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Gear Rattle / Chatter Sound When Car Is Idle & In Neutral

Started by jostler, September 03, 2022, 01:35:20 PM

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0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Gear Rattle / Chatter Sound When Car Is Idle, in Neutral, and the Clutch is Not Pressed Down (Potentially Air-Con Related)

I am experiencing what I can only describe as a rattling/vibrating noise from what sounds like the gearbox of my 2007 Ford S-Max (1.8l TDCi), which has done 87,000 miles. It's a manual transmission.

I've owned the car for two years now, having originally bought it with 67k miles on the clock.

The noise is only present when the car is BOTH idle and in neutral. It remains present until I press the clutch down and move from neutral into ANY gear.

As soon as I do the above, the noise disappears. It then resurfaces when shifting back into neutral and taking my foot off the clutch.

The noise DOES NOT disappear when pushing the clutch down. It's only when then moving it into gear that the noise goes.

Equally, just a gentle touch on the accelerator pedal seems to stop the noise - even while the car is in neutral and without the clutch being pushed down. When the accelerator pedal is released, the noise resurfaces.

The clutch seems fine to me. I don't struggle to get the car in gear, there's no slippage, and I haven't picked up on any of the other telling signs to suggest my clutch is on its way out.

The problem described happens around 80%-85% of the time. There has been the odd occasion where the engine is idle and the car in neutral, and the noise isn't present. When that's been the case, there has been nothing different of note to help me troubleshoot why it doesn't happen 100% of the time.

Interestingly, the problem has only surfaced this past week. More specifically, I've just had a new passenger-side windscreen motor and indicator stalk fitted. The Autoelectrician had to do some "reprogramming" to get the new windscreen motor to work, which mysteriously caused my Air Conditioning to work, which had never worked before.

Now, I've seen a few threads on other car forums - Mazda, Toyota, and Mini, especially - about the possible link between the issue I've described and the A/C compressor, but nothing concrete to suggest there's a link between the two. More the fact that the extra load on the engine caused by the A/C could be making the noise more prominent.

I've experimented with/without the A/C on, but the noise almost always seems to be present, regardless.

Even with the factory-fitted Sony radio on a level as low as volume 7 or 8, you can barely hear the noise in question. When the A/C is on, too, it's impossible to hear. It's only when you have both switched off and all the windows in the car done up that it's just about audible.

The noise is, however, concerning (and annoying) enough to warrant seeking advice from anyone else who has experienced this before.

Having just forked out £1k on genuine Ford parts (£550 alone for the bloomin' windscreen motor due to being unable to source a working, used equivalent!) and labour at my local garage for the other fixes to the car, I can't afford to spend any more on it right now, if it is something that I am safe to live with for the time being. Unfortunately, buying a new, used car isn't an option with three young kids to care for.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Idler gear/bearing maybe?

What doth ye all thinketh?

 :afro:
I drive a Seat Alhambra 1.9Tdi which has 115bhp and an automatic gearbox.

I am happy to help you with all your questions. I am not a qualified mechanic but seem to be better at fixing my car than even the most experienced garages.

I have lots of friends here and very much enjoy talking with you all. Always remember, a motor car is a serious tool and should be treated with respect. Put your safety first, always.

As you say it's only started since you had some reprogramming done would suggest to me that the idle speed has been reduced.
May also be worth checking/changing gearbox oil.
2016 Vauxhall Insignia Elite Nav in White 2.0CDTI Manual.
2009 Kia Sedona GS In Black 2.9CRDI 183PS. 5 Speed Manual Wheelchair accessible vehicle.


With VCDS lite (full version) need a code clearing or want to scan for faults in the north kent area, PM me. All for a pint of Strongbow.

I wonder if the auto electrician reprogrammed the car with the wrong settings. Many auto electricians don't know their arse from their elbow so it wouldn't surprise me if they uploaded the wrong software. Possibly worth getting someone different to take a look and give a second opinion?
I drive a Seat Alhambra 1.9Tdi which has 115bhp and an automatic gearbox.

I am happy to help you with all your questions. I am not a qualified mechanic but seem to be better at fixing my car than even the most experienced garages.

I have lots of friends here and very much enjoy talking with you all. Always remember, a motor car is a serious tool and should be treated with respect. Put your safety first, always.

I have only bad news for you.  Not the clutch but likely the dual mass flywheel.

On top of that, the car is well due a cambelt - only it's plural.  There is an internal belt that needs to be changed at the same time as the easily accessible one.  This is an expensive job but it absolutely needs to be done.  Parts alone are around £400 - or they were when I last had one done in 2015.  I'm due a repeat shortly.....

Have a look on Alan Howatt's youtube channel - search for Mondeo 1.8 belt change and it should come up.