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  1. #1
    New Member Mr. Fix-it's Avatar
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    08 Jul 2011
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    Saab(s)
    2003 Burgandy Areo 9-5

    Identifying a Sludge Problem

    I have always changed the Mobil 1 & filter every 5 to 6,000 miles, the last time the synthetic Mobil 1 was changes was about 1,000 miles ago. When checking the oil today, the oil is very dirty looking and smells slightly burnt. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Jared
    The young one J-Rod's Avatar
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    2003 Saab 9-5 ARC ( and care-taker of a '98 900SE)
    The only way to check for sludge is to remove the valve cover and look at the engine, or remove the oil and check there.
    I don't drive fast...I fly slow

  3. #3
    Mike
    Moderator Shazam's Avatar
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    1973 96
    There is also the "coat hanger test" which can give you a lot of false-negatives. When you drain the oil, reach in there with a old coat hanger and gently scrap around. Most likely it will come out clean, but sometimes (normally if you have major sludge) you'll come out with a little gunk on the end. Not very reliable, people have used it before.

    I'd go with J-Rod though, drop the pan. Depending on you mileage, you most likely have some stuff on your pick-up screen, so it wouldn't hurt to drop it if you know what you are doing.
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  4. #4
    New Member Mr. Fix-it's Avatar
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    Saab(s)
    2003 Burgandy Areo 9-5

    Sludge & gunk

    Thanks tons Guys, I will give the coat hanger a shot. A few months down the road I will plan on dropping the pan or removing the valve cover and having a look.

    So the info that I was given by the dealer when I bought the machine to use synthetic oil to avoid a sludge buildup was not neccessarily sufficient, it doesn't prevent it, just helps.

    By the way when you pull the valve cover does one need a new gasket? I had many valve covers off on various cars, some you do some you don't.

    Smooth flying

  5. #5
    Mike
    Moderator Shazam's Avatar
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    Ooops, I meant oil pan should be dropped. Sorry about that. And when you do the coat hanger test, you stick it in the oil drain plug.

    Here is a great write up on how to drop the oil pan.
    Saab 9-5 oil pan/sump drop to check for sludge

    And your car is a 2003, most sludging issues were taken care of, but it's been known to happen still. If the car has been well taken care of (regular synth. oil changes and stuff), you should be in the clear.
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  6. #6
    Jared
    The young one J-Rod's Avatar
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    2003 Saab 9-5 ARC ( and care-taker of a '98 900SE)
    Quote Originally Posted by Shazam View Post
    And your car is a 2003, most sludging issues were taken care of, but it's been known to happen still. If the car has been well taken care of (regular synth. oil changes and stuff), you should be in the clear.
    That was 2004. 2003 still had the sludge problem full force if the improper oil was used. A lot of vehicles were fixed with the PCV update though.

    But yes, like Shazam said, if it was well taken care of with full synth it's whole life it should be fine.
    I don't drive fast...I fly slow

  7. #7
    Jared
    The young one J-Rod's Avatar
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    2003 Saab 9-5 ARC ( and care-taker of a '98 900SE)
    Quote Originally Posted by J-Rod View Post
    The only way to check for sludge is to remove the valve cover and look at the engine, or remove the oil and check there.
    Whoops! I meant oil *PAN*. Not just oil.
    I don't drive fast...I fly slow

 

 

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