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2000 ZX2 Engine Whining Sound

05-16-2005, 07:09 PM
Hey everyone. Great forum!

I have a 2000 ZX2. Son burned up original motor (busted hose-water leaked out), so we replaced the motor with one from a 2002 ZX2, which now has 56K miles. Ever since we replaced it 10K miles ago, it has been making a whining sound around the pulleys. Can hear it while idleing and it gets louder when you accelerate. Doesn't make a difference if in or out of gear, still loud whining, annoying sound.

I have replaced the belt, water pump, AND alternator...still no fix! Arggggggh!!!

Any ideas?


05-17-2005, 06:04 AM
Timing belt too tight will howl. Did you start the motor with the serp belt off, and see if it was causing it?

05-17-2005, 09:15 AM
Nope, I never thought about trying that. I'll give it a shot this evening and let you know.

Appreciated it!

05-18-2005, 05:31 PM
all zetec's have a whine, some louder than others. It's normal.

05-18-2005, 10:32 PM
Hey, I took the belt off and it was nice and quiet. I really enjoyed hearing that engine humming without that annoying howling sound.

While the belt was off, I went on ahead and replaced idler pulley ($15) top dead center since it felt a little sluggish. Had to unbolt motor mount and jack up motor to get to it.

But NOPE, that didn't fix it. CRAP!

Any other ideas? It's a DOHC 2.0L. I just knew it was that pulley...still sounds like it's coming from that area.

Hosed Up Jose' :)

05-19-2005, 02:00 AM
you ran the motor without a timing belt on??

05-19-2005, 09:17 AM
ha... No, Jeff asked me to run it without the serpentine belt to see it the howling would go away and it did (just purring). I have replaced alternator, water pump, serpentine belt, and now idler pulley (top center)...and still no fix!

Let me know if you have any other ideas. If not, I appreciate you and Jeff throwing in your two cents worth.


05-19-2005, 05:18 PM
ahh I missunderstood you. Is the belt name a Gatorback? I've heard those give off a whine sound almost like a supercharger. Possibly its just the belt. Don't run it too long without a serpentine belt, that powers the waterpump.

05-23-2005, 10:32 AM
Serp belts are most prone to whistling and whining noises when something is not aligned properly. Since all the accessories are hard-mounted with a serp system, the arm of the tensioner is usually the cause. Bushing goes bad, and the arm will "tip-in" slightly, creating just enough misalignment to produce a whistle, as the flat side of the belt is moving slightly diagonally across the tensioner pulley. Usually the flat side of the belt and the tensioner pulley will be unusually warm after just a few seconds of running when started cold if this is happening. If you can get a bar or something down against the arm, and lever it slightly away from or towards the motor, and the sound goes away or changes, that's your problem. You can also touch the belt's flatside with a grease pen or something similar while it's running, and if it stops making the noise momentarily, you know it has to be a flatside pulley creating the problem.

05-23-2005, 10:40 AM
Hey, this sounds great Jeff and Josh. I'll check it out tonight and let you know. Appreciate it!

05-24-2005, 04:07 PM
Hey, I looked at the belt and it doesn't have any markings on it to determine whether it's a gatorback belt or it from Autozone. But the noise was there even before this current serp belt. Changing it did not make a difference.

I looked at the belt tensioner from up above and it does not look properly lined up. It does look like it's bent forward so that may be it. I did try moving it with a pry bar while the engine was running but couldn't get it to change the noise.

So, unless anyone has any other ideas, I think I'll bite the bullet and replace the belt tensioner. We'll see!


10-11-2005, 01:06 PM
fyi...I replaced the tensioner pulley; still no fix...argggh.

But, I then got some WD-40 and sprayed the heck out of all the pulleys (soaked them), even the timing belt pulleys. I probably should not have sprayed them so much especially the timing pulleys, but I was just so frustrated with the super loud whining sound. Driving me crazy!!!

And it worked...whining went away!!! It's been about 30 days now. I know it'll come back after the WD-40 wears out...and next time I spray the pulleys ONE at a time to figure out which was the culprit.


10-17-2005, 11:14 AM
One way to determine the noisey bearing is to get a long screwdriver and pace the tip on different accessories while the engine is running. Put the handle end in your ear. You will know which one has the bad bearing.

10-17-2005, 02:46 PM
Yeah, I tried that and even bought an automotive stethoscope...but didn't have any luck pin-pointing it.

Appreicate the info.

10-17-2005, 03:42 PM
Im not sure what brand my belt is but i changed my timming and serpentine belt in the same day and my car has been whinning since then. I have gotten used to it. Please post your fix


10-18-2005, 03:11 PM
Tim, The whining sound on mine was miserable. The last thing I did is posted above dated...10-11-05. But am not sure I would recommend anyone to do it.

Let us know how it goes.

10-19-2005, 03:29 PM
at 6500 i sound like im supercharged :)

10-20-2005, 09:21 AM
How often are you 6500 rpm.

10-20-2005, 01:45 PM
all the damn time

10-21-2005, 07:33 PM
its a 2.0 engine its going to whin at 6500 rpm. its not a 5.0. enen when i bought mine brand new in 99 it was a loud running engine. There is really none to speak of when you talk sound proofing in the zx2.

10-21-2005, 10:38 PM
yeah i know that, ive owned a ZX2 for over 4yrs. its the belts

10-22-2005, 04:46 AM
[QUOTE=Timtickle]Im not sure what brand my belt is but i changed my timming and serpentine belt in the same day and my car has been whinning since then. I have gotten used to it. Please post your fix


On Escorts two different kinds of timing gears were used. Those with square teeth and those with round teeth. When replacing the timing belt it is IMPERATIVE to determine which kind you have. One kind of belt on the other kind of gear will whine. Sounds just like a supercharger. I found out the hard way. The wrong belt went 12,000 miles before it finally stripped out.

10-24-2005, 09:19 AM
Great! In a good sence and a bad one. If i remember right i think the gear was square. Do the store carry both? They never asked me if i need one or the other.

10-24-2005, 12:42 PM
Great! In a good sence and a bad one. If i remember right i think the gear was square. Do the store carry both? They never asked me if i need one or the other.

all zx2's should have roundish teeth

01-29-2008, 02:25 PM
My 99 zx2 whines also. I am pretty sure it is the serpentine belt. I have just replaced it, but not sure if it did it before since i just got it in a non-running state. I ran the engine without the serpentine and the whining noise went away. I wonder if one of my pulley bearings are bad. All the pulleys spun just fine before i put the belt on. I have heard that they whine sometimes without anything being wrong with them.
Can anyone help?

01-29-2008, 03:11 PM

As I said before I had replaced the pulley on the belt tensioner, that didn't work. 20K miles later, what happened is that the belt tensioner somehow locked up, causing belt to come off. So, I replaced the Belt Tensioner with one I bought from Advance Auto Parts. It really didn't have enough tension on it and caused rough acceleration and idling. I ordered one from Ford, replaced it, and it works great. NO WHINING SOUND, at last!!!! So, all this time it was that dead-gum belt tensioner!

I hope this helps out somebody, cause it drove me up the wall. Later!

02-01-2008, 02:23 PM
Live at 7300RPM..then tell me about whine. :) Most of the time it just the belts them selfs.

11-08-2008, 09:58 AM
Hey all.

My '99 ZX2 needed a new belt a couple of weeks ago. Symptoms were a squeal when I first started up the car and until I accelerated. After about 5 seconds of acceleration it would go away, but return when stopped at a light or just parked and idling. And it was getting worse as the days passed.
Anyway, I did get a Gatorback belt from the parts store. Pretty aggressive belt, if you ask me but man-o-man it grips those pulleys!

I do notice a bit of a hum from the new belt, but it's better than the squeal from the old worn one!
When I installed the new one I found that the spring-loaded tensioner pulley/arm was seized after remaining in one position for so long. (I bought the car used so who knows when the belt was replaced last.) I worked it back and forth while installing the new belt just to get it moving freely again. Seems to have worked. (Pay attention to your grip on the wrench/socket - that tensioner arm is mighty strong. The spring will snap the tensioner back into place if given the chance, and there's little space to get your fingers out of the way!)

If you're going to replace the belt yourself, be sure to write down the pathway before taking the old one off. Again, there isn't a lot of space to get a good view of things along that side so having a "map" will come in handy when it comes time to put the new belt on. It's a lot easier with two people working on this job, too. (For those of us who aren't pro mechanics!) Another helpful tip is to get a Haynes or Chilton manual which describes this project. The diagram in the book saved a lot of time -- and minimized the swearing!

Same discovery here as other posters now that the new belt is on, and the tensioner has been corrected:

The car runs A LOT more smoothly.
The car idles more quietly.
The mileage has improved noticeably.
Hope this helps fellow ZX2'ers! :)

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