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Hyundai Santa Fe I with mileage: inevitable corrosion due to drainage and a very simple electrician

This mid-size crossover can now be found at a price of 350-400 thousand rubles. They say he has very reliable 6-cylinder engines, and all-wheel drive – like SUVs. The feature set is promising, but, as always, there is a catch. We will understand the reliability of used Santa Fe I in two parts: in the first we examine the body, interior and electrics, and in the second – the chassis, transmission and motors.
Origins and technology
Santa Fe was released in 2000 to fill the gap between the expected small Hyundai Tucson crossover and the larger Terracan, also known as Veracruz. The car was created on the Y4 platform, on which Hyundai Sonata EF had already been produced for two years by that time.
The body of the car is bearing and weak enough for off-road driving. And the geometric cross-country ability even turned out to be worse than that of the lighter Tucson – with the same ground clearance of 200 mm, the length of the car and overhangs increased.
The car inherited a set of engines from soplatform models: the base 2.4, the more powerful V6 2.7, the even more powerful V6 3.5 and the 2.0 diesels in several boost options. Boxes – 5-speed manual gearbox and automatic transmission with 4 or 5 steps.

Interestingly, the first-generation Santa Fe four-wheel drive is really permanent, with a viscous clutch and a limited-slip differential in the rear axle. Now this design looks overcomplicated for a crossover, but at the turn of the century it was in the order of things: connecting the rear axle with a clutch has not yet become fashionable.

Timeline
February 2000 The car is presented at the Detroit Auto Show.

April 2000 Start of production in Korea, while only with a 2.7 petrol engine with manual gearbox or 4-speed automatic gearbox.

June 2000 Start of sales in the USA.

November 2000 Cars with a gasoline engine 2.4 and a turbodiesel 2.0 went on sale, sales began in Europe.

October 2001 An update for the 2002 model year cars has been introduced. The interior design has been updated, the center console has been changed, a new button illumination and navigational light, an optional sunroof, improved air conditioning and optional Isofix mounts.

November 2002 Cars of model year 2003 received an update in the form of side airbags as standard and a new audio system. A version with a 3.5 liter engine with a 5-speed automatic transmission and an electronically controlled clutch in the rear axle drive is presented.

November 2005 Restyling for cars 2006 model year. New grille, lights, instrument panel, passenger airbag deactivation button.

April 2006 In Europe, sales began a new generation of models.

April 2007 TaGAZ began assembling the first-generation Santa Fe model under the name Classic.

October 2011 TaGAZ began assembling the Chinese “copy” of Santa Fe Classic – Tagaz C190.

November 2012 In Russia, the latest “real” Santa Fe Classic is collected. Soon assembly C190 was minimized.

Body
Despite the use of galvanized steel for exterior panels and good build quality (especially with Korean cars), corrosion is an indispensable companion of this model. Small visible foci on the arches, hood, rear door and fifth door frames are just the tip of the iceberg.

Under the bumpers and plastic door linings, as well as on the thresholds, corrosion gradually emerges from all the seams and joints. Almost all cars suffer from the lower part of the threshold, since there is a weld at the very bottom and there are no technological holes for draining water, so the edge is always rotten. The upper part of the threshold is also a problem: door openings are sealed with a longitudinal rubber molding on a metal base. In the places where it is attached to the body, rust begins to spread very actively, since it is always wet there, and there is sand that damages the paintwork, and the metal base of the molding is made of cheap steel. The plastic door sill, which starts from the molding, is also more harmful than protecting the threshold – dirt gathers under it, especially in the rear, where corrosion, not even on the worst cars, is already climbing up, connecting with the foci on the edges of the rear arches and the inner mudguard.

Finding a car that does not have rust at least along the edges under the plastic will most likely fail or it will really be a collector’s copy with the corresponding price. It is good that the threshold itself is massive and developed in height – its upper part retains strength and the ability to absorb loads, and body floors do not suffer due to threshold problems, they are relatively high located and removed from the main foci of corrosion.

Inside the wheel arches are the same problems: first of all, the seams and the edges of the technological holes are affected. The worst thing is usually the case with the rear arches of the body – the wing and the inner arch rot there because of a leak. In the front arches, pay attention to the seams of the cup and the attachment points of the rack, outside the corrosion will be visible at the last moment, and from below, deep caverns on thick metal can be detected in advance and protective measures can be taken.

The bottom also has problems mainly at the seams of the body. Machines with urban operation usually have no serious holes, there is a maximum perforation around the plugs, on the edges of the parts, on the front side members of the floor and under the trunk for welding, but the niche of the fuel tank has surface, but deep corrosion, with cavities. To restore all this reliably and for a long time is difficult, but so far you can get by stripping and anticorrosive, which will give the machines another five to ten years of operation.
While the machine is on a lift, take a closer look at the trailing arm of the rear suspension; it is here made of sheet metal and hollow. Old cars suffered because of its destruction, it just fell apart on the go. Unfortunately, non-original levers with such a construct are still found, like cars with old and overcooked levers. The plant fixed the problem after 2003, when holes were made in the lever for draining water and improved metal processing, but the new design sometimes rots, especially if the car was driven through deep mud and forced fords. Rusty exhaust and rusty spare wheel mount, which is located here under the bottom, as well as the rusty rear subframe – a trifle against the general background.

Front wing
7 440 rubles
Another attention to the seams of the rear opening of the body, here, too, loads can lead to damage to the seams and corrosion. These problems are more serious than cosmetic imperfections and decaying bottoms; they are eliminated much more complex and have a stronger effect on performance. Fortunately, such troubles are relatively rare and usually “complete” with dirt in all internal cavities of the bottom, wet floors of the cabin and other signs of off-road operation. I hope you do not need to be reminded that you need to run away from such machines like from fire.

Rusty seat brackets are trifles, a Mitsubishi “legacy”, as well as souring drive cables for fuel tank flaps and trunk doors. Wet floor carpets are not always a consequence of drowning: door openings gradually lose their tightness, roof rail mounting bolts leak, and rear door mounting bolts leak moisture. The problems are not massive, but, nevertheless, they occur regularly.

Fortunately, many Sant owners understand that the body is imperfect, therefore they make anticorrosive and even wash occasionally the bottom, eliminate problems with leaks, wash and anticorrupt problem areas. You can find specimens in a condition markedly better than the “average in the hospital.” Do not give up if, looking under the bottom and bending the rubber bands, you find layered rust instead of paintwork. Body parts are inexpensive, and as long as there is “something to boil”, many owners restore cars. It is a pity, such repairs are usually short-lived.

Headlights quickly overwhelmed, bumpers sag with age – unpleasant trifles, but insignificant. But the trapeze of the wipers is strong, the locks also work mostly well, and even windows rarely fail.
Salon
The interior is typically American: simple, plenty of space, inexpensive materials and bright finishes from the top options. The quality of the leather steering wheel trim is low, as is the quality of the plastic. Salon usually looks shabby after hundreds of thousands of runs. Dry cleaning and special preparations can restore the appearance to an acceptable state, but the salon will never be “like new”. Yellowness, scratches of plastic, a dimming “chrome” automatic transmission lining, worn buttons and creeping gaps between the panels will not leave room for illusions. Glove box lock, door button block, deflectors are the main weak points. Complaints about too delicate seat mechanisms and weak constipation of the back sofa are also found regularly.
The climate is quite reliable. The main problem with the radiator of the stove: it clogs easily and even sometimes flows if you do not change the antifreeze in time and keep the pressure in the cooling system high. The air conditioner is reliable and powerful. The main troubles with the clutch and tubes in the front are solved, the main thing is not to tighten and do not keep the system leaking for a long time.

Electrician
Strange, but Santa Fe’s electrics are pretty solidly made. The wiring is not bad, the problems are most often with the corrugation of the driver’s door and rear, light boards and license plate lights.
The generators last up to 200 thousand, after which they require serious maintenance with the replacement of bearings, the maintenance of the brush assembly and the replacement of brushes and relay control.

The main trouble is the poor quality of the motor sensors and the sealing of the engine compartment connectors. If there are traces of “swimming” the car, then inspect the main connectors and fuse blocks. In any case, the structural simplicity of the electrical system helps.

Subtotal
Frankly, Santa Fe was out of luck, so get ready to cut off a lot of very corrosive options. Everything else is designed quite simply and successfully and can only be ruined by a particularly stubborn owner. In the second part, we discuss motors and transmissions. Spoiler: with the exception of diesel engines, everything is very good there.

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