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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's the story...

Bought a '92 2.0L CDiS 2 months ago as a runabout to get me to and from work. It has a starship mileage, 185k miles, but fully documented history including some of the more expensive stuff; a couple of main dealer bills at £875.00 and £750.00 at 120k and 140k respectively. Must say before I continue I really like the car. In fact I like it more than much more expensive BMWs and Celicas I have had in the past...must rate comfort more highly as I get older .

Anyway I have reviewed the previous topics at length and I believe the head gasket is gone or going. It suddenly, last week, developed an unquenchable thirst for coolant. The oil and water appeared ok with no visible cross contamination. So I used the famous/infamous Bars Leaks. I then drove the car.Five minutes in I observed some white smoke in my rear view mirror, not billowing but noticeable in any case. I drove home later, total journey time 20 mins.I dipped the oil. The bottom of the dip stick looked almost like the colour of the Bars Leak additive
So mimicking the ostrich I refused to acknowledge the obvious and later on drove the car as normal. There was little or no steam and I decided to retest the oil, nothing visible. I have repeated this test several times and the oil is as normal, cold or hot but the coolant is still going missing.No more steam though. I checked the expansion tank after a run, sounds like it is bubbling and the sound proofing under the bonnet is wet. I have idled the engine from cold to warm whilst watching for venting from the expansion cap, hoses etc, nothing visible. Whilst idling I noted, for the first time to date what looked like light blue smoke
The temperature guage never enters the red zone or even close even in heavy slow moving traffic. Power seems ok for this car The coolant loss is considerably reduced.
OK so give me the bad news; head gasket, at the very least
I will throw money at the car, within reason, I did say that I like it or should I consider replacing the engine with a recon given the mileage?? Thanks for any advice.
 

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For a saab your mileage is about the norm,if a little low,and yes it sounds like the head gasket,the blue smoke is worrying.it could be you have cooked the turbo seals,but still not the end of the world.I should await other reply's as someone is bound to have had the same trouble
 

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Colin, I must admit there's an awful lot of potentially conflicting info there...

I would start by having a block test done. This is a relatively cheap and easy procedure- takes about 5 minutes tops. Most garages should have the necessary kit. Basically a dye "sniffer" is used to detect the presence of combustion gasses in the coolant via the expansion tank. It's very sensitive.

The cloth insulation being damp suggests a leak in a hose to me, but you haven't observed that.

Another likely candidate for loss of coolant on 9000s is the heater matrix.

If it was a turbo, then the blue smoke at idle could be down to bearing seals, but it isn't so it sounds like you've got oil entering the combustion process. Obviously a failed gasket could be responsible for this too.

185,000 isn't a huge mileage if it's been looked after properly. With luck, the large dealer bills will have been for changing the timing chain, which is a major item.

If other than the problem you describe, then engine is running quiet and smoothly, and the tappet rattle diappears quickly on start up, then I would say you probably haven't got a lot to worry about.

Have the block test done, then if it is the gasket, book it in at a good indy. An awful lot more can be determined about the state of the engine in general once the head is off, and the labour to just do that should only be an hour or so. At that point, you can make the call as to whether you want to find another lump.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies.Glad to hear that it may not be terminal Although more expense is on the way after just last week forking out for a reconditioned gearbox and new clutch for my wife's Laguna diesel Oh well the wife and kids will just have to get used to beans on toast as the SAAB comes first
 
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