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06/10/2004 20:23:44   Richard   It's me again, I don't seen to be having much luck with my first ever Saab 95. On the way home the alternator light came on.Before I could turn into a layby the engine over heated, fan belt I thought, but when I lifted the bonnet the fan wasn't turning. Whats happend ? Any ideas before I have to pay yet another large garage bill. I really like Saabs but at this rate I don't think I can afford it.  
07/10/2004 07:55:03   Richard   The balance shaft gear has stripped. The teeth will be in your sump! You can remove the front cover of the engine once the front panel and rad has been removed, take care not to damage the sump gasket. You then need to undo the sump bolts and drop the front of the sump down, then cleen all the bits out of the sump (spend some time on this it needs to be very clean). The balance shaft gear can be changed and the dots on all the timing gear teeth need to point to each other. Rebuild as reverse of above and use plenty of blue non setting sealant on the sump gasket.
Thats the bodge way of doing it, the correct way is to remove the engine remove the sump and front case and check the oil pump pick up has not picked up fibres from the gears shreading. Replace all the gears as a set and check that the balance shaft and its bearing are not worn, which will probably be the cause of the problem (try moving the balance shaft pull from side to side while it is still in the car, you really should not be able to rock it).
Good luck on getting a set of fibre gears these days, the old parts shop in Germany sometimes have them, but your first call will be a Saab specialist and even they have to ring round. I think you will have to fit a good used set or buy a steel set.  
07/10/2004 10:31:39   Senor Burt   Yup. This happens to all V4 drivers eventually.

Steel gear sets are available from the Swedish Owner's Club.

If you're using the bodge technique, it's a good idea to give the inside of the sump a good blast with an airline after you've retrieved as many bits as you can to try and blow the rest of em out through the oil drainhole.  
07/10/2004 15:06:26   Alistair   As Rich says, it's usually a sign that the balance shaft bearings are worn. While replacing the gear alone will give you a bit of time to get the bearings sorted, it won't last forever. How long depends on how bad the bearings are...  
08/10/2004 20:52:19   simon   Dear Richard,
Sorry to hear of your bad run :(
It maybe easier / cheaper for you to change the whole engine for a s/h unit, as these (with good balance shafts) can be picked up very reasonably.
Thus, also allowing you the opportunity of an slow burn engine re-build on the kitchen table with your existing unit - yeah getting cold n dark outside / in the workshop :( :(  
09/10/2004 12:52:35   Senor Burt   It's always an unknown quantity fitting a S/H engine. Even if the bearings are OK, it's difficult to tell what sort of condition the fibre gear is in. It could fail at any time.
If the engine you have is a good engine with reasonably low mileage, I'd get it repaired.
To get the engine out only takes 1/2 an hour (it does really! I've done it in 25 minutes). Replacing the fibre gears with steel along with the balance shaft bearings shouldn't take longer than a couple of hours, less to get the engine back in and running. The whole job can be easily done in a day.
Apart from the steel gears, most of the parts aren't too expensive (bearings, gaskets).
You'd be doing most of the same work to swap the engine, so you might as well be secure in the knowledge that it won't happen again.  
09/10/2004 21:36:18   Richard   Thanks for all your good advice. The engine seems to run well the short times I get to drive it between it breaking down, so I will replace the shaft gears. I have got the front of and they are well stripped. Has any one got some they want to sell ? All the best Richard.  
11/10/2004 14:03:06   Alistair   You say "gears", plural, and "some" rather than "one" - does this mean more than one timing gear is stripped or is it a typo? If the camshaft gear was stripped it wouldn't have been running at all!

For a spare fibre gear, assuming you don't get any volunteers here, try the usual suspects in terms of V4 specialists - Highgate, Nick Senecal, etc. If you can get a steel one then all's the better - it's marginally more noisy than fibre but infinitely more resilient.  
15/10/2004 13:57:19   steve h   I had this problem with a new gear from the old car shop. I put back my old one from when I rebuilt the engine originally and all was fine again. In this case both the bearings and balance shaft were brand new and not worn (10k on them). I think there are some bad cogs out there with dodgy tolerances.  
15/10/2004 15:19:04   Simon   I have heard that spinning em too slow, is worse than too fast, ie low tick over with backlash? Regardless of ballance shaft problems.  

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