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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I have an 02 9-3SE with the 2.0. The car has 155K on it and I’ve noticed a noise almost like a loud pulley. It’s coming from the front of the engine and is on the “pulley side” If you put your ear down near the intake tube you can hear it the best. The noise is a little loud at startup but not bad just driving around town. When It gets really loud is after a long run on the highway, at like 75+MPH for extended time like 30+ minutes. The A/C works great and the Power steering seems to work fine too. A search shows that issues with the waterpump could lead to this along with bad tensioners.

Any suggestions of what it could be?
 

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All those possibilities seem like possible culprits for sure. I bought my SAAB with 153K and immediately found it prudent to replace the upper and center idler pulley as well as the tensioner arm pulley. Hopefully it's one of those, as they are inexpensive and relatively straightforward to replace (tho the center idler pulley doesn't have much clearance to get the bolt out. -- given yours is an '02, you may already have the 'center pulley delete' )

You could pull back the tensioner arm and lock it in the 'untensioned' position with a pin (or drill bit), then spin each pulley by hand to see if one or more of them doesn't spin smoothly and freely. This is definitely something you want to address sooner than later; eventually a pulley could seize and or fall off its failed bearings, and then you'll lose your serpentine belt (and water pump, alternator, etc) while out and about.

center pulley setup:



center pulley deleted setup:

 

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^ +1 - loosen the belt, check the pulleys. One will likely have significant play in it. Don't let this go - if the pulley locks or twists enough you will lose the serp belt and then it's time for a tow and you might overheat - a very bad thing to do.

A couple more tests if the wiggle test doesn't give you a positive ID:

1. Loosen the belt and remove it from the idler pulley. Start the engine and listen. If you don't hear the sound, then it's definitely an accessory. Only do this with the engine dead cold and only for a minute or two - you have no cooling with the belt off.

2. Buy a mechanics stethoscope and listen closely. You should be able to pin down which bearing it is.
 

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bobsaabit has it spot on ;ol;. My idler pulley started 'chirping' at 145K I as the dumb*** I am didn't replace it right away :nono;.

interstate 70+mph
seized right up
belt shredded and when I don't mean that lightly, It took me an hour to pull the rubber and metal remnants off the alt, comp etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies guys, I'm going to take it to a friends house who is really familiar with Saabs. He suggested we take the belt off and try each one too so I think we'll start with that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey guys,

So we removed the belt and the tensioner is getting a little noisy but that's not it. The A/C put is shot. MAJOR BUMMER. So it looks like it's a couple hundred for the pump but the labor could be a lot. My buddy mentioned that he thinks you can put a shorter belt on and delete the A/C for short term till I can save up. Have any of you hear or done this? I thought I had seen on here people doing it so I'm going to go search for it.
 

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1805 belt will bypass A/C : http://www.saablink.net/forum/general-ng900-old-9-3-posts-information/44763.htm


If it's just a bad A/C bearing, you can buy a new bearing for under $30 and replace it, as long as the pulley has not been abused. For another $60 or so you can also get a clutch kit and do that while you are in there. Sometimes the plates wear when the bearing goes bad.

You can replace it "on car" although it's a PITA job. That way you don't have to discharge and recharge the system. You will need someone with a press to remove the old bearing and press in the new one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Anyone have the part numbers for the bearing of the A/C? Or have a tutorial of how to replace just that?
 

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Well, you could try to determine if it's an internal bearing in the compressor or if it's a bearing in the compressor clutch pulley. Unfortunately, it's probably still going to be more practical to swap out the entire compressor/clutch assembly, though you're right in thinking you'll need a r-134a recharge (and probably also a new AC receiver-dryer).

Shopping around, these are good prices:
aftermarket 2002 9-3 SE compressor/clutch : $225
aftermarket 2002 9-3 SE receiver/dryer : $25

If you have gauges and a vacuum pump, and your home state doesn't heavily regulate r-134a, it'd be maybe another $50 for the refrigerant, some replacement PAG 25/46 oil, and your time spent. Elsewise, whatever the service shop you take it to charges.
 

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Chromatic:

I don't agree... if you can determine that it appears to be the pulley bearing, it's cheaper (although again, a PITA job) to replace just the bearing. According to the guy who sold me my bearing/clutch kit, it is very rare the he even sees a bad compressor bearing - on our compressors it's almost always a pulley bearing issue.

You can find out easily enough by starting the job and pulling the pulley off, then checking the shaft for play. Chances are you'll see the burned bearing as soon as you get the pulley off.
 

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Anyone have the part numbers for the bearing of the A/C? Or have a tutorial of how to replace just that?
I purchased from this guy: http://stores.ebay.com/Business-Automotive/_i.html?_nkw=saab+&submit=Search&_sid=637709535

He's a great guy... he will send you directions on how to do the compressor part, and even his phone number. I had an issue and he happily spent over an hour on the phone with me, going over each step in detail to figure it out. He has a company rebuilding compressors, so he knows his stuff.

The part he doesn't cover is the saab specific part. Read some of these posts, if you still have questions, I can fill in the details: http://www.google.com/search?as_q=site:+saabcentral.com+compressor+bearing+pulley

Again, you will need someone with a press to remove the bearing from the pulley and put the new one in.
 

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Ah ha, nice. I was google searching for just the compressor clutch assembly and not finding it out there anywhere. Figures, where there's an e-bay, there's a way.

The last time this happened to me was on my Honda Civic. I wound up swapping the compressor clutch from one in a self-service salvage boneyard, only needed a pulley puller, no hydraulic press. If you can work with a used pull or something cheap on e-bay, there is another path, true enough.
 

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I tried to push the bearing out using a large vise and I couldn't get it to budge. I ended up going to a local guy who had a press with a 3 foot arm on it... that did it fairly easily.
 

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You will need someone with a press to remove the old bearing and press in the new one.
Bob, couldn't he just use a 2 arm pulley puller say like the ones offered at a parts store? I've used mine to pull all sorts of stubborn things. And if it needs pressed back on, most part stores "rent" hand held bearing presses that you just tighten with a wrench. Came in handy when I did a lower ball joint on another car that needed some serious pressure to remove AND reseat it. Can also use the 2 arm puller with a socket as a make shift press in some cases. Just make sure it doesn't destroy what it's grabbing :cheesy: Good way to save a couple bucks if you're up to it and it's viable.
 

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Bob, couldn't he just use a 2 arm pulley puller say like the ones offered at a parts store? I've used mine to pull all sorts of stubborn things. And if it needs pressed back on, most part stores "rent" hand held bearing presses that you just tighten with a wrench. Came in handy when I did a lower ball joint on another car that needed some serious pressure to remove AND reseat it. Can also use the 2 arm puller with a socket as a make shift press in some cases. Just make sure it doesn't destroy what it's grabbing :cheesy: Good way to save a couple bucks if you're up to it and it's viable.

You can try :)

It's very tight. Also, when you press the new one in, it has to go in perfectly straight and fully seated. The spacers for adjusting the clutch clearance are very thin - not much adjustment - so you really need it fully seated. It's such a small job that if you have a local machine shop they will do it in about five minutes and for less than $10 (my guy didn't even charge me) as long as you've removed the "stakes" that hold the bearing in place.
 

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If T22A80's AC works fine (our original poster) and he has a rumble and roar from that spot, then a new AC clutch assembly is necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I called a local guy Steve Snow at Saab Specific and he said he could do a used one for about 280 installed + the price of any extra r134a that’s required or a new unit for 645 + r134a. A new belt, tensioner and idler would all be addition if necessary. He quoted all those parts at an additional 270 dollars. I’m sure I need a belt but I could do the other stuff myself.

My question is what do you guys think of going used? I mean obviously it's not as good as new but the car already has 155K on it and I don’t plan on having it forever. I asked him if he ever has issues after installing used ones and he said no.
 

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If I was going to install a used compressor, I'd do the pulley bearing before it goes in. It would be a piece of cake to do outside the car. It seems to be a part that wears out on all of these somewhere after 80K miles. Unless you can find one with abnormally low miles, it would probably be a good idea for $20 and a little labor... maybe $10 more for a guy with a press to push the bearing out and in.

But, if you don't plan on having the car long, you could just install and hope.
 
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