2000 Ford Taurus Vulcan engine noise.

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Many of you may remember this event from a few months ago, but I’ll refresh your memory just in case. We have a 2000 Ford Taurus with 215,000ish miles. It has had a small coolant leak present for the past 2-3 years that was alleviated by some stop leak tabs. On our last highway drive it lost all coolant fairly quickly. It has since been parked. On our final drive home it did overheat ONCE. I made it to the nearest gas station and filled it up with water allowing us to make it home with the temp needle in the “middle” of the temp guage. Since then the car has been parked with the occasional drive around the block to keep it limber.

Since this event there is a “marbles in a can” sound coming from the drive belt / timing chain side of the engine.

Oil is still full and clean, no obvious mixing of coolant and oil. The car drives fine. If you rev it and let off the gas in neutral there is no knocking noise present, or during drives for that matter.

I will attach a video. It’s obviously hard to say, but curious if you Vulcan experts recognize this sound and may be able to identify it. I’m wondering if it’s from the water pump? Maybe the fact that it was very low on coolant burnt it out? Maybe the overheat burnt a pulley out? Not sure really.

I’m just curious more than anything to see if you recognized the sound and could identify it. I suppose it could have some sort of timing / top end damage from a single overheat?

Something also of note, I can fill up the coolant reservoir and drive around for a while and lose only a little coolant / water, but as soon as you shut the car OFF and OPEN the coolant reservoir cap, the water will DUMP out from underneath. Everything is wet down there so it is hard to see where it is coming from. I’m assuming not a hose since it seems to hold the majority of the coolant/ water while idling or driving. I thought that may be a helpful clue.

Anyway, here is the video of the sound during idle. It’s that hollow, marbles in a can sound.

 
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Remove the drive belt and run it long enough to see if the noise goes away. If so, it's something driven by that belt. (You are OK to run it without the belt for a short period of time, a few minutes or less--it will drain the battery and overheat if you run it without the belt for too long).

The noise sort of reminds me of the noise an alternator with bad bearings was making.
 
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Take drive belt off and start car to verify that noise has gone away. Then if the noise I’d gone leave belt off and spin pulleys by hand. Feel and listen for any roughness. I just went through this with my Tahoe and it was a bad water pump.
 

Jackson_Slugger

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And maybe next time find where the coolant leak is coming from and fix the hose/line rather than relying on tabs...
 

gregk24

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And maybe next time find where the coolant leak is coming from and fix the hose/line rather than relying on tabs...
Fair enough. We got the car for $500. So putting a lot of money into it was not the original intent. Coolant tabs fit the bill, and they worked for a good while. Now I’m looking for a more permanent solution.
 
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Nick1994

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Take drive belt off and start car to verify that noise has gone away. Then if the noise I’d gone leave belt off and spin pulleys by hand. Feel and listen for any roughness. I just went through this with my Tahoe and it was a bad water pump.
Yeah this is what I’d do. Sounds like a wasted water pump to me, but could be any bad pulley. Most likely water pump that is losing coolant too.
 
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Had a friend with a Focus 2.2L that made the same noise. It had a slow coolant leak that bled the surge tank dry, overheated the engine into reduced power mode but drove on to get the two blocks home. Coolant is also a lubricant for the pump impeller... it ate itself up.

Flushing the rusty mud out of it after repairing the hoses immediately stopped the crunchy grind sounds, but the water pump completely failed a month later, grinding the same way. Might have to bolt a new one on soon after leak repairs to your ride too.
 
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