Saab B204/B234 cylinder head rebuild. This head is found in all four-cylinder Saab 900 and 9000 from 1994 to 1998, as well as 1999 9-3.

Tools and supplies:

  • 12 mm socket: camshaft cap bolts;
  • 11 mm socket and extention: valve seal tapping (a metal tube of a similar size will do as well);
  • valve spring compressor: it should be able to reach down into an inch-wide lifter socket;
  • thin needle nose pliers (curved nose preferred);
  • fresh engine oil.
18.06.2006
Head

A freshly cleaned and polished head, just from an engine rebuilder.
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Valve seals

Fresh valve seals go in first. Dip them in oil before installing.
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Tapping in

A seal just slides on the end of the valve guide. An 11 mm socket is a perfect tool for tapping them on.
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Installed

Close-up of a seal installed.
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Valves

There are four valves per cylinder. The intakes are slightly larger.
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Springs and washers

The spring is sandwiched between two washers. The upper washer has a conical collar wrapping around two collets that hold the valve stem.
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Getting ready

The valve is in the socket, the rest is ready to follow. A dab of grease on the inside of the collets will make them stick to the valve stem and ease the installation.
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Valve spring compressor

Install the lower washer, the spring and the upper washer. Use a spring compressor to clamp the spring against the valve.
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Compressed

When the spring is compressed, there's just enough room to insert the collets using a pair of thin curved needle-nose pliers. Here's when the grease on the collets comes in handy.
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Bracket

The universal spring compressor I got from an auto parts store could not reach far enough, so I had to improvise by making this U-shaped bracket. The walls around the spring should be protected from scratches since they act as sealing surfaces for hydraulic tappets.
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Measurements

Measure the depth from the camshaft bearing surface to the valve stem. It should be between 19.5 and 20.5 mm.
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Tappets

Install the hydraulic tappets. Give them an oil bath before putting them in.
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Camshaft

The camshaft bearing caps are numbered, but have rather bizarre markings. My rebuilder marked them in a different fashion that was easier to read. Put the head on wooden blocks so the valves won't be hitting the desk. Lubricate the camshaft and put it in.
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Bearing caps

Lubricate the bearing caps before they go in. The inner side bolts on the four caps above the cylinders have oil passages in them.
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Tightening

Tighten the bolts to 11 ft-lbs, starting with the cap closest to the cams pressing down on the tappets (12 mm socket). Install the second camshaft.
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Side cover

Attach the cover over the distributor cap hole (on turbo engines).

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