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I have a 1997 e250 that makes a horrible grinding noise under acceleration. Here are some things to note.

-The grinding only happens during anything above light/moderate acceleration
-It only happens in the first couple gears and goes away at higher speeds in the highway
-Trans fluid is red and when I pull out the dip stick it's completely covering the white part so I assume it's full
-Rear differential oil was just changed and noise still exists
-Does not happen in reverse (maybe because I don't accelerate as hard in reverse)
-It has new universal joint
-It sounds like it's coming from the back but it's hard to tell

If anyone has any ideas on what this may be let me know please! I'll attach a video it's very hard to hear the noise but it starts for about half a second.
 

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Welcome to the FFO!

It may be part of the exhaust system hitting the vehicle.
Maybe the motor mounts are loose or worn allowing the engine to move too much.
With someone else shifting, look at the engine when that person moves the shifter from D to R and their foot is on the brake.
Is it possible to make the sound by shifting into drive, keeping one foot on the brake and accelerating?

How long has this occurred?
How does the transmission fluid smell? (burned?)

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Discussion Starter #3
Welcome to the FFO!

It may be part of the exhaust system hitting the vehicle.
Maybe the motor mounts are loose or worn allowing the engine to move too much.
With someone else shifting, look at the engine when that person moves the shifter from D to R and their foot is on the brake.
Is it possible to make the sound by shifting into drive, keeping one foot on the brake and accelerating?

How long has this occurred?
How does the transmission fluid smell? (burned?)

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The fluid does not smell burned. I have revved the engine in park with no noise. I'll have to try in drive with the brake on next time I'm at the van.
 

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I have revved the engine in park with no noise. I'll have to try in drive with the brake on next time I'm at the van.
Awesome, post back with that result.

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Some of the E series vans have a metal exhaust shield near the rear of the exhaust that get loose and cause a noise
They are attached to the floor pan
 

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Looks like it only does it when the wheels are spinning.
That's too bad because it is harder to diagnose.

I suggest driving around with another person to isolate the area of the vehicle the sound is coming from.

May be some thing on or around tire/wheel or maybe driveline

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Check axle fluid level. Not sure why the fluid was changed. And may be the level is incorrect.

Does the sound occur in turns at all?

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Discussion Starter #10
It occurs in turns and straight. We changed the fluid because we thought that was the issue. The Diff seems fine though.



Here is a video of the sound if helpful.
 

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I think I hear it. However traveling over gravel brings in some added sound.

This is called NVH at Ford. Noise, Vibration Harshness. There is a section in the truck shop manual devoted to diagnosis and repair.

For diagnosis that I recommend is isolation. The sound needs to be isolated in the vehicle. The thing you have going is the sound CAN be repeated or duplicated. Some NVH issues are random and duplicating the sound is not controllable. To isolate, I would ask the questions
Is it coming from the front or rear?
Left or right
Is this a drive line issue? Transmission, drive shaft rear axle
Or is it related to a wheel and hub assembly?
As stated above it could be exhaust shielding or exhaust system or some other piece that is vibrating under that circumstance.

Once you have a general idea of location, you can focus on that area. Is it external or internal to an assembly?

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Does it happen when both wheels are off the ground?
Another thing to check is have someone put the car in gear and with the brakes applied have them give it some gas while you watch the lower pulley on the crankshaft. Then have them alternate between drive and reverse. If there's a noticeable shift in the pulley the thrust bearing or the crank could be worn. The crankshaft shifting in the block can cause noise because everything connected can have interference inside the engine as well as outside. Timing chain, gears etc. Also flexplate grinding.

I've seen it happen.
Steve
 
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