Valve seats (components in the cylinder head that help seal the valve) can fall out. When this happens, it causes rough running and creates noise. Replacement of the cylinder head is commonly required to fix this problem.
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Most reported 1997 Mercury Tracer problems
Failure to change the power steering fluid can cause the fluid to become gray with metal particles. The contaminated fluid can damage the power steering pump resulting in a growling noise when the wheel is turned; the damaged pump will require replacement to eliminate the noise.. Life of the power steering gearbox and pump will be shortened if the fluid is not serviced regularly.
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.