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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I've had 3, secondary air pump failures in the past 8 months on my saab 93.
Dealer said that water is getting into system and causing the failure.
He said that I must be driving through deep water for this to happen??? (this is Bull**** as I only do normal motorway driving!!).

Has anyone had this problem before?
Any suggestions what the cause could be?

Thanks,

Ardell.
 

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Its a common problem with the 2003 model.
Check out http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116411
for tips on replacing the SAI valve and make the inspection part of your maintenance routine




Hi,
I've had 3, secondary air pump failures in the past 8 months on my saab 93.
Dealer said that water is getting into system and causing the failure.
He said that I must be driving through deep water for this to happen??? (this is Bull**** as I only do normal motorway driving!!).

Has anyone had this problem before?
Any suggestions what the cause could be?

Thanks,

Ardell.
 

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Did they replace the SAI Valve when changing out the pump? I'm sure they did, if they didn't, that would cause this problem.


Good Luck
Jeff
 

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Hi,
I've had 3, secondary air pump failures in the past 8 months on my saab 93.
My money says they've replaced three pumps, but not one check valve.
I would ask for a proper repair at no charge.

The rule is replace the valve anytime you replace the pump. If you regularly inspect the valve, you may catch the problem before the water destroys your pump. It is hard to say, because so few of us inspect the valve on a regular basis. I, for one, am trying to stay ahead on this one.

The water, BTW, comes from exhaust gas, and has nothing to do with "driving through deep puddles":roll: Water and CO2 are the main products of hydrocarbon combustion.

Pierburg, the company which makes both the pump and the valve, has this to say:
http://www.msi-motor-service.com/ximages/PG_SI_0083_EN_WEB.pdf
I would show this to the service manager. You can highlight the part where it says, "In repairs, often only the secondary air pump is replaced."

They owe you some free work, in my opinion.

BTW, how many miles on your 2003?
I am trying to gauge whether these valves should be replaced as a preventative maintenance item, i.e. before they actually fail. We are getting more and more failures here. I think mileage is probably the best guide for replacement. I have 49K miles on my 2003. I'm thinking 60K may be the magic number. The valves are relatively cheap (~$80), and pretty simple to replace.
 

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lexington01 said:
Can someone tell me what the SAI valve does? Just curious. Thanks.
Only on 2003.

The valve is a check valve, or reverse flow valve.

The SAI system adds air to the exhaust to quickly heat the catalytic converter during a cold start. This is done because certain emissions are very high during cold start. The SAI pump is like a high-power blower. It blows air through the check valve for about 90 seconds during cold start. When the blower turns off, the check valve is supposed to close and prevent exhaust gas from backflowing into the intake. There are many problems with exhaust gas flowing into the intake stream. The SAI pump sits on the bottom front of the engine. It is basically the lowest point of a "U" shaped system. Water from the exhaust collects at the low point, eventually flooding the pump.
 

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lexington01 said:
Can someone tell me what the SAI valve does? Just curious. Thanks.

Is it a problem on 2004+ cars?
ctrlz provided this in a previous post:

A check valve allows flow in one direction only. In this case air pumped by the SAI pump is injected into the exhaust stream during cold start. Should you accelerate during cold start, exhaust pressure will increase and close the valve.

The SAI pump runs for about 90 seconds during cold start. The ECM adds extra fuel while the pump is running. The idea is fuel will continue to burn in the exhaust manifold (with extra air provide by the pump) and the catalytic converter will heat up faster.

The check valve is there to prevent exhaust from entering the SAI system. The main problem is water, which is abundant in exhaust. The SAI pump sits low in front of the engine and water from exhaust will quickly collect in the pump eventually clogging it and ruining the motor. The pump is expensive and hard to get to. You have to remove the starter and some other parts to replace the pump, which adds time and cost.

You inspect your check valve so you can replace it before you ruin your pump. If your pump is bad, you will need to replace both the pump and the valve.

As I mentioned above this is probably something that should be replaced on a schedule, maybe every 5 years. My thinking is it's better to replace the valve before it goes bad. No question it's constantly exposed to grimey, corrosive exhaust, so only a matter of time before it fails. It's also incredibly easy to access and change. Two bolts and a gasket. Doesn't get much easier!

So why is this only on 2003's? Possibly because Saab was not sure the 93SS would pass all emissions checks by the time it got into production. They may have been shooting for LEV or ULEV certification at some point. I don't really know.

UPDATE:
ULEV certification does require low levels of cold-start emissions:

Seventy to eighty percent of hydrocarbon emissions from automotive vehicles are emitted during this first minute, or so, of "cold start" engine operation, i.e., during this period large amounts of hydrocarbons are likely to be discharged into the atmosphere without additional measures. The problem is made worse by the fact that the engine requires rich fuel-air ratio to operate during cold-start thus, increasing even further the amount of unburned hydrocarbons discharged. Increasing the effectiveness of automotive emission control systems during cold start, so that the amount of hydrocarbons discharged into the atmosphere during cold-start are kept at extremely low levels, has become important not only from an environmental standpoint, but just as importantly, the ULEV standards require it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thanks for the information

Hi all,
Thanks for your reply it was very useful.
Looking at the service report the secondary air pump was first replaced at 51k miles. The SAI valve was never replaced .
Regards

Ardell.
 

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Eliminating the SAI

A couple of years ago I removed the SAI valve and sealed off the port to the exhaust. I also unplugged the pump and have had no problems other than the check engine light remaining on. Now that my daughter has moved to another state that requires the check engine light not to be on in order to register the vehicle, does anyone know how to disable the fault code that triggers the light?
 

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A couple of years ago I removed the SAI valve and sealed off the port to the exhaust. I also unplugged the pump and have had no problems other than the check engine light remaining on. Now that my daughter has moved to another state that requires the check engine light not to be on in order to register the vehicle, does anyone know how to disable the fault code that triggers the light?
Not possible. It's in the software and part of the emissions system.

I think the car takes a few on/off cycle for the light to come on after a battery disconnect. Not that I am recommending this is the right thing to do, but seeing as how I hate the damned SAI, I would undo the battery before heading up to reset the CEL. From what I've read it will still pass smog without the SAI.
 

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I was wondering how the software knows the pump is running. Does it see an amp draw from the pump motor? If so could I hook up a small 12 volt motor with about the same amp draw as the pump? It could be mounted anywhere under the hood and would only run for the first minute or two.
I know I'm stretching it here but I hate to spend 500 bucks on parts and who knows how much for labor on something that really does nothing.
If anyone knows the amp rating on the pump motor let me know.

Thanks.
 

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have this problem on mine.

replaced the valve and still get the p0411 code.

i sometimes get it on first start of the day if i just let the car idle.
but if i start and go or start and hold the rev's a little i dont get the error.


what do you guy's think and am i doing any damage to the car ?
 

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I can add that I went through the SAI pump & valve problem a few months ago at 70k miles. I was getting a bad rattle on cold start which was the pump, sounded like bb's in a blender. First, the SAI valve was clearly bad and easy to replace, but the damage to the pump was done. For awhile I drove with the pump relay pulled just to keep it quiet and hoping it wasn't needed (wishful thinking), but kept getting the CEL light.

I finally pulled the pump myself (about 2 hours) and disassembled the rubber cover and fan (very easy). After cleaning the crud out I applied a generous amount of lithium grease, bench tested it, then re-installed. It has been running as quiet as new for the last 5k miles, knock on wood. When the valve fails and the pump cruds up, it is not the motor bearings that fail, just the fan blades churning it up. So if you can catch it before it totally freezes the electric motor you may be able to save the cost of a new one by cleaning and lubing it.

I've still been getting the CEL light 2 or 3 times a month. I think it is because the computer was running the mixture rich during startup while I had the blower unplugged and the oxy sensors, or maybe even the cat may have become contaminated by the unburned mixture running through.

Anyway, for anyone who has this problem, I would advise: 1. don't just pull the relay and turn off the CEL light, this could cause more problems from the unburned fuel. and 2. pull the blower fan assembly and try a clean and lube. This could save a few hundred.
 

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Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I recently had to get my 03 smogged here in Cali and two shops failed me upon inspection but never ran the actual test.

The first shop said the exhaust systems were tampered but provided no other details to my wife. So I then took it to another shop myself and the tech said the air pump was missing and that it would never pass smog. I told the tech it passed the year prior (req by title change) but he said it should have never passed.

Is it possible for the air pump to be missing and still pass smog?

Does this do any harm to my vehicle, I have no codes and checked the SAI valve and there is no corrosion.

Does anyone have a picture of the air pump installed so I can find it, or confirm it is indeed missing?
 

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it wont pass smog if missing. not sure why it did the first time. luck i guess. pump is on front of engine. follow line from check valve.
 

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I believe most, if not all, US States now require all original smog/emissions equipment to be present (or untampered) on the car when inspected. Of course Californian's have some of the highest emission standards so check your State Emission's website to make sure.

California

Some people keep their SAI system on their car but have it "deleted" when getting a tune and leaving the equipment on the car as they should. Others get annoyed and just rip it out when they shouldn't against their state's requirements. I would think it not as easy to remove though, w/o engine light, because there is/are SAI sensors.
 

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I'm really starting to wonder if it is actually missing as these shops are saying.

When I posted yesterday I had already dropped it off for a motor mount issue after a recent transmission swap and clutch replacement and asked that they check to confirm the pump is missing also. I received a call later in the afternoon saying that it was.

Is this something that could have been removed to get at something else and forgotten to be re-installed during the trans/clutch work?

I'm still skeptical for a few reasons.

1) It passed smog last time and I received no codes
2) I recall testing the SAI valve by placing my hand over the hose (airbox side) and recall feeling the vacuum, then on the opposite side felt air blowing (how could this happen without a pump?)
3) It looks tampered because the air box is missing and the hose that connects to it was just floating with no connection so I put a small filter on it.
 

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Definitely could have been removed. You wouldn't feel vacuum without it. A CEL would have activated within a day or 2 of it being pulled though. How long ago was the work done?
 
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