Question about 1999 Saab 9-5

8 Answers

Saab 9-5 blowing white smoke from exhaust

While driving yesterday I noticed that my 9-5 was blowing large plumes of white smoke on occasion, approx every 60 seconds it when accelerating, decelerating and even braking - could't find a pattern. The temperature of the engine seemed fine, the engine performance was fine. I put more oil in but it only took half a litre. It did one very large plume and there was a small noise from the engine and even though it continued to drive fine I decided that was enough - I need to find out what is going on. Does anyone have any ideas?

Posted by on

  • 5 more comments 
  • Anonymous Sep 15, 2008


  • warlock27 Sep 15, 2008

    white smoke from the tail pipe when foot is taken off the accelerator pedal after accelerating..........

    (function(){var s=document.styleSheets[0],l=s.rules,m=document.getElementById('mbEnd'),r,t;s.addRule('.s','width:auto');r=l[l.length-1].style;function c(){r.width=document.body.clientWidth-(m?m.offsetWidth:0)100){c();t=n;}});c()})()

  • Anonymous Oct 15, 2008

    I have also experience this same issue with my 99 9.5 SE. I would also lose power during acceleration and car would "sputter" while exhausting smoke. My saab guy told me its the turbocharger and it needs to be replaced. $900 part!

  • andreruotolo Nov 10, 2008

    Same problem. 99 9-5 non turbo. Coolant level is fine. Sitting it driveway as I don't want to damage engine. Puffs of smoke started last week. This morning takling son to school, engine was ticking loud like when not getting enough oil. However oil level is also fine.

  • gingerjohn Nov 24, 2008


    I have recntly purchased a 1998 saab 9-5 drove it back from Dover all OK

    Lots of white smoke now coming from the engine constantly.Coolant level is good.power is good,Oil level is good. Cannot drive now as the smoke is too much.Any ideas anyone? Lovely car would be a shame to scrap

  • nazaret Dec 13, 2008

    Dear I'm suffering from a big problem, can you any one help me?
    I have a Toyota Corolla 1.8 GLI, with 1ZZ-FE engine, and i made 140000Km till now with out changing any tings in the engine.

    And my problems starts after car accident where they changed all radiator parts in August, but i continue todrive care after accident for 3 days till find the garage, but the temperature that time also starts gos high for few seconds after goingdown that's way i did not take the matter seriously.and after the repairevery ting was going smoothly, this problem now happened suddenly

    1. my car temperature starts gos high very fast faster than before.

    2. starts filling like the will stop and sometimes it's stop,(giving a strong shake), and hearing strange sound like truck.

    3. when stopping the engine after 15min. engine shows low temperature like normal.

    4. the radiator takes 500ml. water every 25km. (I start to ad normal water).

    5. I started to fill up water always in every trip.

    6. some time he is not getting starts, after few trails engine starts with a huge wight smoke where its disappeared after a wail.

    7. now i start to maintain that there is a water inside the oil.
    so some mechanics told me they should take the engine out to open the Head Gasket and check it.
    and as you maintained it will cost me a lot they will start with 800$ and may be it will cost more.

    please advice me if it's importent to do this job or there is a prouduct can solve it?

    I'm leaving in United Arab of Emirates (Dubai).

  • Anonymous Mar 17, 2014

    two point six litre petrol motor has ten thousand since full rebuild is blowing large amounts of white smoke


8 Answers

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.


    An expert that has over 10 points.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 2 times.

  • Contributor
  • 2 Answers

One way to check for a blown head gasket, is to simply smell the coolant reservoir. Pop the cap, and see if it smells like raw gas. Every headgasket, I've diagnosed has had this smell, even if the oil is not contaminated. Another way is to hook up a coolant pressure tester, and run the vehicle for 15-20 mins or so. If the head gasket is blown, the pressure will exceed 15 psi. sometimes as high as 25 psi. If there is oil in the coolant overflow tank, the head is cracked, about 90% of the time.
I'm working on a 03 Saab 95 2.3l t. This vehicle smokes on initial start up, then the smoke disapates, and the vehicle is fine. Another mechanic diagnosed it as bad valve seals. I disconnected the pcv system, and the vehicle no longer smokes. If the valve seals have gone bad, the vehicle will smoke on acceleration. Also if the turbo seals are leaking it will smoke more heavily on acceleration.

Posted on Feb 17, 2010

  • Level 2:

    An expert who has achieved level 2 by getting 100 points


    An expert that got 5 achievements.

    Vice President:

    An expert whose answer got voted for 100 times.


    An expert who has posted more than 50 answers, of which 90% or more were rated as helpful.

  • Expert
  • 76 Answers

I am going to have to go with Toyota Ed on this one. White smoke almost always equates to coolant in the combustion chamber, while leaking oil seals in a turbo will normally create a sooty dark exhaust smoke. Additionally, I have never seen a failed turbo lead to a head gasket failure. All this said, it is still remotely possible that the turbo is failing, although one would expect to hear some slight increased turbo bearing noise and possibly some loss of boost if the turbo were failing.
Check the coolant reservoir to see if any globs of oil are floating in there and check the oil to see if the oil has become a milky brown color. If either of these signs is present, it indicates cross-contamination between the cooling and lubrication systems, thus pointing to the head gasket. The surest way to diagnose a failed head gasket, short of removal and visual inspection, is to have a leak down compression test performed.

Posted on Nov 29, 2008

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 2 times.

  • Contributor
  • 1 Answer

Generally, this issue is one of two things: a head gasket (or cracked, warped, head) issue, or a turbo issue. On the 95 turbo models it is very difficult to distinguish which issue however. Lots of white smoke leans towards failed turbo and puffs on start up and acceleration lean towards head problems. If you can not tell, start with the cheapest job and go on until it is fixed - it does not hurt changing both as a failed turbo will eventually ruin the head as well, so kill both birds with this one stone.

Posted on Nov 25, 2008

  • Level 3:

    An expert who has achieved level 3 by getting 1000 points


    An expert that got 20 achievements.


    An expert that got 10 achievements.


    An expert that got 5 achievements.

  • Master
  • 1,861 Answers

I assume that when you say white smoke, I also assume that the smoke is from the tailpipe...
Check the coolant level ASAP.
White smoke is normally coolant getting pumped thru the engine, and out the tailpipe. This is BAD NEWS if the coolant level is very low. Check the coolant level & get back to me.

Posted on Sep 09, 2008

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 2 times.

  • Contributor
  • 1 Answer

The breather fall off rocker cover and put it back on and it filled the hole road up with smoke

Posted on Sep 19, 2010

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 2 times.

  • Contributor
  • 2 Answers

I Own a 99' 9-5 V6 Turbo SE.  This is what I know for sure.  Large volume of white, acrid smelling smoke (some loss of power) at start up and at idle sometimes.  With no other pattern or regularity is coolant leaking in through your head gasket.  Oil will be fine, coolant will be fine (for awhile).  Then you'll notice that your filling it more often, and more often over a long period of time. The pace will pick up(filling) until your sensor goes for $340. at that point the mechanic will get that look, do a compression test and tell you the happy news.  Cost to replace??  Don't ask. 

Posted on Dec 08, 2008

  • Level 1:

    An expert who has achieved level 1.

  • Contributor
  • 1 Answer

I have a 9-7x Saab and about a week ago white smoke started coming out of the pipe and it's pretty heavy white smoke. There is no unusual smell and the smoke only comes out when the car is started. I took it to the Saab maintenance and they can't figure out what wrong with it but states that they've had similar problems (don't understand why they wouldn't know??). Their asking for a $2500 authorization to tear my car apart to find out the problem and I don't feel that it's warranted for a break down of my car. Please help advise.

Posted on Nov 06, 2009

  • Level 2:

    An expert who has achieved level 2 by getting 100 points


    An expert that got 5 achievements.


    An expert whose answer got voted for 20 times.


    An expert who has answered 20 questions.

  • Expert
  • 87 Answers

White smoke is water/coolent= blown headgasket or cracked head.
blueish smoke = overfueling
and black foul smelling smoke is oil burning= oilring

and very black sooty smoke and loss of power = turbo failure

Posted on Oct 14, 2014

1 Suggested Answer

  • 2 Answers

SOURCE: I have freestanding Series 8 dishwasher. Lately during the filling cycle water hammer is occurring. How can this be resolved

a 6ya expert can help you resolve that issue over the phone in a minute or two.
best thing about this new service is that you are never placed on hold and get to talk to real repairmen in the US.
the service is completely free and covers almost anything you can think of (from cars to computers, handyman, and even drones).
click here to download the app (for users in the US for now) and get all the help you need.

Posted on Jan 02, 2017

Add Your Answer

Uploading: 0%


Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add



Related Questions:

1 Answer

What is causing engine running too rich when idling

I would check to see if there is a restriction in the fuel return lines. Also the o2 sensor might be lazy.

Sep 05, 2016 | Cars & Trucks

2 Answers

I have a 99 Saab 9-5 2.3L turbo. When I shifted it would blow white smoke for a second. Yesterday it started billowing smoke then died. Now it won't start and it turns over very rough. Please help.

Generally white smoke is a sign of coolant in the engine.
Its possible you have blown the head gasket and coolant is leaking into one or more of the cylinders.
You could pull the spark plugs and check for coolant - also run a compression test.

Sep 19, 2012 | Cars & Trucks

2 Answers

Hi, My Sidekick starts to "putter" as i drive like it's not getting enough fuel. Then when I accelerate it blows large amounts of white smoke out the exhaust. It did this once before last summer...

White smoke always means that oil is getting into the cylinder. This will make the car sputter. You have to find out why the oil is getting in there. It needs to go to a mechanic because it could be any number of reasons why the oil is getting in.

Mar 24, 2011 | Suzuki Sidekick Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

2002 Saab 9-5, 2.3t smokes when leaving the accelerator

The valve stem oil seals require replacement.
This repair can usually be performed without removing the head from the engine, so it should not cost too much.

Aug 29, 2009 | 2002 Saab 9-5

2 Answers

My mother has a 2 yr old ford fusion with about 27,000 miles on it. Yesterday I drove it. At one point I had to turn while going up a hill. While accelerating the engine seemed to loose power but continued...

manual or automatic transmition?
if it is a manual it just needs a new clutch plate.
if it's an auto there is something seriously wrong and you should not drive it at all untill you can convince a mechanic to look at it

Aug 14, 2009 | 1988 Isuzu Impulse

1 Answer

I have a 1992 honda prelude. During a hard acceleration, the car fails to accelerate. Instead, it produces rough sound as if it is not getting a consistant amount of fuel. Slow acceleration is OK. Also...

Check for free play on distrubtor.
If you has a known good disturbutor then do the swap.

===== Lite white smoke during warm up is OK.
If the white smoke is still noticable after 15 minutes of start up then you should start monitor the coolant level and oil level.
If the temp. is raising then it can be stage one of blown headgasket.

Keep track of the temp. and make sure the oil is not getting a white/creamy texture.
DO NOT drive it if it's overheating.

Apr 09, 2009 | 1992 Honda Prelude

1 Answer

92 Pontiac Grand Am stalled & leaked antifreeze and oil

This happened right after you bought it? Take it back.

Dec 28, 2008 | 1997 Pontiac Grand Am

7 Answers

White smoke from exhaust

White smoke from exhaust = water into the cylinders, when this happens it usually means head gasket gone or starting to go.
Check the water level, and take the car to the garage for a check up , if it is the head gasket, as I think, you risk to blow the engine at any time.

Jul 07, 2008 | 1999 Saab 9-5

Not finding what you are looking for?
1999 Saab 9-5 Logo

11,571 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Saab Experts

Colin Stickland
Colin Stickland

Level 3 Expert

21981 Answers


Level 3 Expert

63242 Answers


Level 2 Expert

162 Answers

Are you a Saab Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides