How do I stop squeaks, rattles and other noises?

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From the exhaust heat shields

Ford Technical Service Bulletin 92-9-6 (94-7-10 also covers this) details a procedure for fixing loose catalyst heat shields. The tack welds that hold the heat shields to the catalytic converter or exhaust pipes sometimes break, causing an annoying rattle sound. This can be inexpensively repaired using metal strap-type hose clamps of sufficient diameter to go around the pipe or converter. The heat shields should not be removed as flammable debris under the car or heat sensitive components above the cats will no longer be protected.

From the doors

The inner door panels have a tendency to loosen up and creak and vibrate, especially if you have removed them to upgrade your speakers. The ribbed fingers that secure the panels to the doors deteriorate or break. Even if they are in good shape, the majority of the panel has a hard plastic edge that rests against the metal door. The solution: Applying a small bead of silicone around the edge of the panel and the door will eliminate the problem. Prying out the panel while applying the silicone is unnecessary as there is a small gap that varies in size around the panel. If you are contemplating a speaker upgrade, do it before you silicone. The panel can still be removed after sealing, but will require a little more effort.

From the rear seat

The way the seat back is attached to the frame is prone to creaking with chassis flex due to metal shafts resting in a metal hangers. The source of this creak is initially hard to identify because it sounds like it emanates from another area of the car. The solution: Remove the seat bottom (push the base back towards the trunk and pop up) and the seat back (a bolt on each side and slide up) and wrap the two shafts on the seat bottom, and three on the seat back with friction tape. Electrical tape will work, but friction tape is better suited for the job. Also, push the three hanger areas for the seat back in slightly to tighten them up. You will probably notice some shiny wear marks also and they should be taped over. Reinstall the seat back making sure you get all three shafts back in the hangers - this may take a few attempts.

From the windows

I've had a horrible creaking noise in my drivers side window for years now. The service manager at my dealership says it sounds bad but isn't a sign of incipient failure, and would be expensive to fix. I just ignore it and very carefully don't overdo rolling up the window. Ed. Note: this is from David Corkran, a former Saab master technician and current Ford salesman:

I have an answer to the creaking windows on the SHO. Ford uses a felt-like door seal on the Taurus and the SHO. When you get silicon on them i.e.: wax and door seal lubes, it cases the seal to creak. You have to strip the silicon off the seal with alcohol and apply a lube called glitmo. You can get glitmo from most SAAB dealers and the stuff is not cheap but it does work for the most part. SAAB had the same problem with the 9000. If that does not work then you have to replace the door seal. This will also work on window felt but you must first make sure the glass is very clean and free of silicon.

From the headrests

John Witherspoon says: I complained to my dealer that my passenger headrest was rattling quite a bit when there was nobody in the RF seat. They used 2 each of part numbers FOOY-54610A18-A (retainer) and F2DZ-54610A16-A (sleeve) and now there's no more rattling! And it was all covered under warranty! Everybody who's been cramming paper wads down in there to stop the noise take heart. Sit in a '96 and check the headrests -- Ford installed the cure for them at the factory.

Wind noise around the windshield

From Ram Gopalkrishnan:

A while ago, I'd posted about my new '95 SHO that made this awful high-pitched noise at highway speeds. Several people responded suggesting it might be the tires and/or the timing belt whine. Yes, those things do make noise, but by careful elimination I decided the thing that really bothered me was a whine / whistle caused by the wind. Also I found that it only happened when it was hot outside, and NOT when it rained or when there was any moisture (dew, etc.). Two trips to the dealer were frustrating and unsuccessful, perhaps not surprising given that this noise only occured under a specific set of circumstances.

Finally solved the problem by buying a $2.50 tube of "flowable silicone windshield sealant" from the local HiLo and applying it (very carefully!) on both front and back of the windshield plastic beading. I took my time and did it so carefully (very unusual for me!) that it's impossible to see even when you're looking for it - and best of all - the high-pitched noise is completely gone!!

From the trunk

Make sure your spare tire jack is securely in place.

From the front end

There are several common sources of rattles in the front end of the SHO, most hard to track down. First thing to check is the suspension - verify all links, especially the "stabilizer bar mounting links" are snug, best way is to have the car on a "wheel lift" where you can get under it with a normal load on the wheels, if the wheels are suspended, most suspension parts will be fully unloaded making loose parts harder to find.

Another source for front end noise that can be hard to locate is the spash shields in the wheelwells - they will occasionally become partially detached or migrate slighty, causing a rubbing on the spring - verify that there is a bit of clearance between the shield and the spring during normal suspension travel.

From the moonroof

Noise from the moonroof can be reduced in early model cars with the louvered panel by installing the solid panel from a '94 or later car. Seek out a Webasto dealer in your local area or call them at 800-860-7866 (ask for the ordering desk). Webasto is the manufacturer of our sunroof/moonroof and can send you to a local company that can fix your problem or give you the technical help you need to do the job yourself.

If the moonroof rattles when closed, you probably need new lifter arms. Call Webasto at (800) 837-8498. Order left and right Starlight 4 lifter arms (about $30 + shipping). Install them (these sunroof replacement instructions might help); it takes about 30 minutes. You have to remove the glass first. The screws holding the lifters can be reached from inside the car. It's tricky putting it back together but not difficult.

Another fix some have had success with involves the metal rollers that the sunroof slides on. These rollers are about 3/8" in diameter, and the fix is to put a thin rubber sleeve over the rollers. Some people have used shrink sleeve and others have found rubber or synthetic tubing that can be forced over the rollers. While this fix often cures the rattles, if the material used can't hold up to the abuse the open/closing action of the moonroof creates, they will wear thru and the rattles will return.

If you have wind noise coming from the moonroof first check to see if the seal is is separating at the seam where its ends meet. If it is you probably need to replace it.

Get a new seal, unroll it, and let it sit undisturbed for a few days. This will help it shrink slightly as they are stretched when rolled on a spool at the manufacturer (Hint, try a moonroof/sunroof shop or Webasto for a seal. They often have the material in bulk for much less than the dealer.).

Remove the old seal and get ALL the old adhesive off with automotive adhesive remover (available at auto body and paint supply houses). I can't stress this enough. Install the new seal with a high quality automotive weatherstripping adhesive. Do not stretch the seal as you install it, especially around corners; as a matter of fact, compress it a bit. Carefully match the ends so there is no gap and you are done.

Thanks to Brian Harris:

The part numbers are:

S1286-D-3000A Right Lifter Arm $17.11 S1286-D-3001A Left Lifter Arm $17.11

S1590-E-5010C-A Seal $35.00