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Noise, Vibration, and now "Bucking"

10974 Views 10 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  KCNC06
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?
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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.
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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?
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.
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