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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone

As you know I've just acquired a manual 1989 SAAB 9000S, 101K miles which I have now affectionately named Skip.

I have 'invested' in a Haynes manual and following kind advice from this board, I decided to check the gearbox oil level. Haynes dubs my engine as an 'earlier engine' because it has a gearbox oil dipstick. Alas, the gearbox oil did not even show on the dipstick.

Haynes says that both my engine and the newer type have a gearbox oil filler plug on the top of the gearbox. I couldn't see a filler plug anywhere so decided to try putting some gearbox oil in the same hole as the gearbox dipstick (because the engine oil goes in that way was my logic).

I've now put 1 litre of oil down that hole. It is still not showing on the dipstick and I am getting a bit concerned for two reasons:

1. Have I made a mistake trying to put the oil down the dipstick hole? If so, what damage have I done? Where is the damned filler hole?

2. If what I'm doing is OK, it is entirely possible that the gearbox was just very low on oil. According to Haynes, the capacity of the manual box is 2.5 litres. I've already added a litre, is the gearbox likely to be knackered very soon? I've done about 500 miles since I got the car - God knows what the history was before then. What's the likely impact of running a gearbox with just over half the required amount of oil? There are no apparent leaks anywhere around the engine or gearbox by the way.

Hope someone can help me soon!!

TIA

Ian
 

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Can't answer for the Saab gearbox, but I have known two gearboxes that have run nearly dry. In both cases they ran very hot. One was on an in-line engine and the centre tunnel heat gave a clue!!

The point I'm making is that the low oil made the gearbox much hotter than the engine, as checked by feeling (carefully and quickly!) the gearbox casing and the engine sump. I think on properly filled units the temperature will be similar.

Now you've put some oil in is there a leak? If so, an empty gearbox is the most likely reason for it not showing on the dipstick before
because an empty box can't leak
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Originally posted by ylee coyote:
[qb]it cant...
has to leak somewhere     [/qb][/b]
That's what I thought, I put a piece of cardboard under the car overnight and, surprise surprise, there were little drops of oil on it in the morning which appear to come from the bell housing so I guess a seal has gone.

The box must have been completely dry before I put oil into it and it did 600 miles with some long trips. These SAAB gearboxes must be bomb proof! I'm amazed the car is still going!! BTW, the 'engine' is a lot quieter now!
 

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If the oil is coming from the bell housing, it sounds like your input shaft seal has gone. Unfortunately that means a box out job to replace. If you can live with topping your oil up it would be worth waiting till you think the clutch is getting low, otherwise just do the clutch at the same time as the seal. Personally I'd live with it for a while.

Neil
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Neil. I'll take your advice, changing clutches is way beyond my ability.

The shop I went to for gearbox oil recommended EP80w/90. I notice that Haynes recommends SAE 10W/30 or 10W/40. I don't understand what these terms mean. Am I storing up trouble for myself by using the wrong grade of oil?
 

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The shop you went to is wrong. The oil they recommended to you is extremely thick. Saab recommend a good 10W30 engine oil, and it must not be synthetic. Synthetic oil is too "slippery" and the sychromesh won't work properly, giving you "crunching" gears.

The terms xWy specify the viscosity (thickness) of the oil. x is a measure of the cold viscosity and y is a measure of the hot viscosity (they are on two different scales). The bigger the number, the more viscous the oil is at that temperature. So a 10W40 oil is thinner when cold than a 15W40 oil (which you might want in winter for easier starting), but they are the same viscosity when warm. A 10W30 oil is thinner than either of those at normal running temperatures.

You can see that an 80W90 is much thicker than any engine oil you would normally come across. I think the "EP" denotes some properties necessary for use in some gearboxes (but not the 9000).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Bill. I'll drain it an put the right stuff in. BTW, I did some research and found that EP stands for Extra Pressure and refers to the fact that there is some additive put into it to make the lubricant work properly when the oil is pumped around.
 

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Yes EP is extra pressure or extreme pressure, it's what used to be put in old gearboxes and rear axles, but not used as much now as oils have improved a lot. I think most Saabs use engine oil in their gearboxes( except autos of course) as even my 88 900 specifies 10W40 oil.

Neil
 

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Earlier than that - the Morris Minor uses engine oil in the gearbox and they haven't made a new one since 1972.

I think the trend started in the early 60's after BMC sorted out the Mini gearbox's early lubrication problems. Remember (if you're old enough!!), those early transverse engines shared the oil as the gearbox was in the sump.
 

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nothing wrong with the old A series engine - in its diesel form its still going strong in 1000s of narrow boats.

The only problem with them is getting oil thats of poor enough quality for them - modern oils just lead to bore glazing.

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
We've established that I've used the wrong oil and that I need to change it.

But, what is the consequence of using an oil that is too viscous? Am I likely to do any damage? Do I need to change the oil in a hurry?

Bill, correct me if I'm wrong, but your comments about synthetic oils don't apply to the stuff that I've used do they?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Having got some axle stands, I have more info... Contrary to my previous post, the oil is leaking out of the bit of the engine that the drive shafts go into. There seem to be two pieces of cast casing that are bolted together - I don't know what this part is called, anyone tell me?

I thought it was simply a gasket problem and wondered if the bolts were tight enough. Unfortunately on the very first one I tried, the bolt sheared off with - honest - really minor pressure on the wrench. The leak hasn't got any worse fortunately.

I simply could not find a drain plug. Haynes only tells you for 1994 and on engines. Anyone tell me where it is?
 
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