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Discussion Starter #1
My car is a 2000 9-5, 2.3T

I've been reading through threads regarding excessive white smoke when decelerating and all indications are that my turbocharger is blown.

My question is: How difficult is this to change out or repair? I'm a competent DIYer and have faith that I can perform the job. Is it worth a repair? Are there parts for it? Where would they be?

Or ... should I just bite the bullet and purchase a rebuilt/new unit?

Thoughts and suggestions greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

- Mike (Caged_Ferret)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Do a search and there are quite a few options you will find. Good luck
My initial searches for the unit were frustrating, but after some time I actually found a local seller on ebay that has an "exact" replacement for less than $200.00. So my fingers are crossed that he will agree to forego the shipping and other associated fees to ebay.

Thanks for the reply. :)
 

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The job isn't that hard

A couple of hints:

1: if you have the spare cash most everyone would recommend upgrading from the Garrett GT1752 turbo that you have to the Mitsubishi TD-04 that is used in the Aero/2.3T version of the engine. The turbo is more robust and makes your car go faster. To do so you have to change the water feed/return lines since the bolts are different. Getting a used one is a good option since they tend to last a long time. (a used Garrett is probably not a great idea)

2: Take the fans off of the radiator, you'll be happier and will come away with less scratches and scrapes

3: fill the oil passages in the turbo with oil before installing and before you start the car up unplug the wire from the DIC and crank the engine for at least 30-45 seconds to pump oil into the turbo. you don't want that thing to start spinning with no oil on the bearings.

4: the cheap turbos on ebay are china knock offs. Opinions on this board are mixed on those turbos. You should consider replacing only the center section (called CHRA) since that includes all of the stuff that goes bad and uses the existing exhaust and compressor housings. Unless your turbo exploded those are not likely to be damaged.

5: keep clean, especially around the intake housing. you don't want to suck dirt into your brand new turbo and damage it.


Plan on about 4 hours to take everything apart and put it back together. There are tutorials on this forum on how to do it. If you have a medium level of skill you can make it happen.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The job isn't that hard

A couple of hints:

1: if you have the spare cash most everyone would recommend upgrading from the Garrett GT1752 turbo that you have to the Mitsubishi TD-04 that is used in the Aero/2.3T version of the engine. The turbo is more robust and makes your car go faster. To do so you have to change the water feed/return lines since the bolts are different. Getting a used one is a good option since they tend to last a long time. (a used Garrett is probably not a great idea)

2: Take the fans off of the radiator, you'll be happier and will come away with less scratches and scrapes

3: fill the oil passages in the turbo with oil before installing and before you start the car up unplug the wire from the DIC and crank the engine for at least 30-45 seconds to pump oil into the turbo. you don't want that thing to start spinning with no oil on the bearings.

4: the cheap turbos on ebay are china knock offs. Opinions on this board are mixed on those turbos. You should consider replacing only the center section (called CHRA) since that includes all of the stuff that goes bad and uses the existing exhaust and compressor housings. Unless your turbo exploded those are not likely to be damaged.

5: keep clean, especially around the intake housing. you don't want to suck dirt into your brand new turbo and damage it.


Plan on about 4 hours to take everything apart and put it back together. There are tutorials on this forum on how to do it. If you have a medium level of skill you can make it happen.
Thanks for this info! The unit I'm looking at is a used one since that's all I can really afford on such short notice.
I'm pretty confident I can perform this job. I "was" a mechanic for many years until I changed professions. But I still like getting dirty once in awhile. :)

I will look into a Mitsu replacement per your suggestion. But as I said, that will be down the road at a later time.

- Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I found a used replacement locally for $150.00 that the seller will guarantee for 30 days.
At this point, until funds are available, this is the most viable solution.

Thanks to everyone for their input. I'll keep you posted.
If you know of a video available for this job, that would be awesome. But not a big deal if there isn't.

Thanks again.

- Mike
 

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I would never even think about replacing a blown GT17 with a used/soon to be blown GT17. They just aren't good turbos. The 4 hours or so (maybe up to 6) of work quoted above are not worth buying yourself a month to maybe a couple to justify the cheap turbo IMO. But I'm a "do it right the first time" kind of guy. Spend the extra $$$ up front, and hopefully you never have to deal with it again.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I would never even think about replacing a blown GT17 with a used/soon to be blown GT17. They just aren't good turbos. The 4 hours or so (maybe up to 6) of work quoted above are not worth buying yourself a month to maybe a couple to justify the cheap turbo IMO. But I'm a "do it right the first time" kind of guy. Spend the extra $$$ up front, and hopefully you never have to deal with it again.
Cark, I get what you're saying. And if the financial situation were different for me I would follow the same rule to the "T". Honest.

This is sort of an emergency as this is my only vehicle. I have no other to borrow or depend on. The embarrassment driving a mosquito control vehicle (yeah, it's that bad lol) along with the knowledge it is possibly damaging other parts is essentially forcing me to go this route.

Sure, the $150 hit won't feel all that good if the thing blows up on day 31. But during that month I will have the funds to get the "right" part. :)

- Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Not sure how to start this ... a pure newbie (to turbochargers) question:

I'm not totally familiar with the intricacies of a turbocharger. I know the basic principles.
What I just experienced a few minutes ago scared me. Took a ride up to the store to grab a quart of oil because I knew I was low. When I went to pour it in the dipstick was showing signs of coolant/water. A milky white froth.
On the way back home it was very sluggish to accelerate and there was a knocking noise for a brief moment.

Could the turbocharger be dumping coolant into the system?
If not I need to figure out where it's coming from.

Once again, thanks.

- Mike
 

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I found a used replacement locally for $150.00 that the seller will guarantee for 30 days.
At this point, until funds are available, this is the most viable solution.

Thanks to everyone for their input. I'll keep you posted.
If you know of a video available for this job, that would be awesome. But not a big deal if there isn't.

Thanks again.

- Mike
Check it good when you get it. There should be essentially no play laterally (side to side across the turbine blades) and only very small amount along the axis of the turbine. Check for chipped broken blades, the turbine should spin quite easily and look for oil residue on both the compressor and exhaust housings.

I hear you re: finances, we've all been there. If the old one isn't damaged too much you might want to try your hand at rebuilding it once you have some time on your hands so that if the "new" one goes you have something to fall back on. The kits on ebay/china kits are only in the $50 range. for example here:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Saab-9-3-9-...Parts_Accessories&hash=item3cd72ecebe&vxp=mtr
 

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turbocharger

Mine died 2 years ago, on my 2.3t 2001 wagon. I bought a new one from www.buyautoparts.com for under $400. US Visibly couldn't tell the difference from the stock one but they have sourced some (?) manufacturer (they seem to sell lots of them). You need to drain coolant, change oil when completed but other than that a pretty simple process (couple of hours with ramps and jack stands). Since I was under there (garage floor) I decided to drop the pan and clean the oil sump (was very clean). Complete job took about 8 hrs with ramps, some jack stands, a couple jacks and a bit of prior research.
Check the turbo bypass tube 1" diameter (silver and held in place with (1) 10mm 0r 13mm bolt on one side, a hose and hose clamp to BOV on the other. If there is a lot of oil in the tube it is most likely the turbo. You can also disconnect the catalytic converter pipe at the turbo and use a mirror to see if the turbo fans are wet. If they are, bingo turbo.
It has been worth it in our case. However, I just recently had to replace the catalytic converter. I am pretty sure my issue is leaky valve seals (big puff of whitish blue smoke on cold starts) (upgraded crankcase ventilation system before the turbo). This has been going on for a while so it clogged my cat and the car would labor on hills as a result of back pressure.
Good luck, we still love our saabs.
OK oil on dipstick, top (common moisture buildup) or all the way down on dip end. I have not heard of a turbo leaking water into the oil (but this could be common to saabs just don’t know). However, my saab 9-3 2.0 was leaking oil from the head gasket and when I pulled off the valve cover 2 of the head bolts were loose. I was lucky, after draining the coolant and loosening all the head bolts and re-torqueing them no more issues. If you are getting water into the oil you need to fix it pretty quick and really try not to drive it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Check it good when you get it. There should be essentially no play laterally (side to side across the turbine blades) and only very small amount along the axis of the turbine. Check for chipped broken blades, the turbine should spin quite easily and look for oil residue on both the compressor and exhaust housings.

I hear you re: finances, we've all been there. If the old one isn't damaged too much you might want to try your hand at rebuilding it once you have some time on your hands so that if the "new" one goes you have something to fall back on. The kits on ebay/china kits are only in the $50 range. for example here:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Saab-9-3-9-...Parts_Accessories&hash=item3cd72ecebe&vxp=mtr
unclemiltie, thanks for the link! I was thinking of doing the same thing but wasn't sure where to start.
And thanks for the advice on how to check the used unit. Luckily, even though I found this on Ebay the seller is local which makes it easier for me if there are issues.

With the experience I had last night I don't think I'll be driving the car for the next couple of days. So I guess I'll have some time to figure out where the coolant, if that's what it is, is coming from.

Keep y'all posted.

- Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Mine died 2 years ago, on my 2.3t 2001 wagon. I bought a new one from www.buyautoparts.com for under $400. US Visibly couldn't tell the difference from the stock one but they have sourced some (?) manufacturer (they seem to sell lots of them). You need to drain coolant, change oil when completed but other than that a pretty simple process (couple of hours with ramps and jack stands). Since I was under there (garage floor) I decided to drop the pan and clean the oil sump (was very clean). Complete job took about 8 hrs with ramps, some jack stands, a couple jacks and a bit of prior research.
Check the turbo bypass tube 1" diameter (silver and held in place with (1) 10mm 0r 13mm bolt on one side, a hose and hose clamp to BOV on the other. If there is a lot of oil in the tube it is most likely the turbo. You can also disconnect the catalytic converter pipe at the turbo and use a mirror to see if the turbo fans are wet. If they are, bingo turbo.
It has been worth it in our case. However, I just recently had to replace the catalytic converter. I am pretty sure my issue is leaky valve seals (big puff of whitish blue smoke on cold starts) (upgraded crankcase ventilation system before the turbo). This has been going on for a while so it clogged my cat and the car would labor on hills as a result of back pressure.
Good luck, we still love our saabs.
OK oil on dipstick, top (common moisture buildup) or all the way down on dip end. I have not heard of a turbo leaking water into the oil (but this could be common to saabs just don’t know). However, my saab 9-3 2.0 was leaking oil from the head gasket and when I pulled off the valve cover 2 of the head bolts were loose. I was lucky, after draining the coolant and loosening all the head bolts and re-torqueing them no more issues. If you are getting water into the oil you need to fix it pretty quick and really try not to drive it.
CliffC,
There was a moisture film at the top, but there was a build up on the tip of the dip stick too. That's what has me really worried. (I changed oil just last Friday so the oil is new.)
The good thing, if you can call it that, is that I just got this car from my sister about 2 months ago. Prior to my taking it she had a head gasket and exhaust work done. So if it is the head gasket or other related part causing the coolant to leak into the oil, that SHOULD be covered by their warranty.
I'll be finding out in the next day or so since I can't go anywhere.

Thanks for your input and info.

- Mike
 

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Good luck and ran a tuned GT17 for around 147k until I sold the car with no issues. Gt40 seems to be more robust but I personally had no reasons to complain about 2 Saab's that I had tuned with a GT17.
 

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Water in oil?

Good luck. Since you just had head work done I would suspect that your water leak is related. I wish someone would comment but I don't believe that a blown turbo will put water into your oil. Seems like a bad design even given they are water cooled. Saabs have precisely engineered heads that are prone to warp unless torqued correctly and in the correct bolt order.

I'd highly recommend driving it up on ramps, disconnecting the cat from the turbo (3 nuts), loosining the pre-catalyst mount (2 bolts) and using a flashlight and mirror to look at turbo fans or just swab it with a q-tip. No oil , no turbo problem. Then go after the shop to redo your head gasket. BTW, anti-freeze in the combustion chamber will eventually crack or damage your head. Needless to say water in your oil will trash everything.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Good luck. Since you just had head work done I would suspect that your water leak is related. I wish someone would comment but I don't believe that a blown turbo will put water into your oil. Seems like a bad design even given they are water cooled. Saabs have precisely engineered heads that are prone to warp unless torqued correctly and in the correct bolt order.

I'd highly recommend driving it up on ramps, disconnecting the cat from the turbo (3 nuts), loosining the pre-catalyst mount (2 bolts) and using a flashlight and mirror to look at turbo fans or just swab it with a q-tip. No oil , no turbo problem. Then go after the shop to redo your head gasket. BTW, anti-freeze in the combustion chamber will eventually crack or damage your head. Needless to say water in your oil will trash everything.
Thanks CliffC.
The car is now in my garage, which is being heated up with outside temps in the 20's today, so I will be first checking the water-oil issue.
My plan of attack is to do a compression check on each cylinder. Then do the turbo inspection as you suggested.

The whole "frothing" of the oil has happened in the past 4 days or so. As I mentioned, I did an oil change last Friday and there wasn't any evidence that I could see of the water-oil mix. However, I did a 400 mile round trip getaway and that's when the smoking issue became VERY evident, which became worse and worse each day.

The smoking on deceleration was indicative of bad valve stem seals at first. Just a puff or two. But it progressively got worse. A little smoke on acceleration and a lot of smoke on deceleration. And doing the searches more or less pointed at the turbocharger.
I haven't seen a scenario of a bad head gasket producing the same problem, but that doesn't mean it can't be the problem.
Have you, or anyone else, seen where the smoking like this would be the head gasket?
When I say it resembles a mosquito control truck, I mean there's a LOT of smoke for about 2 minutes when I first start it up now. Before it was "minor" smoke. Then it evens out until I drive it.

OK, I'm rambling now and need to get out there. lol

Thanks again for your input.

- Mike
 

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white smoke

Compression check is a good start. You need to have your ducks in a row before approaching the servicer.

So, leaky valve seals is usually blue smoke on start and only when cold. Unless completely trashed they expand eliminating the problem.
I assume you have antifreeze in the car. If you start it and smell the white exhaust smoke it will smell slightly sweet if antifreeze is getting into one of the cylinders (bad head gasket or cracked head)smell is not always present as the catalytic converter does a great job of eliminating contaminants and the turbo re-burn of the exhaust does the same.

Quick story. I was driving in Boston with cracked head and coolant was dripping into the a cylinder. A car pulled up and was frantically waving where I rolled down my window. He screamed "your car is on fire " where I calmly replied "Thank you , I know" and drove on my way. I had just replaced the head before a trip and apparently it had a micro fracture and was leaking antifreeze into the cylinder and billowing white smoke out the exhaust. I was in college and was pissed that I wasted a head gasket, a weekend and money I didn't have.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
OK. So I just pulled my car up on ramps to begin my investigations.
When I did I noticed this:





And from the tailpipe:





When pressing on the gas pedal, this:





So I'm guessing that the head gasket is blown. _sigh_

Any comments or personal experience? let me know.

Thanks again ...

- Mike

PS, for larger views on the pics: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B4ZotOFtEy2La2x5aU9uX2U5V3M&usp=sharing
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Compression check is a good start. You need to have your ducks in a row before approaching the servicer.

So, leaky valve seals is usually blue smoke on start and only when cold. Unless completely trashed they expand eliminating the problem.
I assume you have antifreeze in the car. If you start it and smell the white exhaust smoke it will smell slightly sweet if antifreeze is getting into one of the cylinders (bad head gasket or cracked head)smell is not always present as the catalytic converter does a great job of eliminating contaminants and the turbo re-burn of the exhaust does the same.

Quick story. I was driving in Boston with cracked head and coolant was dripping into the a cylinder. A car pulled up and was frantically waving where I rolled down my window. He screamed "your car is on fire " where I calmly replied "Thank you , I know" and drove on my way. I had just replaced the head before a trip and apparently it had a micro fracture and was leaking antifreeze into the cylinder and billowing white smoke out the exhaust. I was in college and was pissed that I wasted a head gasket, a weekend and money I didn't have.
LOL @ car on fire. I kinda felt like that too!
It is embarrassing to say the least with clouds of smoke pouring out so bad that traffic behind me either stopped or slowed down. :nono;

I'm about to do the compression test and will post my results when I'm done.
Did you see the photos I posted? I'd like to hear your input.

Thanks again CliffC.

- Mike
 

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Blown Head gasket???

First saab crankcase presure is high so you get some vapor out of the dip stick but you are right this is really excessive.

Smell it (dip stick) sweet? loosing coolant but cannot find a leak? I'd take it back to the shop where they did the work. If they refuse to help you you might try the following. But you will void any chance of them fixing it.

Remove the valve cover. Drain coolant. Look up the head bolt torqueing sequence, check each bolt to see if loose (if they are not, stop here. Warped or cracked head). If any are, snug them down. Now remove the first bolt, take a dowel and insert in the empty hole to make sure there is no trapped oil. (this is a common mistake, the trapped fluid gives a false torque reading). Tighten as instructed, repeat for each bolt there are 10. The head gasket is made of metal and composit so it might have survived. Drain and replace oil and refill coolant. If this emiminates your problem you should probably invest in some new head bolts as I believe they are really only good for one use. This will take a fraction of the time required to do a head gasket replacement and if you have been driving it the head could also be warped.

Good luck and let me know how you make out.

Best,

Cliff
 
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