Since this thread has continued to get replies, I thought I would chime back in.
Here are observations for my car. Some of these seem to conflict with what others have posted in this thread:
- My car's "click-click-click-whir" sound only occurs when the engine is cold. I still don't know how long after running it becomes cold enough for this to occur. Where I live it's 35-55F lately, but probably a bit warmer in my garage where the noise is most noticeable. It may not even have anything to do with engine/ambient temperature - maybe it's just the amount of time since the engine was stopped.
- I'm sure it isn't the grill shutters since I looked at them and they aren't moving.
- I don't think it is the auto transmission (DCT). The sound and vibration I feel don't seem to be buried down that far. But I could certainly be wrong.
- It doesn't matter if my headlights are set to Auto or Off.
- So far I've only noticed it when the drivers door is first opened (no key in the ignition). Someone mentioned it happening at the dealer when the key is inserted (implying the engine is warm), but I haven't tried that yet.
- I just timed it, and it did happen repeatedly over exactly three minutes, then stopped. During that three minutes (from opening the driver door), there were twenty cycles of the noise. It is very periodic, and on my car at least it happens right around every nine seconds.
I can understand the car doing mysterious things for calibration, self-test, etc just before it expects to be started. But to do it twenty times over three minutes doesn't seem right. Why would it have to keep doing this over and over if it's a self-test or calibration? To me that smells like self-test/calibration failing over and over, but the software thankfully has a limit on how many times it retries. I could be way off base, but that's my thinking.
This does not seem to have any negative impact on the operation of my car, so it still isn't a huge worry for me. Since we do have Ford representitives monitoring this forum, can't one of them ask internally what this is, and how many times it should be happening when the drivers door is opened (or any other situations that trigger it)? I would like to know, but bringing it in for service is a huge pain - especially since probably all they will do is check for OBD faults, find none, and tell me "it's normal". Or maybe I'm being too cynical.