Owners of 2003 Dodge Ram pickups may show up in your store complaining of a strange buzzing noise coming from the front of the vehicle at highway speeds.
Before getting into more intricate diagnoses, DaimlerChrysler recommends that you take a quick look at the vehicle's ID plate. There's a good chance it's loose and oscillating against the radiator support, which will create the buzzing sound.
You'll find the ID plate on the right radiator support, just behind the headlight bucket. Once you find it, count how many rivets are retaining it to the support. There should be four. Notice only two? That's your tip-off that the plate is most likely the source of the noise.
Start the fix by removing the right headlight, followed by the headlight bucket. Next, drill two 1/8-inch holes in the corners of the plate that are missing the rivets. Install the two missing rivets, then reinstall the bucket and headlight.
To complete the repair, touch up the two added rivets with a dab of paint to prevent rust.
Ford reports that 2000-01 Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable models built through April 1, 2001, as well as 2001 Escape sport-utility vehicles built through June 1, 2001, (all equipped with the 3.0-liter Duratec V6), are prone to producing a gasoline odor that comes out of the A/C vents after restarting the vehicle following a long soak.
One likely cause for the odor, Ford said, is fuel vapor seepage past the lower intake manifold gaskets. Installing new-design gaskets that are part of a kit, part #YF1Z-9439-AC, should take care of the odor issue permanently.
* * *
Some 2000-02 Lincoln LS models can produce a moaning type sound at highway speeds under light acceleration, with the noise decreasing if the transmission is shifted into fourth gear or the throttle abruptly released.
According to Ford, the problem is most likely the result of the chassis reacting to the resonant frequencies produced by the powertrain at the rear of the car. Installing new-design, larger diameter rear halfshafts should eliminate the noise immediately. Order part #1W6Z-4K138-AA for the right-side halfshaft and part #1W6Z-4K139-AA for the left-side shaft.
Drivers of 1999-2002 Chevy Cavaliers and Pontiac Sunfires with 2.2-liter engines may complain of a rattle or knocking sound while turning the steering wheel and going over bumps or rough roads.
GM said the most probable cause for the noise is excessive hydraulic pulses acting on the power steering rack. Installing a new-design power steering return line, part #22717000, and fluid restrictor, part #22592200, should alleviate the noise immediately.
Note that the fluid restrictor should be positioned in the return line nipple on the steering pump. Some later-model vehicles may already have the restrictor in place. If so, ensure that it's properly positioned prior to installing the new return line. After the new parts are installed, refill the steering reservoir and turn the steering wheel lock-to-lock several times until all the air is bled from the power steering system.
Owners of 2001-02 Civics or 2003 Civic Hybrids may complain of an irritating squeak from the rear when the car is driven at slow speeds over rough road surfaces.
One likely source of the noise, according to Honda, is a deteriorated lower front bushing in the rear suspension knuckle. An updated, more durable bushing, part #52365-S5A-502, H/C 7315849, is now available to address the concern.
Drivers of 1995-2000 Millenia models may come into your service bay complaining of an irritating creaking or squeaking noise from the rear suspension. The noise will be most obvious at low speeds when going over speed bumps or road undulations, or on any other surface that causes the suspension to be subjected to jounce and rebound.
Mazda said the most likely cause of the noise is a dry ball joint in the upper trailing links. New-design rear links with a larger joint and improved grease, part #T001-28-D00B, are now available to address the problem. Mazda recommends installing the new links in pairs, even if only one link is causing problems.
Before installing the new links, check the underside of the stud mounting for a build-up of weld slag. If necessary, remove the excess weld material with a chisel to ensure proper tightening of the stud retaining nuts.
“Factory Fixes” is written by Jim DePalma, a 30-year veteran of the auto repair business who has served stints as a service manager, parts manager and ASE-certified technician. His column provides vehicle manufacturers' authentic factory technical service bulletins (TSBs) that have been condensed for easier reading. Mr. DePalma advises that techs always check with a dealer or repair information system for the latest revisions before starting to work on a vehicle. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]