Getting intimate with a hot Swede

Getting intimate with a hot Swede

My Saab, that is – When I bought it, it had a leaking head gasket and some overheating issues. Well, what did you think I meant? 😉

So a couple of weeks ago, I took it into my garage and started stripping the engine bay out. All I can say is: what a pig of a job! It seems like everything on this car is bolted to everything else, or at least is in the way of something else you need to remove.

I’d just got started on the stripdown when I got to the bit in the manual that says ‘The tensioner spring must now be compressed and held in compression using a home-made tool’. Aargh! In spite of reading the manual twice, I’d managed to miss that bit. So off I went home again to make my tool. So much for doing the job in a day!
Day two started a bit better – I’d got everything off (and only chewed up two bolt heads in the process) and undone the head bolts. Ready to get the head off!
Disaster. As I pulled the head up, it slipped a little and neatly snapped off the top of the timing chain guide sticking out of the block. Aargh again! So then I had to remove the timing cover to get to it- a pig of a job in itself. After two days battle, the car looked like this:

saab-9000-cylinder-head-removed

Not quite what I was hoping for. See those bottom bolt holes on the inlet manifold? Can you imagine how difficult they are to get to with the manifold bolted to the head? I bet you can’t!

On the Monday, I ordered the new bit, and waited for it to turn up. And waited. It finally turned up on Wednesday the following week! And here it is in place (long white plastic thing):

saab-9000-timing-chain-cover-removed

If you look closely, you’ll see what I mean about everything being in the way – you will see that the guide is *just* blocked from being removed by the cog at the bottom. To remove the cog means taking the balance chain off, which in turn means removing pretty much everything you see in that picture!

Anyway, to cut a long story short(ish), I got everything back together, and the car is now running fine, save for a small coolant leak which I’ll deal with soon. Just needs a new washer, and should only take 5 minutes to fix (he says with fingers crossed!). Hopefully, that’ll be the end of it – I’ve seen enough of that engine bay to last a lifetime!

So there you go – next time you’re struggling with your Triumph, take comfort in the simplicity of it, and enjoy all that space you have to work in.

On the positive side though, the engine is in pretty decent nick, considering the 146,000 miles on the clock. There is virtually no wear anywhere, and in fact you can still see the honing marks on the bores. Impressive stuff – this engine should be good for another 150k!

Not exactly TR7 related, I know, but it turned out to be a bit of an adventure, so I thought it was worth blogging anyway. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back to the ‘7 soon!