Date: Sun, 21 Nov 2004 11:29:52 GMT
From: Johannes H Andersen <>
Subject: Re: Saab 9-5 noisy engine - Timing and Balancer Shaft chains?

Wheels of Error wrote: > > I have a '98 9-5 2.3 SE with LPT. I bought it in September and > immediately had it serviced at Broadways in Ealing, London (a > specialist non franchise Saab shop). They did a nice job and in their > report they mentioned the engine being a bit noisy, but made no > further recommendations. > > Some weeks later my throttle position sensor went, and I had to have > the throttle body replaced under warranty at a franchised Saab dealer > (West End Saab in Alperton, London). They too did a fine job, but > made no reference to engine noise. > > Finally, last week I had my driving seat reupholstered at Two Strokes > to Turbos in Hatfield. They're primarily a Saab breakers - they > currently have 140 cars in various states of dismantling - but they > have a large, well equipped workshop as well. When I got my car back > from them they said they had some bad news for me. > > When they moved my car around, they noted that the engine was "very > noisy". They didn't do a visual investigation, but from (presumably) > listening carefully, deduced that the timing and balancer chains had > stretched beyond the ability of the adjusters to take up the slack. > They concluded that I had to have the chains etc replaced right away > as the engine was in Imminent danger of Catastrophic Failure. > > You can imagine how I felt - I've only had the car two months, and > although it has 120,000 miles on the clock, I thought it was going to > be highly reliable, thanks to its full service history and Saab's > reputation for ironclad build quality. Saabs are highly reliable. The timing chain is a better solution than rubber timing belts that have to be replaced more frequently and are much more likely to break and take the engine with it. Cost of timing chain is more reasonable when looking at the mileage you get, but the previous owner obviously took a financial decision to sell the car before embarking on expensive maintenance; that's not so unusual. Why sell a good car? Hence you should expect some deferred maintenance cost when buying a 120,000 miles car. However, 1500 sounds a bit expensive, try to shop around at Saab dealers for 1000. Timing chain replacement is often discussed here. There are arguments both ways. The argument for is that the chains has to be replaced at some point anyway, and you'll get a smoother engine. If you replace it now, then it will last the car out. But as the other dealer said, the chain is not likely to be a problem if you don't replace it now, just keep an eye (and ear) on it.

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