Question about 1998 Ford Escort

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Clicking noise coming from around flywheel.

Hi! I have a 1998 Ford Escort Sport SE. The other day I noticed that my car is making a loud clicking/rattling noise. Today, the car started leaking oil. I am not sure if the two are connected or not. I got under the hood and found that the source of the noise is coming from around the flywheel. I haven't been able to see what is around/under the flywheel to see if I can see anything more. Does anyone know what could be wrong?

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  • 4 more comments 
  • Ann-Marie Calhoun
    Ann-Marie Calhoun Jan 07, 2013

    Is there another way to check? In order to remove the inspection plate I would have to remove the catalytic convertor because I cannot get a wrench on the bolt to remove the inspection plate.

  • montehammons Jan 07, 2013

    Yeah, you don't want to do that unless absolutely necessary. How about if you could lower the exhaust by removing the two nuts or bolts on the exhaust pipe to exhaust manifold. You might have to also loosen or unhitch an exhaust bracket to lower it. Depends on the lay-out in there, and I'm not familiar with it. A mechanic's stethoscope is another option, if you don't want to start mechanicing for the fun of it, lol./

  • Ann-Marie Calhoun
    Ann-Marie Calhoun Jan 07, 2013

    Haha no I would rather not. And I looked again. I thought it was a different part because my inspection plate is actually missing, so when I looked where I was supposed to I thought I was looking at the wrong thing. It is leaking back from by the bell housing, so it looks like a bad seal is what my issue is there. I was talking to a friend and he said that one of the bearings may be bad and that's causing the clicking noise? It's kind of hard to explain but the best I can think of is the noise sounds like someone is hitting a hollow piece of pipe against something, so he suggested a bearing may be the issue?

  • montehammons Jan 07, 2013

    I think you nailed it there, my friend, I'd rather believe your friend is right, and a bad bearing would explain the crank seal failure. Just enough clearance for the crankshaft to move and the seal is lost.

  • Ann-Marie Calhoun
    Ann-Marie Calhoun Jan 07, 2013

    Well, that means a lot of work but at least I know where to go from here. Thank you so much for your help!!

  • montehammons Jan 07, 2013

    You're very welcome.


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If the car is an automatic, it will have a thin metal flex plate, rather than a regular flywheel. If the flexplate gets a crack in it, it would cause a bit of noise. See if there is an inspection plate on bottom front of transaxle. Remove the inspection cover to look at the flex plate. Turn the engine over to view the flexplate all around. Look for cracks, maybe a loose or missing mounting nut where torque converter mounts on flex plate. If you see nothing, leave the inspection cover off, and run the engine and listen closely for a problem from that area.
Leaking oil, eh? Don't know if related, but while looking at the flexplate, check if motor oil is leaking out the rear main crankshaft seal. It will be fitted to the rear engine block, in front of the flex plate. Oil would be dripping off the rear of engine, or maybe collecting at bottom of bell housing, evident when inspection cover is removed.

Posted on Jan 07, 2013

Testimonial: "Thank you so much for your help and for taking the time to talk it out with me a little bit! You've been the biggest help. Without your help for one problem I would have had no idea where to look for the other."

  • 5 more comments 
  • Ann-Marie Calhoun
    Ann-Marie Calhoun Jan 07, 2013

    Is there a different way to check? In order to remove the inspection plate I would have to remove the catalytic convertor because there is no room to get a wrench in there.

  • Ann-Marie Calhoun
    Ann-Marie Calhoun Jan 07, 2013

    Nevermind. Looked again and my inspection plate is actually missing. How do I get to the crankshaft seal because it is leaking from the bell housing.

  • don-ohio Jan 08, 2013

    This repair is very expensive on most cars,and if you're still hearing the noise,you'll probably have to bite the bullet on the cost.BUT if the noise stops,you might be able to stop the leak by adding Casite or Bar's Leaks ENGINE OIL stop leak,and then when the leak stops,change the oil to one weight heavier then you use and say the green jug of Castrol oil for high mileage cars.It will soften seals and maybe extend the life of your Ford for a while.. don-ohio (:^)

  • montehammons Jan 08, 2013

    Thanks, Don, but we covered that. Turns out the clicking was from a bad crank bearing.

  • don-ohio Jan 08, 2013

    That's fine,Monte,but remember,this solution will come up in a search and may help others. The fix isn't always done with a wrench and a high price tag,as I was bringing out. don-ohio (:^)

  • montehammons Jan 08, 2013

    Good point on that. See ya.

  • don-ohio Jan 08, 2013

    And I forgot to mention that was a great solution you gave there. Kudos! don-ohio (:^)


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