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Old 07-22-2015, 05:21 PM   #1
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Cooling System Problem

I'm fighting a coolant system problem on my 97 900 turbo SE. The expansion tank was leaking so I replaced the tank and cap. Now coolant is still blowing past the cap until all coolant goes out of the tank. I refill and it happens again. When the car is fully warm the upper radiator hose is very tight, I can't squeeze it together. I put a new cap on it and no change. Temp gauge stays at normal, so no overheating. No sludge in oil or coolant so hoping head gasket is ok. I'm going to try a new tank in case the threads got messed up. Any other ideas?

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Old 07-22-2015, 05:39 PM   #2
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Check the compression (with the engine cold). A partially blown head gasket will cause that.

If you start the engine when it's completely cold with the expansion tank cap removed, and you get lots of bubbles (or sometimes an eruption of fluid out the expansion tank) then it's head gasket time.
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Old 07-22-2015, 05:56 PM   #3
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Thanks Mike. I sure hope it's not the head gasket. Nothing in the crank case yet.

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Old 07-25-2015, 11:44 AM   #4
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Ok, I filled it again, started it up (with heater on and cap off). I put my hand over the tank and let it warm completely up. I lifted my hand occasionally to let air escape. I got a lot of bubbles, then it overflowed and then sucked the coolant down. I topped it off, kept it running, letting it build pressure and letting it off. The fan came on and off 3 times. I put the cap back on and turned the car off. I let it set for 2 hours, it was still full. I drove it about 2 miles, and the coolant level was stable! I'll take it for some longer runs, but maybe I'm over the hump! Wow, I've never had this much trouble bleeding a coolant system.

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Old 07-27-2015, 07:32 AM   #5
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Interesting, I have never had an issue with the cooling systems like that unless something was broken. I usually just throw the cap on and top up as needed.
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Old 07-27-2015, 04:27 PM   #6
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I finally got it full and took it for a short drive. No leaks. But now I'm scared to death to drive it. I'm taking it to a Saab shop this week to get the system pressure tested. I need to build my confidence back up in the Saab. I'll post the diagnosis when I get it. I need to say a prayer in Swedish that they don't use the word 'head gasket'.

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Old 08-05-2015, 04:22 PM   #7
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Just to close out this thread, yes, it was a blown head gasket. It did overheat when the radiator blew and my daughter thought she could make it home. It took 2 months before the head gasket finally started to leak, but by then it was all over. The local Saab shop charged $1700 for the full repair including planing the head. A lot of money, but hopefully it is all fixed. Lesson learned for my daughter. Now I just need to build confidence back in the car.

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Old 08-06-2015, 05:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Saab Tom View Post
Just to close out this thread, yes, it was a blown head gasket. It did overheat when the radiator blew and my daughter thought she could make it home. It took 2 months before the head gasket finally started to leak, but by then it was all over. The local Saab shop charged $1700 for the full repair including planing the head. A lot of money, but hopefully it is all fixed. Lesson learned for my daughter. Now I just need to build confidence back in the car.

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Huge bummer man, nothing worse than losing faith in your own car. That's a damn big bill, I hope they did a couple other little things while they were in there.
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Old 08-08-2015, 06:48 AM   #9
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Yes, they replaced a bunch of vacuum hoses and other stuff that looked bad. About 100 miles after I got it back the front O2 sensor failed. They said that was normal after you've had coolant in the engine. Luckily I could replace it myself and save a few bucks. It does run. Nice now...

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