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2013 Kia Sorento LX AWD 3.5 V6
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Discussion Starter #1
My daughter bought a used 13 Sorento. I had a first gen Sorento (03) and I really liked it. The 2nd gen is much different, I've noticed. The AWD with the dynamax system is not working properly. The other day my daughter was driving home in snow / ice road conditions. The front tires slipped on gradual acceleration and the traction control light came on, as well as the 4x4 light. (which stayed on) The traction control works fine. She checked her owners manual and it says when that happens, it means that there is a possible problem with the 4x4 system. There were no noises, (popping, grinding, etc. ever) The vehicle has 104,000 miles on it and runs very well. Has anyone experienced this? From what I've read, this could be the rear coupler is bad. I have pulled the fuse, no change, replaced fuse, no change as expected. The shop I took it to, cleared some hard codes for wheel speed sensor, I believe, but could not find the problem. When put on the rack and placed in gear, the front wheels turned about 1 full rotation and then the back wheel started to rotate. However, I think that when there is resistance on the wheel it doesn't seem to get the power transfer to the rear wheels. The 4x4 light went out after about 15 - 20 minutes. It reappeared when I caused the front tires to lose traction. Any ideas on what may be the problem/solution would be appreciated. A new rear coupler is around $1600 for just the part.
 

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My daughter bought a used 13 Sorento. I had a first gen Sorento (03) and I really liked it. The 2nd gen is much different, I've noticed. The AWD with the dynamax system is not working properly. The other day my daughter was driving home in snow / ice road conditions. The front tires slipped on gradual acceleration and the traction control light came on, as well as the 4x4 light. (which stayed on) The traction control works fine. She checked her owners manual and it says when that happens, it means that there is a possible problem with the 4x4 system. There were no noises, (popping, grinding, etc. ever) The vehicle has 104,000 miles on it and runs very well. Has anyone experienced this? From what I've read, this could be the rear coupler is bad. I have pulled the fuse, no change, replaced fuse, no change as expected. The shop I took it to, cleared some hard codes for wheel speed sensor, I believe, but could not find the problem. When put on the rack and placed in gear, the front wheels turned about 1 full rotation and then the back wheel started to rotate. However, I think that when there is resistance on the wheel it doesn't seem to get the power transfer to the rear wheels. The 4x4 light went out after about 15 - 20 minutes. It reappeared when I caused the front tires to lose traction. Any ideas on what may be the problem/solution would be appreciated. A new rear coupler is around $1600 for just the part.
Try Ebay they have a large selection of rear diffs you can buy prices start around $250.00
 

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2019 Kia Sportage. SX with AWD. 2.0L Direct Injected Turbocharged & Intercooled Gas.
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Well, you already have FWD and Traction control. The AWD (4x4) was just the icing on the cake. I don't believe you really need the 4x4 in the city, if you have good quality all season tires. If the weather is really that severe stay home.

So, you can just not worry about the rear diff.....don't try to fix it. The vehicle will still run OK.

One other lower cost item you can try is changing the fluid in the diff assembly. At 104K this should have been done several times by the previous owner....but we know most people just drive and then pass on headaches to the next owner.......
 

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2013 Kia Sorento LX AWD 3.5 V6
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Discussion Starter #4
Well, you already have FWD and Traction control. The AWD (4x4) was just the icing on the cake. I don't believe you really need the 4x4 in the city, if you have good quality all season tires. If the weather is really that severe stay home.

So, you can just not worry about the rear diff.....don't try to fix it. The vehicle will still run OK.

One other lower cost item you can try is changing the fluid in the diff assembly. At 104K this should have been done several times by the previous owner....but we know most people just drive and then pass on headaches to the next owner.......
Well for starters, we live in the country and staying home is not an option. We have 1 mile of uphill dirt road to travel and this time of year it is usually snow and ice covered. However, I was wondering if changing the rear differential fluid would help, so thank you for that suggestion. I will give that a try. I am curious to see just how bad that fluid looks. Thanks again for the response and suggestion. I will post what I find.
 

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2013 Kia Sorento LX AWD 3.5 V6
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Discussion Starter #5
Try Ebay they have a large selection of rear diffs you can buy prices start around $250.00
I have looked there and may end up going that direction, have checked the wrecking yards in my area and they just don't have much for Sorento's in their inventory. Thanks for the response.
 

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2019 Kia Sportage. SX with AWD. 2.0L Direct Injected Turbocharged & Intercooled Gas.
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377 Posts
Good luck! Keep us informed please...
 

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White 2012 SX AWD
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704 Posts
It's unusual that a major item like the coupler/differential or whatever it's called failed. It happens but you don't hear about it too often.

You said that a shop cleared some wheel speed sensor codes. That seems too coincidental happening at the same time. Perhaps that's related? Perhaps the computer logic isn't getting any wheel speed information and is thinking there's something wrong with the differential?

I would have that looked at before spending big bucks on a large job. I believe it's also a fairly straight forward thing to have checked or even replaced, compared to replacing the differential. Probably a lot easier to diagnose and parts should be more readily available.

If I remember correctly, others have had some issues with wheel speed sensors. You should search for other posts in the forum or the internet about them.

I would suggest having the wheel speed sensors checked first. Those are used for ABS and also traction control and perhaps other things, if I remember correctly.
 

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2013 Kia Sorento LX AWD 3.5 V6
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Discussion Starter #8
I have changed the fluid in the rear differential. I did not find any metal pieces or chunks, just the usual, very small metal filings and some dirty, smelly gear oil. That did not help, so I took it to the nearest Kia dealership. They checked it out and of course it is the viscous coupler and they offered to swap it out with a new one for a mere $2700. They say that they may/would need specialty tools and that Kia doesn't offer spare internal parts for the coupler. I have searched local shops to find someone to rebuild this one, as I have seen online that there are places that do rebuild them. No luck. It does appear that Kia and Hyundai do share some of the same parts and the Hyundai parts are less expensive. I am trying to pursue that avenue. Finding the years that cross/match between the two has been challenging. I may just tear into it myself, who knows??? Only videos that i have seen are from Russia and maybe Iraq. Tough to translate. However one guy from the states did replace a bearing in one. I will try to reach out to him. More to come....
 

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2013 Kia Sorento LX AWD 3.5 V6
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Discussion Starter #9
Well, I took the coupler apart and found that the magnet is burnt. You could definitely smell the burnt oil when removing it from the rear differential. A little oil ran out when separated. The magnet part did not have a part number and I was unable to find a replacement part. I purchased a used one from a junkyard in Texas ($225) Hopefully it's a good one. Probably gonna install it in the morning, more to come...
 

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2019 Kia Sportage. SX with AWD. 2.0L Direct Injected Turbocharged & Intercooled Gas.
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Be sure to install new oil! I would try to flush the unit prior to reinstall.
Again, good luck. Let us know how you make out.
 

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The used rear coupling works well, I finished the job just before it started snowing. So, for now, she has AWD at a tenth of the cost of new.
 

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The used rear coupling works well, I finished the job just before it started snowing. So, for now, she has AWD at a tenth of the cost of new.
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