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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:55 am
by Senor Don
Many moons ago, I was drawn into the 9-5 experience through a Local Craig'slist ad for a 2002 Aero.
I contacted the owner and viewed the vehicle. No, it wasn't an Aero, but it interested me. The two guys that owned it said it overheated, and a mechanic friend changed the head gasket. Then the car wouldn't start. They took the starter to an auto parts store only to learn it was burnt out. A replacement could be obtained for $55.00, but their mom wasn't gonna let them buy it. She made the decision to sell the car. I noticed the engine bay had a lot of oil all over the place, but that might be expected at 178k miles. However, the seats the, carpets, and dash looked good. The radio, blower fan, and alarm worked. Minor things like torn front door pulls, a gear lever strip missing a portion, and a non-retracting dash drink holder could be easily corrected. I suspected the starter failure was the result of improper valve timing. No matter, I had three cylinder heads at home to choose from. I was SAAB struck! So I made an offer and Mom accepted.

I returned with my 20' FeatherLite and with their assistance pushed my prize out on the street. We couldn't load it in because it rubbed against the XK140 frame I had roped to the side track. DOH! What was I thinking? Anyhow, the three of us managed to secure the frame in the pickup bed, propped over the cab before successfully pushing the 9-5 in! GREAT! When I got home, I noticed one of the four trailer tires had shredded. I should have recognized this was an omen.

I unloaded the 9-5 and put it on jack stands. After fitting a replacement starter and missing mounting bolt, my compression gauge read zero. Compressed air in each cylinder was exiting others. OFF WITH IT'S HEAD! Found every valve bent? I modified a 9000 head to accommodate the vacuum pump appendage and fitted a new head gasket, fresh oil, filter, and coolant. It ran but drove sluggishly. I learned about throttle body Limp Home pretty quickly. However, a second test drive was much better until I heard a severe knocking. Bearings Kiss of Death. Oh well...

Downloaded the online 9-5 Workshop information System but lost it when the software trial period expired. Purchased a $14 DVD WIS. Purchased a used short block too. Watched ALL the Utube videos how to R&R 9-5 power units. Learned a 40mm open end wrench is an excellent axle separation tool. Pulled the unit out from the top after removing everything from the block except the cylinder head and the transmission. A great opportunity to degrease the engine compartment!
Trans fluid was black- -not good! Put it all back together and discovered low compression. Learned one MUST measure piston rings beforehand!

Found a boneyard engine with 105k miles for $475. Fitted new idler and tensioner pulleys, (new short serpentine belt eliminated center pulley), front and rear seals, cleaned the oil pickup screen and pan, and drained the converter. Learned the importance of refilling the torque converter before reassembly! Drained the engine oil cooler, power steering cooler and transmission coolers. With the power unit out, I dropped the subframe and replaced the worn bushings with polys from ProPart and refitted. I dropped the exhaust except for the rear resonator and bent it out of the way. ERROR!
I ignored advice about the braided section and now have to replace it. The hardest part was refilling the transmission. Fluid would fill the dipstick tube and take up to an hour to enter the unit. I think the mostly empty converter may have created an air pocket inaccessible to the vent tube, which was also was unsuccessful as a rapid fill tube. All in all, it took four bottles of T-IV, 3309. I ended up replacing the throttle body.

I still need to register and insure the 9-5, but for now, more importantly, IT LIVES!!!!!

Happy SAABing!

Re: IT LIVES!!!!

PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:15 pm
by StrictlySaab
Great write up!

Where you able to finally get the fluid back into the converter without having to pull the trans back out? If so, how did you manage?

Glad to hear shes alive!


Re: IT LIVES!!!!

PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:51 pm
by Senor Don
I want to thank Justin. Without his valuable advice I might not have been able to breathe life into my 2002 9-5 Linear. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Yes, eventually the tranny filled through EXTREME Patience, (which proves I am not virtueless). I am not sure, but possibly the lack of fluid in the converter created an air pressure pocket that impeded the flow down the dipstick fill tube. Perhaps the fluid found it's way back into the converter through the pump circuit passages. All I known is the 3309 fluid indicated level appears to be correct on the dipstick and the car seems to shift properly. Yippee, Kai-YAY!

Happy SAABing!

Re: IT LIVES!!!!

PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:57 pm
by 88SPG
Another amazing tale Senior Don!

Re: IT LIVES!!!!

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:09 am
by TheDude
Congratz and I'm glad you made the jump to the 9-5. Muhahah!

Re: IT LIVES!!!!

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:35 am
by StrictlySaab
Awesome! Congrats. Glad to hear you didnt need to crack her back open again.