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Mechanical Issue

I own a 2002 Saab 9-3 with 248,000. When I start the engine there is a rattling sound as if something is loose and quiet down when the engine warms up. Sometime when I stop and accelerate there is rattling and then a lot of smoke from the exhaust. I am looking for a mechanic that specialize in Saab to get a honest assessment. I live in Murfreesboro TN, and travel 60 miles round trip each day and I cannot afford EuroFix I find they are very pricey and not always address the problem. Looking for recommendations as to how to keep this vehicle running, not in a position at this time to make a purchase. Help!

At that mileage (and considering I know nothing of the history) a rattle could be a rod bearing, timing chain issue, valve lifter issue, etc.

Low oil pressure and/or engine oil coking due to extended oil change intervals along with high miles can contribute to timing chain and lifter issues.
A rattling can also be caused by excessive oil entering the combustion chamber of a cylinder as it can essentially mimic a low octane gasoline problem.

If it goes away with a warm engine then I tend to think a valve lifter problem. An additive such as Berryman B-12 or SeaFoam in the engine oil may, or may not, help this problem

On a Saab, that rattle is likely a timing chain and its guides. Is is fixable but difficult and expensive.
A Saab specialist will remove and check the upper tensioner from the passengers side and check to see if has run out the adjustment. If it has, you need a new chain and guides. Sorry.

It probably isn’t as simple as this, but there’s some possibility it is just something in the exhaust system rattling. Heat shield, lost/rusted exhaust hanger, etc. You need to get your mechanic to put it on the lift for a visual probably.

I’ve never seen a mechanic recommendation made here. This probably isn’t the place to ask for that. There’s a feature on this website called “mechanics files”, mechanics who’ve been recommended by users of this website, you might check there. The best way tho to find a mechanic is to ask friends, relatives, co-workers, etc who they use. Then pn your first visit tell the mechanic who it was that recommended you to them.

There are 2 pages of mechanics listed on the Mechanics Files link for Murfreesboro.

I own a 2002 Saab 9-3 with 248,000.
I'm sorry but other than what has already been said, the only thing I can offer is my condolences.


By the way, if you need new chains and guides, the engine needs to come out although there have been people that do the fix in the car. I like Saabs but it might be time to retire this one.

My sister just pumped $4500 into her 1999 9-3 with 220K (4X its value). She loves her Saab. I just smile.

Any SAAB with 248,000 miles is a money pit waiting to happen. Parts are hard to get and repairs are expensive. Time to move on!

Parts are head to get and repairs are expensive.
I sincerely hope that was a typo on your part, doc! (And here I thought getting backstage was bad...)

I have to respectfully disagree that parts are hard to find. Most maintenance and wear items can be had from any parts house.
The odd stuff can be found on eBay, Craigslist, or the Buy/Sell forum on any one of a number of SAAB sites.

I’d say that a 2002 with almost a quarter of a million miles has been a pretty decent sled.

What would I do? Run a compression test (both dry and wet) and verify as best as possible the condition of piston rings as that could be a cause of the smoke and possibly the rattle if the air/fuel charge is being diluted enough with engine oil.
If the compression is in the tank then it may be time to move on or consider a used engine install.

Hey, you got 248K out of it. That’s not uncommon. Be happy and look for a used Honda to put that money down on while you wait for the Saab to finally go belly up.

@meanjoe75fan Sorry about the typo; I was not wearing my glasses.

None of my sister’s $$thousands in repair bills have been engine-failure related.