'98 5.0 pulley noise | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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'98 5.0 pulley noise


Active Member
May 16, 2002
Reaction score
City, State
Coatesville, PA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1998 XLT 5.0L AWD
I have a 1998 V8 AWD and about 4 days ago I noticed the motor sounded a bit loud. As the days went by it got louder and louder. I took off the belt, ran it and the noise was gone. Replaced the belt and it's back. I can't tell if it's coming from the PS pump, the upper idler pulley or the fan. Any ideas/suggestions? It sounds like a really deep (and loud) throaty groan and it increases as the RPMs go up.

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i had a whining noise coming from under my hood... it ended up being the idler pulley way down on th bottom of the serpentine run.... if you get up under that passenger side in the front and find the closest pulley youll see it.... it was 15 bucks from the auto parts store.... easy to replace... just take belt off and unbolt then rebolt.... there is one way to test though.... get a long piece of steel something.... like a crowbar or huge screwdriver or something.... as long as its metal.... with the motor running (be extremely careful) stick one end of the rod as close as is possible to a revolving part... for example the alternator... you would put it on the case of it.... then you want to stick your ear on the other end..... you will hear the vibrations and the bearing noise that get transferred through the steel.... do this to as much stuff as you can reach and see if you can find one taht sounds way worse than the others..... as i said before .... be EXTREMELY careful not to let the steel rod touch the moving pulleys

My lower idler pulley was going out too. It was easy to replace. We did the long screwdriver method and worked great.

I've narrowed it down to the PS pump (i think). I did the screwdriver method initially, but only got the noise from the PS pump bracket, not the pump itself. I picked up the pump (and the upper idler pulley to be safe) yesterday. While installing the pump, one of the mounting tabs (actually, the only one...the other 2 aren't really tabs) snapped right off w/ the bolt only 1/2 way threaded into it. I called the dealer and they said to bring it in and they'll swap it out free of charge. So I'm back at it tonight. If it's not the pump, I'm gonna do the lower idler and also the tensioner (just to be safe). If not them, then it's either the fan/clutch assembly or the H2O pump. I'm almost definate that it's the PS pump, though because of the screwdriver/ear method and also because I put the old one in (I'm in the 1 car club again...no alternative means of transportation) and the whine/groan is worse than ever. Wish me luck.
also...you guys amy want to try this...called a dealer (far from home) and got a quote of $165 for the pump. cCalled the local dealer and got a quote for $248 for the same thing...told 'em of the $165 quote and they matched it.

Well, as it turns out, it wasn't the PS pump...it was the water pump. The noise got louder and LOUDER the more I drove. Once I had the belt of (again) I spun the fan and, since the noise was soooo loud now, I was able to hear the grinding/groan from w/in. It should be fixed by 1300 hrs today (I have to wait for the pump to come in).

I've replaced the pump on mine. Make sure it's the right one. Some of them think 5.0L and automatically think mustang. The explorer pump is different than the mustang pump.
One important note though, make sure you remember exactly where each of those bolts go, there's a lot, so draw a picture on a cardboard box and stab em through the box.

Oh yeah...the bolt template is key for the H2O pump...also, if anyone else out there is gonna do one, you NEED the 2 specialty wrenches for the fan removal. The good thing is that Auto Zone has 'em. My roommate and I made one out of diamond plate (aluminum) and tried using it and a strap wrench, but it kept bending. One phonecall to the Zone and I was back at it, though. Everything's fine now and the 'sploder's running great!

Oh yeah, totally forgot about the tool. It's a ford fan clutch wrench set. One goes over the bolts on the pulley and the other one goes over the nuts. You can pick it up at pep boys. I recommend renting them from them, don't buy the tool because when I went over there, the tool that went over the bolts on the pulley wasn't large enough.

Ahh, the fan clutch tools. I wnet through the same exercise with making one and it not working, only to find out you can "rent" it from Murray's for free! You put in a deposite, use it, return it and get deposit back. They figure you are buying the parts from them instead of having a shop install it, so they help you out with the specialty tools. They have several other specialty tools for "rent" as well.

I had the same problem with the larger wrench. It is designed for the mustang, which has a smaller bolt spacing on the pulley.