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Discussion Starter #1
Have a 9-3 i bought for $3k. Developed a vibration in the front end that sounds like something rapidly spinning against plastic, for lack of a better description. It vibrates through the steering wheel and pedals in the 1800-2200 RPM range in all gears. Took it in to the Saab tech. Two visits and $3500 later, it has new crankcase seal, new sway bars, new ignition switch, new rear brakes rotors and pads, new front tires, a new wheel hub (because the sensor was exposed), and a new engine mount. Vibration came back after a week even louder.

Really getting aick of being bilked to fix a problem that keeps returning. Got pissed off at the dealer’s exploratory work (i.e., they dont know whats wrong but will keep “fixing it” until either i run out of money or the problem goes away) and told him i dont care if he has to pull the engine out of the car to weld new engine mount seats into the frame. I want ot fixed once, and fixed right.

Juat stumbled across an article on here that mentioned the timing chain or tensioner could be the problem, but Saabs are beyond my level of armchair expertise.

Pleaee help!!
 

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Sorry to hear of your troubles. The list of repairs is a bit confusing since only 1-2 items had even a chance to correct a vibration while the car was moving.
You can get a few guesses based on pattern failures, but my advise: take your car elsewhere. Ask friends and family where they would go to get an honest shop that will test before to confirm the problem before attempting a fix - not throw parts at you. You may have updated some items that needed it, but that is a ridiculous list of repairs for the problem you have.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I also had the fuel sensor and the ECM replaced (it was in emergency mode and chugging from a bad ECM). lol

No, that was a long list of things that needed immediate attention on the car (it was a bit run down), but otherwise the car is strong.

I mentioned the tension chain guide being damaged as a potential problem, and the Saab tech agreed it could be that, but no error codes are being thrown. He mentioned it could be "balance rods," or something. I've also read it could be alignment or balance issues in the wheels, but it doesn't wobble, and there's no wheel vibration, just the steering wheel.

Also, it seems to happen only when the car is cold, and then other times, it's dead silent. Could the other engine mounts be going since one mount was replaced?

If it is the tension on the timing chain or the chain guides, how expensive a fix is that?
 

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Timing components would be more characteristic at idle on a cold until it's warm as well as a distinctive metal on metal sound.

Vibration only through the steering...huh.
Any changes with the angle of the steering wheel? Full deflection left or right? Partial turning? Has anyone looked at the power steering mount bushings? Perhaps something is rubbing on the steering rack, pinion, or higher up. Everything is clear of the column?

If it was balance shaft, it would be far more noticeable at all RPM. It's a pretty aggressive feeling.

Also look into the harmonic balancer as a possible cause.

Automatic or manual? Pressure plate bolts of the manual clutch could be loose. That's really unlikely, but that gave me odd issues in my c900
 

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You said it happens in all gears between 1800-2200, but is the vibration engine speed related, or engine load related? That is, if you put it in say, 3rd run it up to 3,000 RPM, and then just coast down, does the vibration still happen with no throttle input?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Timing components would be more characteristic at idle on a cold until it's warm as well as a distinctive metal on metal sound.

Vibration only through the steering...huh.
Any changes with the angle of the steering wheel? Full deflection left or right? Partial turning? Has anyone looked at the power steering mount bushings? Perhaps something is rubbing on the steering rack, pinion, or higher up. Everything is clear of the column?

If it was balance shaft, it would be far more noticeable at all RPM. It's a pretty aggressive feeling.

Also look into the harmonic balancer as a possible cause.

Automatic or manual? Pressure plate bolts of the manual clutch could be loose. That's really unlikely, but that gave me odd issues in my c900
It's an automatic. It was pulling to the left after he put new sway bars in and I brought it back and that's when they first swapped out the engine mount (they said the one mount had worn away completely or something), and then changed out the tires by putting the two newer tires from the front to the back, and then putting two new tires on the front. It still feels like it pulls a little to the left, but the sound is like something plastic or hollow grinding or vibrating on something, almost like something is hitting the steering column plastic housing or something... *shrug* At first, I worried it was a ball joint or something, but the car doesn't wobble.

The mechanic is a Saab-certified tech at a major dealership, one of the few left around here such mechanics around, so I don't think he's really yanking my chain. Plus, he knows I'm savvy enough to have done my research.

Nothing is coming up on the SID as a warning, though, and it's not throwing any code error. When it first started, it felt like the car was dragging in power, but I think I'm so used to it now that I don't really remember the way it was before, but I'm pretty sure that turbo punched harder. Nothing is vibrating through the stick, thank God, though, so I don't think it's a transmission issue. What sits directly on the steering column and junction?

Unfortunately, I can't selectively put it into a certain gear, and trying to keep it in that power band will result in my rapid acceleration. lol

And just so no one misunderstands, it's not the metal buzz/rattle when you start the car cold and the heat shield rattles a bit on the manifold, or whatever that noise is. If anyone has ever had a root canal done, it's that sound the drill makes when it's the coarse bit and your open mouth gives it a hollow sound.

Thank you for the responses so far, though. It is at least giving me things to look further into to see if it fits my symptoms.

Also, what is a "harmonic balancer?" That sounds incredibly expensive to replace. lol
 

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SID nor the engine management will inform you of a mechanical issue that you describe before it turns into a failure.

You should go to a parts store and ask to get your OBDII scanned. You could have a pending error that hasn't been verified.

Stealership, as some would say. If you trust him, then by all means. The last Saab certified tech schools were GM training for what that's worth.

Harmonic balancer is the crankshaft pully. It basically is 2 pullys with vulcanized rubber between them to compensate for rotational mass of the pully output drive. When the rubber starts to fail, all sorts of oddities can occur.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
SID nor the engine management will inform you of a mechanical issue that you describe before it turns into a failure.

You should go to a parts store and ask to get your OBDII scanned. You could have a pending error that hasn't been verified.

Stealership, as some would say. If you trust him, then by all means. The last Saab certified tech schools were GM training for what that's worth.

Harmonic balancer is the crankshaft pully. It basically is 2 pullys with vulcanized rubber between them to compensate for rotational mass of the pully output drive. When the rubber starts to fail, all sorts of oddities can occur.
Ah. Would that vibration translate up the steering shaft/column, though? And no, I don't really trust them.I asked another small time mechanic shop and they said they would only fix minor stuff on the Saab, nothing when it came to trouble shooting error codes beyond basics. I don't want the dealership tech doing exploratory work on my dime. If I had a lift, I would do half the stuff myself--the GM-half, anyway. I have an Autozone nearby so I'll try to get there this weekend and have them scan it.

I get the feeling the guy at the dealership thinks I'm nitpicking, and yeah, it's more an annoyance, than anything, but I would like to restore this Saab and add a few tweaks, and I would like to get the vibration eliminated as that could potentially lead to problems down the road.
 

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Have a 9-3 i bought for $3k. Developed a vibration in the front end that sounds like something rapidly spinning against plastic, for lack of a better description. It vibrates through the steering wheel and pedals in the 1800-2200 RPM range in all gears. Took it in to the Saab tech. Two visits and $3500 later, it has new crankcase seal, new sway bars, new ignition switch, new rear brakes rotors and pads, new front tires, a new wheel hub (because the sensor was exposed), and a new engine mount. Vibration came back after a week even louder.

Really getting aick of being bilked to fix a problem that keeps returning. Got pissed off at the dealer’s exploratory work (i.e., they dont know whats wrong but will keep “fixing it” until either i run out of money or the problem goes away) and told him i dont care if he has to pull the engine out of the car to weld new engine mount seats into the frame. I want ot fixed once, and fixed right.

Juat stumbled across an article on here that mentioned the timing chain or tensioner could be the problem, but Saabs are beyond my level of armchair expertise.

Pleaee help!!
The vibration sounds very much like balance chain tension-er assuming this is the 2.0T is a very common problem, I had very similar symptoms although i could hear the chain clinking on a cold start costed me £200 to get fixed at a reputable garage.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The vibration sounds very much like balance chain tension-er assuming this is the 2.0T is a very common problem, I had very similar symptoms although i could hear the chain clinking on a cold start costed me £200 to get fixed at a reputable garage.
Thank you. That’s about the amount i keep finding for a cost, too, which translates to...carry the one...something like $300? It seems that making sure they “drop the sump,” (which I assume is akin to an oil pan for the transmission?) to check for the metal bits is important as it doesnt normally appear on the Saab to-do list, too.

Come Monday, I will get a quote or three. Just out of morbid curiosity, what’s the worst that could happen if it goes unrepaired? Lol I have zero intention of leaving the ROGUE I unrepaired, but I wonder about what would have happened with someone less diligent?

Thank you again for the responses!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So, $3500 later...

Sway bars, replaced.
Crank case seal, replaced.
Sheared engine mount, replaced.
ECM, replaced.
Ignition on the console, replaced (thank God it wasn't the CIM).
Rear tires, rotors, calipers and pads replaced.
23 assorted light bulbs, replaced.
Fuel sensor, replaced.
Headlight bulb, replaced.

After all that, the vibration came back. So I went to a Saab club meeting in Milwaukee last weekend, and one guy suggested it was a wheel bearing.

Here are the symptoms:

1. Between 1800-2100 RPMs, it sounds like a high speed drill rattling against a plastic pipe--that hollow, rapid plasticky noise that sounds like something is rubbing.
2. If I accelerate hard (say, up to 4,000 RPMs) and then let off, it usually stops.
3. When I am under acceleration in that power band, there is a slight, metallic noise that sounds like the manifold or heat shield is rattling, but neither is loose. Sounds like it's coming from the center of the engine. This makes me lean towards a chain slapping against the inside of the timing chain cover. Someone told me that I could take the valve cover off pretty easily, and that would allow me to look down into the engine's timing chain area where the tensioners are. I'm game...if I can find a link to the WIS that actually works...the one here always gives me errors. Don't suppose there is a Mac version...?
4. When it started, it immediately felt like something was instantly dragging on the car. It feels like...the car doesn't coast the same the way it used to, like, it slows down a hair too fast...? Hope that makes sense.

Eh, I have to change the oil soon, anyway, and I already replaced the spark plugs. Honestly, I'm not going to be happy until I have a car worthy of James Bond. lol

Also, is there a way to make the car dead silent? Like, is there a particular muffler/manifold set that will reduce the engine to a whisper? I want it to sound like a squad car...yes, I know. Squad cars don't make noise when they're rolling through the neighborhood. Exactly. I want a quiet car because I have this idea from reading something a while back that noise is caused by inefficiency, from a mechanical point of view.
 
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