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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1996 Saab 900 SE Turbo with 141k miles smokes intensely at start-up and then stops after a two to three minutes. I've done some research and it could be leaking turbo seals or the head gasket. No significant coolant loss. Here is my plan:

1. Smell the smoke - I think it's sweet and coolant, but will check.
2. Check the plugs - if one is clean, then it's the gasket. I will re-torque the head bolts to see if that works, although I've not seen any indication of how much torque is required - a little help? If that doesn't work, then new head gasket. How ambitious do I need to be?
3. If it is the turbo, I plan a re-build or a new one. Which is preferable? How long can I go with a leaking turbo before catastrophe?

What do you all think of this plan? Any advice for a guy who has just started really working on his cars (so far, changed brakes, put new ignition on tractor, and fixed power windows) and enjoys it.
 

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If it was the headgasket the smoke would be a constant smoke, even a little during driving...sounds to me like oil seals how many miles are on the turbo?

is it still boosting properly?
how long after start up until it stops smoking?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Miles on the turbo? All of them, I think. I bought the car at 65k (for $7,000) and have not changed it myself. It does seem to be boosting, although the boost gauge is mostly non-functional. When it does function, I see boost.

It stops smoking within a mile of driving (2-3 minutes), usually after the first real acceleration. I.e. - I leave the parking lot at work and drive through the office park less than a mile at 30 mph and it smokes until the light. Then, it stops as I accelerate away on the main highway.
 

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Sounds like it's like oil seals. Check for shaft play in the turbo and take off an intercooler pipe to see if there is oil build up in there. You can come across t25 turbo veryy cheap, and swapping them if simple simple, I wouldnt worry to much...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all - as I was trying to follow your directions, I inadvertently damaged what I believe is called a PCV valve. Essentially, it is a plastic tube coming out of the valve cover with two outlets - one runs to an aluminum pipe running around the cover and then somewhere and the other leading to a small hose to a check valve to somewhere. It being afternoon on Saturday and all the auto parts places closed, I macgyvered the damaged part using JB weld to reattach the hose running to the aluminum pipe and to attach a hose of similar size stolen from an old lawnmower to run to the check valve.

Question: Am I insane? Will this blow up on me? If so, when? The car is running much better as this assembly was leaky before and is now tight.
 
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