1998 Ford Escort 1998 Escort noise

Tiny
GJ502003@GMAIL.COM
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 FORD ESCORT
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 110,000 MILES
My Ford Escort zx2 makes a screetching noise after is has been driven for 10-15 miles or more. The noise comes from the engine compartment. It started months ago with it happening only very occasionally, and not every trip. It has gotten progressively more often and it happens every long trip and multiple times. It screetches a couple seconds, then it will stop and then will happen again and again and again.

-I hear the noise sporitically at speeds from 0 to maybe 40 mph. Not sure if road noise masks it at higher speeds.
-Letting up on the gas will make it stop instantly.
-Earlier, there seemed to be some relationship to making a left turn, but now, it happens whether or not turning.
-Occasionally, now that it has gotten so frequent, it will make one last screetch after stopping and turning the car off.
-I have not been able to get it to happen while stopped and idling so that I can figure out where it is coming from.
-It almost seems like some sort of a pressure bleed off or something.
-The car runs perfect, idles perfect. Just makes this wierd noise.
I can send a recording of the noise.
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Dear Caradiodoc,
Thanks for your quick response. I think the problem must be something else. A couple of reasons:

1) I checked the serpentine belt tension, (seemed very good). The belt has no cracks that I could see while still on the car. It was replaced about 40,000 miles ago. However, I forgot to try the water sprinkle trick.

2) It frequently makes the noise one final time after shutdown. I have a recording on which I can hear myself turning off the key, and a full two seconds after shutdown, it makes one last squeel. I was going to upload, but your site doesn't accept mp3.

I did notice that while letting off of the gas usually makes the noise stop, it sometimes makes noise while coasting (foot on the brake).

If I park for a while (twenty minutes?) It doesn't make the noise until I travel another 10-15 miles.

Any thoughts?
Thank you.
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Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 AT 4:30 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Hi gj502003@gmail. Com. Welcome to the forum. What you're describing sounds like nothing more than a loose serpentine belt. It runs the power steering pump and generator. You might get it to act up by sprinkling a little water on it, but check it for looseness, (engine not running!). Look at the ribbed side of it where it goes around a pulley. If you see more cracks in it than about one per inch, it's time to replace it. Don't use any type of belt dressing on this style of belt. The noise will get worse.

Caradiodoc
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Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 AT 4:40 PM
Tiny
GJ502003@GMAIL.COM
  • MEMBER
Dear Caradiodoc,
Thanks for your quick response. I think the problem must be something else. A couple of reasons:

1) I checked the serpentine belt tension, (seemed very good). The belt has no cracks that I could see while still on the car. It was replaced about 40,000 miles ago. However, I forgot to try the water sprinkle trick.

2) It frequently makes the noise one final time after shutdown. I have a recording on which I can hear myself turning off the key, and a full two seconds after shutdown, it makes one last squeel. I was going to upload, but your site doesn't accept mp3.

I did notice that while letting off of the gas usually makes the noise stop, it sometimes makes noise while coasting (foot on the brake).

If I park for a while (twenty minutes?) It doesn't make the noise until I travel another 10-15 miles.

Any thoughts?
Thank you.
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Thursday, October 28th, 2010 AT 11:22 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Interesting. Yes, rule out the belt if it does it two seconds after shutdown. I can think of three things to look at. For suspense, I'll save the most likely one for last! :)

Look for any plastic covers that are rubbing. In particular, a lot of cars have plastic splash shields inside the right tire. If it is out-of-position, the vibration damper might rub on it when the engine rocks back and forth. The engine does rock quite a bit when turning it off.

Sometimes a whistle is caused by refrigerant flowing through an AC hose or valve, much like a bathroom faucet will sing when water flows through it. Usually that can't be heard inside the car until the engine is stopped, and then it continues for considerably longer than two seconds. Proof of that can be found by not using the air conditioning. That includes not using the heater in defrost mode because the AC runs in that mode too.

Finally, unplug the radiator fan, (and the AC condenser fan on vehicles that have a separate one), and see what happens. You don't need that fan when driving at highway speeds, and the engine won't overheat at lower speeds if you don't drive very far. I ran into a mid '80s Caravan many years ago that developed a very loud howl only after driving for at least ten miles, only when it was below at least 40 degrees, and only when driving at least 45 mph. It was impossible to duplicate that noise in the shop or during city driving. After many test drives, the big clue came when I turned around to head back to town, was still only going about 15 mph, and the noise started when it was hit by a gust of wind and snow. The noise stopped when the wind stopped. I used a piece of string to tie up the AC condenser fan, ... And no more noise! The AC didn't work so the fan never turned on, but it was spinning in the wind. I WAS able to make it act up in the shop finally by connecting the motor right to the battery right after coming in from a test drive, but it was quiet once it warmed up.

On some cars, seemingly strange things happen when you turn the ignition switch off. Relays click, things turn off, and on some cars the radiator fan pulses on for a second or two. One note though. On that Caravan, the squeal would not stop until the vehicle speed dropped below about 30 mph. Before that though it had been a lot warmer outside and temperature was a factor. Yours might stop squealing while you're driving because it's warmer or because it isn't as worn out yet.

Caradiodoc
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Thursday, October 28th, 2010 AT 4:39 PM

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