Some 2004-07 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans with stability control systems may suffer from premature system activations during normal driving.
According to Ford, the activations will usually be of short duration, won't illuminate any warning lights and will not store any trouble codes in the ABS module. A dirty or contaminated steering wheel angle (SWA) sensor or tone ring is the likely cause. Replacing the SWA sensor and tone ring with updated parts from a new kit, part No. 7F2Z-3K519-A, should take care of the problem.
To install the new parts, start by centering the steering wheel. Now pull out the ignition key and rotate the steering wheel until the steering column locks. Using the illustration for reference, disconnect the SWA sensor connector, then remove the two retaining screws and the sensor from the steering column.
Continue by removing the upper steering column-to-intermediate shaft bolt. Now remove the lower bearing spring followed by the tone ring. To complete the fix, install the new tone ring and SWA sensor, then reverse the remainder of the removal procedure, tightening the upper steering column-to-intermediate shaft bolt to 22 foot-pounds.
Toyota reports that some 2002 Camry models may produce a rattling sound when driven at speeds above 50 mph. According to the carmaker, the noise may seem to be coming from the dash or center console area, but in reality it's due to the catalytic converter heat shield making contact with the underbody as air rushes underneath the vehicle. Repositioning the heat shield is the simple fix.
Begin the job by positioning the car on a lift. Next, loosen the two heat shield attaching nuts and reposition the shield until there's at least 10mm of clearance between its outer edges and the vehicle body. If you can't get that clearance, gently bend both edges inward until the desired clearance is obtained. Now tighten the two attaching nuts. To complete the fix, lower the vehicle and go on a road test to verify that the rattling noise is gone.
Owners of 1996-2005 Chevy Astro and GMC Safari vans may complain of a boom-type sound during engine warm-up. One likely cause for the noise, according to GM, is the exhaust expanding and contracting during the warm-up cycle. Installing a specially designed exhaust dampener assembly, part No. 15047524, onto the catalytic converter pipe should eliminate the trouble. In addition to the dampener, you'll need three 1/16-inch thick flat washers and a lock washer.
Start the fix by getting the van on a lift. Next, position the dampener so its weight is facing forward, then install it onto the converter pipe about four inches forward of the output flange. Hand-tighten the clamp nut and weight while holding the dampener in position. Now install the three flat washers between the top of the dampener and heat shield. To complete the fix, install the lock washer and jam nut and tighten the clamp nut and jam nut to 22 foot-pounds.
"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].