My '97 2.5L 5-speed has 142k on the dash, starting doing this about two months ago and I "think" its getting worse.
Only happens in first gear from a dead-stop, and also only when acceleration is somewhat moderate to hard. I can make it not make 'the noise' if I accelerate easy or baby the clutch. Have tried to re-produce the noise from a rolling start to no avail.
Best I can describe, its a popping noise. It can be lightly felt through the seat and stick shift, but strangely doesn't sound mechanical in nature. I mean, it doesn't sound like a metallic noise; more or less. I have a 2" budget lift installed, and 1.5" of body lift. My educated guess is the extra lift on stock sway bar links has put the front sway bar under stress, so when the body rolls aft (as during acceleration) I suspect the additional stress on the front sway bar as the culprit for the popping noise.
Can't really put my finger on this though, since it sounds like it's becoming more pronounced as more time and miles expire. BTW, it never did this until AFTER I installed the budget and body lifts.
Has anyone else encountered this?
Thanks in advance