Date: 24 Jan 2006 05:44:12 -0800
From: "Al" <>
Subject: Re: '88 900S head gasket?

Fred W wrote: > James Sweet wrote: > > The car is an '88 900S 16V, my girlfriend was driving and said it > > started to overheat today while sitting in traffic but didn't get up > > into the red and went down when the car was moving at a decent speed. > > Tonight I checked the coolant and discovered it a bit low, added about a > > quart and checked it out, car seemed to be running just fine. Checked > > the oil and uh-oh, white milky crap on the dipstick. Am I right to > > assume the head gasket has blown or is there anything else on these cars > > that's likely to cause that symptom? Are there any tricks or tips I > > should know before digging into this? I've done a number of head gaskets > > before but never on a Saab. Do I need to replace the head bolts or any > > other parts or should I just get a top end gasket set and replace > > anything I disturb? > > The fact that the engine cooled down when you started moving does not > suggest a head gasket, but there is no denying the milky white evidence, > so what must (may) have happened here is that you have 2 problems... > The original problem in the cooling system which caused the overheating > and this then resulted in a head gasket leak between the water jacket > and oil galley. > > Do a compression check on the engine to diagnose the head gasket. You > will still need to sort out the cooling system problem once you get the > leak resolved. > > -- > -Fred W My C900 was prone to overheating on her old radiator which had lost about 20% of its fins in the crucial central area. At a standstill this led to the needle creeping up quite high, but once moving again the airflow around the remaining fins was sufficient to cool her down. Is your rad' OK? plenty of fins there? Water pump working properly? 10 to 1 a poor cooling efficiency led to the gasket. I agree with Fred on compression check first, but FWIW I would budget time and money to solve both problems at once. One thing led to another after all. Al

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