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Noise, Vibration, and now "Bucking"

Discussion in 'Ford ZX2' started by KCNC06, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. KCNC06

    KCNC06 Member

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    My 2000 Escort ZX2 has 176,300 miles on it. We replaced the clutch, axles, and mounts in August 2010. After replacing the clutch there was a little noise/vibration at certain RPM's since we didn't turn or replace the flywheel. I got used to that pretty quickly.

    A couple months ago I noticed a faint "whoop, whoop, whoop" (sounds kind of like a helicopter in the distance) sound while driving. It was more noticeable at low speeds and while coasting, at higher speeds the "whoop" sound gets faster but is more difficult to hear because its hidden by engine noise. The sound has been getting louder lately. I thought the sound was coming from the back end of the car, but now it sounds like it's closer to the middle.

    The car also seems to be running a little "rough" since having the clutch replaced. I think its been getting rougher lately too. There's a vibration in the steering wheel, shifter and peddles all the time but it seems to get worse at lower speeds. A few times in the past week I've thought the car was going to stall out while I was in first or second gear (slowing down to pass a police car on the side of the road, entering a parking lot, turning a corner, etc.). The noise that goes along with this vibration definitely seems to be coming from the front end of the car. Today it was so loud I'd be surprised if people walking past me in the parking lot weren't able to hear it. This noise is more of a "knocking/whirring" noise, the noise seems to go along with the vibration getting stronger and this new "bucking" that feels like the car is either about to stall or is trying to throw me out. ;-)

    There is also a pretty strong shutter/vibration when accelerating from a dead stop, upshifting through 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear and a shutter/vibration when I step on my breaks. (Front breaks were replaced about 9-10 months ago, don't think the rear breaks have ever been worked on.)

    We looked at the tires and they look fine (rear tires were replaced in August '09, 40,000 miles ago; front tires were replaced June '10 about 15,000 miles ago). The "whoop, whoop" noise, vibration, shutter, etc seem to get worse all the time. It was worse this afternoon than it was yesterday. Any suggestions on where we should look first for troubleshooting?
  2. Dominick

    Dominick Well-Known Member Respected Member

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    awww.fastoemparts.com_schematics_J_JK98290.gif I would start at looking at your axle and hub bearing assy.
    Is this the same one that Bohog told you how to check your mounts?
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  3. Dominick

    Dominick Well-Known Member Respected Member

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    I read through about 100 posts on your car this sounds like the best info I could find.
    I own a '99 model ZX2 with 110K on the clock. Apart from normal wear and tear items, no major issues. Timing belts and water pumps need to be replaced every 120K. Yeah, it costs a decent amount of money to do it, but compare that service interval to a Mitsu, Toyota, Kia, Hyundai, etc., that need it every 60K!
    These are not race cars. If you drive it like one, the tranny and other parts will fail prematurely. Drive it like a sporty-looking economy car and it will take care of it.
    I know some of you have maintained the vehicle to the best of your knowledge and have still had problems. Every manufacturer that builds CARS has a few out of every 1000 that will inherently have problems. It sucks when you get one. But, think about it this way. Ford sold HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of ZX2's. Like it or not, most of you that have had problems are in the minority.
    Oh, and if you want to fix the rough idle and bad vibration at idle, do 2 things.
    1. Clean/replace the MAF sensor. It is what "reads" the amount of air coming into the engine, and the PCM uses that info to adjust air/fuel mixture and therefore, idle quality.
    2. Replace all 3 mounts for the engine/tranny. There will be a "strut mount" located at the back of the engine. It looks like a dog bone. There is a mount located on top of the transmission underneath the air filter box. It looks like a pancake. Finally, the "torque axis mount" located at the front of the engine. (Or the left side of the engine if you are looking at it from the front) It looks like a donut suspended in air.
    Do these things and I bet that 99% of you will tell everyone how "smooth" your ZX2 idles.
    Whew, carpal tunnel setting in. How do I know all of this? Some of you may have figured it out... I am a Ford service manager. Hope some of this information helps some of you out there. Keep the bottom side down!
  4. Canuck623

    Canuck623 Well-Known Member Respected Member

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    One thing that happens to these DOHC versions is the transmission side of the crankshaft thrust bearing wears out and allows the crank to "float" back and forth. It is worse on manual transmission cars because the clutch adds extra pressure on the crank shaft. This wear can get bad enough that the gap on the CKP sensor goes off and the readings get jumbled. It can actually hit the sensor which causes stalling and no starts.
    Dominick likes this.
  5. KCNC06

    KCNC06 Member

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    I definitely don't drive like I'm in a racecar. My dad was looking at my old clutch over the weekend and was amazed by the condition of the clutch. I learned how to drive a stick on this car, had 166,000 on the original clutch and there wasn't much visible wear.

    When we replaced the clutch back in July or August we replaced the right and left front CV driveshafts. I think one of the old CV boots ripped during the process of taking everything apart to get to the clutch. I thought there were four motor/transmission mounts. I know we replaced at least two, the one that looked like a donut had no rubber left in it. I've assumed all that stuff we just replaced should still be good since it was just replaced six months ago. Though my experience should have taught me that sometimes you get faulty replacement parts (replaced the alternator several years ago and the replacement crapped out less than 20 minutes into my test drive). The timing belt was replaced about three or four years ago, not sure about a water pump...doubt that's been replaced yet.

    I had my husband go for a ride with me last night so he could hear/feel the noises/vibrations. Of course it wouldn't do the "bucking" thing that it had been doing yesterday afternoon. The bucking only happens at low speeds/rpms, and feels like I'm in too high of a gear for the speed I'm going. Anyway, it wouldn't do it again last night and hasn't done it yet today. It didn't even feel rough at idle last night or this morning, and the vibration upshifting from stop wasn't as intense.

    The vibration is still there, I can feel it in the peddles, steering wheel and shifter, not sure about anywhere else in the car because I'm never a passenger. I can't really tell if there are two different sounds or if the "whoop, whoop, whoop" has changed to this "wuh, wuh, wuh" (similar to "whoop", but not exactly).

    The noise/vibration also seems to be significantly worse on rougher roads, but even an average road feels rough and has quite a bit of "road noise". It almost sounds/feels like I'm driving on cobblestone most of the time. For the past couple weeks I've felt like the car is sitting lower than normal, and for a couple months I've thought the back end looks a lot lower when we have "heavy" stuff in the trunk. (Not talking massive amounts of weight, usually about 50-125 lbs of stuff will make it look lower to me.) Is there any suspension stuff that could wear out and make vibrations/noises?

    Another thing that seems a bit odd, but I'm not sure if it could be related, is that the serpentine belt seems to pop off very easily sometimes. It seems to be caused by water. It happened twice in one day in late August or early September, then twice in one day in December. The first time my husband had washed the car before it happened. I put the car in reverse and as soon as I rolled backwards the battery light came on. He put the belt back on, I put the car in reverse and it popped off again. After he put it back on the second time it didn't come off again until December. In December it had been raining, I put the car in reverse and battery light came on. Put the belt back on, drove about five miles down the road, had a little bit of water splash up when I drove through a shallow puddle on the edge of the road and the battery light came on. Went back home, put the belt back on, and so far it hasn't come off again.

    Despite the issues we've had with this car over the past year, I still love it. I think the ZX2 is an awesome little car. She gets excellent gas mileage (average around 31 mpg which is great when you commute an hour each way for work), and has just enough pep for me. I don't think the mechanical issues we've run into this year are unexpected. For an 11 yr old car with over 176,000 miles that only cost like $11,000, I think she's held up much better than anyone expected.
  6. KCNC06

    KCNC06 Member

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    I think I forgot to mention this - I haven't actually experienced any stalls or no starts. A few slow starts here and there, but I've attributed that to corrosion on the battery connections. The only time I've experienced stalling is when my brain and feet aren't communicating well and I don't get the clutch/gas ratio right. ...But I suppose if we were just in the earlier stages of the crankshaft thingy going out I'd only see the "almost" stall and "almost" no start?
  7. Boghog

    Boghog Well-Known Member Respected Member

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    I thought I would post this before I loose my internet connection.It is rather long but gives you a lot of insight in looking for vibrations and rattles.

    Attached Files:

    • NHV.pdf
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  8. Dominick

    Dominick Well-Known Member Respected Member

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    awww.fastoemparts.com_schematics_J_JK98050.gif Read Bohogs and Canucks posts
    they are better above is the serpentine belt #3 pulley is w a/c you may check your lower pulley for build up in the grooves letting the belt jump off.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  9. Canuck623

    Canuck623 Well-Known Member Respected Member

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    If you have a DOHC engine I would be checking the crankshaft end play. As for the vibrations etc there are several TSB's dealing with this issue. One takes several hours to install the new parts and replace old ones.
  10. KCNC06

    KCNC06 Member

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    The noise/vibration changed today. Previously the "whoop, whoop, whoop" started as soon as the car started rolling. We put the car up on jack stands on Sunday, started her up and got her up into second gear. The sound wasn't a distinctive "whoop", but it was still there.

    This afternoon the "whoop" and vibration were there when I left work. Drove about 2-3 miles up the road, made a stop, got back in the car to head home and....no noise, no vibration. Stopped at the gas station, still no noise, no vibration...left the gas station, no noise, no vibration...until I got into third gear and 30 mph. I decided to pay close attention to the noise and vibration on the drive home, and sure enough every time I dropped below 30 mph the vibration would go away and I couldn't hear the sound anymore. As soon as I get past 30, the gas peddle, steering wheel and shifter start their vibration and the "whoop" is back. It seems to be completely related to the speed, not rpm's. The vibration and noise seem to be more noticeable when I let off the gas and coast/decelerate, but maybe that's just because the engine noise covers the "whoop".

    Dang symptoms changing weird me out a little. Last time I had a car that acted funky, then suddenly stopped its funky symptoms was a stinking BMW and the engine seized later that day. Bought my sweet little ZX2 the next day.
  11. KCNC06

    KCNC06 Member

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    I brought the car in to the shop today to have a mechanic take a test ride with me and look it over. He found a "dip" and a slight bulge on one of the back tires, unusual wear on a front tire - like it's over inflated, a broken ball joint and a broken sway bar end link. After he found those things I didn't ask him to look any deeper. Hopefully fixing these few things will keep her happy until I get ready to car shop.

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