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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for some feedback on the yellow sludge I have been pulling out with my dipstick the last few months. I've read a decent amount of comments stating this is a typical moisture buildup issue (I drive short distances in cold temps often), but I have not had this appear before. I also find it coincidental that I just updated the PCV system the month before this sludge started to appear.

A few days back I dropped my oil (see pics), cleaned out my crankcase cover (there was some yellow sludge by the timing chain), re-torqued my head bolts to spec, and put a new filter with full-synthetic 10W-30 oil and 6 oz of seafoam mixed with it. The yellow sludge appeared the next day on the dipstick, but note that it is not mixed with the oil as I would expect for a head gasket leak.

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I plan to drop my oil pan this weekend as I have not done this in the 10 years I've owned my Aero, now with 170k miles on it. However, I'd like to address this yellow sludge so it does not immediately reappear and undo all my work cleaning the sump. Side note, I've seen comments here and there that the '00 9-5 Aero w/ the 5-speed manual has hidden bolts...can anyone confirm this truly the case?

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Other factors to note:
  • My radiator has a leak on the outer plastic casing...so I can’t tell if I am loosing coolant from burning it or just from the leak. Either way it is not a significant amount (~6 oz/month)
  • White smoke is not visible from the exhaust
  • The top camshaft vent does have a decent amount of exhaust come out of it, assume this is due to old piston rings. Will also do a compression test this weekend as well (aiming for 120 PSI?)
  • Only drove 1,200 miles on my last oil change from September (Mobil 1 full synthetic always). It was pretty dark for that little mileage
  • Spark plugs, CPS, and DIC are 2k miles old (to fix my car randomly jerking/misfiring which has not reappeared). Coolant was flushed 1 year ago
 

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I drive the same car, 2000 AERO 5 speed, yes there are two bolts that need to be exposed to remove the sump/oil pan.

You will see two indented cut out areas on the pan at the transmission end, I use a dremel with a carbide disc to cut the areas out some folks just punch them out with a hammer and a cold chisel.

The yellow stuff on the dipstick was of concern to me when I first saw it about ten years ago, I have ignored it ever since.

I don't have any experience with seafoam, yes the oil in these cars turns dark very quickly after a change, another concern I got over many years ago.

If you are worried about head gasket issues you can do a pressure test of the cooling system or get a kit that detects exhaust gases in the cooling system.

A sump/pan dump is a very good idea, make sure you replace the o-rings on the crossover tube in the pan.
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I've had the same residue in my oil on 3 cars I've owned. The culprit for each one? Short driving distance. The oil simply isn't heating up enough to evaporate the condensation on short drives. The first time I saw it, I freaked out until the mechanic started laughing at my antics. He gave me an experiment to do. Drive a short distance and just as the engine starts to show that it's warming up (still at the bottom of the gauge), pull over, shut off the car and pull the dipstick. You'll see the condensation. Start the car up and keep driving for 20 minutes AFTER the engine has fully warmed up, then pull over, shut off the car and pull the dipstick, you'll see no condensation. Well, long story short. He was right.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the confirmation @bob3000, I'll go the dremel route for the sump bolts, find the block tester loaner tool at the local AutoZone and pick up some test fluid to put my fears to rest about my HG. Good to hear both you and @Nocturne don't have many concerns about the yellow residue. I'll take the Saab out for a long drive to check the dipstick again for any buildup prior to dropping the oil; I noticed today after a slightly longer drive that it did appear to clear up a bit.

I'll update with my final findings this weekend & pics of the sump. Also going to do the transmission fluid flush to the new MTF0063 while I'm at it.
 

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So - this yellow gunge in the oil (luckily never had it) - does it disappear if the car starts doing only long trips?
 

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So - this yellow gunge in the oil (luckily never had it) - does it disappear if the car starts doing only long trips?
Yes, once the engine gets up to full operating temperature for a few minutes the condensation evaporates.
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I have to agree with Bob. My wife’s Golf used to do this in VT winters when she drove about 2 miles to work and back. Take it out and give it a good, lenghty workout and you’ll likely find that that schmoo is gone. It worked with the Golf and I’d put money in it doing the same for you. A “Swedish Tune-up” perhaps?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Updates after the work this weekend on the Aero:
  • Sump drop & clean out complete. The hidden bolts were a pain, but eventually got the pan drilled out enough to get to them. Sump was very clean, all of the full synthetic Mobil 1 oil changes paid off. Only a few small pieces of debris from a broken gasket stuck to the bottom of the strainer. Put it all back together after inspection.
  • Checked turbo play while I had the exhaust off, no play but spun freely.
  • Completed a block test with color changing fluid on coolant reservoir, came out clean. This was also good news; no head gasket issues with exhaust pressurizing the coolant system (maybe I'll replace the leaky radiator now).
  • Checked PCV system: definitely has moisture buildup in the lines and in the accumulator box. I left the line into the crankcase off (so it won't drip water straight into the oil), and also pulled the hose off of the oil fill port to see if that helps relieve some moisture buildup. Running the engine there is definitely blow-by from both the crankcase and overhead cam vents. Next step:
  • Completed a compression test. This lead to an interesting result. Cylinder 1: 200 PSI (after 30 cranks), Cylinder 2: 200 PSI (after 30 cranks), Cylinder 3: 200 PSI (30 cranks), Cylinder 4: 145 PSI (35 cranks). Put a drop of oil onto the piston head of cylinder #4 through spark plug hole for "wet test", 30 cranks later we were looking at 150 PSI, not a great impact. Each cylinder after 10 cranks equally rose to ~90 PSI. Is this normal on these older engines?
Overall thoughts: engine is clean, moisture is building up from presence of excessive exhaust. Thinking most likely culprit is worn exhaust & intake valves/valve stems. Any other thoughts? Is it common that the B235R engines have worn rings/valves after 170,000 miles? What is a typical time frame/mileage before the B235R engine needs a short block rebuild?

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any chance there is a leakage in the connection between test device and cylinder head on cyl. 4, maybe some debris?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
any chance there is a leakage in the connection between test device and cylinder head on cyl. 4, maybe some debris?
I don’t believe there was, I threaded the test line in the same as I did for cylinders 1-3. I double checked the result on cylinder 4. It maxed out at 150 PSI even if I cranked it 40 times.
 
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