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2006 Kia Sorento 3.5 5sp Auto
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267 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a question about the front diff...
Its not LSD or anything like that, but at the same time it seems that both front wheels turn as the same speed as when you turn a tight corner in 4wd mode (in sand that is) you can feel the outside wheel skipping/jumping every so often.

So is it like a locked diff?

But then sometime people only say one front wheel spins. So it sounds like an open diff, but if it where an open diff it wouldn't skip when turning..

So what kind of front diff do 4wd's have in general?
It doesnt seem to be locked or open...

Was just thinking and now i am curious.
 

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Kia Sorento 2007 4x4, Mercedes E200 Kompressor 2000
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Random Bob, you are right. I felt that in my sorento. My friends who drove my car said my 4WD system looks pretty good and strong. When on 4WD and turning to one direction, you sometimes feel the car is going forward rather than right or left...

I replaced my front diff and it seems to me that both wheels have to turn together, something like locked diff...

I also need to learn more about that, too.
 

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Cerato S Hatch Auto
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1,236 Posts
Tight turns query might indicate CV joint problem. I don't know, but I think locked diff would be unusual. You could investigate (carefully) by jacking individual wheels and applying power.
 

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2009 Sportage, 98 Sportage, 2012 Tata Xenon, 1944 Jeep
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515 Posts
Greetings from the East RandomBob.

What you describe is perfectly normal for any 4WD that wasn't designed for full time 4WD and therefore has no centre diff. When you turn a tight corner in 4WD the front wheels are travelling further than the rear because they are at the circumference of a circle and the rear wheels are at the centre so to speak. As the front and rear axles are locked together by the transfer case, the difference causes the driveline to wind up. In the dirt a wheel will slip before anything breaks, on he tar, maybe not. And this is why a part time 4WD must never be driven in 4WD on the tar.

The AWD transfer cases allow some slip in the clutch plates to compensate for this, I'm told also that some models (like the one in the Hyundai Terracan) even unlock when the drive is off them, ie when going down hills - much to the disgust of owners driving them down steep slippery hills!
 

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2006 Kia Sorento 3.5 5sp Auto
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267 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I realize this is all normal operation of a part time 4wd, the slipping on dirt.
I guess what i am asking is kinda hard to explain.
Just think about the front diff as its own entity...

When turning a tight corner on the sand, the outer wheel slips, and this is normal. So the front diff in this situation acts like a lsd/locked diff.

When you say have one front wheel in the air, all power will go to the front wheel in the air. So in this situation it acts like an open diff.
People get diff lockers to stop this.

What i am getting at is how does it act as both a locked diff in some situations, and an open diff in other situations.
And is it locked/open/or some kind of LSD...

Just curious really.

And cmar, greetings from the west coast, the best coast :p
Jk, you get much easily accessible forest like tracks where you are?
We mostly have beach, but would like to check out some forrest style tracks soon.
 

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2009 Sportage, 98 Sportage, 2012 Tata Xenon, 1944 Jeep
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And cmar, greetings from the west coast, the best coast
Oh please! Still it's a pretty nice part of the country. I wonder if the others here realise that (if you live in Perth) you live in the worlds most isolated 1st world capital city, yet we both live in the same country! I use to live in Brisbane but got sick of traffic, house prices, and too many people.
Much better where we live now, we have some sand over here too, quite a bit of it in fact to play in.

However in the scenario you describe when turning a tight corner in sand in a normal diff most of the drive is going to the outside (faster turning) wheel if you bog in the drive will often switch to the opposite side (inside wheel) due to weight transfer, and dig that one in too.
A good reason to avoid a tight turn in soft sand going UP the slope of the beach.

An open diff will always direct the drive to the wheel with least resistance.
That is the problem, a 4x4 with no lockers or limited slip diff is really only a 2WD and can easily get stuck crossed up, as you describe with oposite wheels front and back in the air.

It's a shame as the standard freewheel design of the Sorento front diff could so easily have been made into a full locker. Still a locked front diff although magic on a rough track, is a bugger to steer with in 4WD, (I know I used to have a Ford Bronco with a Trak Loc in the front) and would probably be truly scary on ice. I imagine Kia had no wish to deal with all the lawsuits from people who failed to understand this and modify their driving habits.
 

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2006 Kia Sorento 3.5 5sp Auto
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267 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
cmar, thanks for the info.

And that was simply a joke mate.
And i have traveled around Aus a lot for work and if i was ever to move, i think Brissie would be the place to move to. Plenty of holiday escapes inland. The only thing perth has going for it is the fact that we have so many mines and almost didn't even feel the gfc. And i realize its pretty damn isolated, but the world most isolated 1st world city. Didn't know that one. yet cant really dispute it as it doesnt stike me as wrong. haha
And honestly dont really know what people see in Perth.
On the east coast you can drive between major cities.
Here you go for a drive north and all you get is red dust!
 

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2009 Sportage, 98 Sportage, 2012 Tata Xenon, 1944 Jeep
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No worries mate, took it as a joke. :p You might not like Brisbane these days - too many refugees from NSW & Vic there these days :lol:
 

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2006 Kia Sorento 3.5 5sp Auto
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Discussion Starter #9
haha, you think perth is any different.
I went to melb late last year.
Not as it once was.
They have been and still are hit hard by the economic times.
 

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Mine 2007 Accord EX-L, Hers 2004 Sorento LX 3.5L
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26 Posts
Sunshine Coast

There is a Sunshine Coast on the West Coast of Canada as well.
 

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2009 Sportage, 98 Sportage, 2012 Tata Xenon, 1944 Jeep
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Dosen't it rain on the Canadian West Coast all the time?
I've never been there, I have been to Ottawa though. Had glorious weather in October, clear sunny and 10deg maximum. It doesn't get that cold here even in winter. :lol: Nice place, great people and Canadians really do know how to brew a decent beer.
 
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