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Achey-Breaky Saab

Dear Tom & Ray, The love of my life has a 2002 Saab 9-5 that has approximately 100K miles. She is the second owner and the car has been well maintained. On Christmas Eve on our way to the airport, the car died with no warning. Trying to start it I noticed that it spun over faster as it would with no compression. The motor was up to level on oil and water. My assumption was timing chain. The garage that does the work for us did a compression test and deduced it was probably the timimng chain. They recommend changing the motor as a more economical fix. They say pulling the head and doing a valve job and replacing the timing chain is far more expensive than an engine swap. While I do trust our mechanic, I am a firm believer in fixing the problem as long as the crankshaft isn’t laying in the street. I would appreciate any input into this problem

You shouldn’t need a valve job. If a valve stem was damaged, that valve would need replacing, but that’s not the same as a valve job.

Frankly, I’ve never heard of a motor replacement being less expensive than a timing chain replacement. A rebuilt long block would probably run you $5,000 just for the engine, plus a few grand in installation and misc.

Swapping with a used motor just means accepting the risk of paying to put in a motor that may just have a timing chain on the verge of failing…