is not essential in the way that brakes are.) When I picked up the car, the engine light was out, indicating that the MAP sensor was not in fact triggering the engine light, and only the "unplugged" item was.

First question -- what exactly does the MAP sensor do, and how much should a replacement cost? I didn't notice any problems in performance before taking the car in. However, I have since noticed that the car is taking much longer to shift into high gear on the freeway.

Second Question -- is it possible the express oil guy messed up the MAP sensor when he started doing the air intake cleaning? If so, I'd like to make him pay for it.

Third question -- how important is it to regrind the rotors when replacing brakes?

Fourth question -- Do front disk brakes usually go before rear disk brakes? I just had the front brake pads changed at a closer shop, but just realized that the rear brakes may be an issue as well. Does a 93 9000 CSE have all disk brakes, or just on front?


Finally -- I had expressed concern about a grinding noise coming from under the car during slow acceleration, and asked the initial mechanic to check it out during his inspection. He eventually noted that it was due to a loose bracket which he had replaced, at a stated cost of $75.00. My question -- I had only authorized the initial checkover for a stated price of $75.00. While the repair may seem minor to many, it doubled the cost of the service, and was not authorized. When I spoke with them, I expressed my surprise that they had performed any unauthorized service. The mechanic explained that the car was up on the lift, I had not yet called back, so they figured they would go ahead and do it. He also said I would not have to pay for it if I didn't want to.

My question then -- does this seem shady, or reasonable? I can undertstand them wanting to perform a quick and easy repair when the car is already up for the checkover and they want to save me time and money. On the other hand, it doesn't seem like replacing a bracket should cost that much anyway, given that the car is already up. Again, I realize $75.00 is not a lot of money for most people, but I'm a little leery of taking my car to a place where they do unauthorized work and then just add it into the bill, especially when it doubles my expected outlay.

Also, I called within four hours after they called my house, so that seems like a strange reason to give as well. Normally, of course, I would expect that any repair shop would wait for authorizaition before doing anything, regardless of how long it took for the cutomer to respond. (They intially weren't even sure what day they would be able to get to it, so in that context my response time doesn't seem that long.)

Anyway, the fact that the mechanic said I wouldn't have to pay for it has kept me from completely mistrusting them, and for now I have in fact just paid for the intial checkover. How do others feel about this situation? While I don't generally believe in getting benefits I haven't paid for, the truth is that I probably would've told the guy to hold off on the bracket for the time being, so I could put the money into the brakes.

Finally -- the "check engine" light has come back on, about a week after picking the car up from the mechanic. Could this be due to the MAP sensor? If so, why wasn't the light on when I picked up the car? If it's something else, why didn't the mechanic pick up on it during his intial checkover?

This, and the fact that the car is taking longer to shift gears, is starting to bug me. Part of me is afraid that the mechanic might be the kind of person that screws up people's cars so they have to get additional repairs done. However, this seems unnecessarily paranoid. (This guy is also the main, perhaps only, non-dealer Saab Mechanic in Ann Arbor, a town with a lot of Saabs.)

Any inights?
 

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:nono; The service part of your story sounds and smells like fish. I would be reluctent to take my car back to the same shop. His diagnosis doesn't seem consistent with what is actually happening with your SAAB.

My gut reaction is always.....if it doesn't feel right-get out quick.

I would be suspect of his doing the $75.00 work without authorization, then offering to let it slide. Sometimes guilt takes over the tongue with some mechanics. :-??

Since his alimony payment is due every week, maybe he was counting on your repeat business. :nono;

d.wolfe
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, I'm going to avoid that shop for awhile, at least until I get some good references. It just seems like its hard to be sure about any mechanic until you really get to know them.
 

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I'm not as expert as some in this forum but I will have a go at your questions.

First of all the mechanic would have turned off or reset the check engine light when he had the car hooked to his OBD (on board diagnostics) so it's possible the map sensor could still trigger it.

1. To the best of my very limited knowlege, the map (manifold absolute pressure) sensor measures the pressure in the intake manifold relative to the outside pressure which allows the computer to adjust the fuel/air mixture as needed. As far as the cost I don't know. I would just call around and check the web. Your shifting problem will not be related to the map sensor. It will be something to do with the transmission; perhaps something as simple as low fluid.

2. I don't believe the oil guy could have done anything to the map sensor. I suppose it' possible he could have knocked the vaccum hose loose but I seriously doubt it. Actually it would be easy enough for you to check the hose and the wiring plug connection yourself. If the vaccum hose is loose or cracked it would be an easy fix.

3. Rotors don't need to be turned with every pad change. Unless there is excessive wear or you have noticed a shimmy when you apply the breaks you should be okay. To check the rotor condition just remove the wheel and inspect them. They should be smooth and shiny except for some slight rippling perhaps. If they need to be turned it's not too terribly difficult to remove them depending on to what extent you are comfortable with working on your car and having them turned is pretty cheap. But whether you do it or have someone else do it I would be sure to first ask what the rotor thickness is. It's not too uncommon for some places to say that they're too thin to be turned. The minimum specs for the rotors are: front - 21.5mm/rear - 7.5mm. I have a friend who measured his rotors before taking them to be turned and the guy tried to tell him they couldn't be turned and he needed new ones. My friend asked for a micrometer and measured them again right there and of course there was enough left to be turned. Turns out the guy didn't know how to use or read a micrometer so to avoid looking like an idiot he tried to sell my friend new rotors. It didn't work. Don't just assume everyone who works in a parts store or shop knows as much as they would have you believe.

4. Front pads do wear out before rear because they do most of the work. Since you recently had them replaced you should be fine but it's easy to check. Again just pull off the wheel. Pad specs: front & rear - 4mm. To my knowlege all 9k's have discs all around.

The only "bracket" that I can think of that your mechanic could have replaced and then say "no charge" would be the rubber support bracket for the exhaust. If that's the case 75 bucks is pretty steep considering it takes 2 seconds to replace. Did he show you the bracket?

While I don't know all the specifics and I don't want to dis anyone I don't know, it seems to me that it's possible the mechanic could have been trying to pad his diagnosis. (no pun intended)

The last part of your "note" ;-) I believe I addressed as well as I could earlier.

Again let me say that I am no expert and I'm sure others will offer better advice. What I know comes from doing (mainly because I'm too poor to pay someone else and, like you, I am always a bit wary of mechanics I don't know) I would just say this; When you have work done, talk to the mechanic. Ask lots of questions. Get to know him a little. If he seems put out by your questions I would consider going elsewhere. All the good mechanics I know are happy to answer your questions and will explain and show you what they are going to do and even give you the old parts that were replaced. The more you ask, the more you learn about your car which will help prevent being taken advatage of.

I hope some of this helps you.

Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the info -- it's helpful.

I'm a little pissed because my stopping power is still really weak, even though I just had the front pads replaced. It's worse than it was two weeks ago, before I took the car in for the diagnostic. (I had the pads done somewhere else, but told them to hold off on the rotor.)

Interestingly, I never noticed any brake squeal until after the shop told me I needed new brakes. Then, suddenly, they started acting up -- making noise and losing stopping power.

They're quiet now, but it just takes awhile to stop (longer than before.) Could this just be because of damage to the rotor, or are there other things I could do to improve the braking power?

I'm not sure what's causing the engine light, but its damn funny that I drove the car five thousand miles with no light, and then had it go on a few hours after having the oil guy play with the engine. Also, the light was out for about five days before coming back on after the diagnostic visit.

I'm thinking I'm just going to avoid mechanics altogether -- they seem to be causing all the problems with my car. ;^)
 

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Wolverine, if you switch on the ignition (but don't start the engine) and wait 15 seconds or so, does the light start flashing? If so, it will flash a number of times, then repeat. Number of flashes - 2 sec pause - number of flashes - 2 sec pause, etc. Count the flashes, and if there is more than one code, they will be flashed in series. Eventually, you will get a 3 second pause and the cycle will start to repeat and you will have all the codes.

2 flashes - MAP sensor
3 flashes - Intake air temperature sensor
4 flashes - Coolant temperature sensor
5 flashes - Throttle position sensor
6 flashes - Oxygen sensor (lambda probe)
7 flashes - Fuel-air mixture
8 flashes - EVAP valve

These codes aren't as detailed as the ones the dealer can read from his scan tool, but will tell you the general area that the system is worried about.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow - that's really cool. I'll check it out.

Okay, I'm getting five quick flahes, then one long flash, then five quick flashes. I guess the long flash is the pause?

Throttle Position sensor. That doesn't sound too serious. The oil guy was saying my throttle cable was loose -- maybe that's all it means. If so, that doesn't sound that bad.
 

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Brakes

Wolverine-

I would be concerned about the brakes immediately. It's really hard to stop 1.5 tons of steel quickly when they are not functioning properly.

Have you had the rotors previously turned down? Buy a micrometer at any auto parts store and measure the thickness.
You already have the specs.

Years ago, I was afraid of working on my brakes, but with the help of a good (Haynes) service manual, I discovered that it is pretty simplistic stuff. I do all of my own brake work

If you are not confident yet in doing so, find a good brake shop and walk thru the diagnostic process with them.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Do you turn your own rotors? How do you do that?

Can you change brakes by just removing the wheel? You don't need to put the car up on a lift?

Where do you get your parts?
 

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You won't be able to turn the rotors yourself. They have to be machine ground but many auto parts places and some shops will do it. I would call around.

The car doesn't need to be on a lift but you do need to put it up on jack stands. I would also suggest the Haynes manual. If it is going to be your first time to do it just remember to go slowly and deliberately. It gets easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Anyone know where the throttle sensor would be, and what might be wrong with it?

One more thing -- I was poking under the hood, trying to get a sense of what might be wrong, and I noticed that the very wide hose that connects directly to the engine from the right was not clamped on. In fact, it was basically just resting loosely against the engine -- not clamped on at all. (It connects to the engine from my right when facing the front of the car, looking under the hood.)

I properly connected this hose and tightened the bracket. Couple Q's -- how would something like this affect the car? Second, isn't this something that a good mechanic would've noticed? Or this this hose something that could've blown off easily during driving?

I'm thinking it may have something to to with the air intake system, which the oil guy was trying to clean.

Damn it's annoying -- I guess I will have to learn more about how to to fix my own car. It's just too expensive and frustrating otherwise, especially when people do stuff like that.
 

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Get the Haynes manual at Borders or Barnes & Noble. If not in stock order it(normally their local warehouse will have)

Not trying to speak for everyone, but alot of us cut our teeth using Haynes manuals. They are excellent to walk you thru any repair and learn where and what each engine part does.

If you have an Advanced Auto, Autozone, or Pepboys, they can turn your rotors to spec on the spot.
 

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I assume you have traction control on a US-spec '93 CSE turbo (2.3 turbo?)

If the throttle position sensor is faulty, I'd expect to see the "TCS CTRL" light on permanently or at least very often.

The throttle cable is supposed to be "loose" on a car with TCS as the throttle is normally controlled electronically and the mechanical cable is only there as a backup if the system fails.

That hose being loose will have been leaking all your boost so your engine will have effectively been operating as a non-turbo and not performing very well. It shouldn't pop off under any circumstances if the clip is tightened properly. Sounds like someone forgot to tighten it.

Perhaps lack of boost was something to do with why the transmission wasn't shifting as expected?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hey, Bill, thanks for the response.

I do have TCS on my '93 9000 CSE Turbo 2.3.

This would explain the loose throttle cable.

I did not know the TCS was related to throttle control -- why does traction interact with throttle in that way?

I have heard horror stories about the TCS system on this board and on the internet. Hopefully it's nothing major.

Interestingly, my TCS light did come on for the first time a few days ago, when I tried to start my car. (After going to the oil place and the mechanic.) However, after turning the car off and back on, it went away. That was the only time I've seen it since getting the car.

I had a feeling that hose would relate to air intake and turbo boost. It does seem to be a little less sluggish now. My only concern is that it may have been intentionally removed for a reason in the past.

I'll pay attention to boost/shifting and see if there's a difference. I was wondering this myself, though I don't really know what makes an auto trans shift (I assume a certain amount of RPM's or speed triggers something.)

I probably will pick up that Haynes Manual at some point just so I can understand my car a little better.

PS: What do you guys think of using additives to clean fuel lines? Is this ever helpful or necessary? Is there a better way to clean lines and improve fuel economy / boost?

Also, for DWolfe -- how much would it cost to have one of those chains just turn my rotors? Since I just got the pads, can I get away with keeping them and just having the rotors turned? I do want better braking power. Thanx.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Update on shfting, accelleration, boost

Just though I'd put this out there in case anyone had a similar problem.

As noted, my accelleration and power/boost had been weak (this was especially notable when entering and trying to get up to speed on the freeway.) My shifting was also delayed, which further impeded power and accelleration.

I had noticed that hose was disconnected earlier, and thought it might be an issue. However, it wasn't clear if the car was running better afterwards.

Recently, the above problems were especially noticeable again, and after lifting the hood, I noticed that the hose had come loose again. I'm not sure if there's a problem with the hose, the clamp, or maybe something else that's creating more blow-back, but it didn't seem to want to stay on.

However, I reattached it and paid careful attention to the symptoms described earlier. (I also rotated the clamp slightly in case its positioning against another part was an issue.)

There is no question that my power, accelleration, and shifting has vastly improved, and is apparently back to normal. Instead of running like a weak non-turbo with no compression, my car is zipping up to 80 with no problem, and the shifting is again occurring in the butter-like manner it used to.

I just thought that anyone else who experienced similar problems might want to know about this, as it might help them avoid a costly visit to the repair shop.
 
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