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Old 09-10-2011, 09:29 PM   #1
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Odd buzzing and popping noises during acceleration

So the past month or two my Focus has been making different strange sounds. It's a 2003 ZX5 with a 5-speed and the 2.0L zetec.

Strange sound 1: After first starting the car, something makes a loud, angry buzzing noise right around 3000 RPM. I keep thinking it sounds like it's coming from somewhere aft of the engine. This noise goes away after I've driven 2-3 miles, and won't reoccur until the car has been shut off. My thought was a loose joint in the exhaust or a loose heatshield, but I poked around underneath and couldn't find anything loose.

Strange sound 2: Occasional rumbling or popping while accelerating under load, usually in 1st or 2nd gear. Almost sounds like the engine or transmission are creaking on their mounts. Unless it's the clutch wearing out? I haven't noticed any slippage, but I've never experienced a bad clutch, either.

Car just rolled over 100k on my way home today.

Any ideas? I intend to drive it till it dies, but I'd like it to at least hold out another year or two––the plug-in hybrid Escape that's supposedly coming in 2012 looks mighty attractive. No gas for my daily commute is a very nice deal.

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Old 09-10-2011, 10:45 PM   #2
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Strange sound 1: Pop the hood, start the engine, and see if you can identify where the sound is coming from. My first guess would be loose exhaust heat shield, however it could be an exhaust leak since it quiets down.

Strange sound2: Most likely your lower dogbone engine mount. Replacing that might solve strange sound 1 as well if it's related.

Clutch test: get moving about 15-20 mph in 1st gear, shift into 4th gear and floor it. The car will do one of 2 things. First: the engine will bog down and make a horrible grrrrr sound. Immediately push the clutch pedal down, your clutch is good. Second: the engine will go vrooooom, but the car won't move faster. Immediately push the clutch pedal in, and start saving for a new clutch. That's what slipping is. Soon you'll be doing that during any acceleration, and at some point the car will have to be towed. You might be able to make it last long enough to afford a new clutch if you're really careful with it. I would expect about one month more of driving before slipping starts to become a problem.
Be eclectic.
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