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Cold Weather noises

BUmmedic

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City, State
Rochester, NY
Year, Model & Trim Level
'03 LTD Centennial Ed. V6
I bought a used 2003 Ford Explorer Limited Centennial with 60-62K miles on it (can't remember exactly) in exquisite condition, and there was never a problem when the weather was warmer, but now that it's gotten colder, I'm starting to notice certain noises on startup or immediately afterwards during the warm-up period.

1. A cracking/crunching/fast clicking noise (hard to describe) coming from the bottom of my radio/fan control console that sounds like fan blades, etc. clicking on startup. This happens as soon as my key hits the ACC setting (before the engine actually kicks over and starts). This happens every time I start up the car (if cold... not if I run an errand and get back out to the lot within a reasonable amount of time), and I started to notice it when the temp started to fall below around 50 degrees.

2. A high-pitched whine (sometimes soft, infrequently loud) that I first noticed a couple days ago while driving in a parking garage shortly after starting the car. Temp was ~ 34 degrees. It came and went several times during the entire 25 minute drive (only really loud once). It happened twice during another drive, and this morning, it happened as soon as the engine kicked on (temp ~ 16 degrees) and lasted about 3 seconds before going away, and I didn't hear it again.

3. This isn't just a cold weather sound, but I have noticed the 50-63ish mph drivetrain humming/whining from the back of the vehicle since I first started listening for it after reading about it in this forum. It's more noticeable after driving for a little while and the car is warmed up, but it's there.

The first two noises are more annoying than anything... the first definitely sounds like a local mechanical issue within the console, but the 2nd and 3rd make me think that something more serious may be going on. I purchased the extended BaseCARE warranty which covers me until 2009 or 96K miles, and am nearing my first scheduled oil change and need to make an appointment for end of Dec or early Jan. I will try to have the mech's look at these issues then, but we all know about noises and the probability of mech's actually hearing them... any ideas or suggestions? Thanks in advance.
 


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BUmmedic

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Rochester, NY
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'03 LTD Centennial Ed. V6
2. A high-pitched whine (sometimes soft, infrequently loud) that I first noticed a couple days ago while driving in a parking garage shortly after starting the car. Temp was ~ 34 degrees. It came and went several times during the entire 25 minute drive (only really loud once). It happened twice during another drive, and this morning, it happened as soon as the engine kicked on (temp ~ 16 degrees) and lasted about 3 seconds before going away, and I didn't hear it again.

Noticed yesterday that this was coming from the engine compartment, as it was quite loud and occurred as soon as I started the engined. Happened twice and then nothing for the remainder of the drive.

Thanks for any thoughts.
 




Old As Dirt

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ROANOKE
Year, Model & Trim Level
17 XLT
1. Sounds like trash in the fan/blower of the heating/AC. Squirrels?
2. Sounds like alternator whine.
3. Thin gear oil in differential (maybe) - change to spec with new.
 




BUmmedic

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'03 LTD Centennial Ed. V6
1. Sounds like trash in the fan/blower of the heating/AC. Squirrels?
2. Sounds like alternator whine.
3. Thin gear oil in differential (maybe) - change to spec with new.

If it's trash in the fan/blower, then wouldn't I hear it no matter what the outside temp is? I've only been noticing it since the temp started to drop below 45-50ish.

As for the alternator and differential, I'll try to address these at my service. Thanks.
 




Nevea'sExplorer

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Pittsfield, Ma
Year, Model & Trim Level
02 4.0 XLT 4x4 5R55W 3.55
If it's trash in the fan/blower, then wouldn't I hear it no matter what the outside temp is? I've only been noticing it since the temp started to drop below 45-50ish.

As for the alternator and differential, I'll try to address these at my service. Thanks.

It could be something like leaves or those flying things that spin when falling to the ground. They get stiffer in the cold weather and crackle if you try and bend them. But in the warm weather they just bend without much resistant or noise.
 




Old As Dirt

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17 XLT
Leaves and especially pine needles tend to fall this time of year. Pine needles, if you have them, are really bad about working their way into such spaces.
 




rancherlee

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Eveleth MN
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02' Mounty 4.6 AWD
your #1 sounds like one of the blend doors under the dash, mine does this also and the colder is gets the louder it is. when you shut your rig off all the climate control blend doors close. As soon as the key hits ACC when starting they go back to there position they were at last time it was running.
 




bigapple

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'02 XLS Touring
i have the exact same problem... start ur car, put it in drive, engage the park brake and pop ur hood.... the sound is most likely comming from ur belt tensioner
 




BUmmedic

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Rochester, NY
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'03 LTD Centennial Ed. V6
i have the exact same problem... start ur car, put it in drive, engage the park brake and pop ur hood.... the sound is most likely comming from ur belt tensioner


I assume you're referring to the high-pitched whine, right?

Also, for those talking about blend doors, is there any way to get rid of this sound? WD40, other lubricant, etc.? Thanks.
 




bigapple

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'02 XLS Touring
well no the sound i heard was a rattling/crunching noise comming from the tensioner... its pretty audible on a startup but i also hear it when i drive around about 3500 rpms... not too sure wut it is but its not messing up anything so ill prolly just wait for it to actually be a problem
 




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