Belt or Pulley Squeal at Idle? | Ford Escort Owners Association (FEOA)
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Belt or Pulley Squeal at Idle?

Discussion in 'ZX2 1998-2004 2.0L DOHC' started by OrwellianChild, May 21, 2009.

  1. OrwellianChild

    OrwellianChild Guest

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    FINAL: 7/09/09 MetalGeek's excellent diagnosis and advice have solved it! The car has successfully made the trip between Seattle and Vancouver (and back) on a newly replaced (and inverted) "Crank Case Breather Element" from Rock Auto.

    UPDATED: 5/23/09 New info! Squealing only starts when the car has been running for a bit. By turning the wheel hard left while moving slowly or standing still, I can reproduce the noise most of the time. Does this lend anything to the diagnosis? Power-steering related?

    Also, I pulled the accessory belt to spin the pulleys a bit, but all seem relatively free to spin. Tensioner also appears healthy (though maybe I can't tell by simply moving everything by hand?).

    Thanks again for all the consideration!

    Original Message:

    Hi folks,

    Just acquired a 5-speed 2000 ZX2 in pretty fantastic shape. It runs fine with good power, etc. but it has developed a rather piercing squeak that often becomes a squeal at idle... Put on the throttle (even in neutral while stopped), and the squeal dies away, but it returns as soon as the engine drops to idle again... Has anyone encountered anything similar to this? I'm not opposed to digging in, but it would be a huge help to know where to look first.

    Many thanks!
    A
  2. pextor

    pextor Moderator Staff Member

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    sounds like one of the accessories or idlers is going bad. could be a timing component too.
  3. TexasTracer

    TexasTracer FEOA Member

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    I would check the serp. belt & tensioner first.
  4. FordMan59

    FordMan59 FEOA Member

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    Probably the belt just needs tightening. Most of the time when a belt is squealling and you give the car a little gas it will immediately stop squealing. Check the tension on the belt and tighten it if it's loose and see if the problem goes away.
  5. pextor

    pextor Moderator Staff Member

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    the serpentine tensioner is an auto-tensioner, you can't adjust it. the only one that you can "adjust" is the timing belt.
  6. OrwellianChild

    OrwellianChild Guest

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    I appreciate all the help, folks! I played around with it a bit more, and found some more info, which may or may not help. See the update on the parent post for more...

    A
  7. gamma500

    gamma500 Guest

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    Sounds like the serpentine belt is a bit worn and slips when the power steering pump is stressed..would put on a new belt, cheap enough, before investing in a pwer steering pump. Assume PS fluid level OK..while your're at it, change the PS fluid...remove old fluid from reservoir with turkey baster, refill and turn steering wheel several times to recirculate..repeat about 3 times(empty res.,etc.) to flush out most of the old stuff. Dextron II is cheap...1 liter generic brand for a couple bucks or less.
  8. FordMan59

    FordMan59 FEOA Member

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    Yeah, I forget these newer cars have the auto adjusting tentioner. My '88's you still have to do it manually. Antique I guess!! LOL
  9. MetalsGeek

    MetalsGeek FEOA Member

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    Here's another likely cause for ZX2 enine squeaks that otherwise sound a LOT like the serpentine belt or idlers. The Zetec engine in the ZX2 is sensitive to crankcase pressure. If the emissions system pulls it down to a vacuum of 10" or more, it makes the exhaust camshaft squeak at the timing pulley. This appears to be related to the variable cam timing mechanism, but I can't yet say whether it causes $ignificant damage. While the engine is running AND squeaking, remove the oil filler cap. If air rushes in and the squeak stops, you're golden. The cause of this condition is a clogged crankcase vent filter, Ford p/n F8CZ-6A768-AB, aka Motorcraft FA-1661. It's about $20 at a dealer, or $10 at RockAuto.com. This filter is located on the corner of the valve cover closest to the driver, and draws air from the air cleaner enclosure through a secondary air tube. It does not appear on the maintenance schedule because it SHOULD last the life of the vehicle. Unfortunately, this particular part has a design defect that results in premature clogging. If Ford did not have an army of attorneys on staff, it would probably be documented in a TSB. The good news is that you can correct this defect in about 5 minutes at NO cost. :wink:

    Note that the filter has a "radial" inlet (from the air cleaner) and an "axial" outlet (to the valve cover). Disconnect the rubber tubing from the radial inlet. Locate a pointy object about 1/4" in diameter that will just fit into the filter inlet tube. A skinny pencil or a new (sharp) #2 Philips screwdriver should do fine. Insert it into the filter inlet tube and gently push & twist until it reaches the opposite side of the filter can, about 2 inches. The goal is to create a hole through the "rats nest" filter element. Your may want to start with something small like an awl or ice pick and work your way up. This will create additional surface area on the filter element, and will NOT otherwise impair its function. Reconnect the rubber hose and you're done. An alternate approach for the faint of heart is to buy a new filter and install it BACKWARDS. The defect exists only on the RADIAL port when used as an INLET. The axial port does not have this defect, and since the filter element is symmetrical, it works perfectly well when installed backwards.

    My wife's car gave me the vapors for quite a while on this one. :evil: I cut the old filter can apart on my lathe to learn of the design flaw.
  10. OrwellianChild

    OrwellianChild Guest

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    I was able to test MetalsGeek's suggestion, and lo and behold... Air rushes in the oil filler cap, and the noise stops! Part ordered, I'll install the new one in reverse when it comes and see how it goes!

    MetalsGeek - did you create an account just to post this? You're a lifesaver if this works! (I was beginning to craft the headlines in my mind: "Man driven to insanity over squeaky wheel")
  11. MetalsGeek

    MetalsGeek FEOA Member

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    OC, I'm thrilled this worked out for you. I learned of the underlying cause from other internet postings, but the filter design defect was my own discovery. Yes, I signed up with FEOA in order to post that writeup. Your success makes it well worth the effort. I'm sure most ZX2's have this very problem, so other owners are likely to benefit too. Google's web crawler has already picked up this posting!

    If you can't install a new filter right away, DO poke a screwdriver into the inlet port on the old filter. We don't know how much damage that squeak is doing, and we sure don't want to find out the hard way. :cry: It really won't adversely affect the filter.

    I'm certain Ford is aware of this problem, and frustrated that there seems to be no way for them to share the wisdom (as on a TSB) without incurring the liability of limitless warranty work.

    I assume from your creative nickname that you're 25 years old, right?
  12. OrwellianChild

    OrwellianChild Guest

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    See the update to the original post for problem resolution!
  13. aaronisu

    aaronisu New Member

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    MetalsGeek for president! As he created a new account just to answer the question, so I have also created a new account just to thank him! THANK YOU, METALSGEEK!
  14. winterfellian

    winterfellian FEOA Member

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    Would anyone be able to give more detail where the crankcase vent filter is? And what it looks like? I'm not very car savvy and can't really afford going to the mechanics, plus, I would rather learn and do it myself. I'd appreciate the help
  15. 04Svt

    04Svt FEOA Member

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    My neighbors car is doing the same thing.
    He thinks its the powersteering pump.
    I was thinking idlers.

    We did the breather thing and it didnt work.
    Idlers , tensioner and even alternator.
    The alternator bearing wad making a little noise .
    I think the alt helped a little but marginal.
    Anyone have any other thoughts?
    Im thinking it could be the exhaust cam variable can timing?
  16. 04Svt

    04Svt FEOA Member

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    We ended up doing the power steering pump and that fixed it.
    The power steering pump phisically worked but had an annoying squeek in this cars case. Hopefully this may help someone in the future.

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