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I have a 2001 Bull LX. When I bought him he had a noise that sounded like a loose piece of tin somewhere in the engine or in the engine compartment. I still had plenty of power so I didn’t worry about it.

I took a drive from San Francisco to LA recently. That means a drive over the Tejon Pass (the Grapevine) in Interstate 5. I was going the speed limit, around 75 MPH when I started the climb. All of a sudden I was going 40 MPH and the engine was shaking like mad and the temperature skyrocketed.

It turns out that I had sucked the intake valve on the #3 cylinder and burned an intake valve on #5. I had to rebuild the top end and replace all the valves, head gasket, oil, coolant, and then put it all back together again. It took four days and a stay at a Motel 6.

When I was finished the rattling sound was gone and I had even more power than I did before!

Moral of the story: If you hear a rattling sound in your car, it’s probably the sound of a valve job coming your way. Don’t do what I did and get it fixed before any road trips!!!
 

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Ignoring small items turn into large repairs. Could have been as simple as cleaning the MAF or not using bottom bargain gas could prevent the need for valve jobs.
 

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Hydraulic lifter

My 2001 has had pinging for 15 years and 196k miles. Is ping the rattle you heard.
Interesting. I always assumed that a rattling sound that varies with the RPM is a not completely oil-filled hydraulic lifter (in my Vulcan) that causes play in the valve rods. I assumed you could not possibly hear the valves themselves.

But of course that sound slowly disappears as the engine warms up and the rods expand.

And of course a loss of power is altogether something else.
 

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First on the list is to eliminate one source which is easy. Pop the belt off, and be sure it if free of the pulley. Start it up and if the sound is gone, you now look to accessories. If the sound is still there, put the belt back.
Lifters click, rods knock, mains thump. Lifters do not care about load, they just tick and tick. Rods knock under load, but not at idle. Mains thump mainly at idle.
All these are possible sources of noises that follow rpm.
-chart-
 

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I am having the same issue with an engine knock/ping on hard acceleration. My vehicle is a 2001 Sable Flex Fuel(Vulcan engine I believe). At first buying higher octane fuel seemed to eliminate the problem, but it no longer does. I recently replaced valve cover gaskets, so I had the intake manifold off, although the knock was present before that. Since the valve cover gaskets I am having symptoms of a vacuum issue. (Brakes, heater controls, rough idle). Could these all be related?
 

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I am having the same issue with an engine knock/ping on hard acceleration. My vehicle is a 2001 Sable Flex Fuel(Vulcan engine I believe). At first buying higher octane fuel seemed to eliminate the problem, but it no longer does. I recently replaced valve cover gaskets, so I had the intake manifold off, although the knock was present before that. Since the valve cover gaskets I am having symptoms of a vacuum issue. (Brakes, heater controls, rough idle). Could these all be related?

There was a TSB on Fuel Flex engines that suggested after a vacuum leak check the computer needs to be reprogrammed to adjust the octane rating. This is to help the pinging.


If you are having the issues with heater controls and brakes then you most certainly have a major vacuum leak. Look around the area where you were working to see if you damages a hose or connector. There is on hose that connects to the throttle body location that feeds the brake booster and might feed the distribution block for the climate control vacuum dampers.
 

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Thanks for the suggestions. A former mechanic at work suggested spraying carb cleaner around suspect areas to help in finding vacuum leaks. I've always gotten great advice from these forums. My last one was for my Saturn until it was totalled. I'll try to find the tsb. Will any good shop be able to do the reprogramming or is that a dealer only job?
 

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Thanks for the suggestions. A former mechanic at work suggested spraying carb cleaner around suspect areas to help in finding vacuum leaks. I've always gotten great advice from these forums. My last one was for my Saturn until it was totalled. I'll try to find the tsb. Will any good shop be able to do the reprogramming or is that a dealer only job?

I am thinking dealer only. Check that vacuum distribution box right above brake booster.
 

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I found the vacuum leak. The hard plastic tube running from the distribution block above the brake booster toward the passenger side melted when the egr pressure sensor broke off. But apparently that is a discontinued part. So to the Salvage yard tomorrow.
Taped the leak for now and everything including the knock has improved. A tank of premium gas and a bottle of Lucas injector cleaner as well. I'll give the knock a couple of days before I look into reprogramming.
 
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Iceman62
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