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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I was driving when the oil light came on and immediately the engine died. The engine was warm when this happened. The coolant needle did not show overheating. There were no strange sounds. There was still electrical power. Not wanting to chance any further damage, I had the car towed home. I checked the oil, and it reads good on the dipstick. The smell of the oil is different, though. Just before it died, it was hesitating a bit as far as power goes, and I noticed that the needle on the Turbo gauge was acting a bit erratically. I have not tried to start it, since it died. What problem might I have? Is the Turbo shot? If so, I have a number of questions:
1. How could I confirm or check whether or not it is the turbo?
2. How difficult is it to replace the Turbo?
3. Are there any video clips online showing how to do it?
4. What does an aftermarket Turbo cost?

On another note: Could it be that the oil pump died or got clogged?
The car is a 2002. It has 410,000 kms on it. I've regularly changed the fluids. Coolant and tranny fluids are fine. Oil that I've been using is 10 W 30, fully synthetic. I've recently moved to a colder climate. Outdoor temp was -26 Celsius. But my car is parked in a heated garage. Could the colder temps have anything to do with this?
Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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I've never heard of turbo problems causing low oil pressure. Typically it's a clogged oil pickup tube strainer, so the usual advice is to drop your oil pan and see what you find in there. Does your car have the latest PCV update? 10W30 also isn't a recommended oil weight for these cars anymore. If it's burning a lot of oil, something that thick may help, but otherwise Mobil 1 Euro 0W-40 is good. I've started running 5W-40 Mobil 1 turbo diesel truck oil in my 215,000 mile 9-5 because the engine runs a little quieter and burns slightly less oil with that. Regardless, start by removing your oil pan and see how the oil pickup tube looks. Hopefully it's not clogged with sludge or bits of coked oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, it had the latest PCV update, some years ago. Just so I understand you correctly: low oil pressure is what caused the oil light to come on? It doesn't burn a lot of oil. The manual calls for 5 W 30, but you would suggest Mobil 1 Euro OW - 40 instead?
Once I remove the oil pan, where do I find the "oil pick up tube strainer?" Sorry, I'm not a mechanic, but I'll try anything once. Any tricks or advice as far as removing the oil pan cover? I don't have a hoist, but I have jacks. Would that give me enough room to take it off?
 

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Low oil pressure is the only thing that can cause the light to come on, other than a faulty sensor. Saab changed the oil recommendation a couple of times over the years, and since they fixed the sludge issue in 2004, they've called for different weights of oil. Here's a great tutorial on removing the oil pan and what you might find in there:

 

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Discussion Starter #5
Oh. If I take the oil pan cover off, and I find that the oil pick up tube strainer is clogged. Do I remove it to clean? How does it come off? What do I clean it with? Or do I have to buy a new one?
 

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you take the oil pan off from under the car, all you need is patience and something to get the car far enough off the ground to get under it.

Once you have the pan off, the oil pickup will be attached to the pan. There is a small baffle plate that is held on with 4 screws and then the pickup is held on with two screws. Take it all apart and check the screen on the pickup, it's probably clogged.

You'll need to replace the O-Rings on the pickup and on the oil delivery pipe that will probably fall out when you take the pan off. order them now so you'll have them before you take the car apart.

The bigger issue is did you do damage to the car with low oil pressure. You're going to need a torque wrench for this, so make sure you have one.

I'd pull the #4 main bearing and the #4 rod bearing cap off while you have the pan off and inspect the bearings. If you're lucky you didn't do any damage. The reason you want those is that they are the furthest from the oil pump and are the ones that are likely to have issues when you have oil delivery issues. you can check them all if you like. The #5 main is a bit harder to get off since the bumps from the back plate are in the way, you'll have to file a tiny bit off of the aluminum to get the cap out. If the bearings are worn you can replace them with the engine in the car by gently tapping them out one at a time. But if the crankshaft journals are damaged you're done. the end of your fingernail is a good tool to see if there is any scoring, it's remarkable how small of a defect you can detect. If you replace the bearings, don't use anything metal, only plastic or wood to do the job. you can also plastigauge the bearings to see if they are in spec.

There's a tutorial on line somewhere on how to do the pan, do a search and you'll find it. It's not horribly hard, and not expensive at all. just time consuming.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sorry, I see the link now that someone posted. Thank you!
Any part numbers for the O-Rings on the pick up and oil delivery pipe? Can I use aftermarket ones? How many are there? That way I can order them now, as you suggested.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The link that was provided stated: "Oil pickup tube rubber o-ring - Saab part 91 38 009 (available from Saab dealer or eEuroparts and other online vendors." Is that what you were referring to, unclemiltie? Is there just one o-ring I need? Or more?
 

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Are you sure that the engine didn't die first and then immediately or right after the oil light came on? If the engine died suddenly that could point to ignition loss and (hopefully) just a failed DIC which is the black ignition coil on top of the engine.

If it is the DIC it's very easily replaced (four Allen head bolts, connector unplugs, 5 min job) - but be sure to buy a genuine Saab DIC that has a SEM label on it. The latest part number is 55559955.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No. It's not the DIC. The oil light came on first. Also, I just replaced the DIC. I've had to do that twice, since I've had the car. I know the symptoms when the DIC goes. Thanks anyway.
Anyone, on the number of O-rings I need? See my previous post.
 

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Does the engine turn at all? You might be able to check by using whatever accessory on the serpentine belt you can get the best grip on. Alternately, just bump the starter. Does the engine move?

If it's locked and can't be budged, I'd say it's time to get an engine or scrap the car. It wouldn't be the turbo, it would be something internal.

Although I don't see how a loss of oil pressure would instantly cause an engine to stop. It won't be any good for the engine to continue to run, but I'm sure it could run for minutes more (damaging itself, sure, but it won't stop). On the other hand, as soon as the engine stops, the oil light will come on.

Is your transmission automatic or manual?

Does the oil smell at all like gas or solvent? If you're making trips where the car has to warm up from very cold, it will be running rich, though there shouldn't be so much extra fuel as to dilute the oil.

Have there been any electrical gremlins with the car? I don't think the 9-5 instrument cluster goes bad, but my NG900 had all sorts of gauge and warning light funnies in cold weather.
 

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You need three o-rings. There are two on the crossover tube (9137993), which goes across the bottom of the engine, and one for the pickup tube (9138009), which as mentioned before comes off with the pan. I think everyone tends to buy factory parts for those. I don't know if aftermarket ones are even available, but I prefer not to take a chance on substandard parts inside the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes, the oil smells like solvent (I think). Not a pro on this, but it doesn't smell like regular oil.
The car has an automatic transmission. Is it OK for me to try to start it? Once it quit, and I saw that oil light come on, I didn't attempt anything for fear of causing further damage. Thanks for the part numbers on the three o-rings!
 

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No. It's not the DIC. The oil light came on first. Also, I just replaced the DIC. I've had to do that twice, since I've had the car. I know the symptoms when the DIC goes. Thanks anyway.
Don't be so sure about that. I've had 2 DIC's die while driving. The worst one started to hesitate, then the car lurched, then no engine power. As the engine bogged down, the oil light came on since there was no more pressure being built up in the engine since the engine itself was technically off. I still had electrical power though.
That was with an aftermarket no name DIC. I've since gone NGK (SEM) and no issues.
When did you replace your DIC and was it in fact an SEM/NGK or used SEM or aftermarket?
 

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Yes, the oil smells like solvent (I think). Not a pro on this, but it doesn't smell like regular oil.
The car has an automatic transmission. Is it OK for me to try to start it? Once it quit, and I saw that oil light come on, I didn't attempt anything for fear of causing further damage. Thanks for the part numbers on the three o-rings!
There are the 'usual suspects', and then there are the rare occurrences. Diagnosis over the internet can never be 100% accurate. But we can start with some known facts.

So, plenty of people have ruined the B2x7 engines by running them when the oil light was on. However, this is because they have been seeing it light or flash for months (usual sludge/pickup issues), or they kept driving the car with the oil light on steady. This can lead to crankshafts welded to the saddles, or a rod through the side of the block. However, in each case, the engine would have run for some considerable time (minutes to hours) after the oil light first came on. And it would be making some very unhappy noises, losing a lot of power, temperature going up, etc.

That doesn't sound like what happened to you. From the description, oil light came on, engine shut down. No mention of oil light on previously.

Okay, is there some way that an engine oil light can be followed by an immediate shutdown of the engine? The only thing I can think of is huge failure in the oil pump (which sits on the nose of the crankshaft), locking it up and causing the engine to seize (if the oil pump gear can't turn, the crank can't turn). I think this is extremely unlikely. In fact I suspect that if the oil gear seized up, the keys that hold it to the crankshaft would shear (though I am not positive). Anyway, since it basically hasn't happened as far as I've seen in my years here at SaabCentral, I can dismiss it as not worth worrying about at this stage.

But just to verify the above, is why I suggest trying to rotate the engine either by hand or by bumping the starter (note, you can disconnect the DIC to ensure that it doesn't actually start). If it moves, the engine isn't seized. So in that case it's not likely that some catastrophic engine failure caused it to stop running.

Could you potentially damage the engine by trying to turn it or run the starter briefly? In many cases no, in some cases yes. Although rotating it by hand by a pulley, or a ratchet on a pulley hub bolt, is quite safe. Again, from your brief description of what happened, it does not sound at all likely to me that trying to rotate the engine will cause damage. Your symptoms aren't of catastrophic damage.

Well, if the engine rotates okay, I would try to start it. If it actually starts, watch the oil light. It should go out in short order. If it doesn't, shut it down and do the sump drop.

I would also say to do an oil change to suitable 0W40 synthetic (Canadian Tire has been selling their house brand synthetic, with ACEA A3/B3/B4, for like $24 for a 5L jug), and put in some gas line antifreeze. You will have to make pretty frequent oil changes if you're doing a lot of driving at -25ºC, especially short drives. Are you in northern Ontario or the Prairies?

Finally, if the engine doesn't start, or it does start and runs poorly despite the oil light being out, there is some other issue, obviously. Has your crank position sensor been replaced? On my NG900, which uses exactly the same part number as the B237, the CPS failed in a February cold snap. Also, if you have the original DIC, you can install it ans see if that makes any difference. A new SEM should work fine, but there mgiht be some reason it isn't. (The connector to the DIC is in good condition, and the wiring as well, right?)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for your advice, Ed. I took off the passenger front tire, and I was able to turn the serpentine belt. So I started it. No strange noises or sounds. Started instantly. The oil light did not come. I let it run from five minutes. Still no oil light coming on.The oil light was only on once - at the time when the engine shut down. I watch for those sort of things carefully. Also, I had checked the oil the day before and it was at the right level. Even now, the oil level is fine, but it definitely has a smell (and is quite thin). The exhaust fumes have the same smell, like a solvent. I just moved to Northern Alberta. So, cold temps. But my car is always parked overnight in a heated garage. On average the distances I travel would be fairly short (sometimes only 10 kms). If it is a clogged oil pick up strainer, I will definitely go with the 0W-40 fully synthetic brand.

I know for certain, that the oil light came on first while I was driving it the other night. But it was acting up a bit before that: the engine didn't stall, but while driving, you could feel it lose power. Very noticeable. The car slowed down.This happened several times., and only momentarily. My gut still tells me, its the sump. The updated PCV hose system was installed 135,000 kms ago. To my knowledge the sump has never been dropped and cleaned out.

The CPS was replaced 170,000 kms ago. Would a faulty CPS make the oil light come on like it did? And cause that wierd smell?

It doesn't idle well when it's cold, but that's because the "ABS off" light is on which trips the engine light to come on. I haven't gotten around to fixing that yet. Someone on this forum suggested, that "the connectors" need to be cleaned. Not sure what that means or where they are. Any advice on that issue, Ed?
 

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Northern Alberta's going to be cold.

Does the engine temperature gauge get up to its normal halfway position by the end of your trips? If it isn't, then your oil is gradually getting contaminated with water and other things like leftover gasoline. These normally get evaporated if the engine and its oil can get up to full operating temperature. You may also have a thermostat issue, although from my experience, even in -10º C weather, when the ACC turns the heat up to full blast, the engine temp can actually go down--the heater is pulling heat out of the coolant.

Apropos of that, I would pull the spark plugs and see if they're blacked from running rich. When you changed the DIC, did you check the plug condition, including gap? I assume they are the proper plugs for the car. If you do have the plugs out, you could do a compression test to check the health of the engine.

It does sound like a sump drop is indicated. However, that's not the cause of the engine running roughly. If you know someone with a Tech II up there, it would be worthwhile to check for codes. A regular ODB-II reader might help as well.

Some possible causes of the engine running poorly:
  1. DIC
  2. Crank position sensor
  3. MAF
  4. Plugs
  5. Vacuum leak
  6. Some sensor (o2, temperature) not giving accurate data
I know that in certain cases, the oil warming would come on briefly in my NG900 if the RPM dropped too low (bad work with the clutch on my part). So in this case the oil warning light was on, but the engine was running. Could it be that your engine had slowed down to below idle, but hadn't stopped yet? Because that's all I have.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yes, the temperature gauge gets up to its normal halfway position. Not on every trip though. The trips are too short, and the temperature so cold, that it might get one-third of the way to its normal position.

Three weeks ago, I put in a new DIC (SEM/NGK) and at the same time put in new plugs (they came gapped already).

I've put in all new vac lines.
I replaced the o2 sensors not that long ago.

Thermostat and thermostat housing were replaced about a year ago.

The rough idling (only when cold) is, I think, from the "ABS off" light coming on and tripping the engine light. If I pull the positive battery cable which resets the computer, then it idles fine, until that ABS off light comes on together with the engine light.

I'll get someone to pull the codes for that.

No, the oil light came on, and the engine died (it was not that it slowed down to below idle).
 
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