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Old 07-18-2008, 06:40 PM   #1
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16V non-turbo stalling after starting

I'm thinking it's probably either a vacuum hose or AIC valve problem, but still investigating. Took the car for it's E-safety check today and when I started it again after coming home the engine was idling up and down, and revs dropped off until the engine stalled. It's stalled in the same fashion a few times in the last half hour.

Pain in the butt since I just paid the rego and insurance, and my other car is out of rego.

Anyway does anyone have some ideas of things I could check? I don't think it's fuel related as the engine cranks over and starts. I'm going out now to look at all the vacuum hoses, etc. Could it be the crankshaft position sensor causing the hassle? Or perhaps the TPS on the throttle valve?

The car is 1989 build with LH 2.4. I don't have a spare TPS or AIC so hopefully it's neither, but it's about the only thing I've come up with that could be the cause so far.

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Old 07-18-2008, 11:46 PM   #2
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Ok, I've done electrical tests on the TPS (ok), AIC (ok), and coolant temp sensor (ok), plus given the injectors a good external visual inspection to see if any of them felt excessively loose (which might indicate a buggered o-ring). The AIC resistance was spot-on at 8.0 ohms, and the coolant temp sensor resistance was spot-on for the ambient temp in the engine bay (around 17 C) going on the table in the Bentley manual when I was extrapolating between values in the table. The TPS switches opened and closed when they are supposed to (only LH 2.4.2 cars have the potentiometer version of the TPS - LH 2.2 and 2.4 have a TPS with two internal microswitches).

The engine still stalls as soon as it starts so I'm moving along to looking at the fuel pressure regulator, etc. I don't know if the fuel pressure gauge in my K-Jet fuel pressure test kit can be adapted to hook to the end of the fuel rail on the 16V engine, but I might try that tomorrow. I'll also be looking at the fuel pump to check if the pre-pump has failed (or indeed the main fuel pump). I have a brand new 3.0 bar fuel pressure regulator (Bosch # 0 280 160 256 - different to the one on the engine currently which is 0 280 160 213 - but the threads for the fuel-line fittings look to be the same) that I can use if needed, and I can salvage bits from the fuel pump assembly in the 85 900i if I need a pre-pump.

Would be nice to have this sorted as it's quite annoying having just had the car rego-inspected this morning and it drove fine all the way there and back home again.

Craig.
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Old 07-19-2008, 12:02 AM   #3
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Amm? Thats about all I can think of to suggest that you hadn't checked yet.



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Old 07-19-2008, 01:36 AM   #4
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Amm? Thats about all I can think of to suggest that you hadn't checked yet.
Hmm I had a look at the AMM, but didn't do any actual testing on it. The platinium wire isn't broken. Don't have a spare AMM though so I hope it's not that. I think the car should run without the AMM working - just default to 'limp' mode. This is what's making me tend towards a fuel supply issue perhaps.

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Old 07-19-2008, 06:58 AM   #5
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Perhaps you could check on Craigs classic workshop !. LOL

No seriously mate go back to basics, check fuel, spark etc etc.

Sometimes problems can be over extropolated. I find doing the basics first and then resorting to worst case scenarios.Unless your car has the Saab gremlins installed in the electricals.
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Old 07-19-2008, 07:16 AM   #6
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'89 ecu's are garbage, I've gone through 3 of them in the race cars in the last year. They are specific to 89 only and all of them are junk. Exhibited same symptoms, turns over revs up to 1800 then fell right on it's face after starting. Could hold it running with pedal, but would stall with load. Very frustrating and embarassing having to be pushed off the track in front of a crowd of people.
We swapped IAC, AMM, new O2 etc,etc, had excellent fuel pressure which I'm sure you'll find if test it. These ECU's are getting harder and harder to find too. I wish you luck and hope for your sake it's something cheaper and/or easier.
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Old 07-19-2008, 01:58 PM   #7
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Perhaps you could check on Craigs classic workshop !. LOL

No seriously mate go back to basics, check fuel, spark etc etc.

Sometimes problems can be over extropolated. I find doing the basics first and then resorting to worst case scenarios.Unless your car has the Saab gremlins installed in the electricals.
Very good point there. I did electrical checks on the AIC, etc. simply because they're easy to get to and were the first thing I thought of. But today I'll run through the usual suspects to rule out simple things first, if possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustRunIt
'89 ecu's are garbage, I've gone through 3 of them in the race cars in the last year. They are specific to 89 only and all of them are junk. Exhibited same symptoms, turns over revs up to 1800 then fell right on it's face after starting. Could hold it running with pedal, but would stall with load. Very frustrating and embarassing having to be pushed off the track in front of a crowd of people.

We swapped IAC, AMM, new O2 etc,etc, had excellent fuel pressure which I'm sure you'll find if test it. These ECU's are getting harder and harder to find too. I wish you luck and hope for your sake it's something cheaper and/or easier.
I have not yet had a problem with the ECU in my car, at least nothing like you've described. The closest problem has been something that seemed related to the TPS (or connections to it) where the engine revs up to about 1500 when idling at traffic lights and if I fiddle with the TPS connector it stops. That could well be an ECU issue but I'm not angling at that being a problem just yet. I don't have a replacement ECU either.

I wonder if anyone knows the full technical details of what makes the 89 ECU's so problematic? Would be interesting to know if it's poor electrical design, bad manufacturing, or incorrect firmware...

Craig.
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Last edited by c900; 07-19-2008 at 02:03 PM. Reason: extra comments re ECU issues
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Old 07-19-2008, 08:09 PM   #8
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Starting to look like an ECU problem. I did some extensive checking on the rest of the things that control ignition and fuel in the engine bay, and it's all checked out ok. I also took the opportunity to pull out the spark plugs and they're all fine, and I cleaned inside the distributor (no hall sensor to worry about - it's down at the crank pulley), and changed the rotor since the existing one is quite worn.

Anyway, I moved on to looking at the fuel supply system since the ignition side is fine, and I proved it by disconnecting the ignition amplifier (integral with the coil) and the engine didn't fire at all, then I reconnected it and the engine fired, then died like before.

I manually ran the fuel pump and made sure that the fuel pressure regulator was working (I could hear it), so I decided to try starting the engine with the fuel pump running off my manual switch-box. Lo and behold it worked, so that's the first clue that it could be the ECU (or the fuel pump relay itself). I disconnected the AIC electrical connector and the engine stopped immediately.

Re-connected the AIC electrical connector, re-started the engine, and pulled the AIC electrical connector again. No change - the engine kept running and the check-engine light did not come on. Second clue that it might be the ECU (or the fuel pump relay itself).

So I disconnected the AMM, and the engine went into 'limp' mode (CEL lit), re-connected the AMM, and after a little bit the CEL went out and the engine started behaving normally again.

So, I decided to pull the connector for my switch box out of the fuse 30 location and quickly put the fuel pump fuse back in (to allow the fuel pump to be controlled directly from the ECU again) and it worked. I let the engine die just enough to prove that the fuel pump had stopped before putting the fuse back in, and it came back to life idling properly.

After all this, I'm almost certain now the problem is the ECU or the fuel pump relay itself. Everything else seems ok after testing.

The only tell-tale issue is that the idle speed cycles slightly up and down in 3 to 5 second intervals, but it's only slight, so I suspect there might still be an issue either with the AIC or the ECU's control of the AIC.

So, assuming that most of you will now be in agreeance that the problem is in the fuel pump control area (!), can another LH 2.4 ECU from a non-turbo c900 of a different year be used to replace the one in my car, or do I have to replace it with the same Bosch part number (-564 is what I remember from the last time I looked behing the carpet)? I'm going to pull the carpet anyway and make sure the fuel pump and system relays are seated properly and check all the general wiring in that area, plus check the big harness connector to the ECU box itself isn't loose.

However, at least I know now that if the car stalls, I can manually run the fuel pump to get the engine going. Might have to make up a longer lead for my switch box to use in emergencies from inside the cabin. Unfortunately the engine is still misbehaving but, at least this afternoon when I've run it, not as bad.

Can anyone think of anything else I should look at now that I've more or less ruled out the ignition system, and the fuel supply system (except for the ECU and fuel pump relay), as being the cause. I am still not sure that the AIC isn't faulty in some way, even though it tested correct using the tests in the Bentley manual. The one thing I have not explored is wiring looms between the engine bay and the LH control unit, mainly due to not having long enough test leads for my multi-meter.

Regards,

Craig.
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Last edited by c900; 07-20-2008 at 12:53 AM.
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:31 AM   #9
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Hi everyone,

The car failed tonight in Sutherland (about 15 km from home). Drove fine from work (in Taren Point about 20 km from home), stopped in at Sutherland to visit Centrelink, and when I went off again after starting the car, I drove about 200 metres and it started playing up like it has since Saturday and completely died right as I turned onto the Old Princes Highway near Sutherland railway station. Managed to pull the car off the road into a 'no stopping' zone which wasn't all that safe but at least off the main bit of the road.

Tried all manner of things (when I could roll the car out of the 'no stopping' zone I'd quickly shot into when I knew it was going to conk!), and after calling Steve at Saab Salvage out at Riverstone to talk about the problem he suspected the ECU as the most likely fault followed by the fuel pump itself (I'd set up my manual switch=box connected by this time and was running the pump manually in case there was an issue with it). Steve said that has a known good 89 ECU [green label - Bosch -064] which he's going to bring in from home tomorrow in case I need to get it. I was a bit surprised that manually running the fuel pump didn't work this time so strange ECU issues are seeming more likely that may not be fuel-pump relay control related. I thought about the O2 sensor or AMM possibly being faulty since the car stutters soon after starting, CEL comes on, then if the engine doesn't die totally, CEL goes off after a minute or two and the engine runs more or less ok (but I can tell it's not optimal).

After an hour, by which time I'd pulled back the carpet to get at the connector to the ECU, I was able to get the car to start and drove it home. I was only stuck in Sutherland for an hour, but it was right near the railway station so I was testing/checking stuff in the middle of peak-period commuter traffic going past!

Steve seems to think it's the ECU, though he mentioned that the fuel pump could be sus (that's the other likely suspect) too. He said that the type of pump setup in my 89 car can fail by siezing and a few good bangs under the tank can get it freed up enough to work again.

Unfortunately my 81 turbo car is out of rego and will remain so until my tax refund comes through. Our L300 van has been repaired tonight and has my battery charger connected so if I need the van it should have a full battery and the engine will run.

Not a Happy Jan I'm not! Driving the L300 is like navigating a brick through a strong headwind.

Craig.
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Old 07-26-2008, 06:04 AM   #10
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latest update - starting to look very much like ECU is kaputski

Thanks to Steve at Saab Salvage, I have a known-working spare 1989 C900 non-turbo ECU, AMM and O2 sensor to try out and determine what the cause(s) of the problem related to the engine stalling might be.

Yesterday I tried the replacement AMM, which made no difference. The engine started, ran for a bit, then the CEL came on, the engine revs went quite erratic and fell to the point where the engine nearly stalled and was unresponsive to throttle changes, then the engine revs came back up, and shortly after the CEL went out, but the engine was running fairly rough. I connected my multimeter to the signal lead going to the O2 sensor and the readings were way off - anywhere between -0.2 volts and +0.07 volts. This was with the engine warmed up so the sensor itself was at the right temp range. The pre-heater resistance was spot-on at just over 4 ohms.

Today, I replaced the AMM Steve sent me with my original one, and tested again, with more or less the same result (I let the car cool down over lunch so it was almost cold an hour or so later), and the O2 sensor again produced wacky readings.

As I already had the carpet pulled back from the ECU location, I decided to try the spare ECU that Steve sent to me - it's a Bosch # 0 280 000 564 (Saab # 74 87 135 - 'green' label) just like the original one in the car. This produced a different result - the engine started up fine just as before, and the O2 sensor started to give more correct readings (still not fully within the spec listed in the Bentley manual of between 0.4 and 1.0 volts), but more importantly, the issue with the CEL coming on and the revs going all over the place with no response to the throttle for a period of time (which is usually long enough to stall when driving) didn't occur, and there was a little hiccup now and then but the engine didn't show any problems that I'd consider significant.

So that kind of points very definitely to the ECU being the issue, but tomorrow morning I'm going to try it again with the engine fully cold to start off (it'll be down to about 8 C or less tonight!) and I'll let it run up to temp with my meter on the O2 sensor signal lead while I watch what the ECU does. I would still like to confirm for certain that the original ECU is defective, so I'll try out some other electrical checks just to be sure once I look more at the fuel-injection control wiring diagram in my Bentley manual.

On the subject of ECU's, a 1990 non-turbo C900 ECU can be directly swapped for the 1989 version, and the part number for the 1990 version is Bosch # 0 280 000 580 (Saab # 91 19 447). The 1990 version has the problems with the circuit boards from the 1989 version fixed, and there's meant to be some tweaks to the ECU firmware which make it control the engine slightly better. Has anyone put a 1990 non-turbo ECU into a 1989 non-turbo 900 to actually verify that the engine control is improved?

Another thing I've noticed is there seems to be a problem with the TPS or the electrical connections at the TPS in that now and then the revs will go up to between 1500 and 2000 at idle and fiddling with the harness connection to the TPS fixes it. I can't find anything wrong with the two switches inside the TPS itself when testing it over a dozen or so full-rotations of the throttle butterfly shaft from idle to max throttle (engine was off!), so I think it might be the contacts themselves. I'll grab a spare TPS since they're not that expensive and try it out. I've pulled back the boot of the 3-pin connector and all of the crimp connections appear to be good.

Also fixed the cooling fan controls today - the main radiator fan motor went open-circuit during the week, and the ground contact for the A/C fan relay had come out of the housing so that relay would not turn on, so neither of the fans were working! Sorted both those problems out which was good.

Craig.
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Old 07-27-2008, 12:39 AM   #11
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Right done a bit more testing today. Found the the fault has not completely gone away and this time I noticed it in time to stop the engine and get set up to read the fault codes that the ECU thinks are indicating problems.

The codes were 12231 (no ignition signal), 12112 (O2 sensor self-compensation problem), and 12224 (engine running too rich). Since replacing the AMM made no difference (and the problem still occured just as before with the original ECU installed), I think the AMM is now fully ruled out as a possible cause.

With the replacement ECU installed, the O2 sensor's signal output is a lot closer to being within the right voltage range of 0.4 to 1.0 volts, but not always. It's been swinging to close to 0 volts and as high as 1.2 when I was measuring it with the engine running and warmed up a while ago before I stopped it to flash-out the fault codes.

It's getting dark and raining now so no chance to replace the existing 02 sensor with the spare one from Saab Salvage (wish I had a garage or at least a covered flat work area!), but I might put my original ECU back in tomorrow if I have time and try it out to see if it stores the same fault codes when the problem happens. I suspect the original ECU does have a problem elsewhere that might be exacerbating the issue with the 02 sensor (esp. since the original ECU makes the 02 sensor readings go nowhere near the specified range), so I seem to be getting closer to the real problem which could be the existing 02 sensor.

Unfortunately it's a pain in the butt to access from above, so I'm probably going to need to jack up the car to get to it. I think the car will be drivable though with the replacement ECU installed until I can install the replacement 02 sensor, but I'll see tomorrow.

Craig.
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Old 07-27-2008, 08:48 AM   #12
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I appreciate the updates. Unfortunately for us '89 turbo owners, I do not think that swapping in a '90 turbo ECU works as well as it (apparently) does for a non-turbo '89.
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:43 PM   #13
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I appreciate the updates. Unfortunately for us '89 turbo owners, I do not think that swapping in a '90 turbo ECU works as well as it (apparently) does for a non-turbo '89.
Yes I did notice that with the turbo version of the ECU's, there's not as much scope for swapping, however if the car has the same electronic setup apart from the ECU, I don't see a reason why it couldn't be tried out. Did the 1990 cars get the 2.1 heads or was that something that happened later?

Anyway, after more testing it turns out the major problem with the old o2 sensor had pretty much died. My original ECU is actually working fine with the replacement o2 sensor I've installed, so I'll return the spare ECU and AMM as my original AMM is also fine. I'm going to try and locate a 1990 non-turbo ECU anyway and the original 89 one could then be a spare.

Last night I took off the AIC motor and gave it a good cleanout with RP7 (out of throttle body cleaner at present). Being the Bosch type, it can't be disassembled like the Lucas ones can, but it seems to be ok. There was a lot of crud inside it though.

I checked the adjustment of the TPS for the 'no thottle' microswitch positioning and it's spot-on - the click from the first micro-switch occurs with about 3 degrees of movement of the butterfly actuating plate away from the idle position. The idle settings seems fine too, though I'm going to give the inside of the throttle valve another clean-out to make sure I got everything that could be affecting the idle port.

The original o2 sensor looks like it's one of the old-style ones with a wide body extending about 2" above the threaded section. I think it's a Bosch unit. The replacement one is apparently an improved type (might be what's termed a 'wideband' o2 sensor but I'm not sure) going on what Steve from Saab Salvage told me when he sent the parts to me for component-swap testing.

One other thing I might do is see if the fuel injector o-ring seals need to be replaced. There's a fair bit of what looks like oily residue around the outside of each injector body so that might be from slight leaks past the seals when cold.

Craig.
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Old 07-30-2008, 05:49 AM   #14
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I appreciate the updates. Unfortunately for us '89 turbo owners, I do not think that swapping in a '90 turbo ECU works as well as it (apparently) does for a non-turbo '89.
you can use any ECU from 89-93 on 89-93 turbos (unless it has EGR, or is an odd 90). This only applies for US cars.

You can also use any 1988 900-S ECU, 1989 or 1990 ECU on any car in that range that is a 16V non turbo.
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Old 07-31-2008, 06:40 AM   #15
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you can use any ECU from 89-93 on 89-93 turbos (unless it has EGR, or is an odd 90). This only applies for US cars.

You can also use any 1988 900-S ECU, 1989 or 1990 ECU on any car in that range that is a 16V non turbo.
I was going to drop a list of part numbers here for the various ECU's in question, but it's easier to look it up here in a reference for LH parts with all the info readily available.

Took back the AMM I didn't need today btw and I purchased the spare ECU from Saab Salvage since the original one is still misbehaving a little but the car is drivable again since sorting out the 02 sensor issue, cleaning the AIC, and doing a bunch of other things. I'm still curious re the fuel injector seals and may track some down along with a spare set of injectors. In the meantime I'll be hunting down a good 91 19 447 ECU (1990 non-turbo c900) as the firmware is better plus the PCB problems from the 89 ECU's are fixed in the 1990 ones.

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