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Transmission Rattle?

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by Dalmus, August 5, 2011.

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    1. Dalmus

      Dalmus Member

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      So I solved my mysterious wobble issue, only to have a new issue creep up on me.

      When accelerating, from about 2,400 RPMs to 2,800 RPMs, I get a metallic rattle noise. Rattle isn't quite the right word... You know the sound you hear if you have a fan blade that is slightly out of alignment and it "ticks" against the grill? That's what this reminds me of.

      I do not get this when I rev the engine at idle, only when in drive and accelerating. I don't get this sound at all unless I hit those RPMs, and as soon as I pass 2.8K, it goes away. Once, I floored on the freeway, and I had the same noise, only "faster-sounding" right around 4K - 4.2K RPM's. I try never to be that hard on the pedal, so I haven't tried it since.

      This seems to happen in all gears, but happens less the longer the car has been driven. For example, at the end of a 3 hour trip up north, I don't get the sound again unless I stop the car for more than 5 minutes.

      I AM scheduled to have the tranny fluid drained and replaced (its been about 75K miles, so I'd be hesitant on having it flushed) next week.

      Is it possible that whatever drives the gears has somehow gone out of balance, and at that particular rotation rate creates the noise? Could it be as simple as burnt tranny fluid not providing enough lube?

      Any other ideas?
       
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    3. Dalmus

      Dalmus Member

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      {Bump}

      So, after doing a bit more research... It seems like its a very likely possibility that its the timing chain tensioner...

      Most of the posts I could find on THAT subject say that a dealer will want close to $2,000... This beast is definitely NOT worth that kind of money.

      Unfortunately, I don't have the necessary experience to trust doing the job myself... So what are the chances I could find a local shop that'll let me supply the parts and let them do the labor?
       
    4. Javadog123

      Javadog123 Member

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      If you let the shop do the work, let them buy the parts. You really are not sure just what the problem is or what parts you will need.

      Now if your ex isn't worth a lot of money, why not buy a good manual and try to fix it yourself? Just expect to take a long time and get frustrated, but if you pull it off you will not only save a huge chunk of cash, but you will be very satisfied with the job done.

      If that's too much to chance, try look on craig's list for a mobile mechanic. They may do it for a lot less than the shop.

      First though you need to be sure of the problem. That's where a good mechanic comes in. Good luck
       
    5. zeejm

      zeejm New Member

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      I had the exact same symptoms on my '03 4.6. It drove me %*$&% crazy. Ultimately the problem turned out to be the heat shield on catalytic converter. I had the cats replaced under warranty for a different reason and the rattle went away.
       
    6. Dalmus

      Dalmus Member

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      I had to replace the cats back in November... The heat shield already loosened and rattled (back in March) and was taken off.

      Unless there is more than one heat shield. I know there are three cats... maybe there are three heat shields? I'll have to crawl under there and take a look.

      Or maybe I should take the beast into a Ford dealership for an oil change, and let them find stuff that's wrong so that I can go to a local shop and have it confirmed/priced out...
       
    7. 94Eddie

      94Eddie Active Member

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      I have an '02 Explorer that has a metallic rattle. It turns out to be the torque converter. It is a common occurrence on the '02 model year but maybe you have an '03 that was built with a '02 type converter. It doesn't mean the converter is failing. They can run 100k plus miles doing this. I took mine to a transmission shop and they confirmed this is where the noise is coming from. If the sound disappears when the torque converter locks up when the transmission shifts into overdrive this may be the source of the sound.
       
    8. not8taxi

      not8taxi Active Member

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      x2 on this one...same sound here...did you ever fix it or are you just running the way it is?
       
    9. 94Eddie

      94Eddie Active Member

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      After talking to the transmission shop owner, I decided to live with it. I figure the odds are good for a transmission rebuild in the future and feel the $1,200 needed to swap the torque converter is better spent on that. Evidently this noise doesn't create any longevity issues so I may be living with it for a very long time as my Ex only has 50k miles on it.
       
    10. not8taxi

      not8taxi Active Member

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      my guy quoted me 600-700 for the torque convertor...i would do it but i mostly feel its pointless to drop a transmission with 110k on it and put it back in with a new torque convertor...then have the transmission blow up.... thanks for the quick response
       
    11. Dalmus

      Dalmus Member

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      Interesting... The noise disappears in overdrive. In fact, I ONLY hear it in 2nd and 3rd during acceleration, and only at the RPMs I mentioned (2200-2400, and again at 3600 if I'm really stomping the pedal). At the higher RPM, the sound does take on a higher pitch, which is why I was "liking" the tensioner idea.

      In excellent condition, the truck is only worth $4-5K. I'm sure I'd be lucky to get $3K for it... For a $600 repair, that's not bad... I guess that would be better than the $1,800+ for a timing chain repair.
       
    12. 94Eddie

      94Eddie Active Member

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      If it is a rattling torque converter then there is no need to replace it. The converter is working as designed. It just sounds like it is has rocks rattling around inside of it. Mine rattles the loudest at certain engine loads. At low load, or very light acceleration, I can barely hear it. At high engine load or harder acceleration the sound disappears. When the converter locks up the noise is completely gone. When I first heard it I thought it could be tensioner problem or the bottom of the engine was getting ready to drop into the oil pan. For something to sound so serious and be so unserious is very strange to me.
       
    13. Dalmus

      Dalmus Member

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      Figured I would come back and post the results...

      I crawled under the truck, and even after tapping the exhaust system, I didn't hear any rattling, but for fun, I ripped off the heat shielding (there were two heat shields left).

      Noise is gone... No converter problem, no timing chain problem. At least not that I know of! (Knock on wood)
       
    14. miker104

      miker104 Active Member

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      Even better that you found it before spending $$$ on timing chains or torque converter. Thanks for posting back what you found. It may help others.
       
    15. wanderer351

      wanderer351 Active Member

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      Thanks for updating!! getting ready to pick up a 2002 limited with exactly the same problem!...figureed it was something exterior rattling as it was too clear to be a tranny issue...

      I'll post back when I tear off the heat shields..LOL!!:D
       
    16. SteveCM

      SteveCM New Member

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      Just reading through your thread has been helpful with some ideas. I have a similar noise. It sounds like rattling chains or someone rattling a box of bolts, only around 3,000 RPM and not every time! I just had the tranny solenoid done, so I brought it back to the shop thinking it was related, mechanic checked transmission and test drove--said it was almost certainly the front driver's side Wheel Bearing (the noise is coming from that direction). It does vibrate and squeak (just a little) when turning as well--but the vibrate stops after a bit

      Does this make sense? I have a hard time believing it's a bearing when the noise goes away and doesn't continue. I too thought it was heat shields but I already patched mine up before, 2 yrs ago, and it doesn't make the noise when I accelerate in park or neutral--has to be driving.

      This noise is driving me crazy and I don't want to plop money on unrelated repairs! Any ideas?
       
    17. Dalmus

      Dalmus Member

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