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 Calling All (Auto Repair) Experts ...

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Calling All (Auto Repair) Experts ... Sun, 12/4/11 1:19 PM (permalink)
I just shelled out $2,000 or so for a new head gasket on a 2000 Saab 9-3 with just over 70,000 original miles on it ...
within 3 weeks the engine blew !!!
The repair shop guy doesn't see any irony in the situation and wants $3,000 now for a new engine.
This is not my area of expertise.
Am I being bamboozled ???

    • Total Posts: 698
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    • Location: Culpeper, VA
    Re:Calling All (Auto Repair) Experts ... Sun, 12/4/11 4:59 PM (permalink)
    You might be.....2K is allot to pay to have just a head gasket replaced......
    If the motor blew up within 3 weeks after having the head gasket replaced, the shop that replaced the head gasket may have missed the underlying problem that cause the head gasket to blow.
    Was there any machine work done to the head, was it magna fluxed before reassembly, or was the head gasket simply replaced and everything put back together?
    When you say the engine "blew" what exactly did the shop say caused the motor to blow?

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      • Location: Stoughton, WI
      Re:Calling All (Auto Repair) Experts ... Sun, 12/4/11 5:18 PM (permalink)
      I'm not familiar with Saab engines but a second opinion might not be a bad idea.  Does the shop that did the work have a reputation as a Saab specialist?  If not, it might be worthwhile to explain the entire situation to a Saab dealer.

        Re:Calling All (Auto Repair) Experts ... Sun, 12/4/11 5:35 PM (permalink)
        I am not mechanically inclinded but to me, the replacement of the head gasket is simple.  Off comes the head, off comes the gasket, clean up the reside, put the new gasket on and off she goes????
        That should be around $500 max?
        I think you must have had another issue?
        Peoples court?
        Paul E. Smith
        Knoxville, TN

          • Total Posts: 4710
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          • Location: Stoughton, WI
          Re:Calling All (Auto Repair) Experts ... Sun, 12/4/11 5:51 PM (permalink)
          I wish it was that easy, Paul!
          The intake manifold has to be removed and the complexity of the valvetrain can play a big factor in the amount of time and degree of difficulty.  Add a turbocharger (Gregg didn't mention it but IIRC some Saabs have turbos) and that's another thing to think about.  Years ago I had a head gasket replaced on a conventional GM V-6 and the bill was over $700.
          Gregg, was the $2000 a time-and-materials charge or was it a flat-rate job?

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            • Location: The Beach, CA
            Re:Calling All (Auto Repair) Experts ... Sun, 12/4/11 7:10 PM (permalink)
            I would not be surprised if you had to pull the motor to change the plugs on those things. When you say the engine blew, can you be more specific? It seems convenient that it happened right after the guy changed the head gasket. Sounds like he screwed up. I would probably go elsewhere and have them save the parts in case you need them for a small claims action against the original mechanic.
              Russ Jackson

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              Re:Calling All (Auto Repair) Experts ... Thu, 12/8/11 6:39 PM (permalink)
              More information is needed. Did you buy the car new? If not how many miles were on it when you got it? Did it overheat prior to the head gasket going? When the head gasket went how hot did the motor get. Bad things happen to high performance motors when they get hot. 70,000 is not alot of miles. $3000 sounds like he is giving you a deal. It actually sounds like he applied the credit of the head to a new motor. I am betting you could not buy a rebuilt motor for that car for $3000....Russ

                Re:Calling All (Auto Repair) Experts ... Fri, 12/9/11 1:06 PM (permalink)
                I bought it used ... 1 owner ... 1st time i went for service the shop showed me the complete service history ... all done by dealer ... all a-ok.
                It came with 50,000 miles and I put my 20,000 over 5 years.
                It did overheat and the head gasket was the diagnosis of a few mechanics.
                The job was time/parts ... the mechanic was fair and honest in my opinion ... (not necessarily competent).  He has a good reputation.
                The engine was machined in some way ... i paid for that too.
                The repair guy isn't all that talkative ... He says this "can happen" ...

                  • Total Posts: 2929
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                  Re:Calling All (Auto Repair) Experts ... Fri, 12/9/11 4:50 PM (permalink)
                  "The engine blew". That's not descriptive enough. Piston through the block? Spun bearing?
                  The machining was most likely the block and head being leveled, perhaps due to minor warping.
                  It is absolutely possible that the overheating may have caused something in the bottom end. But I think that more details are in order here.
                  And, Saab parts are expensive, and Saabs are complex. $2000 for a head gasket for a Saab doesn't sound out of line to me (25 years in the car business).
                  <message edited by Mosca on Fri, 12/9/11 4:51 PM>
                    Tony Bad

                    Re:Calling All (Auto Repair) Experts ... Fri, 12/9/11 5:02 PM (permalink)
                    Many "mechanics" these days would be better called "replacers". Sounds like they may not have figured out what caused the gasket to blow, and now it did more damage. Overheating due to bad water pump, excess turbo boost due to bad blow-off valve, stretched head bolts may have caused initial issue and unless they were addressed, could have and may have caused the 2nd breakdown.  Good luck. 

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                      Re:Calling All (Auto Repair) Experts ... Fri, 12/9/11 5:38 PM (permalink)
                      My feeling, you got screwed!

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                        • Location: Syracuse, NY
                        Re:Calling All (Auto Repair) Experts ... Tue, 12/27/11 1:34 AM (permalink)
                        HA-HA ....Should of bought AMERICAN!
                          ann peeples

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                          • Location: West Allis, Wisconsin
                          Re:Calling All (Auto Repair) Experts ... Tue, 12/27/11 8:14 AM (permalink)
                          My friends have owned Saabs all their life-love them but are very expensive to maintain.

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                            Re:Calling All (Auto Repair) Experts ... Wed, 12/28/11 3:33 AM (permalink)
                            My neighbor has a Saab convertible only a few years old...we call it Rusty.

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                              • Location: Cairo, GA
                              Re:Calling All (Auto Repair) Experts ... Wed, 12/28/11 9:29 AM (permalink)
                              I think it would take about 8 to 10 hours to replace.    this can be checked against  a 'shop labor guide' (chilton is one).   So the cost of replacement would be reasonable at about $500 to $800.  Assuming no other work is required; ie milling & rebuilding the heads.   At 70,000 miles , I do not think that would have been needed.
                              Now as far as the blown motor;   there many things that might have happen and not be the fault of the mechanic.    So I suggest having another shop or mechanic look at the engine as to why it blowed.     If it was the fault of the 1st shop, they are not going to admit it.
                              If the head gasket was blown because of over heating, I suspect the head was also cracked and the shop didn't repair it.  Two other problems that might be the fault of the repair shop which may have cause the engine to blow is:
                              • improper installation of the gasket; cutting off proper flow of coolant or oil into the head (some gaskets can be installed upside down & look right);
                              • improper installation of the lifters & push rods.  These can damage a valve and allow it to drop into the cylinder; ie, blown engine.  Removing the valve covers & inspecting will determine this.
                              Get prices from other shops to repair/replace the engine.  At the same time the mechanic can remove the head and tell what caused the engine to fail.   ... At 70,000 miles (low mileage engine), I think the problem might have been cause by the first mechanic.   If the problem was not the fault of the 1sr shop, then the heads should still be in good working order and no problems.
                              <message edited by edwmax on Wed, 12/28/11 9:33 AM>
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