2001 Ford Focus sounds like a truck with a bad muffler

2001 Ford Focus with 74k miles. Runs fine but is really noisy when the weather is cool. It always starts noisy, but if it is restarted after driving on a warm day (60+), is runs quiet.

One shop said motor mounts are a problem with the Focus, replaced mine and said it was fixed. Apparently, they are deaf.

Any suggestions on what temperature related function would cause this problem?

OK, you’ve got Tom n Ray stumped. How about a nice pair of ear plugs, color matched, of course?

If it starts noisy and quiets down then most likely it’s an exhaust manifold thats cracked and when it gets hot it expands and seals itself. I don’t understand the logic your shop used, maybe they were huffing carb cleaner.

I’ve had a similar thing going on with my 2000 focus that started around 75K. Was told noting dire at the time as it always went away when it warmed-up. Car is tuned and passes all the plug-in test that can be performed on the engine. It no longer goes away upon warm-up – 150K on the odometer now. Guess maybe I should act on it. Motor mounts are i’m told a possible culprit as well. I’m wondering about that after reading your post. Mine is a manual transmission and while at speed you can depress the clutch and the vibration/sound go away. While holding in the clutch, rev the engine and voila! both return until you let the revs go back to idle. Feels like a those vibrating beds you find in cheap motel rooms and the sound isn’t far off that as well. A side benefit is I can’t feel my cell phone vibrating, I shouldn’t use while driving anyway so I guess that’s good.
Happy to hear any other thoughts.

I’m just glad to hear from someone who has been dealing with it longer. Mine’s auto trans so I haven’t really checked to see if it’s related to the transmission.

I love everything about this car except for the noise and I don’t want it give it up just for the dull roar. If yours made another 75k with no other problems, I’m just going to get used to it.

Thanks for your input.–k

I would go with meaneyedcatz - cracked exhaust manifold. The story with tacomaaroma’s noise now not going away after 150K is the crack is likely too big to seal up by heat expansion alone.

If you can’t pin point the location of the noise just by opening the hood, try the old chunk of garden hose - but be careful not to hurt yourself if it is really loud.

Those two engines’ symptoms, as described by kaywalsh and tacomaaroma, aren’t the same. The noise may be the same; but, the circumstances aren’t.
kaywalsh, can you re-describe the circumstances when some kind of noise occurs? Could you describe the noise (use several words, if necessary)?

When the engine is warm, run the engine speed to 3,000 rpm. What happens to the noise? When driving at 60 mph, do you think that you can safely move the transmission selector to N without trashing the transmission (by putting it into R, for instance), letting off the gas (simultaneously), and noting the engine and car sounds as the engine rpm falls off?

The Virtual Mechanic is still under development; otherwise, we could dispatch it (ok, her) to virtually listen to, and test your engine, and make a diagnosis. Shall we put you on the waiting list?

I have a 2000 Ford Focus Wagon. I have the same symptoms. At first it seemed only loud when cold and at idle. It has gotten progressively worse. The vibration is strong and shakes the steering wheel and rattles anything in the glovebox or side door pockets. The sound is very loud and nauseating, a low frequency rumbling that sounds as if we have a 1000 watt stereo blasting out 60 cycle hum. The Ford dealership said is was the rear engine mount. I replaced it. If anything, it has gotten worse.

There seem to be only 2 engine mounts, the rear dogbone and the passenger side spaceship one. I can’t see inside it to see if there is anything wrong with it, but there is no obvious shaking at either mount. I guess I can take apart the passenger mount and see if the rubber is gone. Can anyone help with this problem? Thanks!

As far as all of those with the really bad engine vibration on cold start-ups that goes away when warmed up (back to normal Focus vibration levels anyway), the cure is all three engine mounts from the Ford dealership only. The main culprit anyway though is the passenger side large doughnut mount. Once the mechanic removes it, you will see that the rubber that is supposed to be shaped like a cone is severely compressed and allowing the engine to ground out. Another thing that worsens the normal Focus engine vibration is a loose timing belt. While they are replacing that passenger side engine mount, get that timing belt replaced also. The Focus has a “one time set” tension belt so as it ages and the rubber stretches, the cams tend to move a little too much out of time from each other.

When you get these items repaired, post your results since this is a little known fact outside of the Ford dealerships and lots of little garages are throwing your money at the problem in the wrong direction! (Senior Master Ford Technician 12 years, fully ASE Master Certified including both L1,L2 Advanced Level Certifications).

Hi, I’ll let you know. The original diagnosis was the rear engine mount, dogbone, roll strut, whatever you want to call it :slight_smile: I did not have them replace it. I replaced it and it wasn’t in horrible shape, but was starting to tear. I just found out about the hidden drivers side or transmission mount under the air cleaner. I replaced it yesterday and nothing. It also was torn mostly through, but still operable. I’m not sure about how I put it back since you can’t see under it where the transmission mount goes up into it. I might take it off again, look at things then put it back. Any comments on properly re-installing this one or torquing it? The last mount “feels” fine. I run my fingers all around it and it seems like the best of all three, but it still could be damaged, so I guess I’ll go for it for yet another $40 or so :slight_smile: You say “from the ford dealership only”. What do you mean? The dealership mounts are bad, or I should only by from a dealer? If the latter, why? What’s wrong with Westar or the brand I bought at Autozone?

My help tips so far are these for anyone who might find this on a search. Roll the car onto ramps or place it on 2 jackstands. Then when under the car jack up the engine with a wood block on a good hydraulic jack. I found obvious save balance points under the engine. Loosen the dogbone. It may not come out well because of not enough clearance. Get out from under the car for safetey reasons and keep jacking the engine out of the way until you have just enough clearance. My jack point was just a bit forward so the engine “rolled” backwards towards the windshield and the bottom of the engine therefore rolled towards the front of the car. Viola, easy to pop out. Put the new one in with blue locktite on the bolt threads, get out from under car again, then unjack the engine only, then torque it with full weight of the engine on it making sure that the rubber doesn’t twist inside the dogbone.

For the drivers side transmission mount under the air cleaner. No jackstands or ramps needed. Undo the electrical connector on the end of the large intake hose then undo the clamp and pop off the hose. Pop off the smaller hose under the bigger hose, it just slides out. Then pull up while wiggling to get out the entire air cleaner assemble including the smaller piece closest to the fender well, it is only held in by plastic tubes and rubber grommets. For safety, and more working room, you might want to remove the battery, though I didn’t and was very careful not to short the positive terminal :slight_smile: I noted the location of the screws then did the wood block jacking tip to raise the transmission at least 3" with my rolling hydraulic lift. I then undid all 4 outside nuts and then the center nut. The nuts are all locktighted so take a little work to get off. They stick the whole way off. The old mount came right off easily after that. I then put the new mount on and noticed the center strut did not come up high enough to screw on the nut. Not sure why, I guess old mount was worn more than I thought? I had to jack the transmission up another inch, then tightened all the bolts being careful to have it “sit” right without tension. I tightened the center bolt fully and the 4 outside bolts mostly. I then unjacked the transmission and tightened the remaining 4 outside bolts making sure that it sat comfortably so that I didn’t have the engine mount under strain by having it out of center with where the engine and tranny wanted to “sit” naturally. I also locktighted all the threads since we wouldn’t want the engine to fall out of the car one day :slight_smile:

I’ll let you know my experience with the last engine mount.

What about the harmonic balancer? Where is that and is it easy to check? One of the pulley wheels seems to not be spinning as smooth as the others, there is a slight wobble to it.

Well guess what? It was the last engine mount :slight_smile: As was mentioned on another forum, you can’t tell by a visual inspection that the hydraulic mount is bad. You can however push on 5he engine, or have a helper go from neutral to drive while you watch to see how much “jump” there is at that mount. When I removed the mount, I noticed that I could grab the main bolt in create a little wiggle while the new mount was too stiff. Other than that both mounts looked identical. Here are my repair tips.

Remove the water resevoir on the passenger side. There is one bolt towards the front of the car on the fender wall and then it lifts up off a bracket on the windshield side. You can twist it out of the way with the hoses still attached and let it rest near the radiator.

Loosen the 2 nuts on the engine side of the mount that protrude far above the nuts and have a male torx end. I noticed that when removing the nuts, one of the studs was also turning. I bought a female set of 4 black torx or star pattern drivers for my ratchet and tightened both down. The block may be aluminum so I did not overtighten.

Next, undo the 3 bolts that mount the engine mount bracket to the car frame. I needed a 1/4" drive ratchet with a 10" extender to get these off. In particular, 1 was just too tight to get off without more leverage than I had with my smaller 3/8 drive. These are also an odd size! I needed a 19/32 or 15mm to fit properly.

Once all 3 of those are off, you can carefully push the other 2 hoses out of the way and twist out the entire mount assembly. The last part either requires a bench vise, a helper, or you standing on the bracket just the right way to keep it from spinning on the ground while you loosen the nut that holds the mount to the bracket. I was actually able to find a position with the long end of the triangle made by the bracket rested on the ground with me standing on the end that wanted to spin in the direction of loosening the nut. Having the longer and heavier 1/4 drive ratchet made it pretty easy.

I put it all back together and tightened it up pretty snug. As soon as I started the car, I noticed the difference. I bought an Anchor mount at Autozone for about $45. Shop around as I found the exact same mount by the exact same manufacturer for $20 more at the competition. Thanks for all the help.

ok i had same problem when i first start car rumbling noise my rpm will go to 2k rpm then in while drop low car will shake,mirror will shake vibrate ,my gas pedal will vibrate it was terrible experience i replace passanger side motor mount believe or not car like new now ,you can check if motor mount is bad before replacing if car is automatic put in drive and have somebody look under hood but be very careful ,put car in drive and same time press brake and gas together and you will see if engine moves on passanger side by mount if moves then you need new motor mount ,autozone have lifetime warranty on motor mounts for $47 good luck

i work for mercedes benz big shop and believe me i had ford focus it’s motor mount ussualy go bad on passanger side

For anybody reading this. Do not cheap out and buy the Anchor mount. Mine collapsed in less than 10 months and less than 10k miles. The original Ford mount went 85k. If you’ve replaced your mount with an aftermarket and the rattling has come back, don’t tell yourself that it’s something else, check the mount again.

If you hear rattling or feel vibration at idle, I’d recommend replacing all 3 mounts, it will feel like you’ve got a new car. If you get a clunk feel when shifting into drive or reverse, chances are your mounts are going. The most important one is the passenger side top mount.

Even if you’re not an advanced mechanic, if you’ve got a decent set of sockets and jack to support the motor, you can do this repair. It’s not hard at all. I did the tranny mount and the passenger side mount in less than an hour alltogether.

Like many of the above posters, the bad motor mount will make you think many, many things are wrong. I checked exhaust because there was a vibration noise on hard acceleration that sounded like a loose heat shield or a flex pipe going. I had the tranny fluid changed and the tranny checked because the clunk when going from reverse to drive. I even did the plugs and plug wires because I thought I was getting poor firing.

When the car was cold, it just kinda roared which was due to the car naturally running rougher due to the richer mix. Also because the rubber that is left is harder when cold, and warms up due to heat transferrence.