Saab 900 SE Turbo Water Pump Replacement




My new to me Saab 900 SE Turbo is a beautiful ride.  One day I was 'passing' a lady on a surface street and I heard a pop.  I didn't lose any power so I wasn't too worried.  There was a slight rattle that got progressively worse as I drove.  So I got it home and popped the hood.  Nothing visible to the naked eye.  I put a torque wrench extension bar to my ear and  I checked the power steering pump and the valve cover, but neither was the source of the noise.  

The noise got so bad I was forced to take the car to my mechanic, who told me it was the water pump and "don't drive it more than you need to cause it's fixin' to go out on you.'  Thirty minute ride from the mechanic to home, where because of the cost - $508 + tax, I was going to do it myself.  I stopped at the mall which was about halfway.  Once I started the car again, there was a problem.  A loud squeal and a warning tone.  My idiot lights told me there was a  problem with the battery.  I popped the hood and the serpentine belt wasn't moving and the water pump pully was canted at an unnatural angle.  Bad news.

I decided to chance it and make the rest of the drive.  No alternator, no power steering, no heat and most importantly, no coolant.  Two minutes from the house, there was a giant boom under the hood and a cloud of antifreeze behind me.  I finally make it home and pop the hood to let the engine cool off.  Very close call.

Step 1: Tools and Parts You Will Need

Water pump
Serpentine Belt

Torque wrench
10 mm socket/wrench
13 mm socket/wrench
T30 Torx wrench

1/2" drive extension bar
 5 mm allen wrench
Flathead and Phillips screwdrivers
Silicone grease or Vaseline

Step 2: Remove Air Filter Box

To remove the air filter box,  you loosen the three screws holding the airbox to the engine bay.  Then disconnect the large turbo air inlet hose from the turbo downpipe and disconnect the bypass hose from the turbo air inlet hose.  Find a place to wedge the bypass hose so it doesn't get in your way later.  Because it will.  **Very important**  Put a rag in the turbo inlet downpipe.  You DON'T want anything falling into your turbo.

Step 3: Remove the Serpentine Belt

To remove the serpentine belt, you will have to manually pull the tensioner pulley up and lock it in place.  This loosens the s-belt and will allow you to remove the belt and pulleys.  Even though my s-belt was not damaged, I'm going to replace it just to be safe.

 To pull the tensioner pulley up, you need the 1/2" drive extension bar and a 5 mm allen wrench.  Insert the extension bar into the square slot on the tensioner pulley and pull towards you.  Slide the allen wrench through the two holes to lock the tensioner in place.

Step 4: Power Steering Pump

The power steering pump is the topmost  pump on passenger side of the engine.  The pump is bolted onto the engine with three hex bolts.  Once you get it off, rotate and shove to the side.  I put it on top of the turbo downpipe.

Step 5: Disconnect Coolant Hoses

Remove the hoses from the pump.  If you haven't opened the radiator drain valve, do so now otherwise you will have a large puddle of poisonous antifreeze on the floor.

Step 6: Coolant Pipes

On the other side of the water pump there is a bolt holding one of the two coolant return pipes from the engine.  Undo it and pull the pipe out.  You may need to remove the next bolt before you can pull the pipe out of the pump.  There is an o-ring on the end of the pipe that will need to be replaced.

On the drivers side of the engine there is another bolt that secures both of the coolant pipes using two metal tabs.

Step 7: Boost Control Valve

You need to disconnect the boost pressure control valve (BCV) from the front of the engine bay.  It's connected by two T30 bolts.

Step 8: Remove the Water Pump

Now we remove the water pump.  It's bolted onto the engine by 3 hex bolts.  Work the pump out and there will be a sleeve left behind.  It has two o-rings that seal the pump/engine interface.  They will need to be replaced.  Be careful pulling the sleeve out.  It's soft aluminum and can break.

Step 9: Very Bad Thing

This is what happens when a water pump goes bad.  I was lucky in that the pulley only made a slight gouge.  I've heard of the pulley cutting through the timing cover itself and causing an oil leak.

Step 10: Finished Product

Take the old pump off of the old housing and mate the shiny new pump to the old housing.  Use your gaskets and seal  everything up with silicone grease or acid free Vaseline.  Goop up the o-rings on the sleeve and the coolant pipe.  Put everything back together in reverse order and you're done.



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    9 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Thanks so much for this! saved me alot of money. Hey just a tip for anyone using these instructions for the 9-3 instead of the 900 , be sure to disconnect the turbo coolant line located under the water pump. Its secured by a 12 mm banjo bolt. Be careful not to loose the washer. I yanked on my water pump for a long while before I realized there was something I missed


    8 years ago on Introduction

    My pleasure. I'm glad someone could use them. Unfortunately, 2 weeks after I made this, my precious was totaled.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    These instructions are gold. Used them to change my pump yesterday, it took me about 6 hours partly because I had to make a couple of trips to the hardware store to get the proper tools.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    it looks like it would also work for the first gen 9-3 1999-2002 as well


    9 years ago on Introduction

    hey, wish i had seen this 2 days ago, just had my water pump replaced, seeing this could have done it myself.
    i was charged £310 ( about 473 dollars) for the water pump. idler gears, belt including taxes, parts and labour, so i think i got a good deal

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You got a steal.  I was quoted $508 + tax for the only the pulley and belt by a mechanic that is fairly trustworthy.  It's definitely worth it to do it yourself just as a learnign experience.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    It was my pleasure.  Anything else that needs to be done will most likely be documented.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent!  Nice to know it's so do-able by a non-professional mechanic.  Am book marking this in case I have change out the one in my Saab.  Much appreciated.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    We could do with more of these, thanks for sharing.