Help! Metallic rattling In gear, stops in neutral

Has anyone else had a loud metallic rattle when in 2-5th gears, where it stops when clutch is engaged or in neutral? Heat shield and wheel bearings seem to be fine. The sound is not constant and ramps up and sometimes goes away even. I am able to downshift or upshift to stop the rattle, but after a bit it will show up again no matter what gear.
Thanks for any tips or thoughts!

So (1) there’s no noise with clutch pedal pressed in, likewise (2) no noise w/ clutch pedal out and trans in N? (1) means the transmission input shaft is not being driven by the engine; (2) means the transmission’s input shaft is now being driven by the engine, but the transmission’s other gears aren’t connected to the input shaft. hmmm… guessing neither the clutch nor the transmission input shaft involved. Noise is either from the transmission itself, or one of the drive-shafts. Inspect the driveshafts’ boots, any of them split? Does sound change when coasting in gear vs steady speed or accelerating?

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I have not checked the driveshaft boots yet. The sound does not happen when coasting. It is mostly at acceleration and then sometimes during constant speed.

Sounds to me like the noise you’re hearing is RPM (engine speed) related.

I’d suspect a muffler may be going bad, or have something loose inside. It may also be a heat shield, though I know you’ve already ruled that out.

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You may have an engine or transmission mount that is worn causing more vibration in gear. Just need to crawl under there when someone has has the car in gear and the brake on to try and discover where the rattle is coming from.

Front wheel drive or rear wheel drive (longitudinal engine)?

Ford Aspire.
You’re kidding………right??


Now I see the fine print where it lists the vehicle type.