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Classic Car Service
Classic Car Service, Dealership Svc. Mgr.
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 4818
Experience:  Over 30 years experience in the automotive field
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2001 Saab 9-5 just back from turbo replacement. Drives

Customer Question

Customer: 2001 Saab 9-5 just back from turbo replacement. Drives alright, but idles rough and/or engine dies when first running cold. Idle smooths out when system warm thought may still have some hesitation. None of this a problem prior to turbo failure
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Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

Hello. Welcome to Just Answer. Please allow me to assist you. The problem you most likely have going on here is an air leak someplace in the tubing between the turbo and the engine throttle body. This issue would be on any turbocharged car, and is not unique to Saab. The engine needs a specific amount of turbocharged air to idle properly. If the air is leaking out via a cracked tube, a loose clamp or cracked/split hose, you will get exactly what you describe. The recommendation I have for you on this request would return the car to the person who installed the turebo and have them check for air leaks on the pressure side of the turbo.,

Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have just begun looking at a pronounced clicking sound that occurs with key in on position. The clicking is coming from engine near dash, and sounds like something literally flipping back and forth. I can't get to it fast enough to see what's moving. From inside the car it sounds like it's coming from behind the driver's side dash, but with hood up it is clearly coming from engine compartment about center to the car, and right against firewall I guess you call it. I don't know cars well, so pardon any bad explanations. I will be checking out hoses as soon as I figure out where the throttle body is, etc...
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

The throttle body is the metal thing on the front of the engine that the air enters into, This is also what is connected to your gas pedal. You press the gas pedal, the throttle plate (inside the throttle body moves open. This makes the car accelerate.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Looking at that now. And the clicking? what is a CEL reset?
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

The clicking can be several things. Without seeing it I would be hesitant to guess for fear of being wrong. A CEL reset is where someone with a scan tool clears any present of pending diagnostic trouble codes, ie 'resetting' the system.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Please list the several things it might be?
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

1) Air leak in the tube between the turbocharger and the throttle body mounted on the intake manifold.

2) stuck turbocharger wastegate.

3) cracked, leaking, broken, disconnected vacuum hose on the engine

4) Blockage to the input of the turbocharger (plugged air filter/rodent nest in the air filter box, etc)

5) Turbocharger not fitted properly to the engine area

6) Loose hose clamps on the induction system tubing

7) Cracks in the induction tubing

8) Leaking intake manifold gasket

9) Loose connections at the intercooler (if you have one fitted)

10) Crack in the intercooler (if you have one fitted)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It is a mechanical timed clicking - surely not a random noise generated by any of the above. I ask because it is related to any issues the car is having post turbo operation. Car ran perfectly before turbo went out. This is not a separate random question.
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

No, the clicking is not the above, I thought you wanted the cause for the hesitation

Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

The clicking may be the Air management system opening/closing flaps inside the dash. Try the key on again with the ac/heater/defroster off

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Again, the clicking noise not there prior to recent mechanical work, so one way or another it is related. May be indirect, but something amiss with that too. Gave you the information because I thought it might help you be more specific in pinpointing a problem. I would not have written but I have already had that car at two shops. First mechanic replaced fuel pump when it was in fact turbo. Second replaced turb0 and cleaned throttle body. Both times car returned to me with rough idle and weird sounds. Both times I was waived off as in 'your car is fine little lady'. Quite tired of paying for incomplete work. One big clue to me as to whether someone wants to help or not is whether they ask questions. The clicking is not the air management system. I know what that sounds like. Had that repaired last year.
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

I sense a lot of frustration in your words. I need to ask questions in order to better assist you, as I cannot see the car nor can I hear the noise. If I could see it and hear it, it would be much easier to pinpoint. The first thing that came to mind was the HVAC. I would not know that you had it service last year unless you told me in advance. The click sound is most likely a fuel pump or other relay that is activating/deactivating as the relay waits for a RPM signal to indicate that the engine started. I would not think a rough idle would be caused by this. The question I have for you is : are there any malfunction lights illuminated at the instrument panel?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The clicking noise begins just when the key is turned to on position. It sounds like "click, click, click, click..." It's a fairly crisp noise, and it stops after a few seconds with no ignition. No codes are displayed. "Check OK". The only thing I see in terms of display is "SPD" with a little circle with line through it diagonally. Don't know if that's always been there. No idea. And yes, I think the biggest frustration with my recent experiences is that everyone just fine hustling me back out the door when I'm saying "hey, the car isn't right". This car will disable itself ANYWHERE, and is a bit dangerous for that.
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

The click and then stopping shortly thereafter is a relay that is energizing and then de-energizing. It sounds to me like you are the victim of parts changers, not good mechanics that can diagnose a problem and fix it properly. Bolting a turbocharger onto a car is a fairly expensive repair. If the problem still exists, the turbo was not the problem. Poor idle quality and rough running are symptoms of insufficient turbo air pressure (as described above), poor ignition components (plugs/coils etc) or crank-to camshaft timing. None of these things are diagnoseable via this platform. A good tech, one who knows what he is doing,, needs to look at this car. I could make guesses for the balance of the afternoon and not touch upon the correct solution as I cannot do the work myself. If I were you, I would seek out a competent technician, explain what the vehicle history is, and let them do a thorough check over. A good tech who is reasonably knowledgeable will be able to sort out the rough idle rather quickly. Within 2-3 hours. A turbo car is not all that complicated, compared to a hybrid car which is exceptionally complicated. The problem may be nothing more than a minor adjustment to the throttle position sensor.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, I would not have expected you to diagnose the problem, but I did expect an exchange of information that would lead to a reasonable explanation, or narrowed set of explanations for issues that have occurred simultaneously. It WAS the turbo. There was a very definite answer on that - including eventual massive plumes of white smoke. What's killing me here is that there has been more discussion of how it is not possible to really answer questions without actually seeing or hearing than there is Q & A of a problem. If this is a general principle of car diagnostics then this is simply another ineffective method of actually getting help. The writing is on the wall so to speak.
Expert:  Classic Car Service replied 1 year ago.

Now that you have confirmed that the turbo did if fact fail, that leads us down a totally different path. Most likely, the oil residue that entered the engine due to the turbo failure (massive plumes of smoke) has gotten on the intake and exhaust valves where they seal to the cylinder head; this causes a thin layer or carbon to be created. This causes a poor seal, most noticeable on a cold engine as a poor quality idle. The carbon buildup (which allows a bit of the cylinder gasses to escape prematurely) causes the aforementioned poor/rough engine engine idle that would clear up a bit as the engine got warmer (you get a better seal with hot valves than cold, even if they have carbon buildup). What I would do if this vehicle was in my shop: .I would first ensure that the spark plugs are the correct ones and have proper electrode gap. Replace id not factory, worn or oil fouled. Second, I would perform an induction cleaning service to clean the valve sealing surfaces. Third, I would add a can of really good fuel injection cleaner to the tank to clean out potential carbon deposits in the EGR valve. I would then advise you to drive the car and return for a SECOND can of fuel injector cleaner as soon as your fuel tank reached 3/4 empty. This should cure the problem.