Noise In Engine Area in The Morning – 1999 Ford Windstar

Reader Question
I’m helping my father in law work on his 1999 Windstar (yikes). When it heats up a bit, a rattling sound will start up in the motor. It sounds like it’s coming from the water pump or the air conditioning (which doesn’t work). Any Ideas?

Howdy Tom,

Thanks for checking your auto insurance rates BUT $8K for auto insurance? First off, you want to carry a $1,000 deductible on your vehicles (not $100 unless you are SUPER accident prone), you don’t want the towing or break down coverage either. Just making those 3 corrections should bring your premium inline with the rest of the world!

The noise, could it be from the fan belt? Take a plant water sprayer and LIGHTLY spray water on the fan belt with the engine running and the noise present.

If the noise goes away or changes in pitch, I would try a new fan belt first. If you see the belt wobbling from side to side, then you might have a problem with an accessory like the water pump pulley, air conditioner, p/s etc. etc.

If the noise is not coming from the belt, check the oil level, low oil levels will cause the engine to clatter due to lack of lubrication.

Keep me posted,


Austin Davis

Hey Austin,

Thanks for the reply.

The fan is one of those eletric ones (not driven by the fan belt). As to the serpentine belt it was just replaced when we replaced the alternator. I tried to get my father in-law to take it to a mechanic, but he’s very independent (won’t let me pay for it) and very cheap.

Oil levels seem fine. I’ll check to see if it might be something with the electric fan. The noise isn’t there at start up, it only occurs after the engine heats up a little and something kicks in. If you have any other suggestions I’d appreciate it. Thanks for your time


Hello again Tom,

Did this noise appear after your belt and alternator installation or did you replace those parts trying to solve this noise issue? If this is a new noise since the belt and alternator installation I would HIGHLY suspect the problem lies there.

Count the grooves on the alternator pulley and make sure it is the same as the number of grooves on the belt.
Make sure the belt tensioner is working and keeping tension on the fan belt, the belt should not be jumping up and down with the engine running.

Is the belt running “true”? With the engine running watch the fan belt to make sure it connects to all the accessories in a straight line. If the alternator is slanted it will rub the sides of the belt and cause the side of the belt to fray and appear white


Austin Davis

Posted in: Exterior Care

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