Please help... no one seems to know why??
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Thread: Please help... no one seems to know why??

  1. #1
    Saab Newbie
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    Please help... no one seems to know why??

    OK so after coming back from the 3rd garage im still no further forward.

    My three main issues are:

    (Saab 9-3 airflow 120 DT 1910CC)

    - Coolant leak

    - Poor starting (sometimes just barely turns over but then after a few cranks will start)

    - MPG descending from 44mpg now down to 34mpg

    Coolant leak - there is no white smoke, no traces of water in the oil, and no traces of oil in the coolant. no traces of water in or around the engine (that i can see) so the last place i can think is the heater matrix, but there is no water in the foot wells, no steamy windows etc and no mouldy smell? i believe it lives behind the glove box so was going to try and get that off and have a look (hoping its not the whole dash out!) any ideas?

    Poor Starting - Brand new GM battery, tested for out put, fine, tested for charging, fine, new alternator and had a new starter. Takes quite a few times to turn over but then starts. then every so often (more regularly now) it barely turns the engine over, maybe 1 or two cycles. turn off and try again, same again. after trying a few times, it gets better then starts. sometimes it doesnt - but then fires straight away with jump leads. dont know what to try next? EGC maybe? but there is no smoke, and there isnt really a loss of power (i dont think?!)

    MPG - when i bought the car 6 months ago, it ran 44ish mpg. its slowly fallen and is now down to 34mpg (even on motorway.) i can sometimes get it to increase by .3 of a mpg but no real change. have tested with mileage against diesel i put in and its saying about the same (£30 - 140 miles).

    I have had the car to 3 different garages and no one can help me. i cant find a local saab dealer (last one has shut down) and i dont know what to do/try next. what i thought was going to be a love affair has turned into a constant nightmare.

    i would really appreciate any help or advice anyone can help me with...

    Many thanks,

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  3. #2

    Re: Please help... no one seems to know why??

    i had the same problem wit my 04 95 tid
    i found a leak just under the stat had to replace the pipe work also my stat had jammed open which made the engine run cold which in turn reduces ur mpg i was lucky gettin 30 mpg . when you take urs for a run does the temp sit half way after aboiut 10 miles ? mine sat just above a quarter.. also i took my egr valve and boost sensor out and give it a good clean that could b the cause of ur poor startin it can also help wit ur mpg hope this helps m8

  4. #3
    Saab Newbie
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    Re: Please help... no one seems to know why??

    Thanks for your reply dude,

    Well that would solve the issues, by "stat" you mean thermostat? , will check that out... it does take a while for it to warm. i live 9 miles from work and only then will it creep to about a quarter way on the temp gauge. but after a while longer it does climb to half way on the temp gauge which im guessing is normal?

    yeah im going to clean the EGR and give that a check. I havent already because lots of posts on here say your car smokes and struggles to pull if that is an issue. but i suppose all cars my react a little different and its worth doing anyway.

    thanks again for your advice, and a new direction to go in!

  5. #4

    Re: Please help... no one seems to know why??

    not a problem hope it helps. if ur temp does sit at half way the ur stat should b ok with the egr cleaning it has made a huge differancwe to my mpg so get urself plenty of carb cleaner and go nuts wit it lol . As for ur leak it could b somethin silly lik a hose r the stat housin so just hav a good look for evidence of corrision r anythin lik that let me know how u get on ..

  6. #5

    Re: Please help... no one seems to know why??

    Hi Siontw,

    I haven't been on this site in ages and after having a browse through, i thought it would be a good idea to pick some random ' i need help posts' and see what i can do.

    It is never good to try and solve a prob by trial and error as this is always costly. I do not know any garages in your area to recommend, however in relation to your problems, it sounds like they are all 3 different problems so if i can put you in the right direction, then this might help you to advise your chosen garage of where to start. let's start with the starting issue. - It sounds like a volt drop/earthing problem. you need to check lives down to the starter and check earth cables down to the engine to see if there is a volt drop.

    Coolant leak - i'm sorry to say could be anything. however in my experience, the worst which you are thinking is extremely rare. I have not come across a heater matrix fault on your model either. this fault should be quite easy for any garage to test with general mechanical knowledge and has never cost my customers much which ever scenario.

    MPG - there are so many factors! 1- how you are using the car/ town/motorway driving. has this changed? Where you fill up diesel, has that changed? etc! It does sound like the beginings of an EGR fault. When the EGR gets to the 'i've had enough', stage they will bring on a check engine light however. any Saab garage can check the EGR to see if it is operating though and this will give you some indication as to whether it is not working correctly. if all is working then some other checks should be carried out.

    i hope this helps?

    J

  7. #6
    Saab Newbie
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    Re: Please help... no one seems to know why??

    Thanks very much for choosing my post, i really am in need of help! i canítfind a saab specialist or a saab dealer and i cant seem to find a garage thatis willing to take the job on. so DIY is forced upon me!

    the last garage, checked the earths and also cleaned up the terminals on thestarter, but i think that was wishful thinking. but i havenít had the voltagetested. If there is an issue, do you know what would be causing it?

    out of the 3 garages, no one could find/see a leak anywhere. There is no smoke andit runs OK (apart from the mpg) so i dont think its a head gasket issue. i havetested it without running the heater on, and it did seem to last much longerwithout running low. Will test again. The only tell signs in the engine i cansee is some suspicious rust (see pic) on the right hand side of the block. i doesnítseem like general rust because the rest of the pipe clips etc are ok. could itbe leaking here, causing it to rust, but evaporating before i can see it? ivebought some UV dye and was going to mix that in to see if that shows anythingup better. is that worth ago?


    rust.jpg

    MPG- i always fill up at either a total garage next to my house or ashell next to my work and always put in £30. I have noticed it falling sincethe middle of Jan, and i dont really do anything different than my drive towork then home. (I ride my motorbike for other journeys or the missus car!) Iímpretty aware of how I drive, and that hasnít changed either. I definitely thinkitís a mechanical issue rather than human error. i dont have a light on thedash showing engine issue for the EGC, there is no smoke, so im probablyclutching at straws here. it isnít that great at pulling away until the turbokicks in, but that might be because its just the 120 BhP version? mostannoyingly the manchester saab shut down so i dont konw where i can take it toget it looked at!

    thanks again for your time and your advice,

    S
    Attached Images

  8. #7

    Re: Please help... no one seems to know why??

    Hi Siontw.

    Thought i'd just check to see how you are getting on? i haven't looked at your link yet, however it is sounding like a definate electrical issue.

    The problems for most peolple nowadays is trusting their garage with their car.(To be honest, i don't blame them!) We see it all the time and believe me there are good garages out there that want to make a difference and are, what i call, 'old school'!


    A few questions that i would normally ask are - how long have you known the car? what is the service history? Did you buy it fom a trader? how long since owning this car did the fuel mpg drop happen and when did the starting problem start happening in relation to owning the car, or was it when the weather turned? Did this car live by the sea side? stupid questions i know, however corrosion by salt air plays a part!

    If you can answer some of those questions that will help me. (like said earlier hard to diagnose off a comuter, but will try to help). All your prblems sound like you need a Saab garage to diagnose it. i will have a look at the dealer network to see who is close to you. As i see it, there is no point buying parts and doing a trial and error diagnosis becuase that just costs more in the long run. If a Saab has a problem then it needs sorting quickly and fairly. In the long run it's cheaper.

    Let me know the history and i will see what i can do. (if not PM your number and time that suits (if this site can do that?) and i will get Ian to call you))

    J Saabtech

  9. #8
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    Re: Please help... no one seems to know why??

    Hi all,

    To start - answers to your questions saabtech:

    how long have you known the car?
    6 months

    what is the service history?
    Full service history with Saab Glasgow

    Did you buy it from a trader? Yes

    how long since owning this car did the fuel mpg drop happen?
    Noticed it was on 40something mpg when I bought it, but then noticed at 38mpg about 2months later and has fallen slowly since down to 34mpg.

    when did the starting problem start happening in relation to owning the car?
    when I bought it it did it a couple of times so took it back. the dealer said he put a new starter motor on and it would be fine. It was, then 3 months later had another no start but then ok for a few weeks. Then got worse and now is every other start regardless of the length its parked or temperature. same situation with the water leak. coolant low warning came on the dash, the dealer took it to the garage who topped it up couldn't find a problem so said it was probably condensation. i believed...??!! slowly got worse since then, but more so i think now its cold and the heater is used more...

    Did this car live by the sea side?
    No it had one company ownership before me in Glasgow.

    I also have a complete listing of every part that was bought for the car. it was a lease car from ING so they keep such records. nothing obvious in there apart from it seems now that someone has had the water problem and starting issue before, because just before i bought, it had a new battery and alternator. it also has that copper fill stuff you put in the coolant bottle to stop leaks.

    I took the EGR valve off last night and it was fairly coked up. The hose was clogged to about half the diameter with carbon, which has now been cleaned and put back. I have also put some UV dye in the coolant and will check later for any signs.

    I haven't checked the voltage because i couldn't find my volt meter, then realised i lent it to a friend!

    So far....

    MPG still the same - Cleaning the EGR has made no difference.

    Water leak - still think its related to the heater, will have a look to see if the UV sheds some light (no pun intended!)

    starting issue - still the same. if i had to guess, its just like when the starter motor starts to go, or struggles to spin because the bushes get stuck or its clogged up with crap. but its had a new one and whats the chances of a new one being faulty?!

    Will PM you now saabtech with my number. The closest saab technician i know is in Derby and im in Manchester. So if you do know of one closer, that would be great. Any ideas of what to check next would be most appreciated!

    So it continues....

  10. #9

    Re: Please help... no one seems to know why??

    hi i just had a look at your pic that is the exact pipe i had to replace due to the rust on it and the corrision that is most likely were your leak is comin from since i had mine fixed all my problems hav gone and i was toppin my coolant up once a day also hav a look at ur stat housing to c if it is leaking on to that pipe work i replaced my stat just to b sure hope this helps
    m8

  11. #10
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    Unhappy Re: Please help... no one seems to know why??

    Just had it to a recommended garage and he is 99% sure that its the head gasket

    i thought this in the beginning but I cant understand why there is no smoke, and its not running too badly? the garage guy said its only steam so might get lost on the way and being a diesel it wouldn't show itself so much if its only a small leak.

    I did UV dye test and i couldn't see any signs of a leak anywhere round the rusted areas - so maybe im going to have to bite the bullet and get the head done.

  12. #11
    Saabisti Fallout3's Avatar
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    Re: Please help... no one seems to know why??

    This could explain your bad starting problems if the headgasket is leaking or cylinder head is cracked one of the cylinders could be filling with coolant when parked up for a period of time. and causing a term called hydraulic locking of the engine.This is when the coolant restricts the movement of the piston upwards hence making the starter struggle until coolant is squeezed out through the valves .If this is the fault you need to gey it sorted quick as it will be slowly destroying tht big end crank bearing.Your garage should have heard of this ,If they remove head and find no fault with gasket get head pressure tested,a usual sign of coolant in a cylinder is a rusty bore.

  13. #12
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    Re: Please help... no one seems to know why??

    Thanks for that.

    that "stuck" feeling is how i would explain the starting issue, and i thought it could be that, but then was told if there was coolant in the cylinder, when it was forced out there would be smoke. im getting nothing out of the exhaust? or could it get lost on the way out if its only tiny amounts?

  14. #13
    Saabisti Fallout3's Avatar
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    Re: Please help... no one seems to know why??

    I think that you now have two courses of action

    1-get into garage and get sorted
    2-sell car while stil running and cut your losses

    Sorry if this does not help or comes across to strong but you need to get the problem sorted

    Please let us know the outcome eitherway

  15. #14
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    Re: Please help... no one seems to know why??

    Well thanks all for your time and advice.

    I cant just ship it on - that just passes bad luck, so its gone off to have the head gasket done. I will update in a week when its back to let you know if it solves all the problems.

    If it doesn't sort it... err saab for sale? hahah

  16. #15
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    Re: Please help... no one seems to know why??

    OK, so finally took the plunge and sent it in for a head gasket repair - after all the sings pointed to that and i still couldn't find a leak.

    its gone in to a friend of a friend who has just set up on his own after working under another garage for years. apparently he loves engine work but not fussed about mots, and wiper blade motors etc, which is fine by me!

    Anyway, i gave it to him for a week while i was away and he called me yesterday to say its sorted. He took the head off and found two tears either side of cyl 3. he also found streaks in the bore (signs of water) and the glow plug on cly three was also gone. he has replaced the glow plug, decoked and reseated the vales and put it all back together. He has taken it for a run and said it runs great. he hasnt run it enough to see if the MPG changes so will have to see on that one.

    If im honest from the beginning i thought it would be the head, but didnt want to go diving in before trying to sort all the "eaiser and cheaper" fixes first. I'm just surprised that it went? Maybe its one of those win some lose some situations. However, pick up later today and hopefully all sorted!

    Just want to say a big thanks to everyone who has offered help and advice. "A true measure of a man is how he treats those who can do nothing for him"- but will do my best

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