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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

I have a 2004 Santa Fe. 4WD, 3.5l V6, automatic. It has 170,000 miles, just replaced the ignition coils and have brand new tires on the vehicle.

Here's the problem: The car runs and drives well down the road. Smooth idle, no misfires, no tire noise. Steering wheel is slightly off-center but I hear that's normal. Seems like a great running car until I drive it at highway speed for 1-2 hours. As I pull off the highway and up to a stop light, the car begins to jerk and get a "popping" feeling as I slow down to a stop. It almost feels like you're going over bumps in the road, but it's the car itself. Always below 40 mph. It's not an engine misfire - feels more like a transmission/axle/suspension type of issue. Same thing when I speed up from a stop. Jerking, "popping" feeling, stutter as I accelerate, up until about 35-40mph, where it smooths out. Sometimes the stutter will get rough when I turn hard to the right or left at a slow speed. It's not a consistent jerk that speeds up and slows down with the idle. It's random but frequent.

This only occurs when the car is hot from running down the highway for an extended period of time. If the car sits shut of for 30-60 minutes, it won't do it until it warms up from the highway again. When it happens, there's nothing "dragging" the acceleration down and the hubs aren't hot. Doesn't seem to struggle with shifting from first to second either.

It only happens after extended highway driving. I never notice it from just driving around town.

I'm not sure id this is related but I figured I'd mention:
The car used to have snow tires on it that the previous owner ran during the summer. The size was correct, yet the inside tread on the front tires was worn off. I replaced with all-seasons, but still want to have the alignment checked.

What do you think? I've never had this problem before and I'm stumped on what to check.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Could be. I'm not thinking a wheel bearing because the hubs don't get hot after driving, but ball joints are a possibility. Do they usually go bad at the same time? Because both front tires were worn on the inside, I was hesitant to think ball joints because I didn't think they typically go bad together.
 

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Get an alignment first. Any shop worth their weight will check suspension parts. Excessive inside only wear indicates way out of alignment.
 

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As Chris said, get it aligned soon. You can ruin a set of new tires in no time, not to mention the fuel economy because the tires are working against each other with bad toe in or out.
An off center steering wheel sounds like a problem to me.

I would check that the transfer case is full of lubricant if you haven't already, if dry it could cause binding and a quick failure.
 

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Hi all,

I have a 2004 Santa Fe. 4WD, 3.5l V6, automatic. It has 170,000 miles, just replaced the ignition coils and have brand new tires on the vehicle.

Here's the problem: The car runs and drives well down the road. Smooth idle, no misfires, no tire noise. Steering wheel is slightly off-center but I hear that's normal. Seems like a great running car until I drive it at highway speed for 1-2 hours. As I pull off the highway and up to a stop light, the car begins to jerk and get a "popping" feeling as I slow down to a stop. It almost feels like you're going over bumps in the road, but it's the car itself. Always below 40 mph. It's not an engine misfire - feels more like a transmission/axle/suspension type of issue. Same thing when I speed up from a stop. Jerking, "popping" feeling, stutter as I accelerate, up until about 35-40mph, where it smooths out. Sometimes the stutter will get rough when I turn hard to the right or left at a slow speed. It's not a consistent jerk that speeds up and slows down with the idle. It's random but frequent.

This only occurs when the car is hot from running down the highway for an extended period of time. If the car sits shut of for 30-60 minutes, it won't do it until it warms up from the highway again. When it happens, there's nothing "dragging" the acceleration down and the hubs aren't hot. Doesn't seem to struggle with shifting from first to second either.

It only happens after extended highway driving. I never notice it from just driving around town.

I'm not sure id this is related but I figured I'd mention:
The car used to have snow tires on it that the previous owner ran during the summer. The size was correct, yet the inside tread on the front tires was worn off. I replaced with all-seasons, but still want to have the alignment checked.

What do you think? I've never had this problem before and I'm stumped on what to check.

Thanks
The always below 40 MPH makes me think it might be about your w4d system, possibly the rear viscous coupler. Do you have a plug on it where you could disconnect it while you are having this problem?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
As Chris said, get it aligned soon. You can ruin a set of new tires in no time, not to mention the fuel economy because the tires are working against each other with bad toe in or out.
An off center steering wheel sounds like a problem to me.

I would check that the transfer case is full of lubricant if you haven't already, if dry it could cause binding and a quick failure.
The always below 40 MPH makes me think it might be about your w4d system, possibly the rear viscous coupler. Do you have a plug on it where you could disconnect it while you are having this problem?
Thanks both for the reply. It's been a while since I've had time to work on this. I'm taking it in for an alignment this week, I'll check again after that. I'll also check the lubricant and the w4d system. Thanks for the input, I'll let you know what I find out.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Got a 4-tire alignment done. They mentioned a worn control arm bushing, so I replaced that but no change to the issue. No other front end problems were mentioned or found, so I assume that everything is good there.

I unplugged the 4wd control module to see if it was a 4wd issue causing the problem. No change, problem still remains.

As you're slowing to a stop, it sounds and feels exactly like you're going over several small bumps in the road. Same when you're speeding up. It evens out after about 30 mph, but I've noticed that the longer I drive it, the worse it gets. After 2.5 hours there seems to be some sort of constant faint grinding noise at low speed.

Again, this only happens when the car has been driving for 30-60 minutes or more on the highway. When it sits for a bit, even just 30 minutes in a parking lot or so, it stops happening until you drive it and get it warm again.

Any more ideas?
 

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Check transfer case oil level. Try coming to a stop in neutral and see if it stops. If so tranny or TC issue. Possible hanging the tcc clutch. Ever change the Tranny fluid? Tcc solenoid could be sticking partly engaged.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Check transfer case oil level. Try coming to a stop in neutral and see if it stops. If so tranny or TC issue. Possible hanging the tcc clutch. Ever change the Tranny fluid? Tcc solenoid could be sticking partly engaged.
Thanks.

I tried coming to a stop in neutral and no change - still the same issue. I did notice when I got out of the car a smell like hot rubber coming from the front passenger tire well. I felt the tire itself (inside, outside, and top) and it didn't feel hot to the touch. What could that mean?

It's also throwing a CEL now - checked it and got 4 different codes back.
P0431 - Warm up catalyst efficiency below normal (bank 2)
P0421 - Warm up catalyst efficiency below normal (bank 1)
P0183 - Fuel temperature sensor "A" circuit high input
P0446 - EVAP vent control solenoid circuit performance (closed)

Not sure if they're related to this or completely different. But the car runs perfect aside from this issue.
I'm stumped - I appreciate all of the help so far
 

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I would say the codes are related to each other. Sounds like they may share a ground or 12v. I will cheek my electrical manual. If the transfer case is dry and it is the grinding, it is probably toast. Plenty of second hand ones out there. They are notorious for leaking.
 

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Can't see any electrical correlation. Their grounds and power are shared with other sensors. Reset pcm and see if they come back. Check transfer case fluid level(on level ground) 10mm allen wrench to open fill port. Socket style works best.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Can't see any electrical correlation. Their grounds and power are shared with other sensors. Reset pcm and see if they come back. Check transfer case fluid level(on level ground) 10mm allen wrench to open fill port. Socket style works best.
Thanks for the help chris6414.

I checked the transfer case fluid level. It didn't drip out of the hole when I took the fill plug out, but it was still filled up to just below the hole. Fluid was old, but you could still see through it. Brown, not black.

Another interesting thing - today, the driver's side front tire started rubbing against the inner fender wall when I turn sharply to the left. It's never done this before.
 

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That certainly isn't good. Jack that side up and pull on the wheel top and bottom. Shouldn't be any play there. There is a recall on the front springs breaking from corrosion (northern states) the spring will break, rub on the tire and puncture it. Check strut spring for cracks. If broken or cracked repair asap!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Pull check can also identify bad ball joints too.
Thanks. I had both front tires off today checking around again. Didn't notice any cracks in the spring but I'll check again tomorrow. There was no play in the tire when I checked that today, and no play in any linkages on either side. I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. There's some old grease buildup on the backside of the hub on the drivers side, but it's definitely old. Not recent. No leaks anywhere around the transfer case or transmission. The driver's side lower ball joint boot looked fairly empty of grease, but there's no fitting to refill it, and no cracks in the boot so I'm guessing it's that way from the factory?

I'm wondering about the drive axles? I didn't feel any abnormal play with them but maybe there's something that's hard to detect? It's also probably due for brake pads soon so I can check and see how sticky the calipers are when I do those. Doesn't seem to me like that would cause the jerking though...
 

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Could be the CV joint. That old grease could tell the tale. Any clicking while turning? You could be beyond clicking though. Boot torn or residual old grease on it anywhere? When you had it jacked up did you check the tie rod play to the rack. Inner ball joints usually develop some play around 100K or so. never saw them cause the jerking you describing. RPM surging/jerking too?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Could be the CV joint. That old grease could tell the tale. Any clicking while turning? You could be beyond clicking though. Boot torn or residual old grease on it anywhere? When you had it jacked up did you check the tie rod play to the rack. Inner ball joints usually develop some play around 100K or so. never saw them cause the jerking you describing. RPM surging/jerking too?
No clicking while turning, both of the boots are intact and have no residual grease. Very little play in the shafts as well.
I did check the tie rod play, though not directly at the rack. Tie rods were solid though. No surging or jerking of RPMs, that remains steady throughout.

I'm going to do all four pads and rotors because they are in desperate need of replacement - maybe it will make a difference? Grasping at straws now.
Thanks for the help!
 

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Makes sense. My 06 sat for awhile before I got it and the rears wire crooked. Caliper was hanging. Took them off, greased the pins and flipped the pads. Milking them for a couple more months.
 

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Makes sense. My 06 sat for awhile before I got it and the rears wire crooked. Caliper was hanging. Took them off, greased the pins and flipped the pads. Milking them for a couple more months.
Replaced the pads and rotors all the way around. No change to the issue - still jerks/pops when slowing to a stop or speeding up from a stop after warming up on the highway. I checked and replaced the gear oil in the rear diff. It was a little low, and old and a little burnt, but the new oil didn't make a difference.

No burning smell this time, and no more codes after I reset the engine computer. Must have been a fluke.

If anybody can think of any other ideas, I'd be most thankful!
 
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