Ford Taurus Service Manual: Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) - Description and Operation

Noise is any undesirable sound, usually unpleasant in nature. Vibration is any motion, shaking or trembling, that can be felt or seen when an object moves back and forth or up and down. Harshness is a ride quality issue where the vehicle's response to the road transmits sharply to the customer. Harshness normally describes a firmer than usual response from the suspension system. NVH is a term used to describe these conditions, which result in varying degrees of dissatisfaction. Although a certain level of NVH caused by road and environmental conditions is normal, this section is designed to aid in the diagnosis, testing and repair of NVH symptoms.

Acceptable NVH

All internal combustion engines and drivelines produce some noise and vibration; operating in a real world environment adds noise that is not subject to control. Vibration isolators, mufflers and dampers reduce these to acceptable levels. A driver who is unfamiliar with a vehicle can think that some sounds are abnormal when actually the sounds are normal for the vehicle type. As a technician, it is very important to be familiar with vehicle features and know how they relate to NVH symptoms and their diagnosis. For example, if the vehicle has automatic overdrive, it is important to test drive the vehicle both in and out of overdrive mode.

Glossary of Terms

Amplitude

The quantity or amount of energy produced by a vibrating component (G-force). An extreme vibration has a high amplitude. A mild vibration has a low amplitude. See Intensity.

Boom

Low frequency or low pitched noise often accompanied by a vibration. Also refer to Drumming.

Buffet/Buffeting

Strong noise fluctuations caused by gusting winds. An example would be wind gusts against the side glass.

Buzz

A low-pitched sound like that from a bee. Often a metallic or hard plastic humming sound. Also describes a high-frequency vibration. Vibration feels similar to an electric razor.

Chatter

A pronounced series of rapidly repeating rattling or clicking sounds.

Chirp

A short-duration, high-pitched noise associated with a slipping drive belt.

Chuckle

A repetitious, low-pitched sound. A loud chuckle is usually described as a knock.

Click

A sharp, brief, non-resonant sound, similar to actuating a ball point pen.

Clonk

A hydraulic knocking sound. Sound occurs with air pockets in a hydraulic system. Also described as hammering.

Clunk/Driveline Clunk

A heavy or dull, short-duration, low-frequency sound. Occurs mostly on a vehicle that is accelerating or decelerating abruptly. Also described as a thunk.

Conductor

The components that carry (transmit) a vibration frequency from the originator to the reactor.

Cycles Per Second

Cycles per second. Same as hertz (Hz).

Cracks

A mid-frequency sound, related to squeak. Sound varies with temperature conditions.

Creak

A metallic squeak.

Cycle

The process of a vibrating component going through a complete range of motion and returning to the starting point.

Decibel (dB)

A unit of measurement, referring to sound pressure level, abbreviated dB.

Drone

A low-frequency, steady sound, like a freezer compressor. Also described as a moan.

Drumming

A cycling, low-frequency, rhythmic noise often accompanied by a sensation of pressure on the ear drums. Also described as a low rumble, boom or rolling thunder.

Flutter

Mid to high intermittent sound due to air flow. Similar to a flag flapping in the wind.

Frequency

The rate at which a cycle occurs within a given time.

G-force

The additional load or weight produced in an object during acceleration. When measuring the level or amplitude of a vibration without sound, the unit G is added to associate the force of the vibration to gravity. This is similar to measuring the weight of an object, which is also a function of gravity.

Gravelly Feel

A grinding or growl in a component, similar to the feel experienced when driving on gravel.

Grind

An abrasive sound, similar to using a grinding wheel, or rubbing sand paper against wood.

Hertz (Hz)

A unit of measure used to describe noise and vibration concerns expressed in cycles per second.

Hiss

Steady, high-frequency noise. Vacuum leak sound.

Hoot

A steady, low-frequency tone, sounds like blowing over a long neck bottle.

Howl

A mid-range frequency noise between drumming and whine. Also described as a hum.

Hum

Mid-frequency steady sound, like a small fan motor. Also described as a howl.

Intensity

The physical quality of sound that relates to the strength of the vibration (measured in decibels). The higher the sound's amplitude, the higher the intensity and vice versa. See Amplitude.

Knock

A heavy, loud, repetitious sound, like a knock on the door.

Moan

A constant, low-frequency tone. Also described as a hum.

Ping

A short-duration, high-frequency sound, which has a slight echo.

Pitch

The physical quality of sound that relates to its frequency. Pitch increases as frequency increases and vice versa.

Pumping Feel

A slow, pulsing movement.

Rattle

A random and momentary or short-duration noise.

Reactor

The component, or part, that receives a vibration from an originator and conductor and reacts to the vibration by moving.

Roughness

A medium-frequency vibration. A slightly higher frequency than a shake. This type of vibration is usually related to drivetrain components.

Rustling

Intermittent sound of varying frequency, sounds similar to shuffling through leaves.

Shake

A low-frequency vibration, usually with visible component movement. Usually relates to tires, wheels, brake drums or brake discs if it is vehicle speed sensitive, or engine if it is engine speed sensitive. Also referred to as a shimmy or wobble.

Shimmy

An abnormal vibration or wobbling, felt as a side-to-side motion of the steering wheel in the driveshaft rotation. Also described as waddle.

Shudder

A low-frequency vibration that is felt through the steering wheel or seat during light brake application.

Slap

A resonance from flat surfaces, such as safety belt webbing or door trim panels.

Squeak

A high-pitched transient sound, similar to rubbing fingers against a clean window.

Squeal

A long-duration, high-pitched noise.

Tap

A light, rhythmic or intermittent hammering sound, similar to tapping a pencil on a table edge.

Thump

A dull beat caused by 2 items striking together.

Tick

A rhythmic tap, similar to a clock noise.

Tip-In Moan

A light moaning noise heard during light vehicle acceleration, usually between 40-100 km/h (25-65 mph).

Transient

A noise or vibration that is momentary, a short duration.

Vibration

Any motion, shaking or trembling, that can be felt or seen when an object moves back and forth or up and down.

Whine

A constant, high-pitched noise. Also described as a screech.

Whistle

High-pitched noise with a very narrow frequency band. Examples of whistle noises are a turbocharger or air flow around an antenna.

Wind Noise

Any noise caused by air movement in, out or around the vehicle.

    Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) - Diagnosis and Testing
    Special Tool(s) Diagnostic Theory The shortest route to an accurate diagnosis results from: system knowledge, including comparison with a known good system. system history, including repair histo ...

    Other materials:

    General Procedures
    Air Conditioning (A/C) Clutch Air Gap Adjustment Check the A/C clutch air gap at 3 equally spaced places between the clutch plate and the A/C clutch pulley. Remove the clutch plate. Add or remove spacers between the clutch plate hub and the compressor shaft until the clearance is within ...

    Lighting control
    A. Off B. Parking lamps, instrument panel lamps, license plate lamps and tail lamps C. Headlamps High Beams • Push the lever toward the instrument panel to activate. • Push the lever toward the instrument panel again or pull the lever towards you to deactivate. Headlamp Flasher ...

    Transmission
    Automatic transmission WARNING: Always set the parking brake fully and make sure the gearshift is latched in P (Park). Turn the ignition to the off position and remove the key whenever you leave your vehicle. Your vehicle has been designed to improve fuel economy by reducing fuel usage while co ...