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Discussion Starter #1
Will be starting this job in few mins. I really only have one question at this point;
most of the write-ups have you lock the fly wheel before doing much else, even the official bulletin form Townsend.
http://townsendimports.com/Web/engine_folder/incarchainpg1.htm
But they never say exactly why need to lock the fly and they never say when to un-lock the fly before pulling the new chain through.
Do they have you lock the fly wheel so that you can lock the cams at TDC ? (the only reason i can think of).
I'm going to be loosening the cam shafts to free up the valves so do i really need to lock the fly wheel?
 

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I've never heard of such nonsense, and there is nothing 'official' about the Townsend site. There is no need to lock it, you have to turn it anyway. They want the cams to stay still so as not to bend a valve.
Just so I don't have to think about it, I loosen the cams so it's impossible to bend a valve. You have to re-time it anyway.
There is an official SAAB Service bulletin detailing how they want you to do it.
 

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Step 9 says to unlock the flywheel. I think this Saab bulletin wants you to lock the flywheel to keep the engine out of alignment while attaching the new chain to the old chain. I also don't see the need to lock the flywheel here. It would take 30 additional seconds with vice grip pliers either way. You might lock it after rolling the new chain for retiming, just so you don't have to recheck the crankshaft marks repeatedly and so you can just focus on the cam shaft marks.

I turned the engine by jacking up the passenger side wheel and turning it while feeding the new chain through. Spark plugs removed and transmission in 5th. Make certain the new chain is very well connected to the old chain. Don't use a zip tie. I used some stiff wire. The last thing you want is the connection between the chains to break on the crankshaft sprocket. I used the hammer method to peen the master link for two of my cars.

To retime, the townsend page for headgasket replacement was useful. Skip near the bottom of the page where the paragraph starts with, "To set the engine in time"
 

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correction
I think this Saab bulletin wants you to lock the flywheel to keep the engine in alignment while attaching the new chain to the old chain.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, i just pulled the tensioner and its at 8mm which is completely in spec.
This car has 276k mi on the dial and that was before i fixed the speedo cable so who knows how many miles are on it.
If the tensioner is reading correctly the chain must have been replaced already.
Should i even bother to pull the valve cover?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I decided to not pull the valve cover for inspection and instead get her back together and trouble shoot the original problem - intermittent hesitation/stumbling.
 

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I would look at fuel pump, Hall-Effect sensor, plugs/wires/cap/rotor, ICM, and vacuum module in that order. I will mention the ONE goofy stumbling problem that took me FOREVER to solve was a damaged distributor vacuum module. It would - apparently - flop back and forth at random intervals, changing timing without boost to compensate and it felt really weird.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
So, since my last reply, she has been running flawlessly.
All i did that could have made a difference was clean up the dist cap and rotor contacts - They were a bit crusty even though i just replaced both as well as the wires and plugs maybe 1k miles ago.
Thanks jvan. appreciate the reply. I did check the dist vacuum module. Seems to hold vacuum ok. Btw, i'm seriously thinking about doing a T5 conversion.
 
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