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Whining Sound

03-05-2008, 01:08 PM
I have a 1997 Ford Taurus LX. I just purchased the car in January. When the car was first cranked it started making a loud whine. I asked the owner what was causing the noise and he said it was the catalytic converter. He said there was nothing wrong and the car has done that for a few years. The car only makes this noise during intial start-ups after the car has been sitting overnight or for several hours during the day. It does not make this noise while driving and it usually stops completely after about 5 minutes. Should this be something of great concern? Thanks for your help.

03-05-2008, 06:08 PM
Welcome to the forum!

It's very difficult to confirm the cause of noises by verbal description. I wouldn't consider a catalytic converter sound to be a whine, but more of a rattle. It is not uncommon for catalytic converter heat shield welds to brake, causing a rattle (like marbles rolling in a coffee can) under certain engine rpm ranges. What you are describing sounds more like a power steering noise maybe, or a dry bearing in a drive pulley somewhere.

Your best option may be to set up a time to meet a professional outside their shop some morning. Drop the car off the night before, then have them experience the sound and give their professional opinion.


03-06-2008, 04:22 AM
If you want to persue this yourself before taking it to a mechanic, you need to help us out a little so we can help you. You need to be a detective of sorts and try to locate the source of this sound. It is very common for the power steering to whine. Not much else does. Belts will kind of whine but more squeal. I'd listen under the car on all sides and listen under the hood and see if you can narrow down where it is. I believe the cats are both towards the right side behind the tire.

03-06-2008, 03:17 PM
Thank you. I will do that. The sound is definitely not a rattle.

03-06-2008, 03:22 PM
This sound comes from the front of the car. I will listen to see if I can tell exactly where it's coming from, but it's definitely in the front.

03-07-2008, 01:47 AM
Front would not be the cat converters. If left side as you look under the hood, most likely belt, pulley, driven component problem. Ford has an infamous history with its noisy power steering pumps. But I want you to keep an open mind so we don't get led astray with our asumptions. These things are hard to determine electronically. Keep us posted.:)

03-07-2008, 07:47 AM
I agree that it's probably not a catalytic converter, but the 1997 would have pre-cats, right? Isn't there a converter for the front bank that would be just after the bank 2 exhaust manifold/downpipe? I'm not sure I've ever been under the hood of a non-SHO '97 Taurus and I'm too tired this morning to pull out the service manual and look.


03-10-2008, 11:59 AM
I'm keeping a copy of this so I can run this all by a mechanic. Pre-cats? : ) I can very easily imitate the sound my car is making and tell you where it's coming from, but you are talking to someone who just learned how and where to put motor oil. I am trying to get some idea of what could be wrong because I am tired of being taken advantage of by mechanics. I've gone in and paid hundreds of dollars to get my car fixed and after talking to someone else and telling them the problems I had was told that the problem should not have been that major and shouldn't have cost that much. It's pretty shameful that people will take advantage of others that way. Thanks for all of your help. I will keep you posted with the results.

03-10-2008, 12:23 PM
When you move the steering wheel back and forth does the sound change.

03-14-2008, 02:38 PM
The whining noise doesn't last more than 5 minutes and the only thing I hear when I turn the steering wheel is sort of a soft "air" sound. Like a puff of air.

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