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Viscous coupler on prop shaft.

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Louie7Oaks View Drop Down
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    Posted: 13 Nov 2017 at 3:23pm
Hi all,
My Sportage is a 2007 2.0 diesel. Xs.
I've recently noticed a small oil leak showing up on the drive and after seeing oil on the rear diff I got the car into the garage today to get it sorted out.
The guy got back to me and told me that although the drive shaft seals were weeping a little, the main leak was coming from the coupler between the prop shaft and the rear differential. He described it as a viscous coupler and told me that it is a sealed unit and only available from Kia. Cost of replacement? Just over £2400!! 
He didn't really know what it does and said that because he doesn't know how much oil it holds he can't tell me how serious the leak is in relation to the amount that should be in it. It is leaking minimally, and only erratically. In the last two weeks I have seen two leaks, and I don't suppose that the amount of lost oil would be much more than 100ml perhaps?
But I can't justify spending that amount of money on a car that is 10 years old and has clocked up 100k. It's a bloody good motor though and in very good condition, so I do need to try and fix it. 
Does anyone have any experience of this kind of problem please?

Louie
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BIRDMAN View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BIRDMAN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2017 at 3:46pm
It is the coupler that engages the 4WD to the rear wheels if the front looses traction. If you look on EBay you could pick up a complete rear diff and coupling for around £250
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Louie7Oaks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2017 at 4:08pm
Hiya Birdman,
Thanks for the reply.
So it normally runs as front wheel drive? I'm wondering whether or not it's possible then to disable the 4WD until I can source a suitable replacement? Either electronically or by even removing the prop?
I'm sure that the 4WD drive has been engaging automatically when not needed, because I've definitely felt that unmistakable "thunk" of the 4WD disengaging as you come to a halt at a junction or traffic lights etc. A mechanic has just told me that simply by having different manufacturers tyres on rear axles you can inadvertently fool the automatic 4WD system into thinking that one wheel is slipping and thereby switch on 4WD, and that over a period of time it can lead to a breakdown of the viscous coupler. Seems to me that this could be what has caused it.
Disabling the 4WD seems the logical step?

Louie
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BIRDMAN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2017 at 4:25pm
It is front wheel drive normally so you need to keep the best tyres on the front this will then stop it engaging unnecessary.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NikTheGeek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Nov 2017 at 12:02pm
All 4 tyres have to be within a very small tolerance of each other to protect the 4x4 system according to Kia bulletins (on US sites). It's a Borg-Warner transfer box and you should change the oil every 60,000 miles. Unless you have a fault, you shouldn't feel the system engage because it is 2wd 99% of the time and only kicks in to 4wd automatically if it detects slippage. If you have the 4wd button pressed in on the dash, then it will be in permanent 4wd under 25mph. You would notice that.

Diff oil should be changed every 20,000 miles or every time the axles are submerged passed the hubs. I'd try an oil change first before you worry about spending a lot of money. Fresh oil might do the trick. You could try Lucas Stop Leak if seals are breaking down.

Make sure your tyres are all the same size with a pretty similar thread.

If all else fails, remove the prop-shaft if you are having problems - but it sort of defeats the point of having a 4x4 with winter around the corner.

Nick
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Louie7Oaks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Nov 2017 at 1:51pm
Cheers Nick.
We're pretty lucky down here in Kent, and I don't suppose the 4WD has ever engaged in the 4 years we've had the Sportage!
Apparently though it's definitely the coupler that is losing oil, and it's a sealed unit so can't be topped up. I have seen a few props for sale on Ebay at decent prices, but I don't know if they include the coupler because I don't know what it looks like. I'll get underneath tomorrow and have a look so that I can see what I should be buying. 
In the short term though I'm getting two new tyres fitted to the front wheels tomorrow. This should ensure that the 4WD system doesn't engage any more unnecessarily.
If anyone can supply or find a pic of the prop with the coupler attached it would be a great help. I haven't had much luck so far!
Louie
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BIRDMAN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Nov 2017 at 3:23pm
If you look on E bay the pictures show it bolted to the rear diff. Breakers tend to sell complete.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Louie7Oaks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Nov 2017 at 7:47pm
Great! Thanks again!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NikTheGeek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Nov 2017 at 9:56pm
Here's a repair video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOIJNC42QwI (part 1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdjg32F1pHs (part 2)

Shows you how to repair it. Complete with info on a service bulletin about a whine. Although, watching it, it doesn't look like it could leak as it is sealed. Could it be diff oil leaking in to the coupler though the diff to coupler seal?

Anyway, HTH,

Nick


Edited by NikTheGeek - 14 Nov 2017 at 10:26pm
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Louie7Oaks View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Louie7Oaks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Nov 2017 at 8:35am
Thanks again. I did wonder about the claim that the coupler was leaking, since the guy in the garage had said that it was a sealed unit. I'll put the new tyres on, and if it still leaks at all then I'll have it back in to replace all the oil seals associated with the rear diff. There seems to be little point putting in a replacement prop just to get hold of a new coupler that is probably Ok anyway! 
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