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Discussion Starter #41 (Edited)
First post of 2020 and it’s a repair related one!

While running errands last week, the SID popped a “Low Coolant” warning. I was about 20 minutes from my destination, so I continued driving while monitoring the temp gauge. Upon arrival, I noticed a sudden burst of steam/smoke billowing from under the hood. I shut the car off immediately, popped the hood and noticed coolant squirting out from one of the hoses coming from the upper coolant expansion tank (I think it is part #12842478…it is the hose that points toward the front of the car and is the one closest to the turbo). From my initial inspection, it simply looks like the hose has failed at the hose clamp.


In this picture, you can see a stream of coolant coming from one of the hoses.

Considering the known issue with Saab coolant reservoirs, I decided to not go with an OEM replacement and spend the extra money on the welded aluminum tank from GenuineSaab. It’s definitely more than I wanted to spend, but there are some benefits. Obviously, the strut tower brace is a nice bonus, but I’m mainly happy to see the kit come with a radiator-style cap.

I tried reading through the “Ultimate Coolant Thread”, but it’s sort of messy with facts/opinions and I can’t really find a super definitive answer. So, I plan on using Pink OAT coolant that is suggested for Saabs from 2001 and on (says on the container). From what I can tell, there is currently Orange coolant (Dexcool maybe?) in there right now. I topped off the expansion tank with distilled water so that I can run the car for a minute every morning to keep fluids cycling/battery charging, but I plan on draining the coolant when I do the expansion tank install.

I still have to watch some tutorials on the actual process, but I don’t imagine it will be too difficult. If anybody has done this repair before (especially with the GenuineSaab tank) and wants to chime in with any helpful tips, please feel free.
 

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Discussion Starter #44 (Edited)
I just finished replacing the coolant expansion tank and hoses! I spread the work out over two days. On Saturday morning, I started by draining the coolant via the petcock located on the bottom of the radiator. I had a monumentally difficult time getting it open.



The trick is to keep wiggling it to loosen up the o-ring inside. Make sure to not pull it out all the way! I was only able to get it out 1/8”. The stream was slow, but the coolant eventually drained after 30 minutes. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that the old coolant was coming out perfectly clear. According to my records, the thermostat was changed (and coolant flushed) at 165K miles.



While the coolant was draining, I went to work removing the expansion tank. The top hoses were easy to remove, as was the level sensor connector.



The lower fill hose wasn’t difficult to remove, but the information online (youtube, forums, etc.) wasn’t sufficient in explaining that step. Initially, I thought I was supposed to remove this metal ring:



But this little metal locking clip is what you need to remove:



After finally removing the tank, I was able to see some significant buildup on the fill hose connector.



On Sunday morning, I started off by test fitting the new tank. It fit well, but I noticed that I bent the lower seating bracket while removing the old tank, so the new tank didn’t fit perfectly, but it was secure enough.






There was some damage to the shielding holding the level sensor wires, so I re-wrapped them in electrical tape and secured the connector as far from the downpipe as I could. I was able to conveniently lodge it next to the brake fluid reservoir.



While test fitting the tank, I noticed that the new OEM hoses were far too long for the new tank, which now sits much closer to the return tubes. As a result, I decided to trim the hoses. Note that the hoses have different end diameters. The larger end fits on the expansion tank and the smaller end fits over the tubes. I only trimmed 1 cm off the expansion tank end of the right-angle hose. I trimmed 1 cm off the expansion tank end of the other hose (the one that should be straight) and 1” off the end that fits on the return tube. I used a q-tip to apply the tiniest amount of WD-40 to the flanged ends to make the rubber hoses go on easier.



I used an SAE size 4 (1/4" to 5/8") hose clamp for the smaller ends and an SAE size 6 (3/8" to 7/8") hose clamp for the larger ends.

I made sure to save the drained coolant to know exactly how much I needed to replace. While filing up the tank, I noticed some water leaking out from under the car, but I’m 99% sure it was from the overflow hose. I took the car on a test run and everything seemed to be ok! No coolant leaks and no temperature spikes. I will continue draining and replacing coolant with distilled water until the system is entirely filled with distilled water. Then, I will replace with new coolant.

And here is the finished product:





I think the new tank looks great! I will have a follow up post for the strut tower brace.
 

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Discussion Starter #47 (Edited)
Looks good, did you decide to opt out of getting the strut brace with it? Hopefully it's been smooth sailing since the install.
I need to do this soon as well :(
Here's a quick update that'll answer 04_maine aero and Whiplash:

Since the install, I only had one "self administered" hiccup. The rear fill hose was not seated properly and fell off in spectacular fashion in a parking lot. The car was parked and I was in a store when the hose fell off and dumped coolant all over the downpipe. I came out to it smoking and leaking. I can only imagine how it looked to bystanders. Hilarious.



It is tricky to see if the clamp is properly seated in the channel, but one trick is to push the hose as close to the tank as you can get it, then pull it away a bit. Sometimes this allows the clamp to settle easier. It worked for me anyhow.

Since Friday, I haven't had any coolant related issues. The initial 20 minute test drive produced some significant smoke as the leaked coolant burned off, but my drives over the weekend have been uneventful.

This morning, I test fit the strut tower brace that was included in the kit from GenuineSaab. To me, it seemed like it's not going to fit.


Maybe there is more room for adjustment than the bolt heads make it seem? There are new bolts included with the kit. Has anyone had a similar problem with their strut tower brace?

Overall, I'm liking the new expansion tank.

Also, I did notice that my brake fluid reservoir cap is cracked, so I'm going to order one of those.
 

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Really enjoyed this thread! Thank you for sharing. I am going through a similar process now looking to get back into Saabs again after I sold my 06 Aero about 5 years ago.

I have been searching for an 07+ Aero Convertible with manual transmission to have as a second car for about a month now. If I end up getting one, I might do a similar write up on here of its journey as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #49
Really enjoyed this thread! Thank you for sharing. I am going through a similar process now looking to get back into Saabs again after I sold my 06 Aero about 5 years ago.

I have been searching for an 07+ Aero Convertible with manual transmission to have as a second car for about a month now. If I end up getting one, I might do a similar write up on here of its journey as well.
Thanks! I have always enjoyed these "build" threads, so I figured I would start one. I have found it to be super helpful in documenting all of the effort I put into this car. Good luck on your Saab search!
 
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