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  1. #1
    Saab Enthusiast
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    2004 9-5 Arc; 2002 9-5 Aero
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    timing chain tensioner won't screw in

    I am trying to replace the two seals on the timing chain tensioner. After a lot of grinding on a deep 27mm socket, I was able to easily screw the tensioner out. However, it was very hard to break it loose, but once loose, it came out easily with only a little resistance in the same place on each turn out, which I attributed to the socket passing through the alternator bracket hole. (Note - if you grind a socket down, you have to grind the entire socket, not just the end by the engine block. It is the alternator bracket where the thin wall is actually needed).

    So I started to reinstall the tensioner, and it would only screw in a couple of turns - enough for the threads to get a good bite, then I encountered resistance. I can't easily turn past the resistance with a rachet - it would take a good bit of force, and there is a long way to go to get the tensioner against the block.

    I tried backing it out and attempting to start the threads from a different angle, but it seems to only want to go in one way. I thought maybe I was tensioning the chain on the way in, but the adjuster is all the way in.

    What are my options? Can I run a thread chaser in there and catch any metal filings from inside after removing the valve cover? Should I just muscle it in? I really don't want to pull the head - I just did a top end rebuild earlier this year.

    Hopefully someone has run into this before and can help me. Thanks!

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  2. #2
    I had the same problem . Vacuum cleaner and this
    Name:  ImageUploadedByTapatalk1396739977.109756.jpg
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    Don't rush it . Bit by bit , in - out vacuum .

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  3. #3
    Saab Enthusiast
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    Thanks BMTastic! What size tap is that?

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  4. #4
    Name:  ImageUploadedByTapatalk1396741929.854132.jpg
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    Have fun
    -Steve

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  5. #5
    Saab Enthusiast
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    Thanks. Couldn't find one locally, but I have one coming next week from an eBay auction. This is gonna be fun chasing those threads down through the access hole in the alternator bracket....Will report back on how it goes.

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  6. #6
    Marty Jackson
    Saab Addict Finding41's Avatar
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    Woa!
    Do yourself a favour and just remove the alt bracket.
    It's only a bit more work...
    Here is how:
    remove the bracket that goes form the block to the intake manifold(2-13mm) Remove the PVC oil collection box (2-13mm). Push the PVC box over the starter or toward the fire wall. remove the 3 long 13mm bolts on the bracket. 2 on top one under the tensioner toward the fire wall. (feel for it.)
    Next remove the shore 13mm bolt between the alt and the bracket going into the block with a short 13mm box end wrench.
    Now the whole bracket should swing back pivoting on the bottom alt bolt. That will allow you to get the big socket on and the tensioner inserted properly.
    NOTE: don't attempt to insert the chain tensioner with the spring and 12mm bolt installed! Only insert it when the plunger is pushed back all the way.
    PM or email me with questions if you need.

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    finding41
    Marty Jackson
    www.northchannelcharters.com

  7. #7
    Saab Enthusiast
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    Thanks. I guess it really isn't much more to swing the alt bracket away. I was thinking the alternator had to come off, which I wasn't looking forward to doing. I'll give it a try. Doesn't look like the M22-1.5 tap will be here until sometime between Fri and Tue, per eBay.

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  8. #8
    Marty Jackson
    Saab Addict Finding41's Avatar
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    I just replaced the alt on my 03 9-5. It's a bunch of messing around and involves undoing all the motor mounts and moving the engine over about an inch.
    If your alt mount doesn't want to swing easily just loosen the bottom alt bolt a bit. (Easy to do with the tire removed and the one plastic shield off.)
    I find it easiest to work on the car when it's on jack stands. Just so I don't have to bend over so much.

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    finding41
    Marty Jackson
    www.northchannelcharters.com

  9. #9

    timing chain tensioner won't screw in

    Then still the tensioner won't fit . Like i've Said , i had the same problem . You can do it 30 times without having a problem . The threads are dirty , you need a thread chaser .

    Edit: there is plenty of room
    -Steve

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    Last edited by bmtastic; 07 April 2014 at 15:06.
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  10. #10
    Saab Enthusiast
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    Got the 22M x 1.5 tap the other day and started to tackle this today. I did remove the alternator bracket - much easier, and actually necessary to get the tap started properly. It took quite a few tries to get the tap where I thought it was lined up properly as it tried to start crooked several times. Got it going and after a bunch of in and out, vacuum, in and out, the tap screws in easily until it stops with a lot of resistance. There appears to be a slight boss at end of the threads. I measured the depth of the threads and made a mark on the tap so I wouldn't force it. So, I believe I have tapped it out until the tap hits the boss. I screwed the tensioner in, and it went in easily - until all the threads were in the block. Then it wouldn't go any farther. There is maybe 3/8" of tensioner that still needs to be screwed in. It feels like a hard stop that I did not want to force it through, especially since the tensioner has a bit of looseness in the threads, which has me concerned about how much I should torque it in when I can finally screw it all the way in.

    In the attached picture, the red line on the tap is the depth of the threads in the head. The corresponding red line on the tensioner is the part of the tensioner that should be matching up to those threads. The yellow line is where the tensioner stops screwing into the head.
    Name:  saab 9-5 chain tensioner.jpg
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    I'm thinking I need a flat bottom tap so I can thread the hole all the way to the bottom.

    Has anyone one run into this before and have any suggestions? I hope I don't have to pull the head and have that hole repaired and tapped. I just got the engine all back together and unfortunately had a significant oil leak that appeared to be coming from the tensioner. All I wanted to do was replace the sealing washers on the tensioner!!

    Thank you for the help. This forum has been awesome!

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