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Hi all,

Recently I posted about an issue I was having with my Santa Fe about jerking while driving on the highway. I have since narrowed down the issue and hope that I can get some advice through a new thread.

It appears that there is something wrong with the rear differential in my car. It's a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe, 3.5l, 4wd.

When the car is warm and has been driving down the highway for 30-45 minutes, a "clunking" will begin to happen in the rear differential. I know this because I had it up on a lift at a local shop and we were able to hear the clunking coming from the rear diff while under power.

It's a single "clunk" that happens every 3-4 seconds, but the timing will vary based on how fast or slow the car is going. As you're driving down the road, you can feel the entire car jerk when it happens. After 30-45 minutes of highway driving, you can feel it happen at low speeds, but the longer you drive the car, the more frequent and violent it gets. (after 3 hours of driving, it was a consistent 2-3 second interval jerk that rocked the car pretty good at 40 mph)

The weird thing is that when the car sits and cools off for a while (30 minutes in a parking lot or so) the issue instantly clears up. You don't feel any more jerking until the car gets hot again from highway driving.

We put some limited-slip differential lube in the rear diff (whale sperm, as the mechanic called it) and it seemed to help a little bit, but the problem still persists.

I don't want to swap the rear diff unless I know for sure that's the only way of fixing the issue - anybody have any ideas?

Thanks
 

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I would pull the cover and look inside. A fluid change and corresponding change in behavior says something isn't right in there. Never messed with mine, but have you verified that the AWD clutch coupling is not in anyway the cause?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I would pull the cover and look inside. A fluid change and corresponding change in behavior says something isn't right in there. Never messed with mine, but have you verified that the AWD clutch coupling is not in anyway the cause?
Thanks. I did troubleshoot the issue by unplugging the 4wd module to see if it stopped the jerking from happening - the jerking still happened. I'm not sure how else to check the clutch coupling, but any info on that would be great. I can pop the cover and take a look, but what should I look for? I did just change the rear diff fluid and while it was old and a little burnt, there were no metal shavings or anything else like that in the fluid.
 

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Hi all,

Recently I posted about an issue I was having with my Santa Fe about jerking while driving on the highway. I have since narrowed down the issue and hope that I can get some advice through a new thread.

It appears that there is something wrong with the rear differential in my car. It's a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe, 3.5l, 4wd.

When the car is warm and has been driving down the highway for 30-45 minutes, a "clunking" will begin to happen in the rear differential. I know this because I had it up on a lift at a local shop and we were able to hear the clunking coming from the rear diff while under power.

It's a single "clunk" that happens every 3-4 seconds, but the timing will vary based on how fast or slow the car is going. As you're driving down the road, you can feel the entire car jerk when it happens. After 30-45 minutes of highway driving, you can feel it happen at low speeds, but the longer you drive the car, the more frequent and violent it gets. (after 3 hours of driving, it was a consistent 2-3 second interval jerk that rocked the car pretty good at 40 mph)

The weird thing is that when the car sits and cools off for a while (30 minutes in a parking lot or so) the issue instantly clears up. You don't feel any more jerking until the car gets hot again from highway driving.

We put some limited-slip differential lube in the rear diff (whale sperm, as the mechanic called it) and it seemed to help a little bit, but the problem still persists.

I don't want to swap the rear diff unless I know for sure that's the only way of fixing the issue - anybody have any ideas?

Thanks
While not the same car or totally the same symptoms, I wonder if the bearing in the viscous coupler is going bad. Here is a two part video were a mechanic tears one apart and replaces the bearing. I would think you could take your viscous coupler off and check out your bearing.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
While not the same car or totally the same symptoms, I wonder if the bearing in the viscous coupler is going bad. Here is a two part video were a mechanic tears one apart and replaces the bearing. I would think you could take your viscous coupler off and check out your bearing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOIJNC42QwI
Thank you!

I was doing some research on the viscous coupler and I came across an article saying the 3.5l 4wd Santa Fe doesn't use a traditional VC, but some sort of magnetic one instead, which made me think it might not be causing the problem. Can anybody confirm this? If the article I found was mistaken, then I'll definitely take a look at that.
 

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Maybe or maybe not related but I would also check the rear brake calipers. I just changed my front right caliper as it was hanging up (one piston). It would ride ok for awhile until it got hot and would begin to drag and rumble/pull on that side. My rear also had a sticky glide pin in one of the calipers and although I didn't have your symptoms, the pads were severely worn uneven so I pulled the pins, cleaned and re-lubed them so they were smooth in the mount and put on new pads. Just another thought and something easy to check.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Maybe or maybe not related but I would also check the rear brake calipers. I just changed my front right caliper as it was hanging up (one piston). It would ride ok for awhile until it got hot and would begin to drag and rumble/pull on that side. My rear also had a sticky glide pin in one of the calipers and although I didn't have your symptoms, the pads were severely worn uneven so I pulled the pins, cleaned and re-lubed them so they were smooth in the mount and put on new pads. Just another thought and something easy to check.
Thanks! I just replaced the pads and rotors all the way around the vehicle, and (at the time) the calipers and pins all seemed to move smoothly. The e-brake drum mechanism on the driver's side was very rusty and locked up on the inside of the rotor, but I cleared it up when I replaced the rotors. There is a chance it could be sticking again, but it seems to me like the symptoms would be different than what's being presented.

I appreciate the input so far.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Solved the problem, for anybody who might need the info. It was a bad 4wd coupler. For this generation, the best replacement bet is a new rear differential or one from a junkyard - the 4wd coupler isn't a separate unit. I temporarily solved mine by removing the driveline and coupler and making a metal plate to cover the hole in the differential.
 

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Hi!......Did you ever change the differential? If so, can you share how you did it.....how do you remove the CV axles from differential....and how does the whole unit come out? Anyone have a step by step instructions or video? Any help is greatly appreciated. By the way, I have a 2003 Hyindai Santa Fe 2.7L AWD but differential sould be the same.......................THANKS!
 
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