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SAAB recommends flushing the coolant every 3 years or 48,000 miles, whichever comes first.

There is no mention about changing the thermostat, but I recommend this be done at the same time. It only adds about 1/2 hour of work and does not cost that much.

Flushing the system is recommended if the cooling system has been neglected for a long period of time. To be on the safe side I did run some tap water through the system to get rid of all the old coolant in the system.

This is an easy DIY job and can be done in about 1 hour.

Tools required:

  • 8mm, 13mm, 10mm sockets
  • Torx screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Drain Pan
  • Parts required:
  • 3 liters of coolant (blue for 1999-2001, red for 2002 and up
  • 3 liters of distilled water
  • Thermostat with sealing 0-ring
  • To drain the cooling system, the engine shield under the car needs to be removed. This is done by removing the 8mm bolts and torx screws.

    Once the bolts and screws are out, the shield needs to be pulled down. I had to lower the car off of the jack in order to do this.

    There are 2 clips that attach to two additional plastic guards. I ended up removing these to help angle the shield down enough to pull it off.
    To drain the coolant, you must loosen the coolant reservoir cap and then turn the drain plug anti-clockwise. This is easiest from the top of the car reaching down with your left hand. The angle is awkward for the right hand.
    Changing the thermostat can be done by removing the top radiator hose from the housing. You need to use the pliers to squeeze the clip together and then move it down off of the housing. I'm sure there is a special tool to make this easier, but pliers work okay.
    To remove the thermostat housing, there are 4 bolts that need to be removed. The two 10mm and the two 13mm. I used a long extension so that the ratchet was near the firewall.

    Once the bolts are removed, the housing should come out with minimal fuss. You may have to move some things out of the way to get the housing off.

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