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2005 Mustang GT Separator plate noise

16796 Views 14 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  yellow06

I'm new to the forum and I would like to start off by asking my first question.

I bought my first 2005 Mustang GT 3 weeks ago.
When the engine is cold I can hear a chirping or grinding noise coming from around the transmission. It's like a disc grinder on a metal surface, running on low rpm.
It doesn't matter if the clutch is engaged or not or if the car is moving or standing still. If I rev the engine, the pitch gets slightly higher.
After 3 to 4 minutes the noise is gone...

I'm pretty sure it's this separator plate problem.

My question: does anyone have a pic or a link to a site where the fix is described? I already downloaded the TSB but I am unsecure to fiddle about the transmission or have it removed.

I read someone wedged two washers between the housing and the separator plate, but I'm worried that water gets in there in time, or is it sealed?

I can imagine this thread is posted a hundred times already, but I can't find any pics or good explanations.

Thanks a lot in advance
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Hey man let me know how it goes. I have been chasing a very similar noise for quite some time now and this is next on my list.
Well, it seems noone has done this before...

I did some more research and it seems that the easiest way is to put something in between the two parts. I'm thinking of 0,3mm (or 0,5) Aluminum strips between the 2 bolts.

But I'm really worried that water sprays from under the car into this gap and ruin the flywheel. Could I use some sort of heat resistant silicone to seal it off.
Problem solved!! :bounce2:

Since I know how hard it is to find any information about this separator plate issue (except for TSBs), I would like to present my way of getting rid of this scraping/grinding noise.
Maybe someone will find this helpful.

The noise came from the flywheel which was scraping against the separator plate, so there are two solutions:
First: Removing the transmission and replace the plate as described in the TSB, but that was no option for me (I'm not a car mechanic)
nor taking the car to the shop because it would have been to expensive.

Second: Bending the plate away from the flywheel. I did this job in the morning, when the engine was cold since the screeching
noise is gone when the car heats up.

You have to unbolt the 2 lower bolts (WD40 will help) of the plate and pry it open with a screwdriver. (pic 1)

Using a good flashlight You can actually see the area where the flywheel comes in contact with the plate. (Yellow cirlce)
It is difficult to get a good picture though. I used a flat screwdriver and wedged it between the plate and the wheel,
all the way in at the height of the two blue marked bolts.
(pic 2)

Using a second srewdriver (or in my case a chisel) wedged at the second blue bolt, tighten the two lower (red) bolts.
This will bend the lower portion of the plate. (pic 3)

With the screwdrivers still in place, unsrcew the red bolts again and put a washer under the plate (marked green).
Then squeeze the plate along the entire length with an alligator wrench.
The upper portion of the plate (the area touching the wheel) will slightly bend away to the front of the vehicle
and away from the flywheel. (pic 4)

Use the flashlight in the direction of the black arrow in pic 1 and peek through the hole (white arrow). You should
now see a tiny gap between the wheel and the plate (lit up by the light from behind).
If not, You have to repeat the above steps until there is enough clearance for the wheel.

To be sure just start the car to check if the noise is gone. Everything bolted in place again, my plate now looks like this: (pic 6)

I know, it looks horrible, but who cares... the noise is gone!!!

I put in some heat resistant sealant (pic 7), maybe I will add an aluminum sheet to close that rectangular gap just to be sure that
no mud or small stones get in there (for whatever reason that opening might be ?!)


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has there been any negative effects of this? i have the same problem and it is annoying and embarrassing.

until now I can't make out any negative effects.
Maybe I will stick a piece of L shaped Aluminum sheet under the opening (between the bell housing and the plate) with silicone, to prevent debris from getting in there. Although I think it is well protected from the motor block in front of it.

Try it, it's easy, fast and it works...
So when you would start the car cold it would be grinding too not just in gear around 2k rpms? Because mine grinds until it is warm no mater if clutch is in or in gear.

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The grinding noise was present no matter what I did. Clutch engaged or not, in gear or idle, while driving or standing still. After about 2 minutes it was gone.

To be sure if it is the plate, put the car on stands, just enough to crawl under it, and see (or hear) if it is coming from the area around the bell housing. You should be able to hear it real clear.

I think what describes it best is a grinder cutting or scraping steel.

Let me know how it goes...
I'm going to have to try this; mine's been driving me crazy lately. I've tried the "wedging tire innertube between the plateand the housing" solution to attempt to dampen the vibration, but it's still louder than ever. The most annoying part is I have to drive through a security checkpoint every morning and I live less than a minute every day I get the puzzled looks from the guards wondering why my car is buzzing as I wait in line.
Just got done following the steps that Monstang provided. No more grinding noise! Thank you for posting the directions and pictures. You easily saved me $700!
My 07 has been making this noise ever since I got it in 2011, and I'll have to do this fix. Thanks for all the details, Monstang:worship
Phew, it's been a while...

I'm happy to hear that You got rid of that noise and am glad I could help :winks

After nearly a year of driving through rain, snow and mud I still couldn't make out any side effects.
I believe I have this problem however, mine does not have a constant noise. Mine is fine when I start it but as I accelerate when the car is cold at about 2-2.5k rpm I get a rattling sound. Anyone think this is the Seperator plate or something else?
@ SOMDStang & Vaporizer: the rattling sound You describe, seems to be something else. At least it's not the flywheel grinding against the plate.
However, I read that some people had one or both lower bolts of the separator plate come loose. Maybe that's the source of the rattle?

Try to bend the plate as described above. It's a 30 minutes job and costs nothing. ;) ...good luck
I did a lot of searching for this issue a few years ago. It was after this thread was current and I know I looked around this forum but I never found this information until recently. I had the same noise and because the common logic at the time was that it must be a clutch issue (throwout or pilot bearing), and that the only way to really tell was to remove the transmission, I paid almost $1500 or so to have a new clutch and bearings installed. The noise went away after that, for about a year or two. Eventually it came back and I had heard something about the tsb or whatever that mentioned a new part number for this (separator plate) part, and I searched again, and found this thread.

So today, I just went outside and performed the steps listed above. My plate was kind of rusty ('06) and glasses would have kept some flecks out of my eyes. Aside from that it was relatively easy and rather intuitive when you see where it is rubbing. I seem to have a good visible clearance at this point and I think it will last. If it comes back I will just do it again.

I do not know an easy way to make this information more easy to access to someone like myself, doing a search for 'clutch noise' or 'throwout bearing' or pilot bearing noise. The thread title is accurate calling it a separator plate, but if I (or anyone) knew it was coming from that plate, and knew to call it a separator plate, they probably already know that it is not something serious. It is great to see that it can be fixed without removing the transmission, with a few bends and wedging in a few washers. I just hope other people find this out before spending big bucks on transmission work, like I did. (oh yeah at the time my car only had like 25k miles on it, so not like I needed a new clutch anyway)
My thanks to Monstang for a really great post.
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