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I have had this marvelous MidnightBlue (mica) 9 5 Aero sedan for over five years. It is undoubtedly the finest vehicle I'v ever owned. Its two previous owners were both ASE certified and the earlier of the two was described by the person from whom my wife and I purchased it as "A certified Saab Freak". He also happened to be Service Manager at a Puget Sound area Saab dealership until the demise. When we bought the car it came with a 4" thick ring binder with receipts for every major and most minor work that had ever been performed on the beauty. Now the bad news: The Friday following Crhistmas I was returning home with a trunk full of bagged pellets for our pellet stove when, about 3 - 4 miles from home it started running a wee bit rough. Thinking it might be the coil pack (again) I quickly pulled into the lot at a mini-mart/gas station and after shutting the engine down, popped the hood. The first thing I notices was a bit of oil that had blown out the filler tube. Obviously, Not the coil pack! Towed it to the shop that has been doing the work on it for several years and thefollowing Monday was informed that I have a hole in a piston. I found several on eBay Motors (VIN 8th letter "G"). It occurred to me that you folks might be able to point me in the direction of a reputable source of a good used engine. My wife and I have some serious financial restrictions in that I ahve my SS Benefits (retired) and she has a part time job . The upshot is, we have no disposable income to speak of. We are soon to file our tax return and, hopefully, we will have enough to purchase an engine and have it delivered. In the mean time, I have started a GoFundMe campaign (Click here to support Saab Story organized by David Rapp) in hopes of jumpstarting the engine swap. Any advice or pointers would be appreciated
 

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you don't REALLY need to find a "G" engine to put into the car. The non-Aero engines have only two difference from the "E" engines:
  • The turbocharger, which of course won't come with any used engine you buy. you'll be using your old one anyway so this is a non-issue for you
  • The B235R on some years used sodium-filled valve stems to apparently deal with the excess heat from the higher output. However there are dozens of people on this forum, myself included, who have installed E engines in Aero cars and have had no issues with the higher output. And even if you do care about this, you could put the Aero head on the E engine and be right back in business. The bottom end is identical on the cars.

Last time I did this (about a year ago) I sourced a used engine from ebay for about $600 delivered. I should have taken the time to replace all of the gaskets and seals and re-sealed the timing cover since I found about 3 months later that it was leaking and the engine had to come out again since it was making a mess out of my driveway.

The time before I sourced an engine from a u-pull junkyard in California, brought the engine home, put new rings, main bearings, a timing chain, and all new gaskets in it. The good news was that the engine was $149 and I pulled it myself. The parts set me back another $600 or so all in. While I was at it, I did the clutch, release bearing/slave and pressure plate that aded another couple of hundred. Car ran awesome after.

BTW, Both were Aero cars and both engines were "E" engines, including the heads.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks unclemiltie. That's good to know.I will go take another look at eBay motors and see if there might be a low mileage "E" engine. I was wondering about the gasket issue as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi unclemiltie,
I have located an engine nearby from a 2004 95 Aero. How big of a hassle would it be to use it in my 2001 95 Aero?
 

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The PCV is entirely different so make sure you get all of the PCV plumbing. You will also need the throttle body and Cobra pipe because they are different due to the PCV

If you can, get the wiring harness since depending on your year, you might have to splice the connector for one of the sensors. Although I think that is only an issue with 99 cars

But other than the PCV it will surely work
 

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The Cobra pipe is that pipe that runs from the turbo inlet up to the rubber gaiter that connects to the MAF. it kind of looks like a snake and thus that is how it got its "name"

the one from the 2001 has a threaded banjo bolt in the top of it that comes from the PCV system putting oil fumes from the crankcase into the intake stream to be burned. the one from the 2004 and onward has one of those plastic push-in fittings (like on the hard line for your brake booster to the manifold)

So you need that as well as the plumbing that goes to the throttle body, the oil catch on the back, etc.
 

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Oh, and if you're going to do this yourself... It is entirely possible (and desirable in fact) to take the engine out the top without the transmission if you have an automatic. that way you don't have to take the front suspension apart. What comes with it is the turbo, exhaust manifold, cobra pipe and water pump. you have to disconnect the alternator and set it aside, the lower alternator support bracket (that holds the drive axle) and you leave the AC compressor connected and in the car as well as the power steering pump. you have to move the transmission over an inch or so to get past it but then up the engine comes.

if you have a manual the engine and transmission have to come out as a unit (from the top) but teh good news is that you can leave the starter and alternator on the engine, bad news is that you have to pull the axles and drain the transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
unclemiltie,
You are a treasure trove. Thank you so much. Do you have any leads on an engine, by chance?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
unclemiltie,
Just a thought - how about 4 new pistons, new rings, bearings, and timing chain(s)? Leave the head alone. put it back in with new thermostat and gasket set and call it good. Would that make sense?
David
 

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"how about 4 new pistons, new rings, bearings, and timing chain(s)"

you really don't know until you take it apart to see what damage was done when the pistons cratered. pieces of metal bouncing around can make a mess of a lot of stuff. And once you get into machine shop work you're getting closer to it being simpler, cheaper and easier to just put an engine in.

But you could start by pulling the head and pan off and then pulling that piston that is busted up. If you don't have damage to the bottom of the head and/or valves and you don't have scoring on the cylinder walls you certainly could get a matching piston a new set of rings and a new head gasket and be done. (and this can be done with the engine in the car (even the cylinder hone for the new rings) ! IF you do this I'd consider putting a new set of rod and main bearings in since you've got the engine apart and they're reasonably cheap. At that point as long as there isn't damage you should be good to go for a long time.

Saab did have three sizes of pistons (A, B and AB) as well as two manufacturers so you have to make sure that what you're getting matches up. Same with connecting rods, one kind had bolts to hold the caps on the others had studs and nuts, those have to match too.

that said, I have 4 good pistons (only 3 good rods), a good block and a head that is in fine shape except it may have a bent valve or two from setting it down on the ground lying around and I'll make you a good deal on them! the only thing that was bad on that engine was the crank and a rod from when it spun a rod bearing. So with your crank and the other bits like endplates, timing gears, etc you could make a good one. (as an example above, the cost to grind the crank alone on my car would have been almost $300 and I spent $600 for the whole engine and sold some of the bits after I was done. )
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I will meet with my mechanic and see what damage is present. From what he said after they had evaluated it it is just a hole in a piston. The engine made no noises when it started running rough. I had it shut down in less than 2 minutes. If it is minor we may need to talk about pistons. :)
 

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If you haven't scored the cylinder walls you may just need a single piston to get back in business.

the block deck is marked with letters next to each hole indicating which size piston you need. The marks are A or B indicating A or B pistons. Later designs allowed for a single piston marked AB into either hole. I'm pretty sure that the pistons that I have are A and made by Mahle. They're at my dad's house so I'd have to go out there to look.

The pistons themselves are marked as well, if you think of the piston side nearest the firewall as 12:00 then the marks are at about 11:00 and just inside the ridge for the indentation in the piston.
 
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