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  1. #1
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    Saab 9-5 oil pan/sump drop to check for sludge

    - Tools needed: Your basic set of tools with wrenches/spanners, metric sockets and torx bits, ratchets and extensions, screw drivers, drill for some model years with manual transmission, large lever, hydraulic jack, car ramps or axle stands

    - Parts and supplies needed:
    * Anaerobic sealant Loctite 518 or Permatex 51817
    * Oil pickup tube rubber o-ring - Saab part 91 38 009 (available from Saab dealer or eEuroparts and other online vendors
    * Cleaning supplies for sump cleaning (brushes/rags/solvents)

    - Difficulty rating: It is not a very difficult job but it requires patience. Without a car lift, your basically spending a lot of time laying on your back with your face close to the the engine.

    - Time estimate: 4 - 8 hours for the average DIY-er with basic mechanical skills. Probably about 2 hours for an experienced Saab mechanic with car lift.

    - Tip: Soak the exhaust bolts/nuts with WD40 or other penetrating lubricant the night before

    Background

    Early models of the Saab 9-5 with 2.3L 4-cylinder engine suffer from the engine sludge issue. This write-up shows the steps involved in dropping the sump and check for possible problems with a clogged oil pickup strainer.

    My car is (was) a 6-year old 2001 9-5 2.3t automatic with 88,000 miles. I don't have any service records between 40K and 82K miles. It is quite possible regular dino oil was used for oil changes before I purchased the car at 82K miles.

    Depending on your mechanical skills, available tools and materials, you will probably need between 3 and 8 hours to complete this procedure. It requires maneuvering tools, hands and other body parts in tight spaces, laying on your back with your head inches away from the engine and getting dirty with oil and grease so please take your time. Patience and an eye for details are required because you don't want to rush this job.

    Ready? Let's start.

    Procedure

    Put the car on jack stands or car ramps. I prefer the car ramps because you'll have a bit more room and I never completely trust the jack stands.

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    Remove the two under-trays from the car.

    Drain the oil, replace oil filter and refit the oil drain plug with a new washer.

    Unplug the 2 oxygen sensor wiring connectors on the left-hand side of the cylinder head. Slide out the little red part with a screw driver and unplug. Loosen the wires so you'll have enough room to lower the exhaust a little bit later on.

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    Unbolt the exhaust system from the turbo charger (13mm). The nut will come of the bolt or the entire bolt will come out. Two can be accessed from the top and one from underneath the car. If they are really hard to loosen, spray a little bit of lubricant (WD40) and let it penetrate for a while. Mine came of easy. To get better access to the bolts, you can remove the silver pipe and turbo heat shield. This only takes a few minutes and makes it much easier.

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    Undo the bolts for the exhaust support bracket (13mm). Loosen the upper bolt so you can move the bracket out of the way. Make sure not to put too much stress on the flexible part of the exhaust as it can be damaged.

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    Undo the retaining bolts and remove the flywheel cover plate from the transmission (11mm).

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    Disconnect the crankcase breather hose from the back of the sump.

    Unscrew all bolts securing the sump (13mm). Leave in one or two bolts to prevent the sump from falling. Break the seal by hitting the sump with the palm of your hand. Remove the remaining retaining bolts and rest the sump on the sub frame.

    Now comes the most difficult part. The sump can be difficult to remove without moving the engine within the frame. Put a jack under the transmission and slowly jack it up a little bit. In addition, you can put a big wrench or other lever between the inner wing panel and crankshaft pulley to move the engine to the left. This can be done by one person but it helps to have an extra pair of hands.

    Again, it can be hard to do but you will get it out eventually. I read somewhere it is also possible to remove part of the sub frame of the car but that seems even more difficult and time-consuming.

    Put a piece of wood between the jack and transmission to prevent damage.

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    There is enough room to use a good size lever between the pulley and inner wing panel. Be careful not to damage anything.

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    After the sump is removed from the car, take out the cover plate inside (Torx 30) and remove the oil pump pickup/strainer. Clean the inside very well to remove all debris and other stuff. If yours is like mine, you'll be glad you did this sump check. I used paper towels, rags and kerosine to loosen up the gunk, a flat metal blade to scrape off the black stuff and a screw driver to get into the corners and such. Steel wool is also supposed to work great.

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    There was a lot of debris accumulated right under the oil pickup strainer. Note how close it is to the oil drain plug in the upper right-hand corner. It is surprising this debris was not removed from the engine with regular oil changes.

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    Solidified oil on the inside of the sump started to flake off which caused most of the debris.

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    The strainer was not completely clogged up yet. If this clogs up completely, there is no oil going to the engine and cause complete engine failure.

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    When it is all clean, you're ready to put it back on the engine. Look inside the engine to check if there are not any signs of severe sludge forming.

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    Remove all old sealant and lean and degrease the underside of the engine and oil sump so the sealant can do its job.

    Use an anaerobic sealant like Loctite 518 or Permatex 51817 to put a small 1mm-wide bead on the oil sump edges. Make sure to go on the sump inside when you come to the bolt holes and all the way around the hole for the oil pickup line. One of these small tubes is just enough to do one sump.

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    The anaerobic sealant will harden in between the metal but remains fluid where it is in contact with air. This is important because any sealant leaking inside the sump will be flushed away with the oil. If you would use a different sealant, the extra sealant would harden and potentially clog up the filter, oil lines and strainer.

    There is no major rush to get the sump back on (the sealant will remain fluid because it is in contact with the air). You will have to be very careful not to touch the sump edges on the engine or other parts as not to smear the sealant and break the bead. This will cause an oil leak after it has been put back together.

    Tighten all sump bolts. You should use a torque wrench to tighten to 22 Nm/16 lbf ft but it is either difficult or impossible to get to some bolts with a big wrench. Make sure they are tight but not too much as you don't want to strip any threads inside the engine block.

    Put all the other stuff back on the engine.

    Fill engine with oil.

    Start the car and let it warm up. Check for leaks around the oil sump. Some oil from the engine probably dripped on the exhaust so don't be alarmed when you see smoke coming from the engine when it starts to warm up. This will burn off in a few minutes.

    Turn off engine and let it sit for a while. Check oil level and add if necessary.

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    Last edited by nordwulf; 31 August 2010 at 04:04.

  2. #2
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    I also owned a 2005 9-5 Aero and was very curious to find out if the sludge problem was still as bad as the earlier models. This 9-5 was sold to the first owner in February 2005 so it is a little bit over three years old at the time of this writing in March of 2008. The car had done 97,000 miles (about 100 miles per day) when the sump was checked.

    The procedure was the same as on my 2001 that I did last year. I read a few posts on the forums about different procedures for cars with a manual transmission. I checked the Saab WIS (Workshop Information System) and it shows a different shaped oil pan. Supposedly, you would have to drill a couple of holes in the side of the pan to be able to access the hidden bolts. Fortunately, my car had the same kind of oil pan as my 2001 9-5 automatic so I didn't have to go through the process of drilling these holes. It looks like only the earlier models (1998-2000?) with manual transmission had this kind of oil pan as shown in these illustrations.

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    The sump on mine was the same as my other car so it only required removal of a small shield bolted to the transmission as shown here in the picture from my 2001 9-5.

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    After getting all the bolts out, the sump came of easy from the engine block. With my 2001, I had the hardest time to get the sump to clear the frame. The engine block had to be jacked up it was necessary to use a large wrench/lever to move the engine block in the frame. On this 2005, it was very easy and no force to move the block was needed. I am not sure if this is a difference between the auto and manual transmission engines or if they changed the frame design slightly. Either way, it was out from under the car within a minute. Nice!

    I was very happy to discover there was absolutely no sign of sludge at all. There could be a few reasons for the lack of sludge:

    * The latest PCV design installed at the factory for MY04 and up really made a big difference.
    * The previous owner changed the oil quite often.
    * Synthetic oil was required for oil changes.
    * The miles on this car (35K) are probably mostly highway miles where the engine and oil had the chance to heat up completely every time the car was driven.

    Here is the sump from my 2005 9-5 Aero.

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    There were just a few small pieces of metal and what appears to be a small piece from a gasket on the oil pick up screen.

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    After wiping off the oil, it looked like a brand new sump.

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    The inside of the engine looked very clean as well.

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  3. #3
    Saab Enthusiast
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    Great write up Wulf. I would like to add that if you do drop your slump to clean, I recommend changing out the o-ring on the pickup tube. This becomes brittle and hard which IMO it doesn't seem like it would being doing it's job 100%.

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  4. #4
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toxicavenger View Post
    I would like to add that if you do drop your slump to clean, I recommend changing out the o-ring on the pickup tube. This becomes brittle and hard which IMO it doesn't seem like it would being doing it's job 100%.
    Good tip, I didn't think of that. Mine was still in good shape but you should replace it while you have the sump off. Is the O-ring a standard size or a Saab specific part?

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  5. #5
    Saab Nut
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    Here are the official instructions from the Saab WIS (Workshop Information System). See the next post for instructions for the B235R (Aero) engine with manual transmission.

    To remove

    1. Remove the upper engine cover.

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    2. Remove the dipstick and place a rag in the tube. Remove the oxygen sensor cables.
    3. Remove the turbo bypass pipe and the heat shield over the exhaust manifold.
    4. Undo the two upper nuts on the exhaust pipe.

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    5. Raise the car and remove the lower engine cover.
    6. Remove the remaining mountings and remove the front exhaust pipe.
    7. Remove the cover plate from the gearbox.
    8. Drain the engine oil.

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    9. Disconnect the crankcase breather hose from the oil sump.
    10. Remove the bolts on the oil sump and lower the sump.

    To fit

    1. If the sump is changed, transfer the splash guard and pipe to the new sump. Use new O-rings.

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    2. Ensure the oil sump contains no dirt or contaminants. Clean the sealing surfaces on the engine and sump with a gasket scraper and benzene.
    3. Apply an even, 2 mm thick bead of flange sealant, part no. 93 21 795, to the sealing surfaces of the oil sump.
    4. Check that the pipe to the oil adapter is securely in place and that it positioned correctly in the oil sump. Change the O-rings if necessary.
    5. Lift up and position the oil sump. Thread all the bolts.

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    6. Tighten the oil sump bolts. Tightening torque 22 Nm (16 lbf ft)
    7. Fit the crankcase ventilation hose.
    8. Fit the gearbox cover plate.
    9. Clean the joints, grease the studs of the turbocharger with Molycote 1000, part no. 30 20 971, and fit the exhaust pipe.

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    10. Check that the oil plug has been tightened and lower the car.
    11. Tighten the upper bolts on the exhaust pipe.

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    12. Plug in the oxygen sensor cables.
    13. Fit the heat shield over the exhaust manifold and turbo bypass pipe.
    14. Fill with engine oil and put back the dipstick.
    15. Fit the upper engine cover.
    16. Run the engine until warm, raise the car and check the integrity around the sealing surfaces.
    17. Fit the lower engine cover.
    18. Lower the car, check the oil level and top up as necessary.

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    Last edited by nordwulf; 01 September 2010 at 13:55.

  6. #6
    Saab Nut
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    Instructions for the B235R (Aero) engine with manual transmission

    To remove

    1. Remove the upper engine cover.

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    2. Remove the dipstick and place a cloth in the tube. Remove the heated oxygen sensor cables.
    3. Remove the turbo bypass pipe and the heat shield on the exhaust manifold.
    4. Loosen the upper two nuts on the exhaust pipe.

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    5. Raise the car and remove the lower engine cover.
    6. Remove the remaining mountings and the lower nut on the exhaust pipe. Lower the front of the exhaust pipe.
    7. Drain the engine oil.

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    8. Disconnect the crankcase breather hose from the oil sump.
    9. Make a punch mark 35 mm from the edge as in the illustration to mark the drilling point.
    10. Predrill with a smaller drill. Drill with a drift punch 30 mm at a ca. 45 degree angle to enable access to the hidden oil sump screws. From engine number Y062148-, the motor is equipped with an oil sump that has notchings for the holes. Tap these out with a ball hammer.

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    11. Remove the cover plate and the oil sump screws.
    12. Carefully prise open with a crowbar according to the illustration in order to remove the oil sump.

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    To fit


    1. Transfer the splashguard and pipes to the new oil sump. Use new O-rings.

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    2. Tap out the holes in the new sump with a ball hammer. Deburr the holes and remove any filings.
    3. Check that there are no impurities in the sump and clean.

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    4. Apply an approximately 2 mm thick bead of flange sealant, part No. 93 21 795 to the oil sump seals.
    5. Check that the pipe to the oil adapter is firmly attached and that it is directed straight into the oil sump. Replace O-rings if necessary.
    6. Install the access panel.
    7. Prise laterally somewhat with a crowbar and fit the oil sump. Replace all screws. Tighten the screws to the access panel.
    Tightening torque: 7 Nm (5 lbf ft)

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    8. Moderately tighten the screws to the engine block. Tighten the three screws to the gearbox and the the oil sump's other screws. Finish by tightening the screws in the reinforcements. Replace the cover.
    Tightening torque, oil sump 22 Nm (16 lbf ft)
    Tightening torques, gearbox screws 47 Nm (35 lbf ft)

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    9. Connect the crankcase breather hose.
    10. Clean the joints, grease the turbocharger studs with Molycote 1000, part No. 30 20 971 and replace the exhaust pipe.

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    11. Check that the oil plug is tightened and lower the car to the floor.
    12. Tighten the other exhaust pipe nuts.
    Tightening torque: 25 Nm (18 lbf ft)

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    13. Connect the heated oxygen sensor cables.
    14. Fit the heat shield over the exhaust manifold and the turbo bypass pipe.
    15. Add the engine oil and replace the dipstick.
    16. Replace the upper engine cover.
    17. Run the engine to normal temperature and check the mating surfaces.
    18. Replace the bottom engine cover.
    19. Lower the car, check the oil level and add oil if necessary.

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    Last edited by nordwulf; 01 September 2010 at 13:52.

  7. #7
    Scott Hutchings
    Too much to do, no time! SaabScott's Avatar
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    Going to add one more thing here ...

    A couple of weeks ago I pulled the rocker cover off to tighten the head bolts.
    The car I have right now is the very same one that Wulf used for the sump drop above ... 2005 9-5 Aero SportCombi.
    The car now has 173,000 miles on it.
    When I removed the rocker cover, I was blown away by how clean the cover itself was, never mind the condition of the top of the head.
    It was spotless!
    Out of all of the rocker covers I have seen, this one was, by far, that cleanest example of care I have ever seen (and we tighten a lot of head bolts at Aktive, let me tell you).

    Just goes to show how much quality oil with reasonable oil change intervals works.
    Thanks to Wulf for checking the bottom end, and thanks to both Wulf and the original owner for the care they took of this car when it was in their possesion.

    You have left me with a vehicle that I expect will see 1/2 million miles without much in the way of serious work.

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  8. #8
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    I was surprised to see the engine being so clean at 100K miles. I think I have seen a few 9-5s with 350K+ miles but 1/2 million? That would be very cool.

    I was thinking of checking under the rocker cover with my current car. It's an '05 2.3T so sludge shouldn't be a problem. But I am just curious to see what it looks like under there. Is that basically an easy DIY for anyone to do with a few simple tools? Do you need to replace any gaskets when you put it back on?

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  9. #9
    Scott Hutchings
    Too much to do, no time! SaabScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wulf View Post
    I was surprised to see the engine being so clean at 100K miles. I think I have seen a few 9-5s with 350K+ miles but 1/2 million? That would be very cool.

    I was thinking of checking under the rocker cover with my current car. It's an '05 2.3T so sludge shouldn't be a problem. But I am just curious to see what it looks like under there. Is that basically an easy DIY for anyone to do with a few simple tools? Do you need to replace any gaskets when you put it back on?

    It can't hurt to check it, but it is hardly the definative answer on engine condition.

    Removing it is simple, just a bunch of bolts and moving some wiring out of the way.
    We always install a new rocker cover gasket (and use anerobic sealer to hold it in place - plus it provides an extra level of sealing) on when we re-tighten head bolts.
    Given that it is most likely original, I would spend the $20-$40 and just replace it.

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  10. #10
    Saab Enthusiast
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    Wulf, I actually bought the o-ring from the dealer since it was only around $2. Now I am sure you can get it anywhere but at the time mine had broken when I took it off. Also I honestly believe that the condition of the o-ring (which was super hard) keeps the pickup tube from sealing as good as it could. So IMO this is could slow down the flow of oil and cause the oil light to come on or other serious issues.

    Also like SaabScott said I always replace the valve cover gasket so that I don't have to take it off again because I was being cheap. I also use anerobic sealer to hold the gasket in while installing it.

    Oh and under my 00" the valve cover was super clean but the oil pan looked like sh!@.

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