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Discussion Starter #1
Ok guys, help a girl out.

2000 Auto Zetec 16v ....

Is making a chirping sound when it shifts from (I believe) 2nd to 3rd and vice versa. It isn't loud and I don't feel anything, just hear this "chirp" (or squeak). Check transaxle light is NOT on. Neither is Check engine light.

I suspect it's something within the transmission but am wondering if anyone else has experienced this and if so, what it is and how do I fix it.

I read in another post how I could get repair codes from my engine and am wondering if something like this would show up if none of my "problem" lights are on?
 

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Captain TMI
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I would gander a guess that it's one of the motor mounts which is rubbing or has debris stuck in it. These generally make a thunking sound, but if something was stuck in there- like a rock, it could make a chirping scraping sound.

It could also be something even more simple such as an idler pulley or tensioner on the accessory belt. See if you can cause the sound while the vehicle is not moving. I'd try starting the car, allow it to reach a normal idle, or drive around until the engine is warmed up- then allow it to idle. While the engine is idling, turn on the AC and see if you hear the sound. If you do, the sound could be caused by one of several things. First, I'd check the accessory belt. Look for signs of fabric showing through the rubber back of the belt, and turn the belt if you can to look at the ribs on the underside of the belt. If you see missing chunks of ribs, or fabric- then you need a new belt. Ask your mechanic to check the idler or/and tensioner pulley to be sure that the bearings are in good order.

As far as a motor mount- if you're not experiencing some of the other common motor mount problems: shaking and thunks under hard acceleration, then I'd say that I'm wrong about that cause.

Why would a belt cause a chirp when changing gears? Because you'll generally notice signs of belt problems when the engine changes rpm suddenly, like when you change gears. The damage might not be so severe that you'd hear it when accelerating or when starting the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The only time it makes the noise is when I feel the car shift from one gear to another.

I had my oil changed recently and the mechanic took it for spin to see if he could hear it. I described it to him as a faint squeak and upon returning he confirmed he heard a definite "chirp". He told me it was most likely related to the transmission, maybe a solenoid but freely admitted he knew little about transmissions.

I'm left with taking it to a trans shop and somehow I don't think anything is an easy job there! (maybe I'm being a pessimist?)
 

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Captain TMI
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Well, even if it is in the transmission, which is possible, you really should wait until the problem becomes more prevalent before worrying about it. I know that seems terrible to say, but if it's a sign of something more serious, then more signs will follow. Other than changing the fluid and filter, there's not much in the way of preventative maintenance for transmissions that's cost effective. Sometimes there are car problems that can't be effectively pinned down until the problem becomes worse. Kudos to your mechanic for not taking advantage of a problem like that to get some more money out of you.

First off, check your fluid level and appearance as directed by the manual. If the fluid is dirty or smells burnt, then a filter change would be a good idea at this point. "Chirping" is not a symptom of a filter in need of changing, so I doubt it will fix it. In fact, I don't really know of a transmission problem other than low fluid that would cause a chirp, and low fluid would cause other problems just like a dirty filter would cause other problems.

Be wary of transmission shops charging you for a new transmission or transmission repairs that you don't really need at the moment. If the problem is not causing anything serious like bucking, shifting misses, or sudden drops then it's not a serious transmission problem.
 

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Bewst Anyone!!!
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And even if you decide to take it to a transmission shop, have them tell you whats wrong and how they are going to fix it. And then come back here and tell us and might be able to tell you if they are blowing smoke or not.
 

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Due to the car having a load on it when she is hearing this noise it makes me suspect a bad motor mount some where. I had a similar situation with a previous car and had found out that the motor mount wore out on the passenger side and was rocking the engine back and forth and the chirping was caused by how it rubbed a certain way on the side. If that is not it I have no clue what to offer, I have never heard of an ATX on any car chirp before though. It has always been caused by metal running over some other metal with a hop on it causing it to chirp rather than grind.
 

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mine is doing the same thing. its deffinatly the tranny. ive actually let mine go..and its slipping when goin into gear if i push it hard. so yes...it is the tranny. as for what it is, im not certain. ill keep watchin this thread so maybe i can also get an answer.
 

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Captain TMI
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Ahhh, ^^ Now that can be repaired because the problem is enough to identify that it's likely to be clutch packs.

If I were you kttnmthkngs420, I'd start searching local junkyards for a suitable replacement, and start planning for the project.
 

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oh man. i dunno if i have the technical know how to do that. lol. i mean id like to think i know a lil somethin somethin but...when it comes to trannies, i freeze up. lol. the fluid has been changed about a month and a half ago by ford (it went in for a different reason, but it was there so i told em to do it). u would think if it was a motor mount, it would chirp whenever u hit the gas from the torque of the motor...not just when it goes into gear.

so how hard of a project would this be?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, at least there's someone else out there that hears the "chirp"... and it's definitely related to changing gears.

I still plan to take it down to my local autozone and see if they can get any diagnostic codes from it but It's not effecting the driving now so I guess I'll wait... and see .... I'll be sure and carry my cell with me from now on.
I will post back with any info. Thanks all for your input.

ps. The mechanic who confirmed the noise deserves a medal!
He:
1. Listened to why I was there! Needed oil change, a squeak, and a foul smell in car.
2. Showed me the undercarriage of my car, discounting my muffler as the source of noise (in good shape) and described a potential source of noise as the stabilizers (something about how they get loose over time and begin to make a pinging sound).
3. Changed my oil
4. Found a rat's nest near my air intake, behind the cover near my dash (took the time to show it to me) and cleaned it out. yuck!
5. Took my car out for test to see if he could hear the noise, and confirmed it was a "chirp" when changing gears.
6. Charged me $41. ($21=oil change, $20=rats nest)

Great deal and I will go back. (Trust goes a loooonnng way.)
 

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Captain TMI
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4. Found a rat's nest near my air intake, behind the cover near my dash (took the time to show it to me) and cleaned it out. yuck!
Whoa.. I could tell you some stories about mice, rats, ants, and cars. Hopefully they didn't eat too much insulation off the wiring near where they slept- if not, they were probably eating well elsewhere.

It sounds like you have a good mechanic there. You might want to have him check the transmission fluid to see if it needs changing or is low. That can can cause a chirping sound when changing gears.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It sounds like you have a good mechanic there. You might want to have him check the transmission fluid to see if it needs changing or is low. That can can cause a chirping sound when changing gears.
For some reason (I'm not sure why) I love my car. It's had umpteen recalls and some really frustrating things - water leak, I think it's finally fixed!, brakes that squeak on occasion (again with the noises!) and leave dust on the rims -but it's got everything I need in it: room for 4, an engine that zips me in and out of tights spots when needed and is long paid for with 49k miles. I think she's a keeper.

Ya know, all this talk has gotten me interested in taking a more proactive role in the care of my car. lol. I think I just might be able to handle checking and adding transmission fluid. Now if i can just figure out what that other dipstick is for. jk Thanks for the suggestion. I will try that.
 

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MyCarBreaksAlot
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Just to save you a trip I doubt they will be able to pull any meaningful diagnostic codes if any. That's usually when the check engine light comes on, and unfortunately the Focus does not have a "chirp recognition system." [hihi]

Wouldn't hurt to check out your trans fluid. At 50k miles I bet if you haven't done anything with it it hasn't been changed. You're supposed to do it every 30 or so but I know I waited a little longer than that myself. Take the car for a spin and run it through the gears including reverse before you check the level, and see if the trans fluid looks nasty (should be close to a clear reddish/pink, not brown) and if it has a strong smelly odor (that's old). Seems like that stuff smells like gross fish when it's old.
 

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A few years back, Nissan produced a batch of automatics (in Quests I think) that definitely made a chirp sound when they shifted......it happened after they got to be a year old or so.

The factory fix.....two small bottles of a trans fluid additive. I don't remember the exact explanation, but it was a permanent fix.

There are a number of transmission additives you could try.....check out Auto Zone, and read the labels.
 

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MyCarBreaksAlot
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Well regardless of whether or not it will fix the noise problem I'm betting it needs to be changed anyway lol
 

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Discussion Starter #19
... the Focus does not have a "chirp recognition system." [hihi]
[hihi] LOL

Wouldn't hurt to check out your trans fluid. At 50k miles I bet if you haven't done anything with it it hasn't been changed. You're supposed to do it every 30 or so but I know I waited a little longer than that myself. Take the car for a spin and run it through the gears including reverse before you check the level, and see if the trans fluid looks nasty (should be close to a clear reddish/pink, not brown) and if it has a strong smelly odor (that's old). Seems like that stuff smells like gross fish when it's old.
sheezzz.. I just got rid of the smelly RATS NEST!!! [rolleyes]

i did check the trans fluid and it was brownish which was why I initially thought it was oil... til I saw the lid that said "OIL" near another dipstick [???:)]. [thumb] I will do this and let you know.
 

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MyCarBreaksAlot
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Since it is brown that's a good sign it's old. But if you want to double check, blot it on a paper towel or something, see if it leaves a little dirty spot or if it spreads out cleanly like water would. If it looks nasty, that's your cue to change it. Also a burnt smell indicates it's time for a change.
 
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