Oil change saga on my Saab 93

Before buying my Saab I had always decided I would try and do some of the car maintenance myself . Well into the third attempt of trying to change the oil I was beginning to think I should stick with fixing computers!

Before I set out to change the oil on my Saab 9-3 diesel 1.9 (Vector Sport 2005 model 150 BHP) I purchased and borrowing the following items:-

In the end I also needed the following

First Weekend

To be honest I didn’t leave myself much time to get the car jacked up as I was more concerned about Liverpool and The FA Cup final. I wasn’t convinced either that I was using the correct jacking points and I would damage the car. Additionally the pump trolley jack just didn’t have enough reach to lift the car up so I could place the axel stands. So I went to the pub instead.

Later that day I met a professional car mechanic in the pub who worked with the late great Colin McRae rally team. I’d taken a couple of photos of the underside of the car and he showed me the safe points for the jack. Problem being I drank too many of these large German beers and completely forgotten what he said the next day!

Second Weekend

This weekend I decided no more messing around with getting the car jacked up. During the week I sourced some large blocks of wood to make a ramp to lift the car high enough off the ground.

Once I had driven the car up the ramps with some other planks of wood I then placed them behind the rear wheels along with handbrake on and in gear.

I removed the underside engine shield which had seen better days. Half of the screws had gone missing and those present were caked in rust. The previous cowboys had cable tied the shield to the engine underside. Unfortunately two weeks later the engine shield came completely off while driving down the motorway.

With the engine shield removed it allowed me to use the short arm jack to lift the car up higher and place the axel stands onto the main chassis directly under the engine. Great I was finally winning and feeling confident that oil change would actually be the easy part.


It was then I came across one slightly rounded oil sump plug which had been tighten by superman himself! At first I made the mistake of using 13mm socket but realised it was 1/2 inch. After battling with the plug for 2 hours I gave up and turned to the UK Saab forum and posted the following hoping for some ideas…

I’ve had my Vector Sport 4 months now and decided it was time to change the oil and oil filter.

When I finally got the car on the axle stand I discovered that oil drain plug was slightly sheared. So I made sure I used a 13 mm socket with only 6 corners rather other ones with 12 to avoid further shearing.

I tried wd40, engine from cold, engine from hot and each time the socket wanted to shear off.

The plug just didn’t want to shift!

Any ideas?

Would oil pump extractor do the job?



Third weekend

Armed with some ideas and new tools from the forum I finally managed to get the oil changed. The key was actually the Irwin 5 Piece Bolt Grip Nut Remover Set I purchased the night before from a local DIY store. These sockets are made out of carbon steel and fit a wide range of nuts. As you turn the socket it cuts into the nut hopefully getting a better grip. This is a one way affair with these sockets, the nut is then right off and can’t be used again.

To get the socket started I had to gently hammer it on so it started cutting into the nut.

The grip between the socket and plug was good but it still wasn’t moving and I was out of brute force. I then came up with the idea of using the trolley jack to turn the socket. No wonder I couldn’t un screw the plug it wasn’t until the jack started to move the car ever so slightly that it gave way! I then stopped and warmed up the engine for 5-10 minutes so the oil was loose.

After the engine was fairly warm I unscrewed the oil slump plug, placed the oil drum catcher and left it to drain for 15 minutes.

With the oil drained it was time to change the oil filter which is halfway up the engine bay not far from the oil sump plug. Forgot to take pictures at this point I was just delighted to have the oil plug off.

Tip here, open the bonnet to give yourself more natural sun light when trying to reach the plastic oil filter housing.

Using the 32mm socket turn the plastic housing and place pipe on the draining hole. More oil will now start to come out of the hole and hopefully directed into your oil drain. I had to wait another 10 minutes before this stopped dripping.

Next I extracted the old oil filter which was crushed badly, replaced the two rubber oil rings and fitted the new oil filter. At this point I had to twist the new oil filter a little so it would shrink in height and allow the housing to fit back into the engine.

I then fitted the new shiny oil sump plug.

Here is the old plug with my new favourite socket!

New oil

I then lowered the car down the rams without turn on the engine, removed the dip stick and poured half of the 4.7 litres of oil into the engine allowing it to settle. I poured more oil until I had one litre left, replaced the dip stick and oil level was now up to the first mark. Poured the last litre until it reached the last mark on the dip stick and replace the oil cap.

Turned on the engine and straight away the low oil warning pressure came on and went away on second start of the engine.

Job done!

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