Noisy thermostat or lifter?

I have a 2001 Ford Taurus with the flex fuel engine. It has 100k miles on it. I’m hearing a chirping/ticking sound near the thermostat housing. It’s not in the valve covers. The sound is coming from the center of the engine on the drivers side. The only thing I can think off is a bad thermostat. The car takes about 2 miles of driving to warm up. Then it runs at its’ normal temp. The heat is a little weak, but not as bad as if it had no thermostat.

I know thermostats are supposed to fail in the open position. But is it possibly for one to break and then just constantly open and close? That’s sort of what the noise sounds like. Or does this sound like a bad lifter?

Any and all help is appreciated,


What you are hearing is most likely the cam synchronizer which is where the distributor used to be on this engine. The cam sensor is on top of it.


That was it. Thanks for your help. Now that I know what it is, I’ll fix it over the weekend.
Thanks again,

These engines are notorious for that cam synchronizer going bad. Don’t dilly-dally around on replacing it or having it replaced. When it fails completely, it will leave you with no oil pressure and destroy your engine in very short order. It’s primary function on the newer motors is to drive the oil pump.

Dang ford

You are mistaken on one point. Thermostats do not always fail in the open position, as many people with roasted engines have discovered.