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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey everyone, I recently acquired a 1994 Saab 900 SE with the 2.5 V6. My last car was a Subaru Impreza, and even though I loved it to death, I had to part ways with it (plus, it has 226k on the clock). I've only had the Saab two weeks, but I love it already. Unfortunately, when I went out to start it this morning, it was giving me some problems, and now it won't start.

It fired right up on the first try, but much to my dismay I found it was making a horrible rattling sound under the hood (or at least as far as I could tell it was coming from under the hood). I immediately cut off the engine, and tried again. Still making the same sound. I cut off the engine again, and popped the hood. On the third try, it wouldn't start. The car was cranking, but the engine wasn't turning over. I later tried to jump it (even though I knew it was probably futile), but no luck.

The previous owner took good care of it, and it was running fine up until this morning, even last night when I drove it home. I guess some pertinent information might help. 175k, with about 110k from the last owner who bought a new Saab (still doesn't bother me, three of the last four cars I've driven on a regular basis all had over 200k - though one was a Toyota and the other two Subarus), 5 speed manual. The timing belt (and water pump) was done last year, as was the serpentine belt. The oil level was fine, and I didn't see any leaks (although it's been raining pretty steadily for the past couple days). Everything seems to be getting enough juice (electricity wise, anyway). The car has half a tank of gas in it, and I don't think I've run it low enough to blow the pump. I never do anyway, but especially not after my mom blew the fuel pump in her 9-5 a couple of weeks ago after running the tank too low. The SID isn't displaying any messages when the power is turned on.

This almost certainly isn't related, but the factory cassette player's on the fritz. It'll take my cassette adaptor, but after a while start flipping sides and spitting it out. It usually spits cassettes out when I hit a bump, too. I know it's probably not related, but it could perhaps be indicative of some kind of electrical problem (like in a Ford Taurus I used to have - the radio was on the fritz and the transmisson sensor was to blame)?

In any case, I hope someone out there has some insight. I'm going to take it in to a shop on Monday, but maybe someone has had some experience with a similar problem. If this is the second car on me to go in the past two months, I'm just going to stick to riding my bike(s) everywhere.
 

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Read one of my old post

Hopefully your engine didn't do what these pictures show. When you say the timing belt and water pump were done last year, does it say anywhere that the timing belt tensioner was changed as well? The timing belt tensioner was the achilles heel for the 2.5L V6 Opel engine (what you have). As shown in my photos, the bearing literally exploded in one of the tensioners pully. This is the absolute worst thing that could have happened to your engine. Cranking the starter only make it worse. The third photo down where the red arrow is, is the whole timing belt tensioner unit, its a big one peice thing. Cost me $700 for the entire timing belt kit from a Saab dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I haven't excluded that possibility, but I'm hoping that's not the case. It's exactly what happened to my Subaru, although that belt didn't break. I did notice a lead up to the catastrophic sound on the Subaru, however, whereas the Saab was a sudden occurance, and I didn't hear any noises until yesterday morning. Unfortunately, it sounds strikingly similar to the timing belt pulley. I'll have to inquire.

Would the belt breaking/dislodging cause a big jolt to the engine? Clearly it would prevent the engine from firing, but I didn't feel any kind of sudden vibration or anything like that, and the engine didn't actually cut off until I shut it off.
 

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To tell you the truth I don't actually have experience with a timing belt failure with an interference engine, so I don't know what it would have sounded like prior to the failure. I've only snapped a timing belt on a non-interference engine and when that happened the engine just shut off and I coasted to a stop.
 

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cachaa said:
I haven't excluded that possibility, but I'm hoping that's not the case. It's exactly what happened to my Subaru, although that belt didn't break. I did notice a lead up to the catastrophic sound on the Subaru, however, whereas the Saab was a sudden occurrence, and I didn't hear any noises until yesterday morning. Unfortunately, it sounds strikingly similar to the timing belt pulley. I'll have to inquire.

Would the belt breaking/dislodging cause a big jolt to the engine?Yes, when an engine locks up due to valve interference, a bang or jolt should be expected. Clearly it would prevent the engine from firing, but I didn't feel any kind of sudden vibration or anything like that, and the engine didn't actually cut off until I shut it off.Then, going by this, nothing major is amiss..[/QUOTE]

And, are we saying that the serpentine belt was changed , but the troublesome tensioner was not ??
Who did this ??
Is this another communications breakdown ??
 

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earthworm said:
And, are we saying that the serpentine belt was changed , but the troublesome tensioner was not ??
Who did this ??
Is this another communications breakdown ??
Its not necessarly mandatory that the tensioner be changed at every timing belt change, I mean I would change it at every timing belt change, but its not necessary. There are two timing belt kits available for the V6, one that includes the tensioner and one that only has the belt and the idler pully. Perhaps the last technician saw no reason to change the tensioner because it may have already been the updated model or the previous owner didn't have the cash to authorize it; you just don't know what the decision was at the time of the last belt change.
 

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For all I know, this car could have the original tensioner and timing belt idler...if so, then it is not bad at all..

I think GM makes these engines better than she is given credit for... .There is too much unknown- but with little or no service records and multiple owners...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
earthworm said:
cachaa said:
I haven't excluded that possibility, but I'm hoping that's not the case. It's exactly what happened to my Subaru, although that belt didn't break. I did notice a lead up to the catastrophic sound on the Subaru, however, whereas the Saab was a sudden occurrence, and I didn't hear any noises until yesterday morning. Unfortunately, it sounds strikingly similar to the timing belt pulley. I'll have to inquire.

Would the belt breaking/dislodging cause a big jolt to the engine?Yes, when an engine locks up due to valve interference, a bang or jolt should be expected. Clearly it would prevent the engine from firing, but I didn't feel any kind of sudden vibration or anything like that, and the engine didn't actually cut off until I shut it off.Then, going by this, nothing major is amiss..[/QUOTE]

And, are we saying that the serpentine belt was changed , but the troublesome tensioner was not ??
Who did this ??
Is this another communications breakdown ??
Well, the last owner took it primarily to two places that deal with a lot of Saabs/Volvos. I've only had the car two weeks, and I paged through the service records, so while I saw that the belts were done, I didn't see the whole scope of what was done, other than the water pump was done with the timing belt. I'm no [auto] mechanic (I do work in a bike shop, and I'm an engineering student, so I'm mechanically inclined), but I've got a good ear, and I didn't hear anything unusual until the day of the incident. Again, I'm no expert, but I theorize it could be the fuel pump? Are there any signs that the fuel pump is indeed bad? I looked at the price of the part on E Euro Parts, and saw that it wasn't cheap, but it'd still be cheaper than a new engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
earthworm said:
For all I know, this car could have the original tensioner and timing belt idler...if so, then it is not bad at all..

I think GM makes these engines better than she is given credit for... .There is too much unknown- but with little or no service records and multiple owners...
The last owner (I'm reasonably certain that he was the second owner, making me the third) actually kept very good maintenance records, and I've already contacted him to try and narrow down the possibilities. He seemed to be good at doing preventative/routine maintenance.
 
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