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Ford Taurus Engine squeal

I have a 2004 Ford Taurus (3.0L v-6) that recently started making a squealing noise. I checked under the hood and can hear it once the car warms up, but I cannot find the source. I also noted a slight burning smell rubber. The belt seems fine, no frays etc. So I am at a loss. I am taking it to my mechanic at the end of the week, but I would appreciate any ideas.

I’m gonna guess the tensioner is weak, allowing the belt to slip. Let us know what the mechanic finds.

does it change when you turn the steering wheel?

The tensioner or idler pulley bearing might be bad as well. (I hope it is not one of the other devices on the FEAD belt.) Take the belt off and turn the pulleys by hand and see if they turn smooth or feel rough.

no, no difference at all. The mechanic suggested a “Cam sensor”, but couldn’t take the car in until late this week.

Your mechanic will be able to determine the cause, but don’t be surprised if the AC compressor is going bad. This is typical early sign. You can check by disconnecting the clutch wire to the compressor and see if the sound goes away. Could be any of the things the belt goes around, though.

If the noise is coming from the drivers side then it is most likely the CMP Synchronizer, they only last about 100K miles. FYI, pay the extra $$ to get a genuine Ford Motorcraft replacement part. I have heard that some of the after market ones are junk.

Amen to that…

The Ford synchronizer isn’t that expensive at $70-120 depending on the dealer, but the Dorman ones (the $40-50 ones at the parts stores) have been frying engines left and right. The oil pump is driven through the synchronizer, and the synchronizer is connected to the camshaft. I’ve heard of Dorman ones shearing teeth off the camshaft, seizing the oil pump, etc. Let’s just say the results aren’t good. The Ford ones I have never heard of such problems, just that they start getting noisy and eventually will get so worn they shake enough to beat the daylights out of the sensor mounted on top. Some people blame the sensor for the failure, but the sensor is really just a secondary casualty caused by failure of the synchronizer bearings. There are no moving parts in the sensor.

But I question whether this is a a CMP synchronizer (the mechanic MAY have meant this instead of cam sensor, but if he just replaces the sensor, it will do nothing to stop the squeal)… the synchronizers typically do not “squeal”… they “chirp”. You’ll notice this more on cold starts at idle. At higher rpms it will turn into more of a whine, but not really a squeal.

Had this happen on my Mercury Sable. Ford part from a dealer was $146.00. Ford part from the junkyard was $15.00. Since my Sable is a 97 I went with the junkyard part. It has worked fine for tens of thousands of miles now.

Junkyard Ford part for this would definitely be better than a new Dorman part - just make sure to check the bearings on the synchronizer after you pull it to make sure it is still ok… thats what wears and makes the noise…

Thanks for all of the help. It did turn out to be the cam sensor. I had it replaced this week and the noise is gone. Coast was $438 for total repair.