Question about 1995 Saab 900

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1987 Turbo 900 Saab Story

PLEASE HELP... most frustrated. Why does it keep overheating? It is not the thermostat, distributor was replaced, new fuel pump, etc. It overheats and dies out especially in town driving. The stopping and going, really makes the gauge jump right up to the Hot mark, then it starts the chugging, stalling and quits. Very dangerous. On cooler days, it does OK, but on hot days, it takes 5 min., or so, and then it starts....The blower does not work and I don't know what that is called, but I am assuming that is what cools off the engine. Nor does the air work. (don't know if that has anything at all to do with it) Any suggestions would be most helpful....

Posted by hidollarmac on


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If it is the 900 classic you are talking about (85-93 models) there are a few possibilities. First you need to look closley at the coolant, if there is not adequate anti-freeze in the system, it will run hot. If the water in the system looks brown and rusty, it probably wants changing. You may have an air pocket or blockage. I would do the following; first start the car and open the bonnet, remove the cap from the header tank. Locate the throttle body (where the accelerator is connected) and rev the engine several times hard, look into the open header tank. If the water stays completely still, the water pump is probably faulty. If it moves about, the pump is ok. Now switch off the engine and drain the system from the radiator. To flush a 900 you need to locate the matrix water pipes, you'll notice two rubber pipes going into the bulkhead by the brake silo. These pipes go to the heater matrix inside the dashboard (this gives you heat in the car). Remove the top pipe and put a hose pipe into the hole. With the drain plug still open, blast water into the system. It will flow through the matrix, into the engine and eventually down through the radiator and out the drain plug. If you answered yes to the rusty water question, you should see rusty water coming out now. Keep flushing untill the water is absolutley clear. Once you are satisfied, reconnect the pipe and close the drain plug. Next, you need to re-fill the system. First put in some BLUE anti-freeze (2.5 litres I think should be right). Then fill the system with STILL (water from your hot tap) water. Fill it to max then start the car. Let it run naturally, the water/anti-freeze mixture should go through the system and the header tank will empty. Top up the water untill it settles at max. Next, you need to bleed the system. On the top of the engine, above the throttle body, next to the injectors you should see an 11mm bleed nipple. With the engine running, open this to let out any air intoduced by the refill and leave it open untill the water mixture flows freely through it. Once satisifed, close the bleed nipple and let the car run to operating temperature (which in these cars is just a notch under half way). Check to make sure there is no water leaks anywhere, look especially at the water pump (under the aircon pump) as the gaskets can sometimes go. That could possible fix the problem. When the car is at running temperature, get into it and turn on the heater blower to full and turn it to hot. A very common problem to look out for if you get no heat - remove the left side speaker housing and look into the dash. You will see a metal rod with an adapter on the end. This should be connected and can sometimes break or fall off -- just make sure that the temperature dial is actually conntected to the matrix and is turning the pot to call for hot air (a mistake I frequently make). If you get hot air ok, then the matrix is probably ok. If the engine still gets too hot, you could have a radiator problem. Or worse still, you could have blown the head gasket. A quick way to check is to look at the oil dipstick - if it starts to turn like salad cream -- you need to change the head gasket. In any case, if you get to this point I would recommend you go to a garage. Changing a head gasket requires special tools such as torque wrenches etc.

The reason why the car will judder and stop is because the engine management will detect the overheating and shutdown. I suggest that you do not drive the car if you don't need to until the problem is rectified otherwise you could blow the head gasket if you haven't already or you could burst the core plug, which is a safety mechanism at the bottom of the engine which pops when excessive overheating takes place.

If you have encountered a blockage, obviously, remove the water pipes and check for blockages, check the AC thermostat if you have one which can be found by the dizzy cap (distributor) connecting two water pipes with two red wires going to it.

Hopefully this should get you on the right track -- if in doubt always refer to a mechanic. I will watch this post if you have any questions.


Posted on Jul 08, 2009


Jeff Barton

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Keep it simple...start by looking for articles like grocery bags covering radiators and condensers...they have a way of sucking up and can cause alot of problems...air flow is a must and ive fixed more than one car that seemingly had major was a 5 cent plastic bag...good luck do make sure fans are working as well

Posted on Jun 28, 2009


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