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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A couple of weeks ago I pushed the pedal a little more while turning right to enter an intersection. I was starting from complete stop and mid turn with the engine reved up I heard a loud bang (something as a metal snapped) coming from the front left wheel. After being able to park I inspected the left and right wheel, removed the left wheel and nothing seems to be out of order. No oil leak and since than the car seems to go well... except when I start the car from still, and push the acceleration a little bit more, the front wheels seem to slip as on ice (like i was driving on ice or snow, but it happens on dry asphalt) and the TC led lights on the dashboard. This also happens in second gear while accelerating more swiftly. Other than that, no noise or anything else. Just this annoying wheel slip and TC that reves down the engine. The car is a European 2.2 2013 dm diesel sport version 197hp 4wd or awd to be precise. Anyone has any idea what this might be and what could cause the front wheels slipping? What should I check next?
 

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Check under the car, if shaft is rotating then your hydraulic coupler is gone. If shaft not rotating transfer case or spline gear feeding transfer case is gone.
 

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Exact, seem your AWD is broken and you now get a 2WD Santa Fe for free... 2WD with the diesel low-rpm torque will probably spin front tires easily. Normally when accelerating hard the system will lock the AWD automatically to prevent wheel slippage.

So as previously mentionned, have the AWD system inspected, espacially the hydraulic coupler. The coupler was probably jammed in locked position or partially locked and finally gave away.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Check under the car, if shaft is rotating then your hydraulic coupler is gone. If shaft not rotating transfer case or spline gear feeding transfer case is gone.
So basically I've lost rear drive traction and only the front works now? This seems like a major issue...is it recomanded to drive the car anymore? Wasn't the traction distributed like 70% rear and 30% front? If that's the case and now the car is pulled only by the front won't that have a major impact in the transfer case? I mean, I only drove through town but still I don't feel comfortable driving it anymore...
Thanks for the reply, I was going to check the left side cv and cv joints since i had that replaced when I bought the car 2 years ago, and installed a second hand cv...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Exact, seem your AWD is broken and you now get a 2WD Santa Fe for free... 2WD with the diesel low-rpm torque will probably spin front tires easily. Normally when accelerating hard the system will lock the AWD automatically to prevent wheel slippage.

So as previously mentionned, have the AWD system inspected, espacially the hydraulic coupler. The coupler was probably jammed in locked position or partially locked and finally gave away.
Ok...all seems to make sense now. By hidraulic coupler you mean the coupler between the main shaft and the rear diff that takes the place of the central diff in the Hyundai awd config, or something else between the front case and main shaft?
 

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Could be a CV joints, but that would probably always make noise. Slowly turning in circle full left then right the front CV should make a toc-toc-toc noise if they are bad. I really doubt its the problem you have.

Since this a AWD SUV (and not a off-road Jeep or pick-up) most of the times the car works with 100% power to the front, and when needed (like hard acceleration or slippery road), the AWD clutch will engage and distribute power to the rear.

And since you dont hear any abnormal noise, I would say its OK to drive it, but I would stay local and not drive it on highway until its at least inspected and you know what is the problem exactly.
 

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Ok...all seems to make sense now. By hidraulic coupler you mean the coupler between the main shaft and the rear diff that takes the place of the central diff in the Hyundai awd config, or something else between the front case and main shaft?
Yes the coupler between the shaft and the rear differential. It is attached to the rear diff. directly. There is no other coupler in the system.

Transmission -> front transfert case -> main propeller shaft -> hydraulic coupler -> rear diff
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks, I'll start checking stuff tomorrow and report back once I'll figure something out. There are no cv joints noises (I know that annoying ticking noise from the 4*4 i had before) and the awd hydraulic coupler was slowly leaking oil. It was the first thing on.my to do list once the spring came...it seems I'll have to start looking into it asap. Once again thanks for the reply!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Took the car for a quick check today. With the car lifted from the ground on an elevator, engine started, 1st gear, tc on or off, 4*4 lock on and off, only the front wheels and the drive shaft spin. I got no spin from the rear wheels, in fact in all the circumstances the rear wheels could be turned by hand. Next step on Thursday, take off the hydraulic 4*4 actuator/coupler, refill it with new oil, check again. Be back with results. Also i'll have a quick diagnostic with a scan tool to force check the actuator (turn it on/off via pc software and diag tool).
 

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My AWD broke----It was the transfer case and the easy way to tell, when I was parked (engine off) I reached under the car and was able to turn the shaft freely....Voila, transfer case. However, when I hit 4X4 "lock" the shaft will not spin but is not engaged in the transfer case. I replaced the transfer case and it went bad within 2 months with the same symptoms ---lod thump every time in reverse until eventually fails. Still have no resolution other than reflashing ECM software.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
My AWD broke----It was the transfer case and the easy way to tell, when I was parked (engine off) I reached under the car and was able to turn the shaft freely....Voila, transfer case. However, when I hit 4X4 "lock" the shaft will not spin but is not engaged in the transfer case. I replaced the transfer case and it went bad within 2 months with the same symptoms ---lod thump every time in reverse until eventually fails. Still have no resolution other than reflashing ECM software.
My first problems with the transmission came from the rear diff + the nut holding the central axle/pinion in the differential came loose on its own. Check this discussion: car stalls and brakes on low speed turns

Also yesterday I discovered that my obd scanner can diagnose some subsystems and in the 4wd subsystem I found 2 errors: P1831 Clutch thermal overstress warning and P1832 Clutch thermal overstress shutdown. Erased the codes, but in the morning they were back :))))/ This points in the direction of the "direct electro-hydrauling awd/4wd coupler". On a Kia forum I found a thread where the central bearing of the coupler came loose from the weak welds and the guy posting also had this 2 errors. Anyway ... tomorrow I'll take it down and report back ... meanwhile the car drives funny, especially while turning, since the back traction is definitely not working. I started to prepare myself for the ~ 700USD cost that involves buying a new coupler :))
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ok ... I took off the 4wd Actuator (I'm gonna name it that) today and took it apart (after noticing the rear bush/wheel was movig by hand in an out) , and unfortunately it is permanently damaged. The **** central bearing/bush broke. I ordered a new one from Korea ... hope it will arrive shortly, so problem kinda solved. Meanwhile I'm on 2wd, and taking it slow, cause I do not feel the need to change the transfer case or cv axles as well.
What I learned from this though and wanted to share with whomever might come into this post:
  • if you notice an oil leakage (even a small one as it was in my case) on the transfer case / 4wd actuator / rear diff .... take the **** thing off and replace whatever gasket or o-ring causes that leak.
  • my santa fe, even if named by Hyundai "Sport" it's not a sport vehicle in any way, at least when it comes to transmission so ... don;t push the pedal to the metal while starting from stop ... things might break ... especially when you have a "small" oil leakage in the 4wd actuator
Failing to comply on any of the above will cost you 590USD new actuator + 135USD UPS shipping (more or less) + 28USD PayPal paying method charges + whatever taxes might your customs apply. I could, of course by the actuator from Romania (that's where I live) but since this is a third's world country, the cheapest price that I got for it was aprox 1200USD (yes I wrote it right: twelve hundreds) I asked for prices online in 5 different parts shops, this was the cheapest. The highest were some blokes that supposedly only deal imported kia/hyundai oem parts, they asked 1500 USD for the actuator.
The actual fault in case somebody wants to see it is described in the two links bellow, even if both of the cases are Kia Sportage/Sorento cars, the part (actuator) and the fault are the same as on my Santa FE.


And at last, but very importantly I wanted to give a big thumbs up and many thanks to @Kameleau and @unluckyasshole who brought light into my thinking and helped me to diagnose my problem and pointed me into the right way.

Also I wanted to give a BIG THUMBS DOWN to Hyundai ... who, idiotically even if the rear traction was faulty, were not able to think of a way to light up the "check engine" light on my dashboard and give me a simple way to ODB - diagnose the problem. This seems like a big failure in their thinking ... really!
 

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No problem... Thank you for the feedback. I noticed the oil leakage your speaking about on mine some months ago. Seem the gasket on the small black actuator motor is not good enough...

I would not worry about going around in 2WD. The car is in 2WD most of the time anyway when the clutch is not engage. Thats the same thing that not having the clutch in place. Haha.
 
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