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  1. #1
    Saab Fan
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    2003 9-5 3.0t ARC
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    Burning coolant

    I am trying to help a coworker with his 03 5-9 3.0t ARC. It seems to be burning a bit of coolant. The reservior drops a couple inches every week, and there is always some steam coming out of the exhuast. There is a small trace amount of coolant/water milkshake on the underside of the oil fill cap, but we don't know if it is a remnant of getting a leaky oil cooler fixed recently. I've been reading that the more common problem for burning coolant is a seal in the turbo, and that a head gasket is a possibility, but not near as likely. Does anyone know a way to narrow it down between the two?

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  2. #2
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    It sounds like it could be the coolant bypass valve. It's a common problem with the 4-cylinder engines but it is probably the same with any engine.

    http://saabworld.net/f9/preventive-r...-problems-475/

    Quote Originally Posted by Wulf View Post
    Coolant by-pass valve - 100K miles/160K kms
    This valve is between the engine and firewall and supplies coolant to the cabin heater system. The plastic housing of these valves can crack and the engine will start to loose coolant. This valve is right above the exhaust on the 2.3 engine and you may notice a strong burnt coolant smell. It can start to leak slowly but also can fail quickly, resulting in a loss of engine coolant leaving you stranded on the side of the road. It's an inexpensive part (under $50) so it is best to replace it before it fails.

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  3. #3
    Steve
    spoolin' thin air mt.aero's Avatar
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    Best to tell for sure is to get a leakdown test. Bad headgasket should show bubbling in the coolant system. Is the milkshake just on the cap or is it present in the oil too? Just on the cap is pretty normal for winter and short trips.

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  4. #4
    Saab Fan
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    2003 9-5 3.0t ARC
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    We can't smell any burning coolant in the engine bay, and the steam is coming out of the tailpipe, so I don't think it's the bypass valve. I will look at it anyway just to check for signs of the common failure.

    There is just a bit on the oil cap. There is some oil in the coolant reservior, but it all appears to be residue from a leaky oil cooler that has been replaced. It's mostly up on the sides, there reallly isn't much floating in the coolant itself. The reservior was never fully cleaned out, but it does not appear that there is any new oil coming into it.

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  5. #5
    Steve
    spoolin' thin air mt.aero's Avatar
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    Get a leakdown test then if youre not sure about the oil. Should be pretty cheap

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  6. #6
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wikoff View Post
    We can't smell any burning coolant in the engine bay, and the steam is coming out of the tailpipe, so I don't think it's the bypass valve. I will look at it anyway just to check for signs of the common failure.
    Sorry, I read your post as coolant coming from the exhaust meaning from the manifold/engine bay. As you mentioned the heater valve is most likely not it.

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  7. #7
    Dr Tom

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    The head gasket went on mine, but when it did, mine was billowing like a fog machine. How is the compression?

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  8. #8
    Saab Fan
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    The compression hasn't been tested yet.

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  9. #9
    Saab Enthusiast photousa's Avatar
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    2003 Saab 9-5 Aero 2.3t Wagon HO Manual
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wikoff View Post
    I am trying to help a coworker with his 03 5-9 3.0t ARC. It seems to be burning a bit of coolant. The reservior drops a couple inches every week, and there is always some steam coming out of the exhuast. There is a small trace amount of coolant/water milkshake on the underside of the oil fill cap, but we don't know if it is a remnant of getting a leaky oil cooler fixed recently. I've been reading that the more common problem for burning coolant is a seal in the turbo, and that a head gasket is a possibility, but not near as likely. Does anyone know a way to narrow it down between the two?
    I have the exact same issue, but I'm driving the 2.3T, (4 cyl), so I can't speak specifically about your 6 cyl. Below are my issues:

    .Goes through Coolant a little at a time, just like you mentioned, my level might drop 1 inch per week.
    .I don't get the full on Fog effect, but I get steam out of the exhaust, (and it's White in color not Blue), more than would be normal. After a higher speed run, say on an expressway, when I get off on the exit ramp, the back pressure causes a excess of steam out of the exhaust
    .The previous owner told me that he replaced the "Heater Valve", just before I purchased the car.
    .The car starts hard in the morning, runs rough upon startup, but only for 30 seconds or so, then idle returns to normal and car runs perfectly. I would imagine that coolant has gotten into one of the cylinders and is causing a rough idle until the coolant burns off.
    .No obvious leaks or puddles under the car. Sometimes I think I can smell coolant, but can't be sure
    .Before I cleaned my coolant expansion tank, I could tell that the pressure had blown out of the cap, there was some kind of residue around the coolant reservoir cap.
    .I flushed out my coolant system and cleaned the Expansion Tank, it had some kind of black residue clinging to the wall of the tank. I still am not sure what the black residue is, I thought it might be the insides of my hoses being eaten away
    or some stop leak product the previous owner had dumped in, perhaps it is a small amount of oil getting past the piston rings and into a coolant port. At any rate, the black residue on the inside wall of the expansion tank has come back in smaller amounts, but it's still there.
    .When I remove the expansion tank cap, It smells something like exhaust and I have seen bubbles coming through the lines into the expansion tank.
    .Even when the coolant level in my expansion tank lowers, I don't get a trouble code message, don't know if my DTC dash light is burned out or it's a fault with my expansion tank sensor.
    .When I purchased the car, the coolant before changing was literally brown. I have learned later that this was an indication that K-Seal was added to the coolant system. K-Seal is "pour-in" product used to seal coolant leaks, such as a head gasket leak.
    .I would like to do a leak down test or use the kit that checks for exhaust gasses in the coolant, but haven't yet

    What I think has happened is that at some point before I took possession of the car, it probably overheated due to a faulty Heater Bypass Valve. The excessive heat probably warped the head just enough to cause a leak
    in the head gasket between two cylinders, (no external coolant leaks). The previous owner probably dumped in K-Seal, a quick Fix Head Gasket repair fluid to cover up or mask the problem, so I would drive away with it.


    The solutions:

    .One possible cheap solution that is talked about quite a bit is to re-torque the head bolts. As I understand this procedure, the head bolts were not designed to be re-torqued but you can get away with it only one time, any more than that and you run the risk of breaking off the bolt head, leaving the remainder of the bolt inside of your block. I have read that the re-torque is only good for external head leaks, I have not heard of it solving an internal coolant leak between cylinders.
    .Dump in a quick fix, pour in head gasket internal sealer. You'll still have the problem, you're just masking it for a while, (if it works). You may also run the risk of clogging your radiator or heater core.
    .Replace the head gasket. This is the way to go. Even if you do the job yourself, you may be looking at around $100 for a set of gaskets and around $400 to have someone rebuild your head. You can save some money and do some of the head rebuild yourself, but if you need to have your head shaved and your valves re-ground, & have the head pressure tested, you're still looking at a few hundred dollars. I've not been able to find a good, comprehensive tutorial video on a head gasket replacement for my 2.3, but here's one the Saab 900: YouTube - SAAB 900 Head-gasket Replacement - IN TIME WARP-Troll Motors & YouTube - theSAABguy: Rebuilding my B205 Cylinder Head Here's a place in Texas I spoke with recently who'll rebuild your 2.3 head for $375 SAAB 2.5 DUAL CAM REBUILT CYLINDER HEAD Wulf has listed a good Saab WIS head gasket replacement PDF in the tutorial section of this site. I am still researching this issue and possible resolutions.

    Questions: Where to send my head to have the rebuild work done? The places I'm finding on the internet have said they don't do many Saab heads, I want to find a place that is real familiar with Saabs. This place, http://www.thesaabsite.com/shop/sear...1=Start+Search will send your head in to have it rebuilt, but they appear to be upcharging $150 for the service..(I think they're in North Carolina, who are they using to do the work?).

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    Last edited by photousa; 17 March 2011 at 11:50.
    2003 Saab 9-5 Aero B235R
    Sport Wagon 2.3T HO Manual
    140,627 Miles

  10. #10
    Saab Fan
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    2003 9-5 3.0t ARC
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    So this car is still losing coolant, although it has sped up, and now there is quite a bit of visible leakage. I think it's coming from this valve on the heater lines.












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