dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/10/24 9:22 p.m.

So I'm digging into my Saab parts car (not Hazel, it's an '05 9-3 Linear with the B207L).  I picked it up as a non-runner, the previous owner said that the engine died one day and wouldn't restart.  He took it to an independent shop with a Saab master tech, who pulled the valve cover, did a compression test, and said there was no compression across the board.  He didn't specify any other steps they took, and he sold it to me as a non-running parts car.

I wanted to validate that the engine was toast before figuring out what to do with the parts car.  I pulled the valve cover off (the bolts were on the cowl when I looked at the car), and things looked pretty clean under the cover for a motor with 191k.  The timing chain was intact and had tension (which surprised me), so I figured I'd dig in a little deeper.  I popped off the serpentine belt, and spun the engine by hand until the mark on the crank pulley aligned with the TDC mark on the timing cover.  This is supposed to be TDC on cylinder 1 (closest to the drive belt and cam sprockets).

Per the online manual, with the crank at TDC, the two camshafts (intake and exhaust) are supposed to be pointing up and in towards each other:


This is what mine looks like:

My exhaust cam looks good, but the intake is off by something like 45 degrees.  I validated that both cams do turn when the motor is turned over by hand.  I pulled the plugs and they looked good, and a used an endoscope to check the tops of the pistons, and there wasn't any obvious carnage there.

At this point, my judgment is that if the timing somehow became that far off, the motor's not worth trying to save.  Does the hive agree?

If the timing looked good, based on this thread, I was planning to put everything back together, put some oil in each cylinder, crank it over a few times by hand, pull the fuel pump relay, crank it over a few times to eject the remaining oil, and attempt to start it.  With the current situation, my next step is looking to strip off anything of value and send it down the road to another Saab fanatic or the junkyard.


Streetwiseguy MegaDork
4/10/24 11:36 p.m.

Often, it's easier to tell  bad timing if you look at cylinder 4. You want cyl 1 to be "rabbit ears". You want the valves to be "on the rock", with the exhaust just closing as the intake is just opening.  It's easier to see that one or the other valve is obviously more open or closed than it should be.

Terminology borrowed from the olden days.laugh

akylekoz UltraDork
4/11/24 9:18 a.m.

With the info provided I have to say it jumped time somehow.  Cam gear key?  Or keyless cam?  

I would attempt to correct the cam timing, then see if it fires.

dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/11/24 3:17 p.m.

The Saab version of the motor (it's really a GM Ecotec) has keyless cams.  I'll look into what it takes to pull the tensioner, loosen the chain guide, and correct the intake side timing.  Thanks everyone for your feedback!

dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
5/21/24 10:06 p.m.

Some progress on this today. I removed the tensioner (1.25" socket), and then I zip-tied the timing chain to the sprockets. I removed the snap ring from the tensioner, compressed the tensioner, and then re-installed the snap ring and torqued the tensioner to 55 lb-ft.

I held a 24mm long-handled wrench on the flat of the cam, and used a 19mm socket and ratchet to loosen the sprocket on the intake side.

I adjusted the intake camshaft to the correct position, tightened things down (63 lb-ft + 30 degrees), and verified the timing on the crankshaft and both cams again. I spun the engine over once with a 21mm socket on the crank, and cylinder 4 was at TDC, and the cam lobes we pointing up and in like they're supposed to. I spun it over again, and cylinder 1 was at TDC, and the cams looked good. I spun it over a few more times, and everything was consistent.

I put the valve cover back on, I just need to tighten that, pour a spoonful of oil in each cylinder, re-install the spark plugs, coil packs, charge the battery, and try starting her up. Wish me luck!

dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
5/24/24 11:41 a.m.

So the last few days have been eventful, I've been working in small bursts. Got a few things back together yesterday, and buttoned everything up this morning. 

I got the car off the jackstands, pulled the fuel pump fuse, and cranked it over a few times, and everything sounded good. Replaced the fuse, and tried starting it again:

I let it idle for two minutes, and then shut it off and cleaned an exit path from the garage:

I let the car idle for 20 minutes or so, it idles well, no codes, A/C works great, cooling fans come on when they should, no overheating, etc!

Thank you for your help and guidance!

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