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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Guy,


Honestly I'm super excited to finally own a saab, i've been looking high and low for a wagon in good interior condition and was maintained well.

Anyhow, i'm about to embark on a head gasket repair, there is coolant mixing in the engine and the freeze plug blew off due to an overheat.

I can't seem to get any consistent information on what else I should change or repair once I pull the head off. The car has 117K so I want to update and change anything that I should once I'm in there.

So if anyone has a list of things I should consider replacing that would be awesome. What is the best site for ordering Saab parts?

I just want to make sure once I start I have all my parts and tools at hand. Wish there was a comprehensive list where I could find that information.

Thanks again. I'll make sure to post pics, just want to get it up and running and save another SAAB
 

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First, be very, very, very careful when you pull the head off. The guides for the timing chains are plastic and stick up through the head and if you shift it the wrong way you can break them and are then in for a much more complicated and difficult job. It's best to have two people but if you do it by yourself just be really careful.

Second - if you are careful you can take the head off without taking the intake manifold out. the one bolt on the end by the tensioner is the hardest to get but you can get it through the bracket when the tensioner is gone. you'll also have to take the fuel rail out with the injectors, just flop it over on the windshield , no need to disconnect anything.


now on to your question:


1: before you take the head off take the timing chain tensioner out (you have to do it anyway) and measure it from the shoulder to the bottom of the "foot" It if't more than 15mm you should consider rolling in a new timing chain. you can see procedures to do that here and other places.

2: i'd change the water pump, it's pretty much exposed and easy to get when the head is off. you're due and they are relatively cheap.

3: if you haven't changed the header bypass valve, now is the time to do it with all of that stuff gone. Same goes for the rear engine mount. (although a bit more money!)

4: if the serp belt and pulleys haven't been done that's coming off as well so you should consider those.


Other than those pretty much anything else that has to come off is easy enough with the head on so I would n't bother unless you know of something wrong.
 

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I propose a professional cylinder head renovation.
That's usually big bucks here in the US...

But I would have the head checked for flatness and have it vacuum checked, that should be reasonably priced. And if it's not flat get it planed.

But as long as the valves are good and hold a vacuum, I wouldn't bother with a complete renovation
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Unclemilite,

Thanks so much for the information, that makes its seem less overwhelming.

I was planning on taking it to a machine shop and making it level and checking the cylinders.

Will I need to replace the intake and exhaust manifolds gaskets?

Any site recommendations for parts?! Is there a brand that anyone prefers? Should I stick with OEM or AF?

Thanks guys
 

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eeuroparts sells a head gasket kit that includes the HG, VCG, intake and exhaust gaskets. you'll also need the turbo gasket and I don't think it's in the kit.

Oh, some replace the head bolts. I've done two of these and have not replaced either set of head bolts. But I would say that if you do it a third time the bolts should be replaced.
 

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You haven't changed your head bolts in 2 head pulls unclemiltie?? I wouldn't expect to hear that from you.

I'd personally recommend getting a new set of head bolts, I've seen things go wrong from reuse. I've also seen a set of fel-pro bolts where one bolt snapped while getting torqued to yield. Bad day- or 2 days actually, for that guy. So I wouldn't cheap out either. Fel pro makes excellent gaskets, but that's all they make thats excellent.

Make sure you have a good quality working torque wrench. Have a dial indicator for the head bolts. Theres a tool company called Lisle that makes tools designed by us lowly mechanics. They have a gasket scraper that you can purchase from pretty much any parts store for about 20-30$ and sears may have one as well. This thing works beautifuly on iron blocks. Your going to have to clean it up very well and this tool will save you a s***load of time. Then hit it with some 1000 grit sand paper lightly, spray a shop rag with low voc chlorine free brake-kleen and wipe it down.

I'd change the tensioner seal and o-ring if it hasn't been done, exhaust manifold gasket, valve cover gasket, both throttle body gaskets, intake manifold gasket if you take that off.. that's pretty much it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you so much

You guys are amazing thank you so much. I have heard of Lisle, so I'll get that scraper. Last thing I wanted was to be short an O ring here or gasket... Once I get started I want to have everything ready you know?

I have a solid new torque wrench, and will pick up an Angle torque wrench when I get a chance.

Thanks so much.
 

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My rule of thumb with my Saab is to exhaust all of the cheap solutions for before trying the time consuming and expensive ones. Have you tried re-torqueing or replacing just the head bolts. There was a professional Saab mechanic who used to frequent this forum who said of the hundreds of Saabs he had worked on, it was extremely rare that he had to pull a head off for work. If you search long enough, you will find his threads about head gasket leaks. According to him, in 9 out of 10 cases, you just needed to re-torque the head bolts to stop head gasket leaks. I wish I could remember the posters name, but he is well know around this forum as a pro Saab mechanic.
 

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The tensioner on the back of the head requires special attention. I might be wrong but its big.... somebody help me out 24mm I dont recall.

Also I did a right up on an 06 it has some tips in there about getting the chain set back
GLWR ;ol;
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
If you all recall, this was a thread asking "what else shoudl I do" not whether or not I should pull the head off and replace the gasket.

I don't do anything cheaply, sorry but money is not a factor for me... For all of you who are counting pennies, I don't understand because of you has to take it to any shop you would spend 4-5 times more ... I would always rather do it right once.

Besides I'm going to pay for the part whether I am the one who repairs it someone else. So I might as well replace everything I shoudl replace once I in there and the head is off.
 

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I would suggest not removing the exhaust manifold , unless you plan on machine work. Regardless, I would hold off on removing it until you get head out of car. Removal is much easier, and you can get vertical soak of rust penetrant if needed. Another benefit, manifolds are good handles for removal! Regards,
 

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I would suggest not removing the exhaust manifold , unless you plan on machine work. Regardless, I would hold off on removing it until you get head out of car. Removal is much easier, and you can get vertical soak of rust penetrant if needed. Another benefit, manifolds are good handles for removal! Regards,
Agree on that one.

BTW, I'd consider replacing all of the studs that hold the exhaust manifold on. They do get brittle over time and have a tendency to break off. And much easier to get out when the head is sitting on a bench than in the car.
 
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