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Fuel Filter/Line Saab 9-5

My fiance and I have a Saab 9-5, which has recently started smelling of gas both inside the car, and - more noticeably - out. We took the car to a mechanic we’ve never been too (we recently moved to Atlanta), and were told that the fuel filter and fuel line are rusty, and need to be replaced for about $1,000. My fiance is in school here, and we don’t have a lot of money to throw around. He - the fiance - went to the shop, and had them put the car on a lift so he could see the extent of the rust. He agrees that the filter is rusty, but the line is plastic, and only the bolts/metal pieces holding it to the filter are rusty. The mechanic said it’s not possible to replace the the attachments without replacing the whole line. We are trying to get a gauge on the validity of this diagnosis. Is this true of a 2000 Saab 9-5? If so, is $1,000 a fair price, and finally, does anyone know a GREAT mechanic in Atlanta, GA? Thanks!

Seems high to me, but then I’ve never had a Saab. My guess is he has a boat payment past due and needs all the help he can get. As for a great shop in ATL, check right here on the Car Talk website: http://www.cartalk.com/content/mechx/ I’d definitely seek a second opinion on that one.

The fuel filter on your vehicle uses banjo fittings to connect the fuel lines. A banjo fitting utilizes a hollow bolt called a banjo bolt that feeds the fitting on the end of the fuel line. When a banjo bolt gets severely corroded, there’s a very good chance that the bolt is going to break off inside the fuel filter because the bolt is hollow. Also, when a banjo fitting corrodes, it pits the sealing surfaces where the brass sealing washers are supposed to seal. And this is a common problem on your Saab. If the banjo bolts snap, and if the banjo fittings are corroded, the fuel lines must be replaced. So you have the price of the dealer only parts along with the labor to install the new fuel lines. Not that far out of line.

Tester

Have you actually looked at the area in question to verify if the leak is the line itself or at the banjo bolt/filter fitting?

Line leaks are extremely rare on any SAAB. However, the banjo bolt sealing washers can develop a leak over time; especially if they’ve been reused.
The rubber insert in the seal washers will rot out and leak no matter what.

The rubber insert washers are near impossible to find except from a SAAB dealer.
JMHO, but if the line is leaking an innovative mechanic should be able to repair this in a proper manner; and I don’t mean Mickey Mousing it.
A grand would be a bit hard to take.