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Old 10-03-2013, 06:13 PM   #1
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Engine Problem-Stall with Oil light coming on

I have a 2003 Aero with the 2.3 turbo. The car was bought by us as a CPO with 54K on the clock. The turbo was replaced at 100K. The car currently has 177K on it.

I have noticed since around July or so it doesn't have the same pick-up as it used to and the turbo fins would do a little rattle on hard accel too. I attributed that to 87 octane gas I had been using(not turbo noise), I know thats not good. But the damn 93 was so expensive and the wife drives it 60 miles a day for work. It is defintly a highway car and not stop n go driving.

It has been burning/consuming oil for the last two years or so. I usually am reminded that its a little low by the lifter tick at start up. Last week I saw that it was just barely on the stick. I have been guilty of topping it off with conventional oil if i was out of Factory spec. Mobil one.
I couldnt find enough oil and it was late at night so I decided to add a can of "Restore" to the oil. to help bring the level up more than anything. It was a 6cylider can and not a 4 cylinder one also. I did put it all in. It was halfway on the stick and I knew I could get some Mobil one the next day and raise the level the rest of the way.

Day one: In the morning my wife drove it to work as she does everyday and it started to bog down and died on her after about six miles of travel from home, it showed the red triangle and oil light. She tried to start it immediately and thinks it wouldnt even turn over(as she remembers, i am wondering if she forgot to put it back in park at that point though). She waited 3-5 minutes, then it started normally and then she drove it about 300 foot to a side road and turned it off.

I went and got the Car about 5 hours later. First I put the code reader on it and it only threw 1 code. The O2 sensor. I knew about that as we have been driving on the bad o2 sensor for 60K I cleared that code and checked again. no codes. It started, but with a little dragging(like the battery was almost dead) but it DID start. There was a very slight noise from the left top of the engine )put my ear up to it), but that quieted after about 15 seconds. No loud clatter or piston slap or anything like that.

I drove it about 2 miles towards home and decided to try and put my foot in it to see if I would get any White/Black Exhaust smoke from the tail pipe.(thinking turbo failure again) It felt like it wouldnt boost at all. Then it started to bog down and died with the red triangle and oil light.

I tried to start it again after a few minutes and it had a very slow turn over and wouldn't fire. I charged the battery with jumper cables and still the same result.

Day two: I left it overnight and pulled it home 4 miles with a chain in neutral the next day because I was worried about hurting the engine. I pulled the plugs and there was no fouling whatsoever.

Day Three: it started rather easily, with no noises. I tried loading it on a car trailer, but it didnt have enough power to climb the trailer ramp and bogged down and died. I then had it towed to my indy to drop the pan and check for sludge, because I thought the screen was blocked. Again no loud engine noises or clatter at all.

My Mechanic says screen wasnt blocked much at all, but they did find some copper metal shavings in the pan. I asked him how much and he said probably a couple tablespoon full.

He recommends an engine swap as he thinks the bearings are toast and the crankshaft probably is too.

My questions are these:

Couldnt there be bearing material in an engine pan with this many miles and tolerances that are so close like this engine?

I am thinking the "restore" additive I used caused a problem and the "Limp home mode": is being activated somehow. Is this possible? If so how?

Or was it just a coincidence on the "restore" I put in the night before? I also wonder about the "Restore" messing up the oil pump somehow?

The car is worth $2500 when it was running. So I dont want to have to swap an engine out. That will end up costing me $2K or so. I may just sell it on Ebay as-is with bad motor.

But an oil pump or possibly the bearings, I may have them do that.

What do you guys think? Thanks

Last edited by hrlydavison; 10-03-2013 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:24 PM   #2
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I would get a second opinion, cat, O2 sensors, DI, many possibilities?

If he pulled the pan, did he look/gauge the bearings or diagnosis based on previous experience?
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Old 10-03-2013, 07:16 PM   #3
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He didn't gauge them at all. He was just going by the metal he found in the pan. I asked him to see if he could locate the oil filter and cut it open and check the pleats, but he hasn't got back to me on that.

I have read about others with this engine that have had metal shavings also, but havent found any good answers on what to do.

I do have a Saab dealer I could tow it to using my "free" tow. But not sure if I want to do this or not.

I have never had a problem with my Mechanic, but I was hoping to get some unthought of idea on what else could be happening from the guys here, and then maybe have him check that out. Thanks
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Old 10-04-2013, 10:21 AM   #4
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If there was copper or brass shavings in the pan the bearings are toast. If the pan is already off it's a quick job to pull the caps off and see if any of the bearings spun and galled up the crank, if they are all still smooth just throw bearings in it. If the crank is damaged changing a used engine is cheaper than rebuilding by a substantial amount, especially if it's been burning oil.

Burning oil for 2 years was just running on borrowed time, it was probably a coincidence that you happened to put the oil restore in when it died.
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Old 10-04-2013, 11:25 AM   #5
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Thanks Guys.
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Old 10-05-2013, 07:43 AM   #6
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It sounds to me like you wrecked the engine through neglect. Waiting for lifter noise to tell when to ad oil, seriously?? Engine restore instead of oil? 87 octane and letting it ping? (Aka "turbo fin noise").
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Old 10-05-2013, 08:09 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Drew in Houston View Post
It sounds to me like you wrecked the engine through neglect. Waiting for lifter noise to tell when to ad oil, seriously?? Engine restore instead of oil? 87 octane and letting it ping? (Aka "turbo fin noise").
agreed.

thats what i thought all along.

run the car right take care of it and follow basic specs. it may cost a couple dollars more at each fill up etc but likely would have saved needing an entire engine replacement/rebuild


situations like this and people that do this are what gives saabs the mark of unreliability. I have always properly maintained mine and out of the 4 ive owned none have ever let me down.
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Old 10-05-2013, 09:17 AM   #8
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Any tips or tricks to putting in a set of main and thrust bearings? can it be done in the car?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewP View Post
If there was copper or brass shavings in the pan the bearings are toast. If the pan is already off it's a quick job to pull the caps off and see if any of the bearings spun and galled up the crank, if they are all still smooth just throw bearings in it. If the crank is damaged changing a used engine is cheaper than rebuilding by a substantial amount, especially if it's been burning oil.

Burning oil for 2 years was just running on borrowed time, it was probably a coincidence that you happened to put the oil restore in when it died.
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