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  1. #1
    Saab Fan
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    2002 9-5 2.3L Linear Turbo
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    Exclamation 2002 9-5 2.3t Nightmare Continues

    I've only owned this thing for two months and the 6 weeks of enjoyable driving is being forgotten for the now 2 weeks of problems that I'm dealing with.

    Previously, I had an issue with the engine starting (See other thread: Crank: Won't Start), and once I was able to replace the Crankshaft Position Sensor, it was running fine. For 5 weeks.

    For the last week, it has been starting and running very loudly. Now it will only offer a half-crank, but won't start.

    Back story (since the more information I post, the better): I read about someone who drives his 2.3t in Sport mode all the time. I decided to give it a try through one tank of gas and see how much of a difference it made in gas mileage. That was 2 weeks ago. Then, I went back to driving in standard mode all the time instead.

    A week ago, I noticed a lot more noise when the turbo needle was engaged: something of a whining, or whirring noise. Not previously present. I felt like something was wrong, but didn't know what to check, or have the money to just keep throwing parts at it. Then three days ago, when starting the engine was a lot louder, drowning out the turbo/throttle whining from before. I also heard a squeak from the serpentine? belt (the one on the back left of the engine compartment). I sprayed some WD-40 on the belt and it quieted down, but the engine was still abnormally loud, and idled harder than it did previously. I took it to the store (5 miles) and all the while it was very loud and I was afraid to let it idle too much at any stop, so I fed it a little extra throttle to keep it alive. When we stopped, I popped the hood and checked the oil; it was fine (dark brown, but not burnt). There was smoke coming from the belt that I had sprayed with WD-40 (I assumed it was just the excess WD-40 that I had sprayed around that had heated up on the engine parts and was smoking).

    I purchased a quart of Mobile1 High Mileage Advanced Synthetic just to top it off. Went back to the car about 30 minutes later, put the oil in, then tried to start it and it wouldn't start. All lights and signals come on. Based on my previous experience, it doesn't seem to be a battery issue.

    Now, here's where the description gets tough because the terms are tough to pin down. When I turn the key to start the car, all lights come on, but the engine only makes about a half-revolution, and then sounds stuck. It won't rev over and over as it did before with the CPK issue, or as it would if the battery were being jumped and it just couldn't start. There's not a clicking sound (a la starter). There's no dimming of the lights or dash. Just one hefty attempt to turn the engine with only a half (or sometimes no) result.

    I am assuming the worst, that the engine is cooked and I'm looking at a 2 month-owned piece of scrap. I couldn't find a similar situation among the other posts. Please help with any insights or suggestions.

    At this point since it's sitting in the store parking lot, and I envision the job being more than I can handle (as a novice do-it-yourselfer), I'm left with only the option to have it towed to a mechanic or back to the dealership from whence it came.

    EDIT: I wish I could change the title of the thread to reflect that these are symptoms of a failing and seizing alternator.

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    Last edited by chadwick110; 05 September 2013 at 20:49. Reason: Want to change title.

  2. #2
    Saab Enthusiast Tweek's Turbos's Avatar
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    '11 9-4X, '07 9-5 Combi, '99 Viggen, '88 900t, '87 ASFT, '85 SPG, '72 96
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    Almost sounds like it is locked up and you were starting to have a idler pulley sieze up at the same time (belt noise and issue).

    I would take it to somebody who knows saabs to look into the oil pan, or try dragging a coat hanger around and seeing what comes out of it.

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  3. #3
    Saab Fan
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    2002 9-5 2.3L Linear Turbo
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    Is that the dreaded SLUDGE issue, Tweek?

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  4. #4
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    previous: 2006 9-3, 2001-06 9-5, 2011 9-4X
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    Sure sounds like that's the first thing to check. How many miles on the car?

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  5. #5
    Saab Fan
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    2002 9-5 2.3L Linear Turbo
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    111k miles.

    Visited the stranded thing again tonight. There's no clicking when the key is turned. The drive belt turns a little, making me believe that it's not totally seized. There's a little bit of a squeak near the throttle body?...don't know what that means. One time (of the 15 or so I tried to turn the key) the engine sounded like it made a full revolution, and nearly fired, but then halted.

    Because of the holiday weekend, I'm unlikely to get a Saab mechanic on the phone tomorrow, and will just have to have it towed back to the dealership I bought it from (a VW dealership) and hope that they're willing to help me without raking me over the coals. I'd rather drive this into the nearby lake than put hundreds of more dollars into it.

    And, seeing as how I can't even pinpoint what's wrong with it, I can't just keep throwing new parts at it on my own.

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  6. #6
    Saab Fan
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    2002 9-5 2.3L Linear Turbo
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    Also, in the dark last night, my brother in law noticed an oil leak that was being caught by the skid plate near the oil filter. We didn't have the tools to get the skid plate off, So I'm not exactly sure where it's coming from. Also, it's not enough oil that it's left any markings on my driveway.

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  7. #7
    Marty Jackson
    Saab Addict Finding41's Avatar
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    17 May 2013
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    Sadly a Volvo XC90
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    Quote Originally Posted by chadwick110 View Post
    Also, in the dark last night, my brother in law noticed an oil leak that was being caught by the skid plate near the oil filter. We didn't have the tools to get the skid plate off, So I'm not exactly sure where it's coming from. Also, it's not enough oil that it's left any markings on my driveway.
    That skid plate catches allot of the engine leaks. (I have a leaky crank seal on my 03 AERO and it is showing up on the same skid plate. And the fire wall. On my 04 ARC I had a banjo bolt leaking from the top of the rad and it was running down the rad, across the front sub frame and back it to behind the transmission! 8' or so!
    I blasted both my engines with engine de-greaser and power washed. Helps to have a clean slate to work with. Lets you know pretty quick ware the leaks are.

    Have you tried to boost the car? Cleaned the battery posts and the battery clamps? (Big problems with every minivan I've owned. The work van had a # 10 wood screw through the positive terminal when I sold it! Just got fed up enough...) Have you checked the BIG fuses by the battery? Or in the box with the relays? Checked the power cable going to the starter for corrosion or tightness? (take the Neg off the battery first!)
    I'm running out of ideas. It could be the starter...?

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  8. #8
    Jeffrey
    Master SaabTech/Moderator Burnsside42's Avatar
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    Engine HOT - Key On - Turn Key - No Crank - But ALL LIGHTS ARE ON = Neutral Safety Switch or Transmission Range Switch for an AUTOMATIC car.

    Ensure when you replaced that crank sensor you removed the OLD o-ring and properly seated the new sensor and o-ring.

    Oil leak near CRANK pulley usually is the Crank Pulley seal and oil Pump o-ring.

    Oil Cooler lines are known to rot out and leak too @ the front.

    Trans cooler seals like to leak - can be secured (snugged up) and cleaned off usually.

    Suggestion - don't take it back to a non-Saab dealer to be diagnosed. They don't understand cars aside from their brand on the building. TAKE IT TO A SAAB SPECIALIST or Service Center (former Dealer).

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    European Motor Services, LLC - Point Pleasant, PA 18950 - www.europeanmotorsvc.com

  9. #9
    Saab Fan
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    2002 9-5 2.3L Linear Turbo
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    I did do the Neutral Safety Switch test thing (trying to start it in Neutral) when I read about that, and still no luck.

    The Saab specialist I had it towed to has initially diagnosed it as an alternator issue saying that the alternator seized and that has kept the engine from turning over.

    I don't know how that explains the loudness and rougher idling that I'd experienced in the days preceding the doom.

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  10. #10
    Saab Fan
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    2002 9-5 2.3L Linear Turbo
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    In conclusion...

    I was not interested in paying the mechanic $750 (quoted) to change the alternator when I knew I could get a re-manufactured 140amp alternator for less than $100. So, I set about reading everyone's different opinions on the best strategy for replacing the alternator--almost universally agreed to as one of the hardest things to do on this 9-5!

    This guy has the best write up (with photos): FixMySaab: Introduction - Replacing the Alternator

    There's a good bit of information here: Alternator Replacement How-To - SaabCentral ForumsAnd here, as well: http://www.thesaabsite.com/95/FAQ--e...placement.html

    I was one of the lucky few that didn't need to lever the engine out of the way. However, the upper alternator bolt location appears to be designed by a blind ape with a vicious hatred of his fellow ape-kind. There are a lot of things that make this such a tough job. There were plenty of times that I wished I'd just written the $750 check, but when I finally stood atop the towering garbage bin with the bound, grimy alternator raised above my head like a Mohican victim's heart the roar heard throughout the neighborhood declared that all the effort, bruised knuckles, greased forearms, and sweated clothes were worth the fight.

    Yes, the alternator had been the product of the whining/whirring I initially heard a few days before failure due to the bearings being worn (or something), and then because the alternator had seized but still allowed for a little movement of the pulley, the engine would crank slightly, but not be allowed to fully turn over due to the alternator's pulley keeping the drive belt from moving freely. All that also explains that the usual effort of jumping the battery didn't work because the drive belt wasn't able to move.

    Again, this was chapter two in the nightmare. I hope that the next many chapters written are more dreamy than terrifying. The car is a pleasure to drive, but maintenance, diagnosis, and wrenching is a B!%$*.

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