Muted Popcorn Popping Sound From Intake

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Muted Popcorn Popping Sound From Intake

Postby RobtRoma - February 12th, 2010, 8:09 pm

2002 Escape, V6...

My idle is very erratic and there is a noise coming from the intake that sounds like popcorn popping inside an insulated box. I thought it sounded like a misfire. The check engine light has not come on so it doesn't seem to be throwing any codes. I had a similar problem a few months back. When it happened that first time, I thought it was bad gas. I added some fuel additive and went to a different gas station and it went away after 2 tanks. This time, the problem started after I went to another new gas station. I ran off 2/3's of that tank and went back to my usual station and added the gas additive. It seems worse now. So...

I took it to a mechanic today. When they heard it, they said there was no way it was bad gas. They also ruled out misfiring because they said they would hear it from the exhaust and they said they heard nothing. Initially they were stumped. Then they found a kinked vacuum hose and changed it. They thought that would fix it but it didn't completely fix it. They said it sounded better after the change but something was still happening. BTW, they also checked all the manifold gaskets (spray and look for bubbles) but they didn't find anything. Their opinion was it might be a problem with the engine computer relearning how it should work after I had my battery changed. The asked me if the truck had been shifting funny lately and it has. They said this supported their theory. They think the combination of the kinked hose and the battery being replaced has fouled up the computer and it's searching for the right settings. They said the Ford engine computers are notoriously slow at learning and it could take up to 1000 miles for it to figure things out. They said I should wait a few weeks and drive it under varying conditions to see if there are any changes. I'm not so sure about this since I had a similar problem before the battery was changed...

On my drive to the office after the work was done, I'm hearing a very light odd noise from the HVAC vents in the truck that I had never heard before... I'm wondering if they made things worse...

I just wanted to know if anyone had any thoughts on this advice and what the real problem might be. These are the things I was discussing with the mechanics:

- mass air flow (MAP) sensor: They said maybe. They clean them when they do there fuel injector service.

- idle air control (IAC) valve: Again a maybe but they said cleaning them properly was next to impossible and they were very expensive.

- coil pack: He said that would create a misfire and a code so that could be ruled out.

- spark plugs: Same as the coil pack...

- manifold gaskets: They checked them and didn't find anything.

- clogged catalytic converter: He said it would throw a code if there was anything wrong with the cats. Besides that, he said you can hear when there are issues with the cats. :shrug:

I'm uploading some YouTube Videos. You can see the idle bouncing on one. On the other, you can actually hear the popping noise I'm talking about. I'll post them when they are live...
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Re: Muted Popcorn Popping Sound From Intake

Postby RobtRoma - February 12th, 2010, 9:43 pm

Here are the videos. First one is the tach bouncing:



This is the popping noise. You can really hear it at the end of the video after I stop talking:

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Re: Muted Popcorn Popping Sound From Intake

Postby LX302 - February 14th, 2010, 11:14 am

Hmm, popping noise and erratic idle, now a HVAC noise?
And a mechanic looked at it?

I'm gonna guess and say you might want to investigate a possible leaking head gasket or bad thermostat making the engine run hotter than normal. How's your oil look, milky? Getting bubbles building up in the coolant overflow tank of overfilled?
Might not be it, but buy looking at your post, the mechanic went over most of the issue that would cause this and I didn't see anthing about the coolant.
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Re: Muted Popcorn Popping Sound From Intake

Postby TopElimn8r - February 14th, 2010, 2:55 pm

It almost sounds like detonation or lean popping that is real muffled. Do you have any "tuners" etc on the vehicle? Are you using more oil lately? Oil will detonate long before gas will. If this is a higher mileage vehicle there is the possibility that the valve seals are leaking and causing this. When the vehicle is idling the vaccuum in the cylinders will draw oil past the valve seals and into the combustion chamber. If it gets bad enough when you shut the engine down the engine will continue to run horribly for a short time, commonly known as dieseling. This can also fool your O2 sensors giving the engine idle problems. I'm assuming that this only occurs at idle and under normal driving conditions you do not notice the problem.

I'm not saying that this is your problem for sure, I'm simply saying that this could be the problem. I've been burned before giving advice that is why i'm stating this. Example: "Person X" asks for advice on an issue. I replied this "may" fit the scenario. The person takes the vehicle to their local mechanic and says i want such and such changed. The change does not fix the problem and the mechanic will not refund their money because he did exactly what "Person X" asked him to do. "Person X" goes back on the forum saying i'm an idiot and don't know what i'm doing.

I have not examined the vehicle or diagnosed any problems. I'm simply trying to give you a question for your mechanic to answer.

I hope this helps. Good luck finding the problem. Hopefully it is as simple as a learning curve for the processor.
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Re: Muted Popcorn Popping Sound From Intake

Postby RobtRoma - February 14th, 2010, 5:29 pm

Thanks for the replies guys.

LX302 wrote:I'm gonna guess and say you might want to investigate a possible leaking head gasket or bad thermostat making the engine run hotter than normal. How's your oil look, milky? Getting bubbles building up in the coolant overflow tank of overfilled?
Might not be it, but buy looking at your post, the mechanic went over most of the issue that would cause this and I didn't see anything about the coolant. Good Luck.

I don't think anyone looked at the coolant. I'll try to look at it after my next trip. The oil looked fine last week when I checked it.

TopElimn8r wrote:It almost sounds like detonation or lean popping that is real muffled. Do you have any "tuners" etc on the vehicle? Are you using more oil lately? ….. I'm assuming that this only occurs at idle and under normal driving conditions you do not notice the problem.

My escape has only 72,300 miles in the O.D. No tuner items. It’s stock. The engine has been using/loosing oil over the last year or so. I had the oil pan gasket changed over the summer because it was leaking. I thought that would stop the oil loss but either it didn't or the dealership I went to didn't re-fill the oil the way they should have (a real possibility). I had to put a quart and a half in the motor 3500 miles after the last oil change. I’m going to be watching that more closely now. It does only happen at idle… intermittently. There is no dieseling though. The engine shuts right off.

TopElimn8r wrote:I'm not saying that this is your problem for sure, I'm simply saying that this could be the problem. I've been burned before giving advice that is why I'm stating this.

Excellent disclaimer :peace: I get that. Sorry you've had issues in the past. I'm just looking for possibilities I can discuss with the mechanic. I had a similar problem a few months ago. It went away a week after I changed gas stations so I thought it was bad gas. The first time, the popping was much more muted. I hardly noticed it and I don't think I could have recorded it. I just went for a long ride and the bouncy idle was intermittent. It was really bad at 3 or 4 stops. It was noticeable at another 10 or so and non-existent at another 10 or so.

I hope this helps. Good luck finding the problem. Hopefully it is as simple as a learning curve for the processor.

Hopefully it is that simple. We’ll see. Thanks again for the input :peace:
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Re: Muted Popcorn Popping Sound From Intake

Postby LEO_Escape - February 14th, 2010, 7:43 pm

wow. Well, something similar happened to me. I had pulled the DPFE off of the tubes but left the harness plugged in while I was replacing the brake booster. I had forgotten to put it back on and it sounded and acted almost exactly like that. I would hope the mechanics would have noticed something like that but you never know. It's easy to check. Worth a look anyway.
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Re: Muted Popcorn Popping Sound From Intake

Postby RobtRoma - February 14th, 2010, 11:43 pm

Cool... I'll take a look. Was your issue intermittent also? Thanks for the input!
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Re: Muted Popcorn Popping Sound From Intake

Postby TopElimn8r - February 15th, 2010, 2:06 am

When you fix this, please post your solution.

I am curious. :D
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Re: Muted Popcorn Popping Sound From Intake

Postby RobtRoma - February 15th, 2010, 9:40 am

I hope I can get it fixed... :worry:
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Re: Muted Popcorn Popping Sound From Intake

Postby LEO_Escape - February 15th, 2010, 10:44 am

RobtRoma wrote:Cool... I'll take a look. Was your issue intermittent also? Thanks for the input!

It was for the short time it was off. I had the hood up I was leaning over the engine when it happened so I noticed it pretty quickly. That's why I'm doubtful that it is the problem but you just never know. Definitely keep us posted.
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