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100% drive unit failure rate??

yobigd20

Well-Known Member
Oct 28, 2012
5,929
531
Skaneateles, NY
given all the attention to the Model S reliability recently (thanks CR), I thought it might be interesting to point this out:

take a look at the data here Plug In America if you click on the top 25 highest mileage drivers, ALL of them have had drive unit swaps, and almost every one of them have had multiple swaps. this surely seems to indicate a 100% failure rate. that is VERY BAD. is it biased based on the sample group? owners voluntarily posting reports? maybe. BUT, you'd think even in an enthusiast group, there should be more than zero good motors out there.

also, personally, when i do hear someone say 'i haven't had a drive unit swap yet', my next immediate question is 'how many miles do you have?' and the answer is usually pretty low. the drive unit issues appear over time. given the data points that all high mileage units seem to fail, its just a matter of time until that unit will fail too.

I have no idea how Tesla is able to keep in business. I know they use remanufactured units in most swaps to keep those costs down, but even those fail, and of course there's the cost of shipping them around to service centers and the time it takes to do the swaps, etc etc. seems like Tesla has a very very serious issue on their hands.

and FWIW, i'm on my 4th DU and the milling noise is getting louder. so i'll need a 5th drive unit probably within the next few months (whenever it gets loud enough to annoy other people that's usually when I bring it in, lol).
 
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Max*

Charging
Apr 8, 2015
6,670
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I've stated this in numerous threads: Tesla's approach to the DU issue is to patch the problem; not engineer a solution.

I hope I'm wrong.
 

Twiddler

Member
Apr 19, 2012
552
58
DFW
Would be nice to start a tally for those with drive line unit failures that gives a range of mileage to first failure versus a range and no failure yet. I have 35K miles and no problems yet on my 60, but I would assume that 35K constitutes relatively low miles
 
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mibaro2

Member
Dec 2, 2012
959
8
Georgetown, ON
With the drive unit swaps, I think Tesla many times swaps them out when not necessary. It doesn't take too long to do, and keeps the customer happy. It's very easy to hear any noise from the DU since the car is so quiet.
When I had my car in for its annual service, the DU was swapped even though I had no complaints with it.
-- I agree with ItsNotAboutTheMoney . Those issues need to be known. It would be nice to see a chart of DU replacements per month over the course of the last 3 years. Is it increasing, or decreasing?
 

Krugerrand

Enough of the 🐩, back to 🐈‍⬛
Jul 13, 2012
11,049
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I've stated this in numerous threads: Tesla's approach to the DU issue is to patch the problem; not engineer a solution.

While on the surface it may appear that way, none of us have any idea what's going on behind the scenes. They may in fact be doing engineering/design changes, and indeed that seems to be the Tesla way. That they aren't announcing those changes (other than Elon specifically and publically saying that there are multiple weekly changes being made to the car) doesn't mean they aren't happening.

Also of note is that many DUs have been changed proactively and some people seem to be lumping those in with the DUs that are being requested by owners.

To answer the OP's titled question: No. (And there's been plenty of proof of that on the forum for quite some time, as there is not proof in this thread.)
 
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supratachophobia

Active Member
Sep 24, 2014
3,851
2,681
Columbus, Ohio
I've stated this in numerous threads: Tesla's approach to the DU issue is to patch the problem; not engineer a solution.

I hope I'm wrong.

Again, I think AWD is there engineering solution. It either reduces strain on a single DU to the point it won't fail or it pushes the problem back until way later when you don't own the car anymore.
 

Duckjybe

Member
Mar 29, 2012
815
189
Ontario, Canada
Elon stated in his "3 Dog Day" blog post last July (Three Dog Day | Tesla Motors) that they were working on a million mile drive unit. Someone reported in the 7.0 Classic thread that they were possibly getting a newly designed drive unit. Given the fact that the drive units aren't outright failing but just getting noisy, it is perhaps a more difficult fix? The new motor would require much long term testing, possibly in the real world to make sure it lasts the million miles. I am confident they will fix this issue soon.
 

Max*

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Apr 8, 2015
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Again, I think AWD is there engineering solution. It either reduces strain on a single DU to the point it won't fail or it pushes the problem back until way later when you don't own the car anymore.

That's not an engineered solution. That's a kludge/patch to the problem.

If I have a leaky pipe, the solution is to weld or replace the broken part of the pipe; the kludge/patch is to stick some duct tape on it and hope it doesn't leak for the next 6 months.
 

efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Mar 29, 2009
5,421
666
Nixa, Missouri, United States
I've stated this in numerous threads: Tesla's approach to the DU issue is to patch the problem; not engineer a solution.

I hope I'm wrong.

I'm not sure why you say this, there are multiple revisions/versions of the DU out there..sometimes people know what revision they have (maybe on the paperwork?). I think they're at revision O or something now.
 

Max*

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Apr 8, 2015
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While on the surface it may appear that way, none of us have any idea what's going on behind the scenes. They may in fact be doing engineering/design changes, and indeed that seems to be the Tesla way. That they aren't announcing those changes (other than Elon specifically and publically saying that there are multiple weekly changes being made to the car) doesn't mean they aren't happening.

Also of note is that many DUs have been changed proactively and some people seem to be lumping those in with the DUs that are being requested by owners.

To answer the OP's titled question: No. (And there's been plenty of proof of that on the forum for quite some time, as there is not proof in this thread.)

You're right, for all I know they fixed it. But so far, based on everything I read here, the DU issue is not fixed. And lots of people are getting swapped DU's even in newer cars.

Proactive replacement = something isn't wrong yet, but we think it will go wrong. Which still implies a design flaw.

Going from Gen 1 go Gen 2 door handles was more or less a fix for the broken door handle problem. Even though in some cases the Gen 2 handles still break (like my case, when my car was 1 month old car, rear door wouldn't open); the majority of owners do not experience a problem. Once the DU solution makes it so that the majority of owners do not experience a problem, then I'll agree that they engineered a solution.

- - - Updated - - -

I'm not sure why you say this, there are multiple revisions/versions of the DU out there..sometimes people know what revision they have (maybe on the paperwork?). I think they're at revision O or something now.

If you're telling me that revision O was the latest one, and it works, and only a very small percentage of owners are requiring it to be swapped (nothing is 100%. 98% reliability is good enough, right?), then they engineered a solution.

But I'm sure people thought the same thing from revision A - N. Until I see it, I wont believe it.


<--- does not have a DU issue, but I only have 10k miles, but I've had my share of other issues.
 

efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Mar 29, 2009
5,421
666
Nixa, Missouri, United States
If you're telling me that revision O was the latest one, and it works, and only a very small percentage of owners are requiring it to be swapped (nothing is 100%. 98% reliability is good enough, right?), then they engineered a solution.

But I'm sure people thought the same thing from revision A - N. Until I see it, I wont believe it.
I'm not telling you "O" is the latest, only the latest I've heard of. And I'm not telling you it works, I have no idea though I think I've seen at least one report of an "O" failing. What I am saying is that is emperical evidence that they are working on engineering solutions to fix the DU problem, not just patching up broken ones. What evidence do you have that they're not working on an engineering solution? the fact that they haven't found a "million mile" DU yet doesn't mean they're not working on it.
 
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Max*

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I'm not telling you "O" is the latest, only the latest I've heard of. And I'm not telling you it works, I have no idea though I think I've seen at least one report of an "O" failing. What I am saying is that is emperical evidence that they are working on engineering solutions to fix the DU problem, not just patching up broken ones. What evidence do you have that they're not working on an engineering solution? the fact that they haven't found a "million mile" DU yet doesn't mean they're not working on it.

I agree with you here - I have no knowledge. But I guess my mentality/POV is a lot more pessimistic.

As an engineer, if I have a flawed design, I might try to patch it a few times to see it I can get an easy fix, once I see that everything I'm throwing at it doesn't work, I'd try and go out and start from scratch and design a new unit that wont have the underlying problems. And before you say it -- that's exactly what Tesla might be doing, but from the outside it seems like they're stuck on the "maybe one of these patches will work".

And until I see evidence otherwise, I'll stick with my pessimistic views.
 

Krugerrand

Enough of the 🐩, back to 🐈‍⬛
Jul 13, 2012
11,049
56,350
Tesla friendly place
You're right, for all I know they fixed it. But so far, based on everything I read here, the DU issue is not fixed. And lots of people are getting swapped DU's even in newer cars.

We're reading a different everything then.

Proactive replacement....

Means something different to me as well. It's not an automatic admission of a design flaw or that the thing being replaced will break/have an issue.
 

mspohr

Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2014
9,370
10,944
California

Max*

Charging
Apr 8, 2015
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We're reading a different everything then.

Means something different to me as well. It's not an automatic admission of a design flaw or that the thing being replaced will break/have an issue.

Then how would you define proactive replacement?
 

Electricfan

Active Member
Aug 24, 2013
1,250
283
Houston
Are the 2015 cars believed to have improved drive units?

They (guy at the service center) told me it is less common in the newer cars. But my car was built in May 2015 and its in the shop as I type this getting its DU replaced. It was making a funny noise and I took it in just to let them hear it. I wasn't that concerned about it, but my last car (2013 model) didn't have this noise (had 18k miles when I traded it with no problems - but I wanted auto pilot) so I was curious what it was. They instantly scheduled me to have the DU replaced.

I'm driving a P85 loaner with auto-pilot (a very rare breed), so I hope they take their time with mine! I love my car, but I really love the power of this P85!
 

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