'03 GT - whining at front of engine


Founding Member
Aug 1, 1998
Churchton, MD
Quick history on the vehicle as it could relate to the issue at hand: 2003 GT, manual, 183K miles. Entire clutch assembly was replaced at 160K with all Ford components (including the TOB). Tensioner pulley/arm assembly was replaced about 8 years ago. Water pump was replaced about 5 years ago. Fuel pump was replaced last month and the fuel system was cleaned out.

I started noticing a whine yesterday coming from the front passenger side of the engine. First I was noticing it as I was coming to a stop and the engine was idling down...right around 1000 RPM the whine would start and just whine for a few seconds. As the engine continued to idle, it would stay quiet. At first, this was while the car was in 1st gear with the clutch pedal pushed in. I put it in neutral, revved the engine a little up to around 1500, and the whine would come back. It doesn't happen at higher RPM...once it's past that 1500 mark, it sounds normal.

I parked the car and checked under the hood...opening the throttle a little would make the whine happen and I kind of pinpointed it to the front of the engine, around the passenger side cylinder head. I'm hoping it's just a whiny pulley but not sure which one. I don't think it's the power steering because that's on the other side of the engine and the noise isn't coming from there. Could there be anything internal that might make a whine? Timing chains?
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SN Certified Technician
Aug 14, 2009
Houston Texas
IMO for this problem hands down a mechanic's stethoscope should be your best friend. If you are not used to using one, it's amazing what you can hear using this tool. Simply touch the probe to the center shaft of each pulley and make note of the noise heard. How loud is it compared to other pulleys? What is the frequency of the noise?

Another "low tech" trouble shooting method is to remove the front accessory belt and see if the noise changes. If it doesn't then you will know that it's not a belt driven device or pulley at fault.
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