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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Mint 2006 9-3 2.0T Low power / White smoke gas smell

    Well I;ve searched the forums for over and hour and can't seem to pinpoint exactly what is going on and hope y'all can help me.. I just retired my 2007 9-3 with 219k... it had some brake issues and bad coil packs.. So I know what the coil pack stutter feels like and this isn't it.. This is the 2.0T not 2.0t btw... has 140k is 5 speed and is very very very clean.. one owner... he last year replaced coil packs.. rear struts and rear calipers/rotors/pads...very well maintained saab, ive been super enjoying it for the last 2-3 weeks.. then.. today... I press the gas like usual at my favorite spot... waiting for the surge feeling... nothing came, turbo gauge went about.. half way up. usually goes to near red and has a nice pull.... No check engine no nothing... Then, i pull into store.. the car is off literally 1min.. get back in... seems running fine again, rip first.. ALL THE BOOST.. even triggers ESP... rip second.... okay at first then starts running like crap not al on cylinders, flashing check engine light, just while i was rolling manually turn key off then pop start in third.... Running fine again, But again... no power... I checked for shaft play on turbo.. it feels way better than my 2007 with almost 100k more miles..front and back.... .This is odd.. (this happened once before 2 weeks earlier. the low to no power..had a check engine but on my way to my buddies shop, the check engine went off and ran perfect again).. Was wondering if you guys had some starter things to look for.. my saab expert friend.. whos out of town for a few days, thinks possible ecu, But directed me here...I know the coil packs are good... Any suggestions? The last incident which just happened.. i was able to maintain a check engine light.. But... no scanner till i can get to my buddies.. and I have to drive it for work... so idk if it will stay on.... And finally.. if I drive it.. just regular, no beating on it... but casually boosting out of corners... it usually runs fine... once in awhile will have low boost/power issue but always goes away, never a check engine light...

    thank you for all your help in advance.

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    Last edited by 06red93; 28 June 2019 at 13:32.

  2. #2
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    New update... Im reading the code with my friends reader here later today... but just wanted to update anyone saab experts with recent discoveries... 1. Runs fine when cold. ALWAYS.... boosts fine.. all the power.. But then if it gets operating temp.. it will have the low boost gauge reading... (around the r in Turbo is where the needle sits rather than near the red/orange lines as per usual)....and sometimes when i shut it off and its running well, but up to operating temp... It will not start or start very hard.. sometimes with gas pedal to floor.. also smokes white...But isn't coolant, doesn't smell sweet at all.. smells like straight gasoline....But after it starts.. runs like crap for 10 more seconds.. smoke clears... runs normal and boosts normal. Once I read codes... which i'm sure one is at least a misfire... ill report back here.... Also previous owner.. who was the only owner said he had replaced coil packs on 2 separate occasions with genuine saab parts....so Im leaning against coils.... And it doesnt do the stuttering like my last saab did when it had bad coils as it comes into boost and blows spark out.

    thanks again for reading. appreciate any help.

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  3. #3
    Saab Owner Digger's Avatar
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    What you're describing sounds like a good old fashion heat riser choke problem, would be easy to find if we still had old fashion heat risers and chokes. With no choke there will be no choke code and a code reader also needs to display engine operating parameters for you to see what's happening.

    The old school (pre everyone had scan tool) trick for isolating this is to force the engine controller into default mode by unplugging the air intake sensor when the engine is warm and doesn't want to start. If you get an instant normal start you've eliminated almost every possible cause and you can look to the MAS and throttle body, clean the heck out of both and see what happens.

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digger View Post
    What you're describing sounds like a good old fashion heat riser choke problem, would be easy to find if we still had old fashion heat risers and chokes. With no choke there will be no choke code and a code reader also needs to display engine operating parameters for you to see what's happening.

    The old school (pre everyone had scan tool) trick for isolating this is to force the engine controller into default mode by unplugging the air intake sensor when the engine is warm and doesn't want to start. If you get an instant normal start you've eliminated almost every possible cause and you can look to the MAS and throttle body, clean the heck out of both and see what happens.

    Ah the famous Digger

    Well got some updates.. brought the car over to my friend who has his own shop he works out of....We scanned.. got got the p0300 code... Of course random misfire.
    But then it got interesting.... got injector codes for every injector... which makes sense by the tear jerking gas smell from all the white smoke.
    codes: p0201/p0202/p0203/p0204

    His all data access said checking wiring if you have 1 of the codes for on jector...But since it was all of them. he was leaning towards bad ecu.. as did the all data program...and I heard ecu's was an issue 03-06... whats your opinion? Or anyone elses...

    I was thinking hitting up brew city boost for a stage 1 or 2 upgrade.. and just sending them my broke ecu and getting mines cloned into one of their cores 200$ (550$ for it shipped, plug and play) Heard stock clutches are fine with stage 1,,, but hear of some people having clutch slippage with stage 2....thoughts?

    thoughts? Car is well maintained.. im second owner 140k.. absolutely burns zero oil. always synthetic. Will clutch hold a stage 2 tune.. or should i stage 1 to be safe?

    Anyways back to the car. I have no experience working on these things.. had several 400+whp hondas tho that i built.. so i am adept... Does this sound like ECU to you Mr. Saab master? It sounds like it to me...and all the input im getting from ppl who know better than me are leaning towards that too.. everything thread i find with "fuel smell rough start bad ideal white smoke" has been fixed by ecu and it is an intermittent problem...Some are saying injectors must be replaced.. but most ppl I find of forums fixing this issue.... dont replace injectors.. thoughts? I would love to avoid replacing injectors and car only has 140k..

    Thanks again for any help.

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  5. #5
    Saab Owner Digger's Avatar
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    A flaky MAS will send flaky stuff to the ECU making it think that acting flakey is the right thing to do. Guessing that pulling the MAS plug at the air intake pipe didn't make any difference and with that it sure could be the ECU, they do sit on top of the warm engine and they do get flaky, but the MAS isn't the only temp sensor and this isn't the famous flaky ECU problem code.

    It could also be a bad ground or plug connect at the ECU, so clean the mounting points and reseat the cables a couple of times before you start calling this thing bad. If you should need to replace, make sure you get one with the same numbers from the same year car. You can marry the ECU to the car, but you can't re-flash an ECU that has the latest program load and the odds of finding a good used ECU with an old load on a car this age are slim to none.

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  6. #6

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    This sounds pretty close to what I had on my 07. Iím actually pretty sure it is the exact same thing but Iíve slept since then. I ended up buying a junkyard Ecu and reprogrammed it to my car. There is a great video of the process:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwyF...&feature=share
    I bought the cord he describes for around $40 after shipping and the ecu for $65 I think. It took me a few tries to interface with the car and my laptop as the software had been updated. But I eventually got it, did the rest in the video and now it runs fine. Best of luck!

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  7. #7
    Saab Owner Digger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Depayn View Post
    This sounds pretty close to what I had on my 07. I’m actually pretty sure it is the exact same thing but I’ve slept since then. I ended up buying a junkyard Ecu and reprogrammed it to my car. There is a great video of the process:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwyF...&feature=share
    I bought the cord he describes for around $40 after shipping and the ecu for $65 I think. It took me a few tries to interface with the car and my laptop as the software had been updated. But I eventually got it, did the rest in the video and now it runs fine. Best of luck!
    A new Trionic 8 with the Fiat part number can be bought for around $300, not being able to flash back when I found the part I didn't write anything down so I could be off on this. But if this thing overwrites a stored program digging up the part number and making adaptor plates for the bolt holes could be a good long term solution for keeping our Saabs on the road.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Depayn View Post
    This sounds pretty close to what I had on my 07. Iím actually pretty sure it is the exact same thing but Iíve slept since then. I ended up buying a junkyard Ecu and reprogrammed it to my car. There is a great video of the process:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwyF...&feature=share
    I bought the cord he describes for around $40 after shipping and the ecu for $65 I think. It took me a few tries to interface with the car and my laptop as the software had been updated. But I eventually got it, did the rest in the video and now it runs fine. Best of luck!
    It was the ecu, sent it to a place... which repairs these saab ecu's.. when i first called him.. he knew by the codes it was the ecu right away, But he said its 90% not the ecu failing most of the times its the injectors and charge air/valve solenoid... and he described it as the injectors and charge air solenoid warm up the internal resistence increases.. (cause they are failing) Causing more current to pass through the control chip in the ecm than its designed for. Then the chip burns out... well I was against buying 200$ worth of injectors and whatever the solenoid costs.... cuz well i didnt have the money.. so they said 175$ and they would fix the ecu, slap it in... And see how it runs.. ran amazing day 1... only drove it short distance to work. Day 2 same thing. on the way home... Boost wasnt rising past the R in turbo again and popped check engine codes again, no misfire... no white smoke... But no power.. checked codes. p0245/246 which is low and high boltage on the solenoid... and the injector codes again.. so Im afraid.. the ecu burned those same chips again.... Hopefully they will honor warranty. And I guess ill have to buy these injectors and solenoid... my question to you is did you replace your injectors and your solenoid? I guess its a moot point considering Ive fixed the ecu... and it ran good then broke again, so obviously its what they said it is... but have you had any problems they said VERY rarely ecu's go bad on their own but 90% its the injectors and solenoid causing the problem..

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  9. #9

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    Havenít had any more trouble myself. Thatís been a year and a half ago. I get issues right now with the ignition coil codes cuz I cheaped out when I replaced them. I didnít get the right ones and if I do a lot of short drives, like running errands, I get a code. It can do one long drive though and never throw one. After five, I think, start stop cycles the code goes away. Iíll definitely keep what you say in mind though. I was curious what caused the ecu to fail in the first place. I figured bad placement and it got hot.

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