2000 Ford Other

Hey guys! Fair warning: I'm pretty car stupid. But yeah, 2000 Ford Escort, about 85,000 miles. I've noticed that recently, in low gears especially, my engine tends to make a slight gurgling or belching noise. Nothing extreme, but it doesn't sound really healthy. At higher speeds (over 40 mph) it seems to go away for the most part. Also, I noticed today that when the brake is on and it's sitting there, there is a sort of rattling sound. And also, when driving a low speeds, every once in a while (NOT all the time, at all), there are occasional metallic noises. Maybe a slight scraping noise.
As for work I've done, I recently got an oil change/oil filter change/air filter change, which seemed to help a bit, but the noises are still there. I moved out to AZ from NY last September (2500 mile drive), and at that time I told my local trusted mechanic to tune it up and take care of anything he saw that needed to be done. He didn't do anything major, and nothing to the engine. I haven't done anything since except oil changes. I don't know any mechanics around here, and don't want to get taken for a ride (like I said, car stupid). Any suggestions? Any help would be great!

EDIT: if it's any help, I check the engine temperature gauge on occasion, it's never been abnormally high.
June 24, 2006.

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