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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, all.

The locking mechanism on my passenger's side just started making a funny noise. Parked the car, went off to do some errands, went back to it to load some things in the back, and it was still working fine.

Then when I got back to leave the parking lot, as I clicked on the alarm remote to disarm the alarm and unlock the car, I heard a loud buzzing noise. A quick check and a few more clicks revealed the source of the noise to be the passenger's side lock.

When it locks, no problem. When it unlocks, it makes a buzzing sound like a rotor not engaging fully (slipping and grating against something) or like a rotor being rotated too far in one direction. This buzzing doesn't happen when I manually unlock the door by flipping the lock, so it must be the rotor.

My first thought was that someone had tried to jimmy the lock, but my alarm chirping sequence did not indicate that the alarm had been tripped. Also, I checked the keyhole on the passenger's side and it didn't seem scratched or forced.

Will probably take it to the dealer first thing in the morning, but I'm concerned about why the lock is acting up this early on (barely 2500 km on the car). Have any of you experienced this? Or any thoughts on what might have caused this? Is there any way I might be able to fix this myself, if it happens again? Isn't exactly easy to always squeeze in a trip to the dealer, got work to do and all.

Any thoughts will be greatly appreciated. KiaMech... I've seen you post a lot of helpful stuff, and you seem to know the ins and outs... help, please? Thanks a bunch!
 

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Sounds like the actuator is sticking for some reason. Probably something stupid like one of the rods fell off and is getting hung up. You'd have to remove the door panel to gain access to it, but it's not hard to do.

Remove the tweeter or window sail
Remove the rubber at the bottom of the grab handle and the screw beneath it
Remove the door handle trim
Remove 4 plastic screws/clips, two towards the front and two towards the rear
Grab the bottom of the door panel and give it a good jerk
The bottom of the door panel should pop right off and the top slides up
Remove the connectors to the window/door lock switches and light

To operate the door locks, the passenger switch may need to be connected, even it you use the driver's door switch, but I can't remember for sure.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Shops says actuator can't be fixed, needs to be replaced

Thanks, KiaMech; much appreciated.

Took it to the shop yesterday and they said that there was something wrong with the actuator, but their solution was not to fix it, just to replace it. They didn't have the part on hand, so I'm bringing it back tomorrow.

Also asked them to replace all four actuators, since they said that this one just failed, unexpectedly, so I told them I don't want another one to just fail at random and then I'll have to go through the hassle of taking it in again.

I didn't get to take a look at the innards, but I really didn't believe them when they said the actuator couldn't be fixed, so they were just going to replace it. Maybe it was, as you said, just one of the rods falling off. Maybe I'll understand that more when I see it, but if it isn't too much trouble, can you explain that to me -- how does a rod fall off? Is this a common problem?

Thanks again.
 

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It's not common, but **** happens. The rods are thin steel with a 90-degree hook on the ends (usually). It may have been able to move one way, but could have got hooked going in the other direction.

Actuators aren't normally fixable. There really isn't much in them that can go wrong, so when something does, it's not worth the time to fix them since there's a good chance it will break again. If you bring your car in once and pay $100 to fix it, you will be happier than if you bring it in twice and have to pay $50 the first time and $100 the second time.

Since your actuator was so new, there was probably just some rare problem with it. Actuators usually last a very long time, so I'm sure your other four are just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sound Advice

Oh okay, I was under the impression that if the rod fell out, it was just not put in properly or something, so that's why I figured they could fix it. Or at least have fixed it yesterday while I'm waiting for the brand new one to come in.

Talked to the shop and they won't replace the others, although when I pressed them, it turns out they didn't really check them either -- their "check" was just a simple lock-unlock-lock-sounds-fine-to-me. But yesterday they told me they'd visually inspected all actuators. BSing like that really doesn't inspire confidence; thanks for setting my mind at ease about the other actuators.

Much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Spoke Too Soon

Well, guess what. Driver's side actuator failed too, started making the loud buzzing noise the passenger's side was making, before they replaced it.

I told them to check the other actuators when they were putting the new one in, and they said they did, which turns out meant that they had locked and unlocked and listened to the others locks and they "sounded okay".

Heck, I myself could hear that the driver's side lock was making a louder clack then normal, something vaguely metallic, not the solid plasticky thud (if there's such a thing) it normally makes. I said so, but of course I was also worried I was being paranoid.

Guess I wasn't. It failed again today, I gave them the what-for, for wasting my time by not listening to me in the first place. Also, the first time they "serviced" my door and disconnected the actuator just so it wouldn't make noise, they scratched up the plastic, and at the moment they don't have a replacement for the grip and fabric panel that they messed up! Annoying!

So now I'm going to try to get them to replace ALL actuators. And I've written Kia HQ via their website, to tell them about this, and ask them what they plan to do about it, if another piece fails at random. I don't think we have a lemon law here in the Philippines, unfortunately, it's more like "buyer beware".

Wish me luck; will keep you guys posted on what happens. If anyone knows of anything else I might be able to try, I'm open to ideas.
 

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Wow, that's very surprising. Those things rarely go bad, especially not at the same time on a newer vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Problem With Electronics?

Now the plant wants me to bring it in, so they can run diagnostics on it. They're saying it might be a problem with one of the controllers, and not the actuator itself. I don't know much about car electronics, but that buzzing sounds like a mechanical problem to me.

Any ideas? Any chance it might be a problem with the electronics?
 

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That's definitely a posibility. If they were staying on to long (in stead of locking/unlocking, then stopping) that could burn them up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
KiaMech, I sure hope you can weigh in on this one, man...

Or anybody else out there who can help...

Before that, thanks a heap for all the help so far. And thank God for this forum, and its members -- at least I can get objective second opinions or at least feedback on similar experiences.

So here's the latest: took the unit to the plant, and they said that what caused the failures was that the alarm I had installed. The detailed explanations I got, however, were conflicting.

First of all, my unit is a Sorento CRDi LX, manual transmission. In the Philippines, that trim level means that you don't get power side mirrors, and you don't get keyless entry, but you do get central locking. I bought the LX because I like to drive stick, but of course I wanted an alarm, so I asked Kia here. No alarms available, but they said they were sure I could get an aftermarket alarm. Fine, I thought, since that's what I've done with all my cars so far anyway.

The alarm system I bought was an AutoPage RF310, a pretty popular brand and model here. Recommended by the guy who sold it to me, and a bunch of my friends use it, with no issues.

Back to the story...

The first explanation I got from the service manager of the shop (not the plant) was that the alarm had been incorrectly connected to the ETACS (?) which already has its own timer for the central locking system, set at 1.5 seconds (turn the actuators for 1.5 seconds, that was my understanding). But the alarm, he said, ends up making the actuators crank for 3 seconds, hence the burnout.

This sounded like what you said before, KiaMech, so it sounded believable to me. The way I understood it then was that the alarm itself just had to be adjusted or whatever so that it doesn't have the actuators stay on for too long.

The next explanation I got though, from the guy who runs the service shop (the first guy's boss) was that Kia themselves (the plant said so) do not authorize the installation of aftermarket alarm systems on the Sorento at all, at least not through the central locking system.

He said they were still studying how to wire an alarm to the Sorento -- presumably not through the central locking system -- so that you still get remote central lock/unlock as well as the alarm. I said I'd never heard of this; all my other cars, you just run the alarm to the central locking system and you're good to go.

So the unfortunate conclusions of this second explanation, assuming it's correct, are [1] I can't put an alarm in my Sorento because it's not "Kia authorized", and [2] Kia won't let me claim it under warranty.

(I think that's total BS, by the way, because their dealers themselves had never heard of this "don't install alarms in the Sorento" thing, and so how was I to know I shouldn't? And they themselves don't sell their own "Kia authorized" alarms, if there's such a thing, so am I just supposed to go without an alarm?)

Anyway, what I want to ask is, which of the two explanations is it?

And also, has anybody else out there wired an aftermarket alarm through the central locking system without any issues?

Would really love to hear from people who have. I have a sinking feeling that this could just all be finger-pointing so I can't claim against warranty. In the meantime, I don't have my car, I'm at my rope's end dealing with all this back-and-forthing, and I have a splitting headache from all this inconvenience.
 

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Monster...the Kia service people may be correct on the after market alarms and the problems they may cause. I live in the US in the state of Connecticut and I know of two people that have had aftermarket alarms put into their Sorento's and have caused major electrical problems including no engine starts or the vehicle dying on them as they drove. I was about to purchase an after market alarm with remote start at one of the eectronic box stores but at the last minute the sales person said "Oh a Kia Sorento better go to the dealer for that". My service manager has told me that he has has many Sorentos and Sedona's come in with the alarms and starters creating problems and he cannot honor any warranty work as they are not Kia parts or installed by Kia service. For the model year 05 Kia did introduce a accessoy of an alarm and starter made just for the Sorento and Sedonna. My service manager thinks its because the two vehicles have a rear lift gate and the Sorento has a power opener for the rear hatch window that may interfere with the after market setups. This Kia set up is a plug and play no cutting of wires just connects to one of the CPUs on board and slices into several connectors. I had demo done at the dealer about a month ago and I was thinking of getting one soon. I would see about getting one for your's.
 

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First of all, dealers NEVER recommend anything that isn't "official" manufacturer merchandise. So, because Kia doesn't offer an add-on alarm system, they will tell you anything to keep you from putting one in.

Every dealer also says that they've had "all kinds of problems" with people having aftermarket alarms installed. This could be true, but 99% of the time it's because the installer made an error in the wiring, not because the alarm doesn't work with the vehicle.

The "factory" Kia alarm is an add-on alarm. In reality, it's even an aftermarket alarm. It is made by CODE alarm, and the only difference between buying a "Kia" alarm and buying one from Best Buy is an emblem on the remote and a simpler wiring harness.

I have installed 3 aftermarket remote starts on Sorento's, mine included. None of them have had any problems with their electrical systems and all have working rear lift gates. The one in my Sorento has been installed for about 2 years now.

Unfortunately, it's very possible that the person that installed your alarm didn't do it correctly. If the dealer is telling the truth about the problem, that is. You would normally tap into the door locking system after the ETACS, or at least I do anyway, but both methods are possible when done correctly.

I actually use Autopage in most of my installs. The amount of time that the door locks operate is adjustable so whoever installed it should be able to adjust it so that you don't burn up any more actuators.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks, KiaMech, hciaffa. (hciaffa -- glad you joined in, saw your post on the Edmunds forum and meant to contact you.)

I was inclined to believe the Kia service people anyway, but what bugs me is that they themselves said they still don't really know how to wire the alarm properly -- they're "still sudying it". From your post, it seems like it's not that complicated.

Of course, when I took it back to the guy who put the alarm in, he refused to believe he'd made a mistake, I guess not wanting to have to pay for the damage. I could also see his point of view, though, because the Kia guy was telling him two things, first that the timing on the AutoPage was wrong, but also second, that there was no correct way to install it just yet.

What really gets me though is that Kia won't let me claim this against warranty, because it's an aftermarket install. And yes, I know it says so in the warranty card that any damage caused by aftermarket accessories are not covered, but the thing is that they don't offer their own alarm just yet, and the dealers in fact told me to go get an aftermarket alarm (it's practically a necessity here), but they didn't give any warnings as to possible incompatibilities.

End of the day, Kia and the alarm guy are both arguing they're right, neither wanted to move a muscle until I said I'd cough up the payment IN THE MEANTIME (I'm still hoping to argue this case, since I really didn't have any choice but to install an aftermarket alarm), and I had to shuttle back and forth, lose a couple of days worth of work, and I still have my headache.

Kia loses major points for this.

PS. Would you happen to be able to post a proper wiring diagram or alarm settings or whatever, so I can take it to the guys who installed the alarm? So is it, tap into the door-locking system after ETACS and adjust the timers, or doing either will fix the problem? Does it matter that the alarm guys wired the trunk button (on the AutoPage RF310) to pop the rear hatch?

You're a certified Kia mechanic, right? Any way you can send an official-type document over? The alarm guy refuses to believe he's wrong, and I don't see any other way to convince him. The Kia service center here wasn't much help in convincing him he was wrong, because they were unable to show him what's right.

Thanks again, a whole lot.
 

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Door locks can get complicated, but not in this vehicle. There's not much to study really, the alarm just sends a negative signal to one wire for lock, and the other wire for unlock.

There's no way for me to know which wires he tapped into and chances are, he doesn't remember off the top of his head. You could ask him where his diagram said they were and what color the wires are. Installers have programs or websites that tell them what wires to look for, though frequently they are wrong. He should be able to get this information for you. There are several different places to do the tap ins, and the wire colors in the vehicle change color at different points which doesn't help.

I know it pissing you off, but Kia isn't going to willingly repair damage that someone else caused. The only person liable for this damage is the installer, though he didn't mean to do it. What's kind of strange is that the Autopage alarms come set up for the locks to operate for the shortest time possible. It sounds like it was set up for the maximum. On some vehicles, like Mercedes, the door locks operate off of a vaccuum pump which require more "on" time than regular locks.

The doors lock and unlock right? They are just activated for too long. If the installer just adjusts the lock time to the minimum setting you should be alright, aside from who's paying for it.

The diagrams are copywrited so I can't really post them without the possibility of getting in trouble for it. And there's not really anything official I can send him because another dealer is already involved and I have never seen the vehicle.

If it comes down to it, I think I can tell you how to adjust the alarm, I'd just have to find my instructions for it. The installer should have his shot of making it right though. Plus, if it's noticed that it's been adjusted, you wouldn't want to void that warranty also!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yeah, any instructions you can send on how to properly install the alarm would be great.

I'm thinking of taking it back to the alarm guy to have the timing adjusted, although I am apprehensive that it might cause the same problems in the future -- the Kia plant guys said it wasn't just about how long the locks were on for, but that the power inputs or something or other were overloading the circuitry and messing with timing so that one door was activated for longer than the other, and in that scenario, they said, it was just a matter of "one breaking before the other".

Somehow the latter part of their explanation didn't inspire a lot of confidence in me. Like they're not really sure what's going on.

Thanks again, guys.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi, again.

Talked to the alarm shop guy and he said that the particular AutoPage model I got (RF-310) has no adjustable timer, and that it's only set for a 1-second pulse. Anybody know if this is true? I wrote AutoPage and they haven't replied.

So here are a couple of theories, wondering how likely they are or if they make sense:

- the combination of the AutoPage 1-second pulse and the ETACS set pulse makes for a longer pulse, and so the locks crank for longer than they should

- the alarm had nothing at all to do with it: the central-locking system itself was already faulty and was what was cranking the locks for 3 seconds, i.e., even if I'd never installed the alarm, it would've burned out anyway by now

Any input would be great. I'm still trying to get to the bottom of all this.

Thanks.
 

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OK, I'm looking at the INSTALLATION GUIDE for the RF-310 as I type this. The locks are adjustable, .9sec, 3.0sec, and double pulse. As long as it is set for .9sec, and the alarm does pulse for .9sec, then it's set correctly. The factory setting is .9sec.

I'm assuming that nothing has been done yet, except for replacing the lock actuators. So what you can try, is locking and unlocking the door locks with the Autopage alarm. You should be able to hear how long the actuators are activated. After that, use the factory alarm remotes and do the same thing. Which ever one pulses for too long would be the problem. When you use one remote, the other system will have nothing to do with the results. Example, if you lock/unlock with the factory remotes and the actuator operates for 3 seconds, the RF-310 would have nothing to do with it, and the problem would be a Kia problem.

One thing to keep in mind is that all dealers, from any car company, will do what they can to convince you that your non-authorized add-ons are the problem. I have a Mitsubishi that had a bad battery. The dealer popped the hood, saw I had and alarm and instantly said, "well there's the problem". My exact words were "are you f***ing kidding me! Do you know what I do for a living?" From that point on he kept his BS to himself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Good Answer! :clap:

Hahaha, I wish I were more car-savvy, that would be a nice little retort to throw in the faces of some of the guys I've had to deal with.

Anyway, thanks for the tip, I'll see what I can do to test it. Will definitely talk to the alarm guys about the AutoPage timer (I assume it's the same installation manual I have, in which case I'll have to take a closer look at it, as I didn't notice the bit about the timer adjustment).

In the meantime, the guys at Kia disconnected it completely; they didn't want to work on my car until I had the alarm fixed, and until I sort out the problem, I opted for just removing the AutoPage.

My car didn't come with factory remote for keyless entry though; it's not available on the CRDi LX trim, and they don't provide it as an option (that's why I went for the aftermarket alarm). If I just use the central-locking switch on the driver's side panel, can I still listen for the actuators and see how long they're on for? Will that work similar to the test you described below?

Thanks again.
 

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I checked, and the factory setting is set for .5 sec through the ETACS, so no matter how long you hold the button down it will only activate for .5 sec. This tells me that if the alarm was in fact set for 3 seconds, and wired before the ETACS, the ETACS would only activate the lock actuators for .5 sec. The problem would probably be an ETACS problem. So if the alarm was wired before the ETACS like the dealer said, then it couldn't possibly be the problem.

If the alarm was set for 3 seconds, and wired after the ETACS, then the locks would operate for 3 seconds and the problem would be an alarm problem.

The guide you have is probably the owners manual, because the installation manual isn't normally given to the customer. You won't find anything about the door lock settings in the owners manual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
They actually left both the owner's manual and the installation manual with me.

This latest post of yours looks like it might be the ticket. I can have them check the current ETACS setting and see if it's really at 0.5 sec. Can also check the alarm timer and see what the setting is. Then I find out where it was wired to (I have a feeling the Kia guys and the alarm guys will have different answers to this), and that should help me isolate the problem.

Thanks, chief. Really appreciate it.
 
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