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Discussion Starter #1
I know of someone who has a 1993 saab 9000 turbo with a blown head gasket. i was wondering what is involved in this, because im thinking its something i can do myself. i know it would be ALOT of labor, but can i do it myself for the most part? if not, how much does it cost from the dealer? thanks again
 

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It's not a particularly difficult job as long as you have a good set of tools. You rightly say, it's just labour as the gasket kit is not expensive.

Unbolt the inlet manifold, undo the 4 nuts on the turbo flange, remove the cam sprockets, undo the head bolts and the two stupid ones on the timing cover.

Lift head off, change gasket, replace head, stick bits back.

That's about it :)

UK independant price is about £450, dealer, double that. DIY head gasket kit is about £50 (give or take a bit)

David.
 

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I've just done mine on my 2.0 '94 CSE, was pretty straight forward. I had to get my cylinder head skimmed and got the valve stem oil seals done at the same time. Overall cost including gaskets, skimming, seals, new head bolts and studs, thermostat was about £230. Probably could have saved a bit more by not getting genuine saab gasket sets but they weren't that much more than pattern ones.

There are a few nuts which are a total pain to get to, but after a lot of swearing at swedish designers, it all comes off. As long as you have a decent set of spanners and ratchets and a good deal of patience it's not really a major job.

Just be methodical and remember where all the nuts, bolts, washers, pipes and electrical connections go.

I think getting the belt back on for the alternator, air con etc was the trickiest bit of reassembling it.
 

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djtaylor said:
Unbolt the inlet manifold, undo the 4 nuts on the turbo flange
This is the most time consuming part IMHO. I can't say this enough. Make removing these bolts your #1 priority. You can crack the nuts by warming up the car to operating temp and then try loosening them while hot. If you don't do this 1st, you will disassemble most of the car and not be able to turn it over.


Also, a little underrated is getting (making) a tensioner tool. Very simple and easy to make. Different people use different methodologies for handling the tensioner.

What you need most is time to do this job. Feel free to read any of my (recent) misadventures with headgasket replacement. Learn from the mistakes of others like me! :eek:
 

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Could well be but have to say that mine just span off. It was putting the new ones on that took the most time because I used new self locking ones and each one just gets a few degrees of an open ended spanner. I reckon it probably took me an hour to do 4 nuts.

The other piggy ones are the ones underneath the head in the timing cover, again limited spanner access. I think the later models have torx screws which won't be a problem but mine were flats and a total pain in the botty.

Then there's the one hidden inlet manifold bolt but other than that, just time, I agree.

saab9000turbo23 said:
what kind of bolts are we dealing with? there arent torx screws under the hood are there?
What? you've never looked? Yeah, there's loads and the head bolts are a reverse spline thing. E40 socket required if I recall correctly?

David.
 

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Also, a little underrated is getting (making) a tensioner tool. Very simple and easy to make. Different people use different methodologies for handling the tensioner.
We didn't actually make a tool for this..... looked like too much hassle. I would say though, if you have time to make one, it'll probably save a lot of messing about, but it's not impossible without one...... or was I just lucky?
 

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djtaylor said:
What? you've never looked? Yeah, there's loads and the head bolts are a reverse spline thing. E40 socket required if I recall correctly?
David.
oh if i owned the car i would have looked, but its a friends car, and i was just wondering the work involved if i were to buy it.
 

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I've just completed this job on a 1997 CS Turbo - A couple of things to have on hand include any o-rings for things you *may* disturb i.e water pump, vacuum pipe, and a knowledgable mechanic to help when you really make a mess of it.....

Other than that - it's not terribly difficult - more just a pain of a job.

Kenneth
 

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Jamal Bryant said:
Also, a little underrated is getting (making) a tensioner tool. Very simple and easy to make. Different people use different methodologies for handling the tensioner.


It is widely recgonized that the most elegant way to remove and install the serpentine belt on a SAAB 9k is by using a 18 inch ling 1/2' drive breaker bar with a 19 mm socket slipped on it. You do it from the top in front of the engine, slip the socket onto the tensioner bolt and push toward the back. No special tool is needed.
 

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saab9000turbo23 said:
I know of someone who has a 1993 saab 9000 turbo with a blown head gasket. i was wondering what is involved in this, because im thinking its something i can do myself. i know it would be ALOT of labor, but can i do it myself for the most part? if not, how much does it cost from the dealer? thanks again

If this is your first attemp, it pays to find out and understand where every thing is at number 1 piston TDC. These include orientation of the camshafts, flywheel, camshaft sprocket, timing chain sprocket on the crank, balance shaft sprocket on the crank and the crank shaft orientation.
 

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djtaylor said:
UK independant price is about £450, dealer, double that. DIY head gasket kit is about £50 (give or take a bit)
David.
Hell of an expensive independent you got there:eek: , labour on mine was £300 and that included a skim too;) :cool: .
 

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Damn, I wish people wouldn't call me out on it because then I have to go and check ! :D

It was:-

Labour £300
Parts £61.11
VAT £63.19
Total £424.30

Parts breakdown:-
Gasket set £40
Cooling system flush £4.61
Antifreeze £16.50

Long story about that little job. I'd used the chap for years but this was the first time I'd taken a Saab to him. I then did my next long journey to find the expansion bottle hissing at the end of it and all the symptoms of the head still not right so I took it to the local (away from home) Saab dealer who did a block test and came back with the diagnosis of cracked head. I wasn't exactly happy as my need was for a cheap car in the beginning and this was now starting to sound not so good for my little Saab that until then had done me proud.

So I took it back with their diagnosis and when he took the head off again, confirmed that it was cracked between valves. Admittedly it was my own fault because when I was first driving the car, I wanted to get home, Friday night, had been away all week and when I saw the temperature rising, did the usual mental diagnostics of low coolant etc. Needed to keep the engine speed up to keep coolant flowing but didn't want to stop on my 140 mile journey home and this had surfaced at mile 2!

Cracked head

What got me was that when I asked he said that he wouldn't have checked for a cracked head when I'd said that the gasket had gone. Seems a little odd to at least not go through the checks. Because I had always previously had a good relationship, I asked if he wanted to source a head or leave it to me. I ended up getting one from Neo Bros and that was sent direct.

He fitted that one then phoned me up with the bad news that the valves were leaking and that there was 0 compression on 3 cylinders and 50psi on number 3. I had to say that I didn't believe that could be 0 unless they were stuck open (which they weren't).

At this point it was pretty clear that things were going to sour because he was under the impression that I had arranged for a fully recon head, when it should have been clear that it wasn't. He wasn't happy at having spent time on doing the job again to find that it didn't work, I questioned the cam timing because I simply could not (and still can't accept) that valves that close could allow such leakage to produce 0 psi on 3 cylinders.

His "demonstration" to prove this was to put the head on its side and fill the ports with parafin. Certainly some weeped through but i'd expect that and when I did the same on my cracked head, I got the same result. When I mentioned this, amusingly he said "yes but that head is a 120,000 mile one, of course it will leak". I countered "yes but that leaking head still produced plenty of compression." He then threw the blame to Neo, so I took the head back to Neo who then sent it to their engineering contractor who skimmed it again, reground the valves (probably not such a good idea given the coating).

I then took it back but at this point Mr Indy decided he didn't want to have anything more to do with it and frankly neither did I want him working on it anymore because I had lost all confidence.

My wife then towed the dead Saab (with a bootful of bits) 20 miles to the Saab main dealer for reassembly. This in itself was an exercise that almost ended in divorce as my wife had never towed before and I was trying to coax her via two way radio that "slowly" meant take up the slack slowly and then accelerate - a very fraught 20 miles and a very cooked Volvo clutch at the end of it, which i'm surprised hasn't since let go! :lol:

The Saab dealer then had a go and got the Neo head checked but their engineering company determined that the head had been skimmed but without the cam side being flat on the bed and thus had a "twist" of 20thou end to end and thus the Saab dealer wasn't prepared to fit it because they felt that the cams could jam. So they they sourced head number 2 and decided to contract this out to an unnamed company in Hatfield who I now presume to be Two Stroke To Turbo. They put it together then had to disassemble due to finding a piece of metal somewhere in the inlet system. Unknown as to whether it was the head or something dropped down in the manifold and they passed it back to the Saab dealer.

I also had the timing chain done at the same time to the tune of £1000 for those bits and parts and the funny bit there is that the Saab dealer ended up with a leak from the timing cover so had to refit that too.

This overall took about 6 weeks from start to finish, in the mean time I had bought my Aero which needed timing chains and other bits doing but this above story fired me up to go back to my younger days of messing around on cars again and saving all the labour cost.

I still don't know what the indy did other than I suspect cam timing wrong slightly but I do know that when I got the head back, I bought a Haynes manual and noticed a couple of other things about the head he had previously fitted. The bearing caps were not back in sequence and also black oil slotted bolt was not on the inside location on a couple of caps and therefore there would have been a problem with the cam bearings sooner than later. It was this evidence that led me to lose total confidence.

There ya go, the whole story. :)

David.
 
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