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Old 08-22-2014, 02:30 PM   #1
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Oil pan drop / sludge inspection questions

Hey all-
I was just lucky to pick up an extremely nice '99 LB Viggen from a fellow board member. Only 74k miles, maintained well and exercised properly. Dealer serviced for first few years of its life then self maintained by owner - plenty of oil changes using good oil.
The one local independent specialist I have visited so far highly recommended dropping the pan for sludge inspection. I don't necessarily disagree - sounds like he does a thourough (sp?) job of cleaning the pan and pickup, and the turbo supply lines, etc. etc.
The problem is his rough estimate for just this job was +/- $1K? This seems high to me. I know it's a good size job and he's not merely dropping it and then re-installing. Everything is sent out for prefessional cleaning and he does the turbo lines etc.
My question(s): is this pricing in fact high? Also, does it even need to really be done at all in the first place? I'm in the process of getting estimates for the same job from 2 other local saab specialists but haven't heard back yet.......
Thoughts?
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:53 PM   #2
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How much did you pay for that fine machine? Let me guess, it doesn't have a sunroof right?

$1k seems high to me, but then again, that's why I do all my own work.

You should ask if maybe he's including an alignment after the fact too. It's actually a pretty easy job but you do have to remove the downpipe and lower the subframe. Lowering the subframe means you've potentially moved the lower suspension mount locations a little since there's some wiggle room during the bolt up.

That said, if you have the car that I think you have, then it likely doesn't need to be done on account of good oil change intervals.

edit: welcome btw.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:56 PM   #3
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Look up sports car service in Wilmington Delaware honestly your probably about an hour or so away from there and it's really the only place I'd take my viggen to get anything done I couldn't do/didn't feel like doing. It really should be around 400$ for the job I think that's what it was from them.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:57 PM   #4
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Bullseye Viggen?
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:58 PM   #5
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Bullseye Viggen?
That's my guess. He's not so far from Westchester
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Old 08-22-2014, 04:39 PM   #6
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That's my guess. He's not so far from Westchester

Super rare then without the moonroof
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:12 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. Yes I know Sports Car Service in Wilmington - we had our previous 9-3 serviced there. No the price I received didn't include alignment - his shop has no alignment rack.

Yes my car has no sunroof and yes I now Bullseye

The car was maintained well - you are correct - however it never had the PCV#6 update which I am now getting ready to do myself.

If a pan drop and cleaning etc. is only a couple hundred or so then I can spring for that, this other shop was double+ that amount, which is why I posted here looking for input....

I also have a call out to Swedish Motors in Marietta, PA. I'm also going to check with Dougherty Automotive here in West Chester.....
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Old 08-22-2014, 06:12 PM   #8
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Frequent oil changes with good synthetic means a happy motor. I wouldn't be worried too much. Shop around and find a good price but it is not likely urgent. 1k sounds super high, there not really any parts involved. My guess this shop will pull the pan, find no issues and put it back together and still charge 1k. I'd get the latest Pcv kit on there though. That's a diy type of job, and honestly should give you some indication of how things are working.

I've attached a picture of the oil pickup in my 2000 aero with 250k on the clock. Very clean indeed.
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Old 08-25-2014, 07:14 AM   #9
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I stopped just immediately dropping the pan on every T7 car I come across. Each one has been a waste of time. If they have a quiet motor with no oil pressure light coming on when warm, I just let them be unless they exhibit low oil pressure behavior.
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Old 08-25-2014, 12:44 PM   #10
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Pretty easy to just peek around in there (during an oil change) with some of the newer and cheaper high res. borescopes. Good for looking down into cylinders, etc. Get one with an LED light on the end. We have them @ work.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...dL._SX425_.jpg
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Old 08-25-2014, 05:50 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
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I stopped just immediately dropping the pan on every T7 car I come across. Each one has been a waste of time. If they have a quiet motor with no oil pressure light coming on when warm, I just let them be unless they exhibit low oil pressure behavior.
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Pretty easy to just peek around in there (during an oil change) with some of the newer and cheaper high res. borescopes. Good for looking down into cylinders, etc. Get one with an LED light on the end. We have them @ work.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...dL._SX425_.jpg
Double ditto for both of these. Pan drops are becoming less critical with the cheapness and availability of lighted borescopes
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Old 08-25-2014, 07:36 PM   #12
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I fish around with the hooked end of a welding rod or a coat hanger thru the oil drain plug when I first change the oil and see if I get any bits...
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Old 08-26-2014, 05:21 AM   #13
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I fish around with the hooked end of a welding rod or a coat hanger thru the oil drain plug when I first change the oil and see if I get any bits...
I like this idea.

Also, has anyone ever come across a T7 car that had bad sludge but a quiet motor and no oil pressure light coming on? Another kinda crappy test you can do is try to bring the idle down with the clutch engagement while holding the brake on. If the oil pressure light starts to flicker before the engine actually stalls, you may be in for some low oil pressure. Of course, only manual cars.
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Old 08-26-2014, 08:37 AM   #14
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I've seen some that definitely had buildup but weren't noisy or had oil pressure lights, but I'm not sure how "bad" I'd call it. That's a pretty fool-proof test at least to see if there's too much damage done already. If it hasn't really damaged anything yet it can be cleaned out, tho it may still require disassembly.
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Old 08-26-2014, 05:36 PM   #15
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hey guys.. I thought there was a strainer in some of the earlier NG models preventing a lot of the sludge from getting in the pan.. might be to your advantage to drop the pan the first time to check the strainer. I only remember this from years ago after going thru some major work.. ended up going with something more porous. I think it was one of the design flaws on the NG's at the time.
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Old 08-26-2014, 07:37 PM   #16
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The T5 and T7 engines all have mesh strainers on the oil pickup tube and when they sludge up enough the strainer gets clogged and they get low oil pressure.

It doesn't prevent it getting in the pan, it protects the oil pump, but if it's clogged you're fucked either way.
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:27 PM   #17
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The T5 and T7 engines all have mesh strainers on the oil pickup tube and when they sludge up enough the strainer gets clogged and they get low oil pressure.

It doesn't prevent it getting in the pan, it protects the oil pump, but if it's clogged you're fucked either way.
ahhh.. that's it.. thanks Drew..
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:03 PM   #18
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Well I went ahead and had the "sump service" done at Sports Car Service in Wilmington, DE, along with a comprehensive inspection, 4 tires mounted and balanced, and an alignment etc.

The sump and pan were in excellent condition, as was underneath the timing cover - no sludge at all, just "varnish" which they did clean out. At least I know now. And their price was fair, and included the oil change etc.

Kudos to fellow member Bullseye for keeping and maintaining a great car - the shop owner, service advisor, and the mechanic who worked on it all commented on the condition of it, saying it is one of the nicest they have seen - ever....

No other issues were found. The car drives much better after the new tires and alignment (toe was out).

Did i have the sump service done prematurely? Maybe. But I couldn't not know the condition of it with respect to possible sludge after looking so long for and finding such a nice example - it wouldn't have been doing the car justice not to have it done...
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:29 AM   #19
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Nothing wrong with having the sump service done, its great for peace of mind. Now that its clean, if you change your oil during the correct time intervals you should never have to do it again!
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:25 PM   #20
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Glad you can feel good about it now. But I would have put the money towards forged pistons, the sump would get checked and cleaned upon install!
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