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This is what greeted me when I pulled off the valve cover. I use Castrol Syntec 5W-40 every 5000 miles and installed the PCV upgrade #6 back in January. The car has almost 60k miles on it. How does it look?

 

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Maybe as a BEFORE "poster child" for Auto-Rx.

Interesting - too much black, IMO ....:(

Try the scraping of the pan floor.

Who does the OCs and is the oil hot when changed ?
 

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The oil is so dirty and black :eek:


That said, it has a lot of varnish but I don't see sludge (black hard grit like sand) around and on the timimg chain gears. Can you take another closeup picture of the timimg chain gears showing the gears?

I'd scrape the pan as well and check the timimg chains for stretching as a precaution. I don't think you have a sludge problem though but one never knows from just checking the valve cover. It could be clean while the pickup screen is clogged with sludge. The oil pan method is the 100% sure method of finding out.
 

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Geez, I didn't think it looked all that bad in comparison to some of the other pics on here. I will say that everything in the picture looks darker than it does in reality.

I do all the oil changes, and the oil is hot when drained. I'll try to get a better view of the timing chain later today.
 

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Don't worry, varnish is normal on all engines :lol:

I don't think you have sludge. I said that you can't confirm that the engine is sludge free by checking under the valve cover only.

I didn't see the timimg chain gears so I can't say there is no sludge on there! The sludge would look like hard tary deposits similar to grit and sand
 

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It does not look that bad. Varnish can vary in color depending on the type of oil you use, so even if the metal parts are covered with dark brown, or reddish brown varnish, it is no worse than the "golen" color varnish people prefer seeing.

Oil turns black due to heat, not just because there are carbonized particles suspended in it, so you can't go by color of oil alone.

If there are tarry or hard deposits in places where oil does not circulate as freely, like in the corners of the timing cover or valve cover, or the timing gears, then you know you have a problem.

If not, there can still be crud like flakes or carbonized oil in the oil screen. This is because the place where oil is heated the most is in the turbo, and the oil return line from the turbo leads directly into the oil pan. From there, the stuff has no place to go but the bottom of the pan, and into the oil screen, because the screen is almost against the bottom of the pan. As the oil pump sucks in oil, it pulls the crud toward the screen like a vacuum cleaner.

Running an oil analysis once or twice in the life of our engines should be more common. I wish I had done that before my turbo choked itself and burned its seals, or at least before the rod bearings started to wear out. In my case the twenty bucks would have been well spent.
 

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I don't think it looks bad at all, to me this is actually not bad ;)

Are you the original owner since new? If not and you bought the vehicle used then you don't know how well the previous owner kept the car.

Its looks pretty damm good to me, like really what are people expecting to see inside an engine, a mirror finish?
 

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PMI said:
Oil turns black due to heat, not just because there are carbonized particles suspended in it, so you can't go by color of oil alone.
Are you sure about this? When I was running on LPG I could drive for more than 20k kms without seeing a change in oil color (yes, still amber after 12k miles). Engine temperatures are even a bit higher when running on LPG than gasoline, so I believe that the black in the oil IS actually cabonized particles suspended in it.

The pic in the first post actually seems a clean engine to me.
 

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Diosnoche, you have a V6 this is normal for a V6. You won't see sludge in there.

As I nderstand it, the problem can happen even if the car was well maintained, that's why SAAB extended the sludge warranty to 8 years.

The cause seems to be the PCV hoses that tend to disentegrate internally with time and turn into goo and pieces of hardened rubber grit that go back into the engine. I've seen pics of a disected PCV hose; it wasn't pretty :eek: :nono;

That crud and some moisture condensating in there (from short distance driving and especially in cold weather) go back into the engine and that's not good for the engine's health. When the oil flow gets restricted, the oil gets hotter as you can imagine as there isn't enough of it to reduce friction. That degrades the oil further.

If the car is driven less frequently and for short distances, this problem gets worse as the moisture never has time to evaporate completely from the system.

All that gunk accumulates in the oil pan and on the pickup screen usually starts getting clogged with debris.

That's why the version 6 came out and it seems that it's correcting the problem so far.

You can still have debris (sludge) on the bottom of the pan and on the pickup screen without it showing under the valve cover.
 

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Square wave

I don't think it looks bad at all! As a reference here's a shot of mine at a fairly similiar angle.

Rogo

 

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looks fine to me... you may want to run some varnish cleaner the next time you change your oil, but other than that.. no worries. no blueing on the cams..

zip it back up, and drive on...
 

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Stefano said:
Are you sure about this? When I was running on LPG I could drive for more than 20k kms without seeing a change in oil color ...
That is what I have been told about our engines, and other similar turbocharged engines where the oil is heated to a higher temp in the turbo. Nice to know about the LPG!
 
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