2008 SRX front differential mystery
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Cadillac SRX First Generation Forum - 2004 - 2009 Discussion, 2008 SRX front differential mystery in Cadillac SRX Forums; While driving through a monsoon last Friday, the traction control seemed to becoming confused when ever I encountered standing water ...
  1. #1
    Nikowon is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Unhappy 2008 SRX front differential mystery

    While driving through a monsoon last Friday, the traction control seemed to becoming confused when ever I encountered standing water and the front tires aquaplaned. Every so often the front wheels would jerk and clunk from side to side until the front differential jammed and flew into internal pieces. Being on an interstate I slowed to the right lane and proceeded on slowly seeking an appropriate off ramp. Suddenly the rear wheels lost their drive and I coasted to a stop. By then even the park position did not keep the vehicle from rolling forward or backward. My SRX is now in a transmission shop 500 miles from home waiting for a final estimate. I am puzzled as to what might have gone wrong with the traction control and front differential. No hint of a problem prior to the event. Have never experienced anything quite like this in decades of driving. Any ideas as to the cause would be appreciated. I pretty much know what the effect is.

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    nascarnation is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2008 SRX front differential mystery

    I don't have any insight into the behavior of the electronics.
    But mechanically, the transfer case has an "open differential" design, similar to a non limited slip rear axle.
    In a 2wd vehicle if one wheel spins out, drive is lost.
    So in this case if your drive to the front axle fails (freewheeling due to some type of front differential failure) the drive to the rear axle will be lost also.
    The fact that engaging the park mech would no longer lock the driveline says the front end of your transfer case was "disconnected".

  4. #3
    Nikowon is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2008 SRX front differential mystery

    Thanks for the response, but I was told on this vehicle there is no tranfer case.?????????

  5. #4
    SFVetteman's Avatar
    SFVetteman is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2008 SRX front differential mystery

    If you have a front differential then you have a transfer case. There just is no sensible way around it.

    Bill

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    JayTF1 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2008 SRX front differential mystery

    Did you get final diagnosis/repair bill from the transmission shop?

  7. #6
    Nikowon is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2008 SRX front differential mystery

    Yes. Just received a call from the shop. They believe the failure of the front differential was due to loss of fluid. Replaced the entire unit. $2,259. They also explained the exact same reason for rear wheel drive failure as stated in the response above. When you lose drive to the front the rear becomes inoperative as well. Seems to me to be a STUPID design. Good for the tow companies. Bad for the stranded driver. Modern technology is beginning to confuse this old guy. Thank you all for your input. Now a 500 mile trip back to the scene...nick

  8. #7
    conedoctor is online now Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: 2008 SRX front differential mystery

    Not a stupid design at all, they base it on the fact that your wheels should be on the ground and stuff does not break. If it was not the case then you could not have the compact spare and you would need electronic locking diffs for TC to work.

    So no it is not a cash grab for tow companies, just a common way to do things.

  9. #8
    bsw357 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: 2008 SRX front differential mystery

    My 06 SRX 3.6 AWD was same thing, loss of the fluid. A little less than 120k miles and didn't have gear oil in there at all. Pinion gear was excessively worn so was the ring gear, eventually broke the teeth off of both gears. I got lucky as I bought the replacement front differential with 65k miles for $200 on ebay, including the shipping! Also the factory manual said to only remove the differential and the driver's side inner shaft( that goes through the oil pan) as an assembly, I managed to pull out the shaft by using a pair of medium sized channellock once I got the differential dismounted on the passenger side. it enabled me to drop the differential housing to the bottom, the pinion stem side first. I did have to lift the engine and lower the subframe 3 or 4 inches then forced the engine to the driver's side probably about 3 inches with a prybar but didn't have to disconnect any brake lines or hoses. I did take off couple of 10mm head m6 screws that's holding lines and bracket for washer tank( on the tank side only) but no line connections at all. Strut tower bar should be removed, watch for ac condenser bottom mount positioning and radiator top mount positioning when mating the subframe back on the main frame. and the front differential can only be dropped or go back in, in same orientation. that's the stem side down. I did try different ways but just didn't work. I hope this could save someone some time. I guess I received the used differential kind of dry, but it didn't even take a quart of gear oil to fill up the front differential full. All I had to buy was the used differential and a quart of gear oil.

  10. #9
    nascarnation is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: 2008 SRX front differential mystery

    I'm curious on these front diff failures due to lack of lube. Do you park in a spot that would show the oil leak?

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