AWD Disable and Rear End Issues

AWD Disable and Rear End Issues

Posted in the Buick Rendezvous Forum

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DesignatedKnitte r

Chicago, IL

#1 May 2, 2007
I too am unhappy with the number of problems I've had with my 2003 Rendezvouz, and the fact that so many people are having similar issues. But I have a tip for the AWD Disable issue.
I had a flat tire, and replaced it with a used tire. The "low tire pressure" warning kept coming on - because it senses when one wheel turns at a different speed than the rest, and the used tire was just enough difference in wear pattern and profile to kick it off. So we put a matching used tire on and had a matched pair on the back and a different matched set on the front. My brother the mechanic warned me then that if it's that sensitive I should always replace even one tire with a whole new set of 4 matched tires. I did not heed that warning, and 3 months later had to have a bearing in the rear-end replaced.(Growling noise and the AWD Disable light was on, meaning that heat was building up in the rear-end.) All was well during the cool months, but the first time I started a road trip in warmer weather, the AWD Disable light came on again. After hearing another "I told you so" I put 4 new tires on. All vibration, noise and warning lights are gone. So far I've escaped completely replacing the rear-end. If I had listened 6 months ago, I could have avoided $1000 in repair bills. Tires are cheaper than rear-ends. Make sure your tires are a matched set and wearing evenly. Otherwise you're making your automatic AWD adjust itself constantly and that's hard on the bearings.

San Diego, CA

#2 Jun 10, 2007
DesignatedKnitter wrote:
I too am unhappy with the number of problems I've had with my 2003 Rendezvouz, and the fact that so many people are having similar issues. But I have a tip for the AWD Disable issue.
Was the awd disable light always on or did it come on after you drove it?
DesignatedKnitte r

Chicago, IL

#3 Jun 11, 2007
It would come on after highway driving for a while, indicating that the rear-end diff had heated up.
Jason Schade

United States

#4 Jun 17, 2007
I had the AWD disable light come on for the first time when I started the car today, it was 94 Degrees outside and it was parked in the sun. The car hadn't been driven in 2 days, and the outside tempeture read 114 degrees, probably because the car is black and it just got really hot. So I am wondering if the AWD disable light came on (and stayed on) because of the extream heat, especially because it came on when the car wasn't moving. Can this be reset without taking it into the dealer? Maybe by disconnecting the battery. There are no other noticible problems otherwise.
Designated Knitter

Chicago, IL

#5 Jun 18, 2007
I don't know about resetting it - I just waited a while until the rear-end had cooled.

Memphis, TN

#6 Sep 18, 2007
My 2002 Rendevouz is doing the same thing. I have checked the manual on how to reset the warning light, but of course, it tells me to go to a dealership ($$$$$). I am hoping that the cooler weather will help. I may try the tire changing idea to see if it makes a difference.

Round Rock, TX

#7 Sep 27, 2007
My 2007 light just came ON "says my wife", my tires are wearing out fast. Let us know if your light cleared after a tire replacement. Also, what type tire you use, my originals are to soft an hydroplane.
Chad-man67 wrote:
My 2002 Rendevouz is doing the same thing. I have checked the manual on how to reset the warning light, but of course, it tells me to go to a dealership ($$$$$). I am hoping that the cooler weather will help. I may try the tire changing idea to see if it makes a difference.
Never_Buy_a_Buic k_Again

Du Bois, PA

#8 Oct 20, 2007
I hate my '04 Rendevouz. In one year I have spent $1500 on car repairs. Now my AWD disable light came on. In March I paid for 4 brand new tires so it shouldn't be my tires, I can't afford any more repairs and not sure what to do


#9 Nov 9, 2007
My 2002 AWD disable light came on, brought it in, told I needed two new tires, had already replaced two tires a few months back with no light coming on then. Soon after, now with four new tires,same brand and all, light back on. Just returned from dealer, they say no code identified, so they say the versatrak unit needs to be replaced, to the tune of over $3000!!! Could it be just the sensor is bad?
Hate the Rendezvous

Schuylkill Haven, PA

#10 Apr 7, 2008
We bought a 2002, many of the same things are happening. The AWD disable light came on shortly after we bought it. Manual and mechanic said not to worry unless tires started to wear. First we had a flat on the front(on the way to our sons wedding reception) had all 4 tires replaced as recommended. Well the NEW tires in the rear started to wear, bald in 6,000 miles. Went back to tire place they said it was not tires it was something else causing the even wear on both tires. Of course tire warranty did not cover that. Took it to the dealer, according to them they replaced the faulty rear axle solenoid and repaired green harness to solenoid (anyone know the actual name of the parts because I can't find them listed anywhere) Is it the AT solenoid? Anyways now 3 months later it acts like the transmission is slipping and the rear end is getting really loud. Taking it back to dealer tomorrow to see whats going on now. I have already put over $1,500 in to it (had to replace leaking gas tank and some lines, finally after 4 months they put out a recall on the tank, at first my "VIN" was not part of the recall although others the same year were, I complained to Buick and a rep. called me back to ask if my problems were solved, he got an ear full, he probably changed jobs after I was done. I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER POS FROM BUICK. If anyone has any suggestions of what is wrong with please share. If I would have thought sooner I would not have had the fuel tank fixed and maybe it wouldn't be my problem now it would be in the Rendezvous Grave Yard.

Grapevine, TX

#11 Jul 2, 2008
I have the same problem on my 2003 Buick Randervouz AWD. The AWD disable came on as soon as I replace 4 tires and move to Texas from Michigan. I took to dealer and they told me that the flow valve need replace due to containimation on my diffrential fuel. They need to clean and fill with flesh oil and replace the flow valve. The estimated cost $ 850.00. I am looking to manufacturing and find out what exactly root cause. Do not bring to dealership, they made up all kind of stuff to rob you. All you need to change differential fuel to cool down the AWD system. and adjusting tire sensor with balance.


#12 Jul 24, 2008
Well, I have a 2005 Rendezvous and it was making a whining noise when I made sharp turns. Took it to a mechanic and he changed the rear differential fluid and added something he called a conditioner (clueless). The noise totally went away. Just returned from a 1200 mile trip yesterday. I just cranked it up to run an errand and now my AWD Disable light is on. Read the previous posts and I have fairly new matched tires. Now what?? If I can get this fixed cheaply, I am getting rid of this car. I have read too many bad things about it. No more buicks for me.

Carberry, Canada

#13 Aug 2, 2008
My car (2003 awd) has clunking in rear from upper control outer arm pin bushing wore.Does anyone know of a fix besides replacing the whole upper arm.At $350. a piece.???gotta be a better way

Pittsburgh, PA

#14 Aug 6, 2008
I have a 2003 and I was hearing a growling noise in rear end 3 years ago. The car was under warranty and they replaced the rear differential. Then after 60,000 miles the growling started again, took it back to dealer they changed the rear end oil and it went away. Now in 2008 136,000 miles it's growling again. It looks like a service problem due to poor engineering. I have heard of having to change the rear end oil in the old positraction rear ends maybe it's the same. The versa trac fluid costs $33.00 a bottle and you need 3.25 bottles so you have to buy 4. Don't let the dealer bulls*&t you. Ask the dealer up front to give to you to save the remainder for your next visit. My problem was corrected the first 2 times I'm hoping it will go away this time with the oil change and new tires. I think another good hint is to get your tires rotated every oil change. As far as the pin bushing I think you can just replace the bushing if there wasn't any damage to the control arm bushing housing.

Pittsburgh, PA

#15 Aug 10, 2008
The growling noise went away after a few days for my car.So far I think my issue has gone away with changing the differential oil. I also found out on Wiki answers that the rear axil has a hub bearing like the front. They're not that hard to change and you can buy the parts online at auto . The bearing makes a rrrrrring noise and it's pretty pronounced on open highway. The growling noise comes from the clutch's in the versatrac system. Take care of it early and it should last. My 03 has 137,000 on it!
Rendezvous blues

Dartmouth, Canada

#16 Sep 28, 2008
changing the rear end fluids will get rid of howling noise in versatrak but you can only get the fluid from dealerships and its like 50 bux a litre

Marietta, GA

#17 Sep 30, 2008
I have a 2003 Buick Rendezvous and it has been making the moaning noise since I bought it about 2 years ago. When I first bought it I told the dealer about the noise and they changed the rear differential fluid but the noise never went away. They said this was normal. However, I had my oil changed today and Goodyear told me this could lead to the rear end seizing up. I am concerned that this could cause an accident. Also this seems to be a problem with all the AWD Buicks so I am wondering why there hasn't been a recall?
2007RendezvousOw ner

United States

#18 Oct 9, 2008
I have owned my 2007 Rendezvous for a little over a year and have had my second flat tire. Also the same problem with severe squealing when I turn. My relative who also owns a 2007 Rendezvous also has had a flat tire. Anyone else having these problems?
Ed M

Bedford, OH

#19 Jan 17, 2009
I have a 2002 Rendezvous 60k miles, both AWD and anti lock break light came on at same time. No noises from the back. I do hear a growling noise from front when turning that goes away when straigntened out, but only when very cold and only for first few miles.

Does the AWD and ABS going on together suggest the problem is a wheel speed sensor rather than rear differential?
Not Sure What to do

United States

#20 Jan 26, 2009
I had a flat on my 2003 Rendezvous and replaced the flat and the AWD Disable light and the ABS light is on now. I have no noise or anything, but I can't believe that I would have to buy 4 tires each time I have an issue with one. I bought new tires back in 2006, because the dealer told me I needed them. I can't afford 4 tires when I only need one. In reading all the other postings. I am at a loss of what to do. I am afraid that if I go into the dealer, I will be told I will have to get something that I do not need or have the money for.

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