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Discussion Starter #1
Please help!

Yesterday, I noticed a loud sound (almost sharp grinding-like) under the hood. The noise exsist when idle and increases with acceleration.
After popping the hood, I found that it originates from where one of the accessories connected to a belt. Its the topmost accessory on the southwest side of the engine block. I checked all the fluids, everything looks OK. And I still don't notice any performance issues when driving.

I am not a very technical person, so I have no idea what this is. I'm guessing the power steering pump (?).

Can somebody please point out where I can find a visual diagram of parts under the hood so I can better diagnose this problem?
And what do you suggest I do? Is it safe to drive to the nearest mechanic with this noise?

Thanks in advance for your help.
 

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when you say "the southwest side of the engine block" you might want to include a map of your engine and what kind of accessory did you attach???
 

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The belt could need replacing and/or adjusting. If it's not the belt, then more than likely the power steering pump. Ford has had loud steering pumps before in the 90's, I haven't heard much about the new ones going out really.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
quiksilver said:
when you say "the southwest side of the engine block" you might want to include a map of your engine and what kind of accessory did you attach???
I'll try to upload a photo later, but I'm still not sure how to do it yet. [:(]
Do you know any numbered diagrams I can refer to? Been searching all morning but still can't find any. I have a plain vanilla Focus LX.

I'm referring to the very top accesory connected to the belt. I know this doesn't help much, but you all sound so much more experienced that I am. [thumb]
 

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Altenator. Like i said though, it could just be the belt worn out, or the tensioner is shot. Don't just assume it's the altenator.
 

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Grinding noise is not the belt plain and simple. A grinding noise from the one of the accessories on the engine is definitely a bearing failure. Also when the diode trio in the alt go bad they themselves will make a similar sound. Either way if it is coming from the alt then just replace it. You can use a long screw driver or a mechanics stethescope and put it on the alt housing towards the front and rear of the housing and listen with engine running. That growling sound will be nice and loud. If not and you can hear it though look elsewhere casue the sound is just innferred, if you find it it will be real loud. Have seen front and rear bearings go bad before so. Also there is no adjustment to the belt, it has a automatic tensioner.
 

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Do you put your pants on with this much confidence? He said sharp grinding like...not grinding. It could be the belt sliping, which screeches just like a bearing does sometimes.
 

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"It could be the belt slipping"

Well, acouple of ways to differentiate;

(1) While listening to the engine, rev it up. A slipping belt will generally screech the most during the CHANGE in speed, while an alternator bearing is mostly related to the absolute speed, not the fact that it is changing.

(2) Crank the steering all the way over "to the lock" and hold it a few seconds. This won't make much difference to an alternator bearing, but if the belt is slipping, it generally would noticably increase the slipping noise.

These two aren't foolproof test, but they do give a good indication.
 

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I agree penhuin. I was basically trying to say, is check the easy stuff first. Obiously, the thread starter isn't mechanically skilled as some of us, and they tend to listen to what part to just go ahead and replace. If it's not the altenator bearing, he'll be coming back and asking why someone told him to replace a part, and it wasn't it. I'm not disagreeing that's it's the altenator bearing.

Remember everyone, this is the internet, not a online dealership service writer forum.
 

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"check the easy stuff first"

Yup, that's my approach as well. One would hate to go to the cost and/or effort of replacing an alternator if it simply was an old belt or weak belt tensioner.

But I wish people would give the mileage on their vehicles when they ask questions. If it has 20K on it, I would doubt that the belt tensioner was the problem. If it had 100K on it, a bad belt or tensioner would look more promising, as compared to alternators, whose failure seems less correlated to time and mileage, and often seems to be just "the luck of the draw," e.g., I have seen alternators working quite well at 200,000 miles and alternators that have failed at 5,000 miles... but I've never seen a belt or tensioner fail at 5,000 miles and have never seen a belt last 200,000 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Mileage is about 38k.

BTW, just to report back it to all of you. I just returned from Monro and it turned out that the power steering pump had gone bad. This caused the grinding noise. This is what BagginWagon and I thought.

I had my car checked a week ago, and they had seen that the steering column was leaking fluid. But I didn't have the money to fix it, and I thought it could wait. Bad mistake! Now I must pay the price and replace the steering column plus the pump.

Today, my heart sank when the mechanic said "this is gonna hurt but..."
Total estimated bill $800 - $900. No warranty.
 

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See, if you would've listened to that "Factory Certified Ford, Lincoln, Mercury Technician" you would've been replacing parts that weren't bad. So the power steering rack was leaking, and the pump ran dry, and fried. How come you didn't check the fluid and add as it got low?
 

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"I had my car checked a week ago, and they had seen that the steering column was leaking fluid."

That would have been a rather helpful piece of information to include in the original posting of the problem.
 

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Ok first off I said that if the alt is grinding replace it, if is the key word. Then I went on to say that to be sure listen to the front and back ends of the alt housing, and IF THE NOISE IS REAL LOUD REPLACE IT THE BEARINGS ARE SHOT, IF NOT IT IS INFFERERED KEEP CHECKING THE OTHER ACCESSORIES. I never said well ge golly if ya think its the alt go ahead and change it why not. All I am doing is trying to help the less mechanically inclined instead of getting screwed by and independent shop. I told you it was not the belt. Oh and BagginWagon dont nock me cause you got mad I dismissed your belt idea right away. I know what I am talking about! My fleet of 40 Hummers and other tacticle vehicle that I was in charge of in the Marine Corps didnt make the 500 mile trek north to baghdad and back by guessing what part is bad. I think my Navy and Marine Corps Achievment Medal for that says enough. Just in case maybe my degree from Universal Technical Institute, or possibly one of my 5 of the 8 Ford Factory certifcations, or maybe my 6 ASE Certifications, and 7 years day in day out experience of working on these cars and trucks. What have you got Shade tree?
 

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Ford has had loud steering pumps before in the 90's, I haven't heard much about the new ones going out really.
Surprised you havent heard anything about the new Ford power steering pumps BagginWagon. The old ones the C2 were noisy and problematic. But guess what the new C3 pump which is on the focus and many other new Fords are just as bad if not worse. I replace about 3 a week for leaks and such. I replace C2 pumps about 1 every couple of months. The new C3 are just as problematic but you wouldn't know about that becuase you dont work on these things everyday, but go ahead and keep questioning my knowledge it's a free country.
 

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Sorry pal, I'm with BagginWagon. From past experience, "Factory Certified Ford, Lincoln, Mercury Technician" envokes more fear in me than confidence.
 

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More fear where at the dealer great I know dealers are pricey. Just trying to help on forums and give correct advice. Guess what the price is free and I am not making anything off telling you what your problem may be and how to diagnose it properly. All you guys do is whine cause I put your ideas to shame. I am sorrry for trying to help out less mechanically inclined people that are strapped for cash.
 

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makuloco2000 said:
Ok first off I said that if the alt is grinding replace it, if is the key word. Then I went on to say that to be sure listen to the front and back ends of the alt housing, and IF THE NOISE IS REAL LOUD REPLACE IT THE BEARINGS ARE SHOT, IF NOT IT IS INFFERERED KEEP CHECKING THE OTHER ACCESSORIES. I never said well ge golly if ya think its the alt go ahead and change it why not. All I am doing is trying to help the less mechanically inclined instead of getting screwed by and independent shop. I told you it was not the belt. Oh and BagginWagon dont nock me cause you got mad I dismissed your belt idea right away. I know what I am talking about! My fleet of 40 Hummers and other tacticle vehicle that I was in charge of in the Marine Corps didnt make the 500 mile trek north to baghdad and back by guessing what part is bad. I think my Navy and Marine Corps Achievment Medal for that says enough. Just in case maybe my degree from Universal Technical Institute, or possibly one of my 5 of the 8 Ford Factory certifcations, or maybe my 6 ASE Certifications, and 7 years day in day out experience of working on these cars and trucks. What have you got Shade tree?

[giggle] Panties in a bunch today? or is that everyday? You damn Marine Corps have issues.

By the way, i build Corvette race cars if you must know. I suppose the 69 Cuda 426 HEMI 775 HP i built means nothing.

I'm stupid. You're right, I'm wrong. Is that what you wanted to hear?[rolleyes]
 
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