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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a '97 9000 Aero, which I discerned, with the guidance of the helpful people on this board, was suffering from a DI casette failure. Not having quite the technical know-how to fix it myself, I took it into the local Saab dealer. I told them I was having problems with acceleration, which was problem from a problem with the direct ignition casette.

Took it into the dealer, and sure enough, they diagnose it will having a failed DI casette and blown spark plugs. They also found a problem with the exhaust while working on it. I should have been a little more careful when the guy said "Saab's OEM exhaust system is ridiculously expensive, we'll just use an aftermarket one."

So, today, after a considerable amount of cash dropped for the repairs, I get the car back. And it is twice as bad as when I brought it in. Its got a new DI casette and new spark plugs, so the stuttering is no longer there during acceleration. HOWEVER- now the car will not go above base boost, at all.. it stops right near the beginning of the yellow section of the boost gauge as if it is hitting a brick wall. Plus, the g'damn exhaust system they "fixed" now has a noticeable rumble even at low speeds in the cabin with all windows closed.

Sorry for the long-winded post, it's just that I am frustrated after putting money into this that it comes back worse than before-I need to learn to do my own repairs, soon. But.. I was hoping you all might be able to at least help me diagnose the base boost problem. It has never happened before, so it was something the mechanics did that tripped it. Any ideas of what happened or how to fix it? Thanks so much

A very distressed Saab owner..
 

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well the base boost could be easy to fix so dont stress too much! With the apc unit wiring disconnected it wont go above base boost for a start, that could well be the problem. If they've done stuff you're not happy with, then maybe you should just go back and tell them, if the turbo was boosting right would you be unhappy with the exhaust, it sounds louder but is it a bad loud? Or does it just sound bad cos you're frustrated?

They should be able to tell you if the apc is knackered straightaway, if the exhaust is rubbish then get them to fit another, it might not have been fastened correctly so could be blowing or it might just be designed to be a loud one, some people prefer that, could be just changing the back box changes the sound. Good luck anyway

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response. Well, you are right, I would be much less worried about the exhaust if the turbo worked.. however it still sounds ridiculously loud compared to the stock one...

On the advice of someone from the Saabnet forum, I removed the 'W' hose from the BPC and took it for a spin, with the same base boost problem- which I believe indicates its a physical problem with the turbocharger rather than an electrical problem.. right?

Is the APC unit wiring something I can at least check on my own? I am really loathe to take this back to the dealer.. I just want it to run the way its supposed to! aggh

Any other ideas for troubleshooting the base boost? Thanks again
 

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Here's a tip from a Saab master mechanic friend, albeit for a '96 Aero...

Find an empty road. Pinch off the tube leading to the wastegate, and carefully accelerate, watching the boost gauge like a hawk.

If the boost quickly goes into the red, the turbo/input side is OK, and the wastegate is not stuck open. Wastegate spring may be weak, or boost control valve may be faulty.

If the boost gauge behaves as before, undo the pinch, connect the turbo output directly to the wastegate and try again. If no change on the boost gauge, the wastegate is stuck open or the turbo/input is faulty. If the boost gauge goes into the red, turbo is OK, wastegate may be ruptured or boost control valve may be faulty.

My guess at this time? Most likely is the APC valve, next the wastegate, next the turbo.

As far as the exhaust is concerned, my 96 Aero came with the 2 mufflers, one at the back and the other level with the front seats. When I "upgraded" this system to a non-Saab 3" performance version, this middle muffler was moved close to the back muffler, and the increase in cabin noise is now a real pain.
I once read somewhere that the size and position of the middle muffler is critical to a quiet operation, so I suspect your middle muffler was either removed completely or relocated. Just a guess. Go have a look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies, I'll have a look at the muffler. I think I basically did what your friend recommended, taking the wastegate hose out, and found the same problems.

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume the turbo is still OK, because it worked fine before I took it into the shop, other than the stuttering from the bombed DI casette (still hit red boost). I think I'm just going to take it back to the shop and have them see if they knocked anything loose while they were working on things..
 

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Another option

One more (wacko) thing you might wanna check is the resistances of the brake lights. Something I found out while I'm (still in the middle of) investigating my own low boost issue is that unless the brake light resistances match, the APC will think the brakes have been applied and open the wastegate at exactly the point you've mentioned (right at the top of the white section of the boost gauge.

Just one more thing to check...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
eclid- If I run the car with the 'W' hose disconnected, and get the same low boost, would rule out APC problems like that?
 

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Not sure... I'm not 100% solid on the whole electrical system yet. I guess if the turbo was spinning up with the W hose off, then you can rule out the bulbs, but if not, then the signal to the turbo isn't coming from the APC in the first place?
 

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I'm going to go out on a limb and assume the turbo is still OK, because it worked fine before I took it into the shop
That sounds like a good assumption - it then raises the possibility of a problem with the wastegate being stuck open. This might be due to a seized (bent or rusted) rod or, more likely, a missing wastegate rod connector clip. Would'nt be the first time a clip disappeared.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Follow up:
Sorry to keep bothering you guys, I'm trying to read up as much as I can and become independently knowledgeable about my own car. But as for now, you guys have been a great help..

I took it back to the dealer, told them there might be an issue with the wastegate, its not achieving anything past base boost. They call me back, tell me that the car was in an accident, and someone repaired the intercooler with a fiberglass one, which has cracked and is falling apart. Said nothing about the wastegate.

Do you guys think they are BSing me? I have owned the car for a year, no accidents whatsoever, and the carfax report was clean, with 2 prior owners (one was a 'fleet car' in NJ). I don't know if the dealer is:
a) incompetent, since they gave me the car back before with a base boost issue and said nothing of it (don't they test drive after repairs?); would a cracked intercooler cause base boost problems?
b) trying to bilk me for extra cash; quoted me $900 to replace the intercooler after they just replaced several other parts
c) telling me the sad truth; one of the prior owners got into a major accident and didn't report it, and attempted some shoddy repairs

What do you guys think? AGGGHH this car is tasting more and more like a lemon every day...
 

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That's really a tough break!

However, if the intercooler is so badly damaged that it's losing air pressure, that would certainly explain the loss of boost, i.e make it seem like you had a turbo problem.

The price of $900 sounds OK for a new intercooler, but long before that:

(a) Get a second opinion on the damage to the present intercooler,
(b) Check that the hose from the intercooler is firmly fitted to the intake
manifold, and does not have any obvious tears or damage.
(c) Used intercoolers are occasionally available for $50-$100 on ebay.
 

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It could be as simple as a broken vacuum hose or disconnected one.
Does it "sneeze" when you let off the accelerator under boost.
It happened to me the other day..
The hose connecting to the BPV broke.
So check all your vaccum lines.
Just my .02 hope it helps..
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, looks like it was the intercooler... Apparently a previous owner got in a small accident and cracked it, and did some DIY repairs with fiberglass which finally gave out. Hose to the intercooler was cracked in half, cracks on the intercooler, which was letting all the pressure from the turbo out

New intercooler and she should be back up and running

Thanks for the help all
 
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