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Discussion Starter #1
So, I my power steering pump is shot (though there was a brief period when I thought it would be OK)... It was visibily squirting PS fluid out from the pulley shaft.

Having two spare liters of fluid, I thought I could make it until today when the new pump arrives. However, it squirted SO much oil that my serp belt actually fell off. I tried cleaning up the pulleys and the belt, but when I went to put the belt back on, I couldn't get it to fit!

When my belt fell off before and I bought a new one (the current one), it slipped right on. I'm 90% sure I've routed it correctly... Is it possible the tensioner needs adjusting? Any tips?
 

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The tensioner is a simply spring load lever with a pulley, nor truly adjustable unless you replace the spring.

Was the short belt modification done ?
What size belt ?
How long did the PS pump last ??
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It wasn't the short belt mod... It's the exact belt the dealer handed me when I said, "Can I get a belt for a 1995 900s"

The PS pump died at 120K, but I think it's only because my little idler pulley died and put a lot of torque on the PS pump pulley, which caused it to rupture some seals. In other words, I think my pump could have lasted longer if the pulley had behaved...

So if there is no adjusting the tensioner... what could be wrong? I guess I haven't taken my wheel off, so perhaps the belt isn't properly around some of the lower pulleys (thought I'm pretty sure it is).

Either way the car is going to the mechanic today to get the PS pump replaced, so I'll let you know what the problem was... I was hoping there was something I could adjust though, so I could drive it to the mechanic instead of having it towed...
 

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Is the tensioner arm locked in place using a hex key or a bolt, or are you just trying to pull the tensioner forward and slip the belt on the last pulley? If you are, that would be difficult on a Saab.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, I'm putting a hex key in the hole. I've even had a friend pull the bar to get a little bit past where the hex key locks it.. it's close to letting me put the belt, but it's not going to fit.
 

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The belt should have plenty of slack then, almost too much. Your first guess might be correct, perhaps not being routed right.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I just got back from the mechanic... You're never going to believe this...
I couldn't get the belt on because the damn rubber had swelled so much it wasn't sitting in the grooves properly!

My PS pump had been squirting a steady flow of hydrolic oil on the serp belt for the better part of a week... I went through about 1.5 L of fluid, which apparently soaked into my belt. I noticed it looked saturated with oil, but I never thought it would actually swell to the point that I had to buy a new one! :eek::eek::eek:

This all started because my small idler pulley violently failed, causing my power steering pump seals to rupture. So far this $15 part has cost me $50 for a new pump and $80 for TWO new serp belts....

Let me suggest to anyone who has a Saab 900 around 120K miles: Do yourself a favor and replace the smaller idler pulley. It takes about 5 minutes... you don't even have to take the belt all the way off.. just losen it.

To add insult to injury: My damn thermostat has died... but the mech was really nice about it showed me exactly where it was and how to replace it. He even gave me a thermostat gasket b/c he thought I might have trouble finding one. It only sucked because I had to limp home on a back road with the heat on full blast and the windows up (it was raining).
 

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Overall you came out ok. The p/s pump is over $600 at the dealer, plus labor. You bill would have been close to $1k, all because a pulley bearing fails prematurely.

The belt also can make a mess of some of the hoses and wiring between the idler pulley and the firewall as it shreds. One of my hoses was mangled when the idlers failed the first time... if the waterpump shaft gives way instead of the ps pump, it can grind a hole in the timing cover... sometimes people don't realize what happened and drive the car until it overheats...
 

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This all started because my small idler pulley violently failed, causing my power steering pump seals to rupture. So far this $15 part has cost me $50 for a new pump and $80 for TWO new serp belts....
Good advice. Think how often this sort of thing wrecks a whole car.

For want of a nail, the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe, the horse was lost.
For want of a horse, the rider was lost.
For want of a rider, the battle was lost.
For want of the battle, the war was lost.
- Ben Franklin(?)

Here are a couple tips for when you replace the tstat. Now is a good time to change the antifreeze. First, buy a few (maybe 3?) gallons of distilled water at the grocery. Not spring water, but distilled. Take out the thermostat, and loosen the lower rad hose to drain the fluid. Put the hose back on loosely and also reattach the thermostat housing (leaving the thermostat out for now) and fill the thing with tap water. Run the car with the heat on for a half minute or so. Drain and refill again a time or two with tap water, then once more with the distilled. Finally put in the thermostat, tighten up the hose, and add ~1.2 gallons of antifreeze. Then top up with the distilled water. Now is also an excellent time to replace any hoses that look dicey. Take a good look for small cracks etc.

While you're doing this, beware. You don't wanna get the engine really hot, just run it long enough to circulate the water. Cold water added to a hot engine can cause trouble. The whole thing will be more pleasant for you if you start with a cold engine. Also worth mentioning that dogs and cats love the taste of antifreeze, and it is poisonous, so chase them all away unless you want to be very unpopular in your neighborhood :roll:
 

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Returning to the power steering pump, I do not buy that the bad pulley caused the pump seals to fail.

If excessive pressure were placed on the belt, after a while the bearings would fail ..
Quickly after the bearings fail, the seal follows - this frequently happens with water pumps.
Usually heat and and age cause a seal to harden and it begins to seep oil.
This "seep" usually develops into a flow-blow leak and the fluid is lose over a period of days..
All our vehicles have over 115K miles - so I do an under-hood check once a month or so.

The Honda PS pump is seeping, the level is dropping, and the replacement is available at Autozone for $115.
The cost at a dealer would probably be $600 - the same as Saab.

On the serpentine belt, available at NAPA, etc, eEuroParts, for $35.
The belt tensioner is a stroke of genius. Setting and adjusting fan belts has always been a bit of a problem....

A man must be able to change the belt and the one pulley in less time than it takes to do two Honda belts.., which is about 15 to 20 minutes.
I cannot understand why dealers charge so much...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Maybe the pressure pulley didn't kill the pump... I suppose that could be coincidence that it died right after the pulley... I hadn't been monitoring the PS fluid level, so that will teach me... I'm going to start doing more rigerous weekly/monthly checks...

I do have one question: In doing the tstat I think coolant a flush is in order, but I don't have any antifreeze... Can I just go to autozone to get some, or do I need to get the pentosin red stuff from eeuroparts? What's your reccomendation?

If it -is- best to use the Pentosin, is it OK for me to change my Tstat now and top up with some random Autozone antifreeze?

Thanks... Hopefully after this I'll be all set for a few months until it is clutch replacement time... woot.
 

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It depends on what you have in there now. If you have the normal green stuff, then a top up with green stuff is just fine. The trick is not to mix different types.

You can buy the pentosin stuff if you want, or you might try the mercedes brand stuff that they sell at thesaabsite. It seems to be well recommended. The most important thing is not to mix types, and to do a pretty thorough rinse if you change types.

Since your tstat is broken, yes it's fine to just change it now and do the full flush when your pentosin/mercedes or whatever comes in. If you siphon the old stuff out of the coolant reservoir and save it, you won't have too much leakage when you take out the old thermostat. You can put the old stuff back in (maybe pour it through a coffee filter if you feel like it), then just top up with water while you wait for the new stuff.

Having said all that, if you just do a fill and flush now with green stuff, you'll do just fine. The orange dex-cool stuff will be just fine too. It might be that the mail order stuff gives you superior protection, but the others are certainly good enough.

Basically, you can't go wrong so long as you don't mix types.
 
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