front engine noise while in gear


Old 12-02-04, 07:38 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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front engine noise while in gear

My car is a '94 ford Taurus with 151,000 miles, 3.0 l, v-6

A noise like a growl (sounds like failing bearings or rubbing) can be heard with the car in drive or reverse and running but stopped. This noise becomes a chirp (sounds like a slipping belt) when I take off. While driving at a constant speed, the sound becomes a randomly spaced but persistent squeak that stops when I put the car in neutral.

I first suspected the tranny, since I have had so many tranny troubles. I took the belt off and started the car. When put into drive it made no added noise. I concluded it must be something connected to or rubbing on the belt.

With the belt back on, I listened to the water pump, alternator and ps pump w/ a stethoscope. Both the alternator and the ps pump sounded much different with the car in gear. WHY IS THIS? WHY IS THE LOAD ON THESE ITEMS DIFFERENT WITH THE CAR IN DRIVE BUT NOT GOING ANYWHERE?

The water pump has 24 k, the alternator is original and both the ps pump and the idler pulley have 400 miles of use.

With the belt off I spun everything that would turn. Nothing sounded or felt noteworthy except the water pump really only wanted to turn one way, but it sounded the same in gear and out with the stethoscope.

Any ideas? Someone suggested the harmonic balancer. Would it behave differently with the tranny in gear than out?
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Old 12-03-04, 10:04 AM
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With the belt off, your water pump should spin freely in either direction. Probably a good place to start.
Old 12-04-04, 05:45 PM
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I suggest having the tension pulley checked.Sounds like a bearing is going out in it.Also sometimes a water pump bearing can be bad and the moise will be heard with the belt putting presure on it.Without the belt you wont hardly hear anything except notice a tightness on how the shaft turns.
Old 12-07-04, 12:03 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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tow guy & aaron63, 2 of 3 sounds solved

The squeak and chirp, two of the three sounds from the original posting are solved. The new ps pressure hose fitting at the rack was rubbing on the tranny dipstick tube. I loosened a screw holding the dipstick tube and shoved an old sock between them. While driving and taking off from a stop the tranny moves enough to make them rub. When I recently replaced the ps pump, I must have damaged the 90-degree fitting on the hose at the pump, since it leaked after my repair. Pepboys sold me a new hose with an extra fitting at the rack end. I assume this is for a pressure sensor for variable assist that I do not have. I wondered about the physical difference between the new one and mine, but the kid at the counter said it was the right part. I took it because, I was racing dark and cold to finish on the day before Thanksgiving.

Now back to the growl, I will check the water pump again, but the in and out of gear test produced no change with the stethoscope. Why would putting the car in drive make it growl? The load on the engine may change, but the load on the water pump is unchanged. However, I do see what you say about the pump turning both ways. If the bearings on the pump were going bad, would I be getting coolant out of the weep hole on the pump?

Here is more info. I can get short spurts of the same sound in neutral by turning the steering back and forth especially very close to the stops at extreme left and right. In addition, turning on the ac gets the same sound, but not constant as simply putting the car into drive or reverse. I tried turning on high beams to see if added alternator load produced the sound in neutral, but got no result.

Thanks to you both. Iíll let you know what I find.
Old 12-07-04, 02:46 PM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Pittsburgh,Pa
Posts: 2,417
You could try cleaning all of your pulleys with brake clean(belt removed)and an old toothbrush.Then install a new high quality belt.I fixed a freinds Ford truck that way after it had 3 belts a tensioner and an alternator replaced for the same type of noise.Fyi never use any type of belt dressing on your car it will cause problems galore.Don't skimp on the brake cleaner either you want the pulleys brand new clean.I used 3 cans on her truck.
Old 12-07-04, 03:36 PM
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I'll try it.
The ps pump pulley is plastic as is the ideler pulley. Will the brake parts cleaner harm either?
Old 12-07-04, 05:07 PM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Pittsburgh,Pa
Posts: 2,417
Well I did my freinds truck about 9 months ago so I would say no it won't hurt anything.I know her idler pulley was plastic but I don't remember about the p/s pulley.However I think the grooves of your pulley are metal and the center is also just the part in between should be plastic but I don't think a breif encounter with brake clean will harm the plastic.

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