The synchronizer shaft for the camshaft position sensor can cause a loud squeak or chirping noise due to failure of the upper bushing. The noise may be erratic and is usually present when the engine is warm.
Problems for specific Mercury Sable years:
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Repairpal verified 1998 Mercury Sable problems
The magnet for the camshaft position sensor may fall out of its mount and damage the synchronizers. This causes long crank times when starting the engine and may cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate. If this happens, both the magnets and the synchronizers need to be replaced.
If you experience difficulty starting the engine when cold, stalling at idle, or hesitations during acceleration, it may be the idle air bypass valve. This valve helps the vehicle idle steady when the accelerator pedal is not pressed.
While steering, if you hear a clunk or a rattle, or if you experience premature tire wear, this could indicate the inner tie rod ends are loose or worn and will require replacement.
The engine oil pan gasket can develop a leak. Leaking oil may accumulate on the exhaust system resulting in a burning smell. Replacing the gasket should correct this leak.
Chafing of the jounce bumper against the strut rod and / or rubbing of the dust boot against the strut mount cup can cause popping, squeaking, and noisy sounds from front wheel areas while driving. Lubricate the jounce bumper (bump stop), strut rod, and boot with dielectric grease fix this concern.