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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK - I am now 99% certain I have a head gasket oil leak at the front right of the car. (1996 Aero 90k miles)

Initially I thought it was the cam cover leaking (and due to popular opinion) but the oil is nicely soaked right around the front/right corner of the head gasket (looking at the front of the car) and there is no track of oil up to the cam cover.
I spoke to another member on this issue and they had a similar leak that was repaired before any gasket 'failure' for other reasons (timing chain replacement) so I dont know how long it tends to last for.

Checking the Saabnet forum reveals the odd comment such as 'that old head gasket oil leak problem' etc.
I also read that the front right head bolts can tend to need a bit of tightening and might also contribute to the problem.

So - has anyone else had this 'common?' leak and if so, how long did the car run before the gasket went? My oil and cooland are perfect which gives me a bit of confidence and there is no contamination either way. The oil leak itself is more of a damp seepage than a leak (there are certainly no drips as such) - but as you can image, its a worrying area of the car to go wrong...

I'm off to drive about 2.5k miles around France as of tomorrow morning so appreciate feedback to at least prepare me for the worst!
 

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Hi
It may be worth getting an indie or main dealer to re-torque the head bolts as a first port of call. I run a GM900 2.0 of the same year and there was a tech bulletin issued regarding this. Mine was done a few months back (at 45,000 miles) and I have seen no re-occurance of oil at 1000 miles later. Might be worth doing before your French trip but might be a bit late now.

Hope this helps
Bon trajet!

Al
 

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I've got exactly the same on my '97 Aero at 130,000 miles, and when I presented it to my tame mechanic, he said "make sure you get it re-torqued in the next 50,000 miles" - which I took to be his indicator for how serious a problem it is!

So try to enjoy the holiday.
 

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I wouldn't rule out the cam plug leak just yet. Mine looked like it was comng form the gasket but wasn't. Remove the clamp that holds it in place, then de-grease that end of the block thoroughly using something like Gunk.

Then when you return, you might be able to get a better look at where it is coming from.

Taking the cam cover off is no big deal- you just need some mastic to hand to help re-seal it round the rubber bungs (and the suspect old dizzy plug).

If the oil leak has been around for a while, and hasn't particularly got any worse, then I would say it's probably not too much of a cause for concern.

HTH
 

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I had the same promlem with my 9k, in that corner of the head is the oil return to the sump, this is not under any pressure apart from crankcase pressure. My car ran for about 6K, before I decided to replace the head gasket.
As like you there was no loss of water or cross contamination.
In my opinon this needs to be repaired eventually but is not what I would call an urgent job. As long as you keep an eye on your oil level and clean of the head from time to time, I would leave it until you have the time to replace the head gasket.

Hope this helps

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks folks - thats the best response I could have hoped for - I'll keep an eye on it over the next couple of thousand miles and may change it once I feel the urge
The info. on the type of pressure is also reassuring ... better be off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
FYI - Just back from the hols. Drove 2.5k miles mainly at 100mph on cruise down the french peages with 4 people and a full boot +aircon on all the way. - Basically the car didn't miss a beat and returned just under 30mpg, and the oil leak doesn't appear to have really seeped anymore (phew)
Glad I left the Konis set to 1.5 turns at the back - just right for load lugging at high speed, still a bit jittery with 1 driver though although they have settled down loads.
Cheers for the info folks!
 

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Both my current 2.3Ts have/had this 'feature' when I bought them at 94k and 101k (as did my old Carly and my sisters 2.0T also both leak from the dissy blanking plug but thats easy to fix. The 101k car gave up on its head gasket a few weeks ago at 116k but it was number 1 cylinder that went into the water passage.

I've done four 9k head gaskets, three were number 3 cylinder and they all went from the cylinder into the water passage, non of them showed any signs of water/oil mixing, and all got me home.

Not sure about the re-torque business as Saab use stretch bolts i.e. torque to a figure, then second figure then half (?) turn. Guess garage could release them all off and re-stretch - I'd leave well alone and change gasket when it goes or when you have a spare weekend.
 

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Had a similar thing with my 9000 Lpt. The oil leak was from the front (AC compressor side) corner and gradually got worse, dripping over the floor. Changed the head gasket and found that the head bolt in that area completely loose! Been OK since then.
 

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Hello,
I have to say that if you take real care, and be clean, I think it's not a hard job to change the head gasket or to retorque it by yourself.
I've found toque wrenches ( correct ones, calibrated with the certificate ) at around 120 USD. I'm trying to find a way to buy a certain quantity of them to make the price down. If people on saabscene are interested though, we could try to buy a few tools like this ones or angle mesuring gauge( about 45 USD full price needed to correctly torque the head ).
Anyway, many people have done the whole job several times, and it don't seem to be long and difficult....and the price of the tool needed is less expensive than hours of saab guy working hours !
Hope that helps !
Laurent
 
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