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Hoping to identify a root cause of multiple transfer case failures.  2012 Cayenne S purchased CPO with 43K.  Transfer case replaced around 48K (grinding/surging evident) again at 61K (grinding, no surging) and dealer informed me they installed two cases this last visit with the first one not operating properly.  Returning to dealer today, 62K, grinding/clunking particularly evident on left hand turns but not exclusive and while frequent it is not a constant occurrence. 


Hard to imagine randomly getting multiple "bad" transfer cases and suspect some other gremlin is the root cause.  Has anyone experienced a similar issue or have a suggested direction (differential?)  I can pass on to the Porsche techs at Annapolis Porsche?  Rolling out of warranty in two weeks so a bit concerning.


Thank you,


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There is a warranty (2 years?) on the replacement parts that were installed under warranty.. so that shouldn't be a huge concern.


Is there a significant difference in wear on any of your tires (like one new one on one axle and the other 3 fairly well worn?)  That sort of difference makes differentials (and the transfer case is more or less a rear-to-front differential) work much harder then they should, sometimes resulting in them giving up the ghost. A friend kept having the transfer case on his GMC Denalli go south on him - until I asked about tires. He'd had one tire replaced after a flat - the other 3 were fairly well worn. After his 3rd transfer case he asked me, I suggested new tires all the way around. He did - and the transfer case failures ended.

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Just an FYI, parts installed under warranty are only covered till the end of warranty not 2 years from install. Checking the tire circumference is a good idea. Also check the wheel speed sensors, the is a bulletin for replacing all sensors due to water intrusion.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

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Don and Pugs2, thank you for the replies.  Interesting note on the tires.  Selling dealer replaced (supposedly) all 4 prior to my possession, however when I installed the winter tires I noted one of the tires removed had worn more aggressively than the others and I chalked it up to the Dealer replacing only 3 of 4.  The car is still with the local dealer and I'll ask they check the tire wear.  Regarding the speed sensor, if I've a bad one, is the worry the management system is engaging one of the breaks, causing drag on the drivetrain?


Again, thanks


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I have had the same problem on my 2013 Cayenne S (under CPO ~ 66,000):  


Symptoms: low RPM and hard pull hesitation, lapse in power, "thumping," etc. as described by others.  Initially the problem only occurred sporadically but became an every drive occurrence and then, near the end, a cause for significant alarm while operating.  Just before the fix was installed, I could not rely on the car to accelerate when needed.  


PROBLEM: Bad Transfer Case, most likely due to over-heating due to an initial failed design.


Explanation:  With the transfer case out, the car fights itself between all wheel drive, various distributions of power to the wheels, etc. causing the violent, yet not catastrophic, symptoms listed above.


Fix: Replace the Transfer Case with a new unit that has been adapted with ventilation.  


Background:  The gentlemen at Perfection Plus Auto (the service department of the now-closed Porsche dealership in Little Rock) diagnosed the issue within 45 seconds of driving my Cayenne--without even having to leave the parking lot.  


(And, BTW if one lives in Little Rock or Central Arkansas, you will not find more down-to-earth, Porsche-loving enthusiasts/technician/owners than the guys @ PPA — I cannot recommend them enough — all active members of PCA)


They reported to me that, regrettably, they have seen problems on Cayennes and Macans — across all model years (including 2017).  Apparently, this is a very, very common issue with the SUV.  


Upon reflection, it seems extremely odd—and troubling given the Diesel issues of the last few years—that Porsche has neglected to move forward with mandatory re-call on this part.  The technicians I spoke with at two different garages have a constant stream of Cayennes and Macans entering for the fix.  The problem is due to a defective part, not user error nor regular wear and tear.


What is further troubling is that there is no way for the service department to detect this problem with their computers, which is normal protocol during servicing.  Rather than driving the car to diagnose an issue, the service department relies on error messages from the onboard computer and/or an alarm code that is read by their computer system hooked to the vehicle.  In other words, there is no way to identify the problem unless the owner knows about the transfer case issue or has the time to take the car and demand that the service department drive the car with the owner.  Fortunately, in my area, I have access to an expert who has a passion for the brand and is a heck of guy — he was able to volunteer his time, explain the issue to me in unambiguous terms, put me on the right track for the repair under warranty.  However, although the issue expressed itself intermittently over the past 2 years, none of the actual Porsche dealerships where my car was service diagnosed or even were alerted to the Transfer Case failure.


Due to the volume of Transfer Case failures across multiple model years (I have read of issues as far back as 2008) and the troubling issue of loss of power, Porsche could be looking at a major liability if there is a severe accident or fatality due to this known—yet unaddressed—issue (I am thinking of the Audi break scare of the 80s, which scarred that brand for a decade).  I certainly would never wish harm to anyone and certainly not to Porsche—a brand I adore, admire and enjoy—however, I perceive a major oversight in quality control.  Given this, I have to wonder — what other issues might express themselves with the car?


Now saying all of THAT….I have no intention of de-acquisitioning my Cayenne.  I love the car.  I love the engine.  I love the sound, feel, look of it (its the closest one can come to falling in love with an inanimate object) and plan to keep it until it falls apart or I am put in the ground (that or I upgrade to a GTS or Turbo S).  However, I do hope that Porsche becomes more aggressive in resolving this issue with other customers.  For me, it was a 1-day investment covered by the warranty.  However, had I waited another 4 months, I would have been out several thousands dollars for the replacement part and labor.


I am attaching my service ticket with associated replacement parts in the hope that it will prove useful for other owners who are experiencing similar concerns. 

Transfer Case Repair.png

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I also have a 2012 S. I purchased used with 64k Miles in sept 2016.  I made sure before purchasing that the transfer case had been replaced under warranty with the original owner. Turns out it was replaced in April 2016 with appro 62k miles. So I assumed I was in the clear right? WRONG! Now at 84k miles and less than 2 years the transfer case has gone out again. My dealer was able to get Porsche to “goodwill” the part but I still need to pay $900 labor. They said this fix will include a new vent for moisture that they believe could be contributing to the problem. Can’t say that I have a warm fuzzy that it won’t fail again. As much as I like this SUV I’m not sure I can afford to take the chance again. With so many failures you would think there would be a better solution. Oh, by the way my symptom happens when shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear. There is a shudder about 4-5 times until it finally shifts into 4th. Doesn’t happen when it’s cold though.  Porsche did say that the new TC will have a 2 year parts and labor warranty. As someone else mentioned since the car was under a CPO warranty when the first Tc went out, it wasn’t under the 2 year parts and labor. Anyway just wanted to provide my info in hopes it may help others.

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