But here is one thing that can change the story. If a customer say, how cheap can you make my car run again? That changes due diligence to the customer if the shop don't care to much and stand their grounds wanting to do it the right way.
No, it is no real way to see the balance chain, sprocket or guides when only the head is removed. No, it is only a limited way to see the timing chain and guides when only the head is off.
Yes, it is possible to see the full extension of the timing chain tensioner and possible amount of chain wear when head gasket is done.
It is no way to change the timing or balance guides when only the head is removed. Only that upper timing chain slap pad inside valve cover is exposed.
The whole story sounds strange but since we don't know what the shop said and guessed and saw at the beginning and what knowledge they have about Saab's it's difficult to say what should have been done.
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