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'97 900SE - Stall from idle and other problems

'97 900SE - Stall from idle and other problems

Old 02-10-2016, 06:51 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2016
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Default '97 900SE - Stall from idle and other problems


New to the forum, registered to ask for advice. Hope a first post seeking specific advice is appropriate to the etiquette of this forum.

I have owned this vehicle since fall of 2014. During the first cold weather, it began to have a very rocky idle, accompanied by the oil light flickering. Soon after, it began to stall from idle. Generally it would start back up, but on one occasion it wouldn't, and I was forced to have it towed to a nearby mechanic, who noticed the fuel pump was faulty, and replaced that part, along with the battery which was in poor shape as well. After having that work done, the problem seemed to vanish.

A couple of weeks ago I felt the familiar symptoms return. The oil light flickered, and the car started idling poorly, even shuddering almost violently. Also, while idling, the turbo gauge and RPM's flicker. This behavior occurs whether in drive, park, or neutral.

Eventually, it stalled, but started again. I considered the fact that I had recently left the car overnight with an almost empty tank on some very cold nights, so I stopped to add some dry gas (and refuel). Upon removing the gas cap, I found the tank was weirdly pressurized. There was a hiss as I unscrewed the cap.

I added the dry gas, and began pumping gas, and was surprised when the pump cut off after only filling the tank halfway, according to the gas meter.

The bad idle and stalling persisted so I brought the car to a saab mechanic who was fortunately very nearby.

This mechanic said he was very busy and wouldn't be able to give his full attention for some time to what sounded like a difficult diagnoses. He has had the car for almost two weeks now, and can only report that it starts every day and seems to run fine without presenting the issue. There are no error codes according to him. He says he doesn't have time to spend diagnosing this, as there seems to be nothing to fix.

I took the car for a short drive during this period, and while it's true that the car starts and idles for almost a half hour without acting up, i only got as far as the next door dunkin donuts before seeing the oil light flicker, feeling the shaky idle, and then stalling out right in the dunkin drive thru.

So I returned the car to him, but I can't wait around forever. I thought if I could get some ideas of my own, I could give him specific instructions to perform some work (or take the car somewhere else).

Some ideas from friends and coworkers:
-coil packs?
-idle controller?
-ice from condensation in gas tank?

Also of note, the display says "Coolant Level Low" although I have recently topped off my coolant while getting an oil change.
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