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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This one might be more for the extreme cold temperature climated people here. It has been getting down to -33C here a few times lately, but this happens any time the temp is below about -20. When I start my 05 xlt, it will intermitantly squeal a very shrieking noise from the engine. Pretty loud. It is dependent on throttle input, but at no specific point. Meaning, if I tap the throttle to rev it slightly higher, it changes the pitch and often will stop and come back a bit later. Once it is fairly warm it pretty much stops. And I park in a heated parkade at work and it never happens when it is room temp.
Since moving out of Canada isn't an option, does anyone have any idea what this may be. I'm kind of thinking a pulley on the water pump or something.

Any help is much appreciated.
 

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There have been a few discussions here about the power steering freezing in real cold temps which would follow your comments on it only happening when park outside. If the pump is frozen or slow to warm the belt might be making the noise and you will not have a reliable drive belt for long.
 

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Mine makes that same noise anytime it is below freezing. Does it almost sound like it is a doing a rev-up noise? Mine isn't a squeak but it does make a revving noise at the initial start after it has been sitting all night. The colder it is the stronger the rev sounds. I've always pondered that one myself.

Oh -- and welcome to the board!!! :welcome:
 

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If your Escape has a few miles on it, it might need a new belt. Just a guess, you don't have your avatar personal info filled out. I don't know how old a machine you own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for everyone's input. I've updated my profile to include a pic in my sig.
The squeal can be very loud at times, but doesn't sound like a belt, nor like a revving noise as yours has Scott. It is literally a loud piercing squeal. The belts all look good and are tensioned well. Truck has 65,000 KMs on it.
 

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Power steering? Fluid could be stiff and the pump is screaming from the thickness of the fluid. Although when just below freezing it shouldn't be doing that.

What's the antifreeze check for as to freezing point. And btw, you probably already know, but check at/in the radiator, not the overflow bottle. Could have had water added instead of antifreeze at one point. Now it's not good for anything below 34* F. :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No no, it's faaaaar colder here than just below freezing. It is getting down to -33 degrees Celcius. I still have to pick up and antifreeze tester, I'm pretty sure it is good though, but I'll get one asap. I've never had a power steering pump do that from the fluid being too thick though. I've had 5 cars all in the same weather conditions and this has never come up.
I'll keep checking things though and see what I can find.
Thanks
 

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An old trick I used back in the day was an electric blanket. Yeah, I know, sounds strange. But the light bulb under the hood never kept it warm enough for my old car back in the sixties when the temp went below 0*F. If you have an outdoor plug, and can go to the trouble, throw an electric blanket over the engine. I think I also used cardboard in front of the radiator. I don't know how well that'll work for you, but it could help.
 

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Change your power steering fluid over to Mercon V and see if it helps. Get a turkey baster and suck the old fluid out of the reservoir, add new fluid, then with the wheels off the ground, turn the steering wheel lock to lock. Alternatively you can go for a short drive with lock-to-lock turns, but don't turn lock to lock while stationary with wheels on the ground, just in case your old fluid is badly cooked.

Two litres will get most of the old stuff out, so it's probably less than $20 taxes in.

I've see around -40'C here in Orillia but I've had no problems. I actually use Dexron VI in my power steering as it's a much thinner fluid than Mercon V, but both have major improvements in cold temperature performance over their predecessors.
 

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Is your defrost on when you are starting it up?
 

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Nodnerb said:
Thanks for everyone's input. I've updated my profile to include a pic in my sig.
The squeal can be very loud at times, but doesn't sound like a belt, nor like a revving noise as yours has Scott. It is literally a loud piercing squeal. The belts all look good and are tensioned well. Truck has 65,000 KMs on it.
I have what seems to be the exact same problem with my 05 Escape. It absolutely sounds like it is coming from the water pump. I thought it may be a factory defect from a certain year or other. Also I thought it might be a poor water to coolant mixture, but you would think that it would have other affects on the engine or at least more than just a water pump squeal. I see what seems to be steel shavings on the end of the water pump, but the pulley guard seems to be clear of the pulley and no signs of wear. Maybe it could be internal? I never thought to turn off my heater blower but certainly will try that. Anything is worth a try. I hope this gives you some insight or other ideas in solving the problem. If you do please let me know.
 

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The Ford power steering pumps are known to be noisy when really cold. The suggestions of changing the P/S fluid is a cheap fix to eliminate that possibility before moving to water pumps etc.

One reccomendation, change out the P/S fluid with Mobil 1 synthetic ATF (or Amsoil) for the best possible cold-weather performance. 2 quarts should be plenty. This definitely quieted down the P/S pump on my Tribby in cold weather.
 

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IT is extremely difficult to pinpoint a noise like that since it's so omnidirectional.Usually it's a bearing that will cause such a noise..I would suspect the alternator... since it goes under a heavy load to recharge after you start a cold engine.If you want to check your belts ..slightly touch a bar of soap on them while they're spinning to see if there's a change. I had a noise like that in my previous Gm car..and it ended up being the bearing on the ac compressor... took me and my mechanic a long time to figure that one out.
 

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A trick I have used many times to locate strange noises is to use a 2 or 3 foot piece of 3/8 wood dowel rod .place your thumb over the end of the rod and place your thumb to your ear then place the other end of the rod to any suspected component. touch only the case NOT ANY MOVING PARTS. The rod will transfer the noise to your ear. As long as the bad component is making the noise while you are looking this WILL work. :thumb:
 

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Screwdrivers work too
 

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The pipe and rod method does not work that well mainly because the noise coming from the motor is just that.. usually anywhere you place the pipe/rod you will here the noise.My mechanic and I had tried that and we were both sure that I had a bad alternator..$250 later with rebuilt alternator installed...the noise was still there... :wacko:
 

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I've used the screwdriver/pipe trick to diagnose injector problems, but I can see where it can be confusing for loud noises that travel everywhere.

One trick to rule out a slipping belt is to spray soapy water on it. That should quiet it down until it dries up again. If you spray it and the noise goes away, you either have a bad belt or a seizing pulley. If the noise does not go away, then you definitely have a pulley problem. I would start with checking the tensioner/idler, which tend to go bad more often than the "real" pulleys that drive components.
 
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