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Discussion Starter #1
I decided to bite the bullet and remove my oil pan this weekend to check for sludge. I based the work on info that Ricot83 posted recently - many thanks. The following is what happened:

Put car on ramps so I could crawl underneath.
Drained oil, removed filter and dipstick.
Removed plastic under shields to get access to front subframe bolts.
Removed passenger side plastic shield in wheel well.
Removed front bolts on each side of subframe.
Loosened center and rear bolts on passenger side to allow subframe to be forced down.
Unscrewed front exhaust sensor (after loosening wire from clamp) and hung it up on engine somewhere.
Removed rear exhaust sensor wire connector from bracket mounted to top of engine and fed wire down to exhaust. I thought that was easier than unscrewing the sensor!
Unbolted front section of exhaust from turbo manifold, removed clamp at other end and then took front exhaust section off.
Using pry bar, forced the front end of the subframe down about 1 3/4" and locked pry bar in place with an axle stand.
Removed all screws holding oil pan on.
Used screwdriver to pry oil pan from engine block. There are a couple of handy pry positions supplied on either side.
Now found that I couldn't get pan out from between engine and subframe so jacked engine up a bit and oil pan then grudgingly came out.

After removing strainer from pan, I found that I had done all this work for nothing as it was a sludge free zone!

Cleaned it all up, sparingly applied HYLOMAR HPF to joint surface and put everything back together with new filter and oil obviously.

At least I can sleep better now!
 

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u lucky guy... sludge free zone... damnit!!!! lol lucky u i would be really happy if i could have said the same back when i did mine....
i def know what u mean about sleeping better now thouhg.. this winter i am going to pull mine down again, since i put freakin silicone rtv on it :( stupid me... o well so far sooo good... no problems knock on wood....
 

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Great post, I considered doing mine a while ago but was also sort of worried that I wouldn't find sludge after all that work. I've had the valve cover off and it has some varnish, but not any more than most motors I've seen. I suppose this doesn't prove I won't have sludge below, but at least it's not a bad sign.

For the record, how many miles do you have, and how much do you know about the oil change history?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I suppose I was a bit obsessive about the sludge problem as the car only has 80,000 miles. However, I bought it last autumn and do not know it's oil change history that well so decided to err on the side of caution. At least it gave me a chance to bond with the car :confused: ! One symptom I was/am concerned about was an occasionally noisy lifter (I think). The down side of finding no sludge restriction is that the lifter (or whatever it is) is still noisy. Maybe I'll try connecting a pressure gauge sometime to determine if the problem is one of lack of oil pressure or worn lifter seals. Has anyone experience with chasing noisy lifters?
 

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You did the right thing, wonkyhamster, now only that, I suspect you are a mechanic, this makes a task of this nature easier..

How did the valve area appear, then ?
I'll bet it was reasonably clean. Unless one has the luxury of a number of photos showing sludge or no, this is hard to determine...
I'll have to pull my cover, examine what is exposed and then reseal as the bluebirds engine has run 145K miles for 9 years..
 

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I agree with earthworm, sludge or not, these oil starvation issues affect so many cars, not just Saabs, that taking the pan off and cleaning the screen once in the life of an engine seems like a good idea.

I am not sure that identifying lifter noise is easy on this engine unless you are a mechanic who listens to them every day. In theory, you can hear lifter noise the most with a cold engine, then the noise goes away when the car warms up. In reality a lot of noises go away when the engine warms up.

If not already done, inspect and measure the chain tensioner. That will tell you if the timing chain is ok.

You can also try something like Lubro-Moly "Ventil-Sauber" (valve clean). I was pretty sceptical, but a couple cans in two consecutive tanks of gas cleared up a leaking intake valve. A leakdown test on my engine still shows around 15% leakage +/- 3%, but that is not bad considering other engine issues (the rod bearings got bad enough that one came out in pieces). When first tested, the static leakage on #2 cyl was 78% :eek: At that point you can't even take a good reading.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I took the valve cover off about 5 months ago to re-torque the head bolts and the area seemed very clean so the only reason that made me obsessive of sludge was the lifter tapping noise. Maybe it is not a lifter. It only starts after the car warms up a little. When it is cold there is no noise, so I presume the thicker oil isn't leaking out so quickly. Also, when idling, the noise sometimes disappears for a few seconds - and then starts again! A sticking valve could result in lifter noise so maybe I should try some of that magic stuff you mentioned PMI.
 

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If the engine was clean under the valve cover and in the oilpan, you've already done more than most people, and probably don't have much to worry about besides a little rough idle. I don't think there is any "magic" you can get in a bottle, but sometimes the cleaners do work. It probably helped clean some carbon or other crud from the leaking intake valve.
 
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