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  1. #1
    Saab Enthusiast photousa's Avatar
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    2003 Saab 9-5 Aero 2.3t Wagon HO Manual
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    Head Gasket / Exhaust Manifold Question

    I'm in the process of replacing my Head Gasket. I'm pretty close to removing my exhaust manifold. So I removed the 3 of the nuts attaching the exhaust manifold to the turbo charger and on the 4th nut, the entire stud came out, (nothing broken). My question is..in order to get the exhaust manifold off, wouldn't you need to remove all of the studs holding the exhaust manifold onto the turbo charger? I'm a little confused here, the Saab WIS says to remove the turbo bracket below the turbo, (which I did) does Saab expect the turbo to drop down a bit to get the exhaust manifold off, because the turbo does not want to move down ...

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    2003 Saab 9-5 Aero B235R
    Sport Wagon 2.3T HO Manual
    140,627 Miles

  2. #2
    Saab Nut Brad Lauzze's Avatar
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    2011 9-3 Aero XWD Performance by Hirsch
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    Yes, that's pretty much what they expect to happen and it usually works out that way. Honestly, the last few times I've done head gaskets on any 2.0 or 2.3 turbo Saabs, I just take the nuts off the studs (or the whole nut/stud if it isn't cooperating) and don't even bother with the lower turbo bracket. For actually removing the head, I'd suggest bribing two friends with some beer (to be consumed after you get the head off) so you can have one person on each end of the head and the third person holds the chain/prevents it from dropping down into the block. You SHOULD be able to lift it straight up and out so the turbo wont really be an issue, and then for reassembly it acts as a good alignment tool for when you set the head back on.

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  3. #3
    Saab Enthusiast photousa's Avatar
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    2003 Saab 9-5 Aero 2.3t Wagon HO Manual
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    Thanks Brad, Yeah, It finally dawned on me that I don't think Saab ever intended the exhaust manifold to be taken off while still in the car, it would just be next to impossible. I'm going to try to bunch up the timing chain and use a big rubber band to hold the guides together if possible, like it says in Saab's WIS....did you try that procedure? Before I remove the timing chain, I was also planning on trying to clean a bit of the chain link and cam sprocket surface and try to mark the position of the link to it's specific cam sprocket location, to make sure I get everything back the way it came out...
    I do have a friend to help me lift the cylinder head off, I was thinking it was probably heavy, but don't know exactly how heavy it is......

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    2003 Saab 9-5 Aero B235R
    Sport Wagon 2.3T HO Manual
    140,627 Miles

  4. #4
    Saab Nut Brad Lauzze's Avatar
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    2011 9-3 Aero XWD Performance by Hirsch
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    I think I followed the procedure once or twice but now I've done it so many times that it's become second nature. What I usually do as far as the chain goes is clean it and the sprockets with some brake cleaner, let them dry and use one of my tubes of Monte Carlo Yellow touch up paint. I label the sprockets accordingly (INT and EXH) then I mark two teeth on the intake side chain/sprocket and three teeth on the exhaust side chain/sprocket just to cover my ass and make sure nothing gets screwed up. DO NOT forget to remove chain tensioner. As far as holding the chain up, I usually get a long piece of mechanic's wire, tie one end around the chain and then make a hook out of the other end and hook it straight up to the hood of the car so it stays reasonably tight and you can quickly get a hand on it and move it when it comes time to lift the head up and out.

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  5. #5
    Saab Enthusiast photousa's Avatar
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    2003 Saab 9-5 Aero 2.3t Wagon HO Manual
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    Thank you Brad, great advice and I will use it. When you say, "mechanics wire", is this something like a wire clothes hanger? Since my wagon has a hood liner, it looks the only place to hook a wire like that would be to spring at the hood release pin ?

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    2003 Saab 9-5 Aero B235R
    Sport Wagon 2.3T HO Manual
    140,627 Miles

  6. #6
    Saab Nut Brad Lauzze's Avatar
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    2011 9-3 Aero XWD Performance by Hirsch
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    Correct, basically the same stuff and that is generally where I hook it to (you'll need a good sized piece of wire.)

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    2011 Saab 9-3 Aero XWD Performance by Hirsch "Wolffe"

  7. #7
    Saab Enthusiast photousa's Avatar
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    Thanks again Brad, would you mind if I hit you with another question? I know I've seen this topic come up before on various forums, but when you get the crank shaft pulley notch lined up in the middle of the notch on the timing cover, the mark on the camshafts appear to be a bit forward of the marks on the bearing caps, is this normal. Which notch is the one that should be dead on? The notches lining up the crankshaft pulley or the mark on the timing cover?

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    2003 Saab 9-5 Aero B235R
    Sport Wagon 2.3T HO Manual
    140,627 Miles

  8. #8
    Saab Nut Brad Lauzze's Avatar
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    2011 9-3 Aero XWD Performance by Hirsch
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    Sorry, for the delay, I've been offline the past few days. Generally, you want the crank pulley notch lined up because that is top dead center. The marks on the intake and exhaust cams may not be dead on depending on how much play you have in the chain but they can be rocked back and forth a little bit to get them exactly where you want them to be. This can be achieved by sticking a wrench on the far end of the cams. Hope that helps and again sorry for the lag time on my end.

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    2011 Saab 9-3 Aero XWD Performance by Hirsch "Wolffe"

  9. #9
    Saab Enthusiast photousa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Lauzze View Post
    Sorry, for the delay, I've been offline the past few days. Generally, you want the crank pulley notch lined up because that is top dead center. The marks on the intake and exhaust cams may not be dead on depending on how much play you have in the chain but they can be rocked back and forth a little bit to get them exactly where you want them to be. This can be achieved by sticking a wrench on the far end of the cams. Hope that helps and again sorry for the lag time on my end.
    Thanks Brad, I used your advice regarding painting the camshaft sprocket positions (yellow) and using the mechanics wire (clothes hanger partially wrapped with tape) to suspend the chain, ingenious and appreciated. I'm glad to have the help whenever I can get it. I didn't have a third person to help out, so I used the rubber band method and it seemed to work out just fine.

    Here's where we're at now, I got the head off, (pictured below) & the head gasket was pretty beat, but came off in one piece. What are you guys using to clean the surface of the block? As you can see, the piston crowns have quite a bit of carbon buildup on them. I've read a few posts on other threads that suggest you should just leave the carbon alone, that you can cause more damage than good by getting bits of crud between the piston and the cylinder wall.

    Here's what I found when I removed head:
    1) The head bolts were tight, not a single one was loose
    2) The (2) bolts nearest the timing cover had oil on the threads, all of the other bolts came out with clean threads
    3) All of my plugs came out looking clean, but I had oil on the threads of the plug in cylinder #1, (nearest the timing cover), the plug was not fouled, the head gasket itself looked wasted, some of the stamped metal on the head gasket had cracked ..... previously, I had also cleaned out oil residue that had found its way into my coolant expansion tank, lining the walls of the tank.

    My coolant expansion tank was getting over-pressurized with exhaust gasses, causing a coolant reservoir cap blow off, (on nearly every drive), ....I could see some white smoke, but only in the winter, when it was freezing cold outside and only when the car was slowing down after higher acceleration.......I'm hoping that a bad gasket or warped head has caused these oil issues and it's not a piston ring...any ideas?


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    2003 Saab 9-5 Aero B235R
    Sport Wagon 2.3T HO Manual
    140,627 Miles

  10. #10
    Saab Nut Brad Lauzze's Avatar
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    2011 9-3 Aero XWD Performance by Hirsch
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    From what I can see, it looks pretty good. Oil in those two bolt holes is nothing to worry about pretty common to see that when you pull the head off. I've definitely seen head gaskets in a lot worse shape than that one. The white smoke is likely coolant burning which I've generally seen as a result of a head gasket on its way out.

    I'm assuming you're having the head sent out and checked to make sure everything is kosher?

    As far as cleaning everything goes. A window scraper or a die grinder with some sort of sanding disk (nothing too aggressive though) works best for cleaning of all the surfaces. And also for re-assembly, get a tube of that anaerobic sealer and put a layer around the seems on the front and rear covers where they mate to the block that the head gasket sits down on.

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    2011 Saab 9-3 Aero XWD Performance by Hirsch "Wolffe"

 

 

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