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Cold Start Clacking

I have a 2006 Lincoln LS that I really like.

Each time it has to sit outside overnight, when I am visiting my elderly parents in northern Oklahoma, and the temps dip into and below the 20’s, there is a horrible clacking sound at the very front of the car when I first start the engine. The clacking lasts for around 15 seconds, but the colder the temps are on those mornings, the longer and louder the clacking is. The noise goes away completely after about 15 seconds.

The dealer I bought it from replaced the alternator when I took it in for that problem. That did not solve the problem. When I changed to a dealership closer to my house for warranty work, they replaced the belt tensioner to “fix” the problem. That “fix” seems to have made the sound louder and last longer. The service advisor and manager seem to be at a loss as to a solution. Since the problem does not occur except when the car sits out in temps that have dropped into the 20’s or lower, I have to watch the weather forecast and plan to leave the car at the dealership overnight so they can do a cold start to experience what I hear on those cold mornings after the car has sat outside.

I’d appeciate any direction you can provide so I can pass it along to the dealership to get this taken care of before the warranty runs out in about 18 months. Thanks in advance.

Teresa in OKC

What weight oil are you using in the engine?