If you have a 1997 Sportage you do not have vacuum engaged front hubs. They started in 1998. Your hubs are a mechanical locking design and they do wear out and break over time. You can install Warn manual locking hubs. See other recent post concerning Warn hubs and how to order them. They are the same part number regardless of the year Sportage you have but the installation is slightly different if you have mechanical hubs or vacuum hubs. But the installation instructions explain the differences.
Again you were right, he did attempt to install the vacumn hubs. My mechanic got the right hubs and everything is working again. Ihave experienced one more problem-- My automatic trans when cold takes about 7 or 8 miles to shift into the overdrive mode, is there a simple fix to this? THIS ONLY HAPPENS DURING COLD WEATHER MONTHS. Thanks for any help you can give in advance, DZCOOK Its a 97 sportage. have a Happy New Year AXEMAN, YOUR APPRECIATED.