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chirping noise when cold

12-05-2004, 02:43 PM
I have a 1998 windstart and it is making a chirping noise when I start it up. Once the van warms up and the temp gauge gets up past the cold mark it goes away. Any ideal what could be causing this noise?

Thanks in advance Bart.

12-05-2004, 07:28 PM
Kinda sounds like your serpentine belt is glazing... when's the last time it was replaced?

12-05-2004, 11:23 PM
wouldn't hurt to replace the belt it is probably due to be replace anyway. Van has 96k miles. Maybe I will hit it with some belt dressing to see if that stops the noise then maybe I will know for sure that it is the belt. The noise does seem to be comming more from the top or back of the engine than the side but it is hard to tell. thanks

12-06-2004, 11:27 PM
Lot of things could cause it. Alternator bearings, power steering, airconditioning compressor, water pump. And those items are right next to each other.

I did have an intermittent "chirping" noise and was trying for several days to find what it was.....bumped the PCV elbow that is on the top of upper intake manifold, right next to the throttle body....and the chirping started. A small crack on the inside of the elbow was causing a vacuum leak....and when I flexed the hose to make it leak....the chirping started....on the drive belt side of the motor....would stop when I pressed the hose to make it stop leaking. Fixed the leak, and the chirp went away.

This is a long shot.....but..many items are vacuum controled...and I would NEVER have guessed that this was the cause of the chirp. Good news is....that it was cheap and easy to fix. Had to improvise for a replacement elbow. Is odd that it did not cause any drivability problems.

12-11-2004, 06:15 PM
Try taking off the drive belt and then crank engine. If you dont hear the chirping it could be the belt,tensioner pulley bearings,alter. bearing. If the chirp does'nt change it is probably the camshaft position syncroniser. It was on mine anyway.It looks just like a distributer w/out the top half. On the top is the camshaft position sensor. You can try removing the pos. sensor and dripping oil down inside where the shaft comes up thru the middle letting the oil seep down the shaft inside the housing thus lubing the chirp. It's dry.This w/quieten it for a while .I went ahead and replaced mine. Around $75.00

01-16-2005, 11:07 AM
I had the same problem chirping when cold. I took the belt off then spun all pulleys the ((drive belt tensioner pulley) that is between the alternator and power steering pump in the belt path) it spun free but sounded a bit dry. Took that apart removed seal applied new grease. Put the whole thing together and no chirping!

I have a 1998 windstart and it is making a chirping noise when I start it up. Once the van warms up and the temp gauge gets up past the cold mark it goes away. Any ideal what could be causing this noise?

Thanks in advance Bart.

01-16-2005, 05:28 PM
I put up with chirping for a long time with my 98. Replaced the belt and it seemed to help a little, but did not cure it completely. I thought it was one of the accessories and I wasn't going to worry about it, until one day the belt came off completely. When I put it back on I noticed the tensioner didn't seem to be lined up correctly. The tensioner itself, not just the pulley had worn out. Replaced with a part from Autozone and it's been quiet since.

01-16-2005, 06:07 PM
As D825 described,tuiws might be a problem i have.
I might to take a look at it tomorrow then.
Hopely changing a belt will be a smooth job,though it is really cold outside as of late.
Is it recomended,that you change the tensioner if you changing the belt as well ?

01-18-2005, 05:40 PM
Normally you don't have to change the tensioner... I have the same type of probelm on my Saturn-- the tensioner is sticking and lets the belt slip for the first few minutes 'til it warms up.

01-20-2005, 11:05 AM
Another vote for the belt tensioner, as that was the exact problem you are describing on mine - only at idle. The way I figured out what it was, after pulling the belt off resulted in silencing the sound, was to have someone else start the car cold. I could see the tensioner moving a little bit, and although the pully had rotated smoothly, the new one was much more free-rotating. Slightly reving the engine would silence the sound. I could even (carefully! if you get hurt doing this / don't hold me responsible) touch it when it was running and make the noise go away. Once I figured out what it was, I just ignored it for awhile, but eventually it did start doing it whenever the car was at/around idle, no matter what temperature it was.

01-20-2005, 04:18 PM
If the "chirping" noise is apparently coming from the area near/around the timing cover, you could also have a problem with your fuel injection synchronizer. (this part is located beneath the cam position sensor) on the top of the timing cover between the cylinder banks. They are known to "dry" out and chirp rather loudly. I had this happen to my Wife's van--I could have sworn it was the belt tensioner, idler and/or p/s pump pulley as they all had some wear at 48k miles. I replaced the idler and the chirping still returned. Seemed worse when cold but was intermittent. A replacement synchronizer totally solved the noise.

03-06-2005, 05:38 PM
Mikebox I believe it is the camshaft position syncronizer, I had to replace mine on my 98 . It is basically the lower half of an older distributor w/spark plugs and plug wires and rotor button excopt this one has a comshaft position sensor on top.

03-08-2005, 10:37 PM
I had the same problem with mine. Got worse as time went on until it did it almost constantly. Changing the serpentine belt and tensioner (a half hour job) fixed it.

03-09-2005, 03:10 PM
Mikebox I believe it is the camshaft position syncronizer, I had to replace mine on my 98 . It is basically the lower half of an older distributor w/spark plugs and plug wires and rotor button excopt this one has a comshaft position sensor on top.

Agree with your assesment but Ford calls the lower half a fuel injection synchronizer (I assume it triggers the fuel injection as well as igntion based on cam position). The cam position sensor is secured to the top of this assembly.


02-01-2006, 03:51 PM
I have a 98 Windstar that is also making the chirping noise. It is not the belt, as it is coming from directly where Mikebox referenced (fule injection synch, or at least around the camshaft position sensor)

I have two questions:

1) I am pretty new to this. I have done brakes, alternators, replaced the IAC valve, etc., but nothing major. How hard is it to replace it?

2) Where did you get the special tool needed for alignment after installing the new component?



02-01-2006, 08:01 PM
First I had to remove the plastic intake then lift the fuel rail off the injectors, wigglw wiggle wiggle the rail gently. You have to do this because the syncronizer will hit the fuel rail. I took note of which it was pointing, scratch on timing cover the direction of the electrical plug on the sensor. Then remove bolt and work back and forth just like a regular distributor until it's out. As for lining the new one up [timing it] I did'nt.I put the new one as close to same exact position as the old one, runs great.The best way to tell if it is the syncronizer is w/an old piece of garden hose. One end to you're ear the other end at various points of the sound origin.When I stuck it to the timing cover I could hear it the loudest. One possible test is to pull the sensor off the top and drip oil down beside the shaft of the syncro. until a little seeps down inside then crank. With the engine running I could loosen the syncro. and turn it just a little and the noise went away temporarily. Make sure it is'nt an idler pulley,belt tensioner, alternator bearing, drive belt,etc.etc.etc. The hose helps alot. GOOD LUCK.

06-20-2006, 10:37 PM
my 98 windstar been making chirping noise for few months, it doesn't matter if it's idle or not still the same noise. And I get to the point where I need to do something about it (the van runs great though). The mechanic put transmission fluid on the belt then the chirping noise is gone then after around 20 miles it came back again and I have the belt replaced. The noise gone again and then now after a week the chirping noise is back again! But only when I start up the engine and eventually will go away. But when I step the gas it's getting louder but if I didn't step the gas it didn't make any chirping noise. Like I said the van runs normal but it's just really annoying.
Anyone can help me here?

Thanks in advance.

06-21-2006, 10:08 AM
Perhaps it's actually a belt idler pulley or tensioner pulley, instead of the belt itself...

07-03-2006, 07:50 AM
was most interested to read this thread as i am going through the same thing, only we have stalling with this problem. i have a 2000 windstar,3.8. chirps on cold start and will sometimes stall on startup. i can restart it, then drive but it will stall while driving, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

07-03-2006, 04:09 PM
I had a chirping problem on my 3.8L 1999 Windstar. After a while, I found the source of it.... the camshaft position sensor, just above the water pump. The bearing was shot, and made a lot of racket. At the worst, it caused the engine to die.

07-06-2006, 09:22 AM
I just back from auto repair shop. He told me that the belt needs to be change. Well...the belt is new I changed it around a month ago. Then after he took the belt off he told me again that it needs new alternator. It is expensive. He told me that the bearing (or something that sounds like that) is old. And he spun the cylinder thing ( I don't know the name but it's part of the alternator) and it is making chirp chirp noise. My question is can it be fix without getting a new alternator?

07-06-2006, 09:51 PM
Sounds very familiar. I was not able to locate the source of the chirping noise at first. I replaced the water pump (not a fun job), then was contemplating replacing the alternator. I finally stuck a long screwdriver on the upper end of the camshaft position sensor and listened..... BINGO. I would suggest that you try to isolate the source of the chirp before you replace anything else. Try the screwdriver method (be careful!!!). Eventually, the chirp turned in to a obnoxious squeal. At it's worst, it caused the engine to die, but would start right back up. Good luck!

07-06-2006, 09:57 PM
I had also replaced the idler pully that tensions the serpentine belt. Although the bearing on the pully WAS worn out, it wasn't the source of the chirping. I then took off the alternator.... mine, also, made a chirp chirp noise.... but it wasn't the source of the problem. I was just about to head to autozone to get a new alternator, after calling them to check the price... yes, it is high-priced! That made me determined to find the source of the chirping sound before I did anything else.... glad I did! I took it to the Ford garage and let them do the work of replacing the sensor, due to a recommendation of a retired mechanic I consulted. I hope this helps you.

07-06-2006, 10:46 PM
nra1ifer, your postings sure help me alot..thanks!
where is this camshaft position sensor located? and how much did it cost you to replace it at ford garage?

07-07-2006, 12:07 AM
First off, this sensor is on top of the shaft where a distributor would be if this vehicle had a distributor. As you are standing in front of the vehicle looking in the engine bay: locate the alternator. Looking further back towards the firewall and slightly down, you'll see a black tube coming out of the top of the water pump. Just to the right of this tube is the sensor, and it has a connector staring you right in the face. With the engine running, if you have a long screwdriver or maybe a piece of garden hose that you could use to reach in and put in contact with the base of where the sensor is, with the other end to your ear (again, be CAREFUL, because there are things moving in there!!!), you just might hear the source of the chirping you have been hearing.
I don't have the paperwork with me from that repair, but seems like it was in the $300 range, including the part. First chance I get, I'll check the receipt and let you know for sure.

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