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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

My 2003 Kia Sorento AWD is having issues with its transfer case. While accelerating, it makes a clunking sound. It appears as though it is trying to engage 4WD.
When I purchased the vehicle it had two different tires on it. Same model, just one was newer than the other (one being worn out and slightly smaller due to it). The issue began when I rotated my tires. My mechanic looked at it and talked to his transmission guy who advised him that he has seen this issue before and it was caused by the tires. It made sense to me, the rear tires now being slightly smaller than the front causing the vehicle to think that the tires were spinning since they had to spin faster than the front to maintain the same speed. I ordered new tires and waited for them to come in. I rotated the old tires back and the issue was gone. I drove 200 miles back home to put the new tires on the vehicle without a single sound.
After putting the new tires on, the issue returned. I can't make heads or tails of it and neither can the mechanics I have spoken with. One thing that I have noticed is that when accelerating at a slow, steady pace, the speedometer doesn't accelerate smoothly. It is jerky, very slight and hardly noticeable, but jerky none the less. Is there a possibility that the sending units on the drive shafts are bad?
Please help, I can't afford to not have the vehicle operation for very long.
 

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10 Optima LX, 07 Rondo EX, 89 Chevy C1500
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Its possible the speed sensor is bad, but I would think the problem would exist regardless of tire location. Stupid question, but...did you have the correct size tires installed?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your response and your question. Yes, the tires are the correct size. They are the OE recommended size for the car.
On a side note, I am also unable to engage 4low. Nothing seems to happen when I engage the switch.
 

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2006 Kia Sorento 3.5 5sp Auto
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The jerky speedo seems normal. Mine has it, and a couple others i drove had it when i was looking to purchase.

I think its the little motor that controls it not being the smoothest, but not sure.

I would say the jerky speedo is unrelated.
 

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2003 Kia Sorento, 3.5 V6
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Hi,

I am experiencing a very similar problem. When accelerating there was a thud / clunking sound. I went through the same checks, had 4 new tyres and brakes but the problem still persists.

I have taken the 4WD fuse out, to try and eliminate areas, and the problem stops altogether. When the fuse is replaced the problem starts again. Could this be an issue with a sensor within 4WD system or transfer box?

Any help really appreciated. Thanks
 

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KIA Sorento EX Transfer Case Problem

I own a 2013 Sorento EX which has the same type of Transfer Case problem which happen around 17 thousand kilometers or just over 10 thousand miles.
This has resulted in a postponed/ cancelled vacation as the Part apparently are on back order and must be sent in from Korea. I don't think this is an isolated problem as the mechanic found it in a very short road test which leads me to believe he expected it. The Service people thought it was noise from snow tires but I know the difference. I have enjoyed the vehicle up to this point. Prior to this I drove Jeep Grande Cherokees and almost bought another but thought this was better value for dollars as it is much cheaper.

They found this the day before we were to leave for Florida so I suppose I should be grateful that I am not sitting in the mountains of Virginia waiting for parts to arrive from afar. I am not knocking the car itself but rather the parts availability to deal with a known problem. It makes me question my decision to buy in the first place.

I have sent a detailed e mail to KIA it will be interesting to see how they respond. When Service in the regularly scheduled stuff the Dealer has been great but when there is a significant complication the Dealer/KIA Parts relationship has not been a great experience so far.
 

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It is as far as I know the entire Transfer Case. I do not have part number. The initial date for repair was Feb 21. I called KIA Canada Customer Service and they followed up.
The new delivery date is now Feb 26. The vehicle is ok for short drives but not 20 hours plus of Turnpike. I can not get a loner as my trip is cross border to Florida. One of the reasons I bought a 2013 new in the first place was for these kind of trips.
I will probably buy North American next time due to parts availability issue. I had the same problem on a 2000 Jeep Grande Cherokee around 2004 or 5 it had about 150,000 K on it not 17,000K (10,000miles roughly) It was fixed within 24 hours.
No problem with the Dealer or Customer Service Lady they were fine but KIA has a systemic issue if it cannot supply parts to keep their vehicles running let alone their higher end offerings.
I have Visions now of sitting off in who knows where waiting for 2 plus weeks to get parts. I am lucky that this was identified the day before I hit the road. I had taken it in the week before for service and inspection but the noise did not abate so back I went. At first it was put down to snow tires although I had my doubts.

Anyway they are going to follow up next Monday to confirm the 26th or not. I will keep you posted if it goes past into yet a third week. No more KIA's for this guy.
 

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Kia Sorento EX 03 3.5ltr Auto 190,000kms
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My 4x4 stays on and I have high Revs .
I had to reset my O/D as it wasn't coming on by pulling out the TCCS fuse .
It seems like that it will not go into 4th gear as the revs are high .
I pulled out the P/TRN fuse to rest the transmission but that didn't solve the problem .
I pulled out the Solenoid plug that fits on the transfer case but I was told it looked good .
There is another electrical connection the sits below the transfer case but it would not pull out . That type of connection needs to be pushed down and then pulled out but it would not come out .
Any ideas as I would hate to break that connection and that would cost me big bucks .
Hopefully that might be the problem or the 4x4 switch itself might need pulling apart and cleaned up .
Cheers and best wishes you guys as you all do a good job .
 

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I have a 2003 Sorento. I noticed recently, my front tires were so bald there was wire showing. Had 2 new (used) tires put on, when I left the tire shop it was suddenly making the clunking noise. Took it back to tire shop n they couldn't figure it out. My brother looked at it n determined it was transfer case. I browsed through forums n such n saw where someone said you can pull the fuse to disable the transfer case entirely. I did this n so far so good. Just no 4WD capability but I can deal with that. Hope this helps someone
 

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99 Kia Elan 1.8L, 17 Ford Edge Sport 2.7L V6, 15 Mustang 3.7L V6, 08 Harley Nightrain
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I have a 2003 Sorento. I noticed recently, my front tires were so bald there was wire showing. Had 2 new (used) tires put on, when I left the tire shop it was suddenly making the clunking noise. Took it back to tire shop n they couldn't figure it out. My brother looked at it n determined it was transfer case. I browsed through forums n such n saw where someone said you can pull the fuse to disable the transfer case entirely. I did this n so far so good. Just no 4WD capability but I can deal with that. Hope this helps someone
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