SaabCentral Forums banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
New to this forum and relatively new to Saab ownership, having inherited our 2000 Saab 9-3 during this pandemic. We were previously carless in NYC.

I am finding that I need to refill our coolant once every week or so. Unfortunately, I feel pretty much in the deep end here, having not owned a car much of my life. I did search the forums and saw that it seems like a relatively common issue but with varying causes.

My questions:

  • Is there any standard way to diagnose this kind of issue that a non-car guy might be able to follow?
  • In the last couple weeks the problem has seemingly gotten worse. I know we’re also due for an oil change - could this be related?
  • I have a mechanic that I trust but he’s not necessarily well versed in Saab’s. Can this issue be resolved by any regular ol’ mechanic or should I be strongly preferring a specialist?

Thanks for humoring the new guy.

Noah
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,887 Posts
New to this forum and relatively new to Saab ownership, having inherited our 2000 Saab 9-3 during this pandemic. We were previously carless in NYC.

I am finding that I need to refill our coolant once every week or so. Unfortunately, I feel pretty much in the deep end here, having not owned a car much of my life. I did search the forums and saw that it seems like a relatively common issue but with varying causes.

My questions:

  • Is there any standard way to diagnose this kind of issue that a non-car guy might be able to follow?
  • In the last couple weeks the problem has seemingly gotten worse. I know we’re also due for an oil change - could this be related?
  • I have a mechanic that I trust but he’s not necessarily well versed in Saab’s. Can this issue be resolved by any regular ol’ mechanic or should I be strongly preferring a specialist?

Thanks for humoring the new guy.

Noah
Noah , Any decent mechanic should be able to determine the Problem , Nothing special about the coolant system on a Saab .
Head bolts can be issue , Resulting in external leaks , but it should be visible to you .
A common shop/specialist should be able to pressurize the sytem to help you identify .
DO some basics , Park it on some Cardboard to see if that collects any drips.. It may be as imple as Loose hose clamp .
Look at the exahust when running , Lots of Steam/moisture from the exhaust or even water dripping ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,416 Posts
Cardboard underneath is a great start, to narrow down the source, if the coolant is leaking externally. Hopefully it isn't an internal cylinder head leak, which I believe will cause white smoke (as opposed to black [over fuelling] or blue {oil being burnt in the cylinders} but don't worry about those for now).

Bear in mind that even if there is a drip, the actual source may be not necessarily above it. Leaks migrate across the bottom of the engine/frame etc. It would still aid the detective work though.

It will leak more when up to full temperature, and if external may be a loose hose clamp. Many of these are visible. The coolant hoses are black rubber and get too hot to touch. If they're not that hot they'll be the intercooler pipes, which are a separate system. Another possible culprit might be the coolant tank yellow cap. These have safety blow-off capability but can leak anyway. They are easily replaceable.

Any decent mechanic should be able to troubleshoot external leaks on any engine and as Mort says, this one isn't unusual.

Let us know!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
Where are you located? I'm in greenpoint and Jackson Heights is where my car is. I have a cooling system pressure tester.
 

·
Registered
2000 9-3 Aero 5d
Joined
·
826 Posts
Noah - be careful if/when you are replacing radiator hoses because the connecting sleeves to the radiator become brittle with age.
The plastic edges of the radiator also decay - so this could also be a small part of your coolant loss.

If you do choose to replace the hoses, make sure you get good quality clamps as well.
Many of us use Do88 hoses. They also supply clamps as well.

If you need further advice - you've done the right thing reaching out to this forum.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the offer @Deskmechanic but actually, we drove our little Saab across the country to Seattle in August, which is where we live now.

@Mort thank you - I have yet to see signs of leaking outside the car (to the ground) FWIW. I guess that points to the leak being “internal” ... which seems like an oxymoron to me but I know nothing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
235 Posts
FWIW I had similar coolant loss, (same car), did the Headbolts and Thermostat. It turned out to be a small split in the radiator, which only leaked when hot and running, so I didn't see it when looking under the bonnet. And it wasn't enough to show drips.
It's a bit of a pig to replace the radiator though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Took it to our mechanic -- he pressure tested and said the radiator is leaking. He's going to replace the radiator ~$600 parts and labor to replace.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,887 Posts
Took it to our mechanic -- he pressure tested and said the radiator is leaking. He's going to replace the radiator ~$600 parts and labor to replace.
If its $600 all up then that seems very reasonable . There is a fair bit of labor involved , they are not the easiest radiator to replace !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
That is reasonable, it's a hard radiator to do. Mine had a leaky radiator when I got it, I suspect by now all of them should be replaced.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,887 Posts
I did Mine in the Viggen in a Pub car park in sydney a bout 1/2 way en route from Queensland to Melbourne ( bringing the new tow home ) .
If I could have found some to do it for $600 I would have chained them to the car .
40 C day middle of summer working on car ( in a carpark ) and all totally new (first 9-3 ) to you at the time .. Not a lot of fun , But yeah front of the car was basically stripped bare . Fortunately I had a fair collection of tools with me when I flew up to collect .
This forum helped me heaps at that time ....
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top