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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Chaps, I have a 9000 V6 with a problem. I know I shouldn't have bought a V6 - I should have read here first but I'd really appreciate some advice.

The cylinder head gasket(s) failed some time ago dumping oil in the coolant. The oil loss was not noticeable but the car was a little sluggish. The oil in there attacked the rubber in the hoses and the first I knew of the problem was a cloud of steam when a weakened hose burst. The gaskets are now replaced by a Saab specialist on the South Coast and they also tried their best to get all the oil out of the cooling system. Shortly after the repair the little remaining oil managed to clog the radiator - that's now fixed. But I still have been able to draw off small amounts of oil from the top of the header tank over the past few days.

Now my questions - Is there some chemical that will disolve the remaning oil to remove it completely - and thinking laterally - is there somewhere else (other than the head gasket) where oil could still be leaking into the cooling system. I would love to see some detailed drawings of the insides of this engine to see if a crack somewhere might result in this - such as around the water pump or somewhere else in the block. I'd appreciate some insight into this problem.

Thanks in advance

Ken

PS The V6 despite not being a 'real' Saab motor is quiet, smooth and fairly fast. I manage to get roughly 28 MPG from varied driving.
 

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I don't know of any chemical, but at work we would normally leave the bottom hose off, run the engine with a hosepipe in the header tank to flush the system. As for anywhere oil can leak to the coolant, only really the head gasket or a crack in the head itself.

HTH

Neil
 

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I think Halfords and the like do radiator and cooling system flushing agents which I guess are mainly designed to attack corrosion and lime scale build up, but may be worth a try.Failing that a mild detergent that is rubber compatible in the water for a few minutes, then flushed out well may do the trick.Also the header tank is a little bugger to get thoroughly cleaned out as the partitions in it hold the dirt in there..took me hour to get mine cleaned out of scale and muck.
HTH
Anthony
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi, Thanks for your replies - obviously washing up liquid is way too foamy and I think attacks rubber but how about dishwasher powder or the fluid used for hand washing clothes as a powerful de-greaser? Anyone know whether they are rubber friendly?

The garage who refitted the heads gaskets checked the heads for cracks, I was wondering if there were potential places for leakage in the main part of the block?

Thanks

Ken
 

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Is your car an automatic? I don't know if it is the case with the V6 engine but the 4 cylinder engines with auto transmission have a transmission oil cooler which is integral with the radiator. These have been known to fail internally and leak transmission oil into the cooling system and vice versa.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes it's Auto. The radiator has been swapped when the original one clogged - so that problem should have gone if it was there. Interesting thought though.

I was thinking if I could put something in the oil to try to identify whether the stuff that is turning up in the coolant is fresh from the current oil or is just old oil that is still hanging around in the coolant.

Still a puzzle

Thanks

Ken
 

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There's a dye (fluorescent I think) that you can put into your oil that's used for tracing oil leaks etc. Can't remember the name of it, but we've used it at work with good results for finding oil leaks etc. Should work the same with your problem. You view it with one of those portable UV lights. If no-one else comes up with the name, I'll have a look in the trade mags at work to see if I can find it. Failing that, stop any 'Snap-On' van! I'm pretty sure they do it.
Pete.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Update - BANG!!!!! The car has been running for a few weeks and I am (was) still extracting oil from the top of the header tank. I was getting a little concerned that it was still collecting there. Then last weekend it boiled and the oil seems to have joined the water in a big way!

The garage conclusion (SAAB in Fareham) is that I must have a cracked block or head.

So I'm after a second hand V6 unit in good condition - suggestions please as to where I might be best to find one in good shape.

Ken
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Don't think I hadn't thought of that!

Ken

Seriously though - is that a practical proposition? I'm thinking about whether the transmission will bolt on - wiring changes - no boost gauge, exhaust system connection. There's probably a whole host of other things to think about. Like ECU change and so on........
 

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Absolutely. If the "Saab specialist"
took your engine apart and didn't solve the problem, it's still his problem. Go back tell him to sort it and add in the cost of a 3.0 litre hire car while he's doing it. Sounds like it's going to be expensive (for him) so you may need to line up a solicitor as well, 'cos he's not likely to be happy specialist.
 

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Kens,
I had a similar scenario to yours a few years ago on a 9000CDE 2L ECO. Oil didn't leak into the cooling system, but the cooling system was loosing water due to seepage via a crack between a cylinder head water duct throough to the combustion chamber, once engine was turned off and cooling down.

The non franchised Saab 'specialist' removed the head, replaced gasket and put it all back without noticing there was a 1cm crack in the head on cylinder No3. As the problem persisted I persuaded him to take head off and check - whence the cracked head was discovered. I managed to get most of the second time round labour costs free of charge.

Problem is, your cracked appears to be between the oil duct and water duct in the cylinder head ( which begs the question why water wasn't getting into the oil, only vice versa !). If your crack IS fairly visible, you could have reasonably expected the Saab dealer to have found the fault first time with a proper check and due diligence. If it was extremely obscure, you may have a problem proving negligence by the Saab dealer. But worth a try at any rate!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm not following the legal/agressive route because the garage is being very co-operative and helpful and taking that path will just antagonise the situation.

I agree that there must be a small crack somewhere, I suspect the oil is going in to the water rather than the other way because the oil pressure is much higher than the water pressure. I was assured that the heads were checked for cracks but my suspicion is that the problem is a leaking oilway in the block or in a liner.

So the garage/I am on the hunt for a second hand V6 but I think it may be worth taking the heads off the existing one for a final check before it is sent away to be melted down.

I have been hearing that this V6 unit is nothing but trouble - with similar trouble reported with other GM vehicles - Such as Vauxhall in the UK and Opel in Europe. I know this unit is used by Chevvy in the US do our friends over there have any experience we can go on?

Ken
 
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