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6th drive unit replacement and more

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by David99, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    I'm really getting frustrated. I fully expected some issue buying my Model S but I'm at a point where I lost my faith. I'm on my 5th drive unit and the exact same problem keeps coming back again and again. It gets this annoying buzzing sound at low to medium acceleration. It's so noisy that people are turning their heads when I drive by. What an embarrassment for a high class EV!
    If this happened once I'd be fine, but now it's due for it's 6th drive unit for the same problem over again? Tesla obviously can't fix it. They keep putting a bandaid on it and 15k miles later it's making the same noise again.

    Same with an annoying suspension/alignment issue. The service center swapped out my wheel hubs once and when I got it back, the car would 'fishtail' left or right depending on whether I accelerate or regen. It actually becomes a safety issue driving on a freeway. The entire car starts pulling left and right. Believe it or not, I had it back at the service center 4 times to get that fix and it keeps coming back again and again. They seem unable to fix it.

    After only 2 years my car has been in service more than all my other cars I have ever owned combined and what makes it so frustrating is that I know, no matter how many times I bring my car back in, the same problems will keep coming back again and again. It's so frustrating to see how Tesla is focusing all its efforts on the Model X, the new features and Model 3 and has no interest in fixing those early cars that paved the road of success for them.
     
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  2. AUSinator

    AUSinator Member

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    if you know the problem will come back after every 15000 miles don't you think its time to sell the car after the fix and get a new model one without those issues. I konw I know sometimes i think i'm a geniuses coming up with all these clever ideas :)
     
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  3. zambono

    zambono Member

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    Don't buy a Range Rover after many decades they still have many issues. At least Tesla is trying to fix it and like you said you were an early adopter, it might be time for you to get a newer S maybe Tesla will even work with you on the trade in of the current one due to the issues.
     
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  4. doctorwho

    doctorwho Member

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    Lemon Laws apply?
     
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  5. Jbailey

    Jbailey Member

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    Pretty aggravating....seems like a fix or "good" drive unit would be available since a year later drive unit replacements became pretty rare. I have a mid year 2015 and have almost 40 k miles. I have not had one single issue...even the tires have many miles left on them. The car sounds and drives like the day I got it. There has been 11 miles of battery degradation 270 to 259, but I guess that's to be expected.

    It seems like the single unit motors just have too much power for the bearing material
     
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  6. marcad80

    marcad80 Member

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    the one thing I have noticed about Tesla service is that sometimes they are not really skilled at normal car problems. A car that swirves based on accel or brake is usually based on a suspension problem. IE tie rods are damaged, grommets are damaged. Some car designed use the independent axels as a component of the rear wheel alignment (is corvettes and jaguars). If this is the case with Tesla this could also explain the noise from the drivetrain. If the car pulls to the left on accel the suspension components are damaged on the driver side rear, if right pull on accel then passenger side rear. Hope this helps find the problem once and for all. If they are bad enough to pull the car, you can usually verify by lift the side, and tugging on the front and back of the tire. You can usually feel the lash.
     
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  7. zambono

    zambono Member

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    You are probably right too much weight and resistance for the single motor causing fatigue. The D's even using the same motor share the weight
     
  8. Skione65

    Skione65 Member

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    @David99,

    Sorry to hear of your issues. Can you give us some Specs? What year Model S is your vehicle? I'm assuming it's RWD and not AWD? I was under the impression that for the most part these drive unit problems were fixed, i.e. A re-design so to speak and replacements have dropped significantly. Is this not the case?
    In your case are they putting in "re-manned" or new replacement units?

    Ski
     
  9. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    #9 David99, Jul 4, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2016
    Mine is an early 2014 model. It's not even a P and I drive rather relaxed so I doubt it's a stress related issue with the drive unit. I would say it's the inverter as the sound has a very 'electric' character. I'm not sure if they use refurbished drive units or new ones.

    I'm just so frustrated because I feel stuck with a car that has an issue that Tesla won't fix. I know newer cars don't seem to have the noise issue any more but that makes me even more upset knowing that Tesla did address the issue but is unable or not willing to apply the same fix to it's old customers.

    I have been to a total of 4 difference service centers with these issues. It can't be just the lack of skills with some mechanics working at one location.

    I wrote a detailed letter to Tesla. I hope I get a response.
     
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  10. MP3Mike

    MP3Mike Active Member

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    When was your DU last replaced? Was it with a -Q revision version?

    Is there another Service Center nearby that you could try? (A different set of eyes may be able to identify the actual issue.)
     
  11. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    The OP should not have to sell his car, taking a major hit due to depreciation, just because Tesla can't fix two major problems. My 85 built several months earlier has not had the problems the OP has had.
    I would not call a VIN 33XXX car an "early" car. Tesla has appeared to solve the motor whine noise issue, it is strange that they can't solve it on this particular car.
    I think they do.
     
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  12. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    Could you expound wrt the -Q version? My car has DU #2 so far - no idea what version it is.
     
  13. MP3Mike

    MP3Mike Active Member

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    The part number for the DU should be on your service paperwork. The revision number is normally the last digit. And from what we have heard it is the -Q revision that seems to actually solve the noise problem.
     
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  14. dhanson865

    dhanson865 Active Member

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    You've given them every opportunity. 4 service centers, 5 drive unit replacements. If the noise comes back I'd just ask for a lemon law buyback. I'd be friendly as possible while asserting my rights. Let Tesla know you aren't doing it out of malice that it is unavoidable and that you have to have a permanent fix.

    Then I'd turn right around and get a newer Tesla. I'd be willing to say if you got one at random it wouldn't have as many issues as this one.
     
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  15. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    I just checked...

    Woo hoo! I have a -Q!

    Thanks for the info.
     
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  16. StaceyS

    StaceyS Member

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    With 5 DU replacements and a 6th coming, it definitely sounds like Tesla is trying. If they were "not willing to apply the same fix" to your car, for whatever reason, I highly doubt they would even bother replacing the DU at all. Your comment makes it sound like they are choosing to ignore any "older" cars and just paying you lip service while having their techs do nothing to your car in the service bay. They have absolutely no reason to do that, particularly after replacing your drive unit 5 times and getting ready to do it again.

    I don't know what's wrong with your car, I can't hear it, and I can't drive it. But, I also don't know what kind of driver you are. I will state that any powerful RWD car will fishtail pretty easily under strong acceleration. That's just physics, and whether you are skilled enough to expect that and manage it is something I don't know. I also don't know your car's alignment settings, which can easily make such handling better or worse, again, depending on the driver's inputs and ability to react to those. And unfortunately, alignment can be easily set incorrectly by a tech who just didn't pay attention at the right moment (without bad intention).

    We have an early 2013 P85, VIN P064xx, and Tesla has never skimped on service to our car. However, things have not all been perfect for us: At one annual service, the tech got air in our brake lines when flushing the brake fluid. It was an elementary, bonehead mistake that could happen on any car, and it can have serious, life changing consequences. Did they mean to do that? Of course not. It was a mistake, one made without intention of malice.

    Our car has about 35k miles on its original drive unit. It is very quiet, quieter than even the new Model X I just test drove a few days ago, although there is a slight thunk occasionally, and I can hear a very slight electric whine at certain low speeds. I have never mentioned it to Tesla. At our last service, the tech noticed it and has scheduled our car for its drive unit to be replaced. If Tesla was really trying to ignore the "early" cars, I really doubt they would have proactively done that for us.
     
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  17. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    Yep, I don't believe in being mean or dramatic. That's why I was patient and gave them many opportunities to make things right. But now I'm at the end of my patience.

    An interesting piece of info regarding the inverter/motor noise. It seems to always get louder over time. It always took about 15k miles before it become unacceptable. This last time though I drove almost 20k miles and the noise was still faint. Then I took a 4400 mile road trip and now it's very loud. Thinking back those last 20k miles I hardly did any road trips, just lots of daily driving. So maybe going at higher speeds makes it worse. In my daily driving I hardly go faster than 60 mph. On the last road trip, I was going between 70 and 90 mph for the majority of the time.
     
  18. MP3Mike

    MP3Mike Active Member

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    Do you have your service paperwork from the last DU replacement? If so what is the revision/part number for the DU? I am wondering if your last replacement was slightly before the -Q revision that appears to have fixed the problem. (It did take them a while to get a solution that worked long term.)
     
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  19. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    Service centers are there to keep customers happy and fix problem customers have. However they have to do what Tesla tells them. Of course they won't deny service, but Tesla tells them they have to use the old refurbished DU instead of the new ones that don't get noisy.

    I appreciate your thoughts on this but it's not my driving style. Every time I brought it in, the technician test drove the car and agreed something was wrong and they actually did work on the car and it was good after I got it back. At least for a while, then it went bad again. So it's nothing about performance or tire slip or my driving style.

    I don't say they are not trying and I have been very patient. But if the same problem keeps coming back again and again, they are unable to provide a solution. That is the frustrating part.
     
  20. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    Tesla appears to have had more problems with the large drive units than the small. The RWD and the P85D/P90Ds have large rear motors. I have heard of only a handful of smaller motors being replaced.

    The car is probably too old for the lemon laws to apply, though each state is a bit different. I know kmanauto (islandbayy here on the forum) who video blogs on YouTube got Tesla to buy back his early 60 that had a lot of problems they couldn't seem to fix. He replaced it with a S90D and seems pretty happy with it.
     

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