1998 Ford Escort ZX 2 Squeal/Screech

My 1998 Ford Escort runs great except for an intermittant squeal or screech that no mechanic has been able to fix. I've had it to one regular mechanic who thought it was the transmission, a transmission
guy who said it wasn't but didn't know what it was and to two Ford Dealers - one who blew me off saying it didn't make the noise long enough to pin point so unless I wanted to pay a technician by the hour he couldn't help me,and the 2nd one told me he was certain it was the IAC Valve. He replaced that and said the noise immediately stopped. Unfortunately the noise continues. The squeal doesn't start until the car is warmed up about 5 minutes or so and it continues to make this horrid screech whether I'm sitting in idle or driving - with or without the air conditioner on. The pitch of the squeal also changes along with the engine RPM. It will also make the noise about a second or so after you turn the engine off and what's weird is I can look at the pulleys after a friend cuts the car off and it will make the noise about a second AFTER the pulleys and serpentine belt have completely stopped turning. After seeing this I thought it may be the electric fan because it was the only thing that was still turning after the engine completely stopped turning but I disconnected it and the car still makes the screech. So whatever it is, is still turning some AFTER the motor/belt/pulleys have stopped. What could be still turning after the motor has stopped besides the fan?? Can anyone help diagnose???? Help! Thanks
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"Chezelle" wrote:
My 1998 Ford Escort runs great except for an intermittant squeal or screech that no mechanic has been able to fix. I've had it to one regular mechanic who thought it was the transmission, a transmission guy who said it wasn't but didn't know what it was and to two Ford Dealers - one who blew me off saying it didn't make the noise long enough to pin point so unless I wanted to pay a technician by the hour he couldn't help me,and the 2nd one told me he was certain it was the IAC Valve. He replaced that and said the noise immediately stopped. Unfortunately the noise continues. The squeal doesn't start until the car is warmed up about 5 minutes or so and it continues to make this horrid screech whether I'm sitting in idle or driving - with or without the air conditioner on. The pitch of the squeal also changes along with the engine RPM. It will also make the noise about a second or so after you turn the engine off and what's weird is I can look at the pulleys after a friend cuts the car off and it will make the noise about a second AFTER the pulleys and serpentine belt have completely stopped turning. After seeing this I thought it may be the electric fan because it was the only thing that was still turning after the engine completely stopped turning but I disconnected it and the car still makes the screech. So whatever it is, is still turning some AFTER the motor/belt/pulleys have stopped. What could be still turning after the motor has stopped besides the fan?? Can anyone help diagnose???? Help! Thanks ____________________________________________________
Dry heater fan bearing .
Rodan.
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I can appreciate your frustration... but, in spite of it being Xmas Eve... I'm going to make ME feel better by delivering a wee bit of a lecture before we get into nitty gritty...
You feel that one dealer "blew you off" and make it sound like you thought it strange that a tech would want to get paid for his/her efforts. There is not one perosn on this NG that doesn't expect to get paid for their labours.... each and everyone of them has a boss that also insists on generating income in oreder to pay their workers......
Now, as one person has indicated, the heater fan may be overlooked... however, we would expect this to make the noise KOEO if the heater is trned on. There is another possibilty .... I've only encountered it twice and both times on V motors with a "wet" valley but the symptoms sound almost too similar. If the PCV system has failed in a manner that allows engine vacuum to draw the crankcase pressure down, a seal or gasket may be allowing air into the crankcase and giving a reedy, screeching sound.... more evident when engine vacuum is high. I suggest inspecting this system carefully, if no obvious concerns are noticed, the system can be disabled for testing purposes to see if the concern is alleviated. This type of sound would continue after the motor is turned off until crankcase vacuum "normalizes".
Another possibilty could be a restricted air filter along with a faulty or loosely clamped intake duct. I would expect some lack of power concerns to be present. Since the volume of this portion of the intake tract is rather small when compared to crankcase volume, I would expect this pressure to normalize as soon as the key is trned off.
A restricted exhaust *may* also deliver this noise... again, I would expect loss of power concerns along with the noise.
Lastly, a fualty intake gasket.... either at the throttle assebly, the cylinder head or between upper and lower manifolds (if equipped)... in this case I would expect poor idle quality concerns to be evident.
Many shops have neither adequate training nor manuals available.... many shops don't make prudent use of what is available.... Many years ago, auto repair was much simpler than it is now. Those ill equipped for more intense careers could earn a decent living in the auto repair industry. Those days are long gone and this trade needs to attract higher quality people... unfortunately, both management and consumers alike are loathe to make the necessary changes.

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This might be an intake leak or other vacuum leak.
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Jim's answer may be what you are looking for.
The ZX2 has a few quarks..the noise you are describing could be one of those. The PCV valve may need replaced or cleaned. It's cheap enough to try anyway. The PVC is known to make a terrible noise when it's clogged.
If the noise remains...then it's most likely one of the bearings the accessory/serpentine belt is operating. There's 2 idler pulleys, one smooth and one ribbed, and there's a smooth pulley on the belt tensioner, so 3 bearings there.
Or..it could be in the timing belt pulley bearings. On a 98 ZX2 there's 2 idler pulleys and the tensioner, so 3 bearings there.
I'd do the PVC first and while you are in there, check the front heat shield, a loose heat shield could make a rattle that sounds like a spinning noise.
For more info on the ZX2, check www.teamzx2.com , many members and they are always a great help.
sjm1.pitt aka duckface on www.teamzx2.com
2000 ZX2 ATX
Chezelle wrote:

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All the advise, so far, has been great. I had a similar one and it turned out to be the PCV valve. Also, try using a started spray around the head, be careful, and see if the noise goes away. Another would be to use a spray water bottle on the belts, etc. Luck to you...
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