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a new "whine" sound that wasn't there before... help?

So recently my S85 (~25k miles) started whining at me... this is NOT the balloon squeal sound you get when you punch it, that one I'm familiar with. This one is a much quieter whine that fits the following description:
* absolutely tied to the drive train, the car is silent at the same speeds in neutral
* noticeable when accelerating lightly
* most noticeable when in the 20-40kW power band at 10-30mph or so
* pitch increases as the car accelerates
* it has a periodic fluctuation in the pitch that sounds (at least to me) like it varies with the speed of the motor or axle, getting slightly faster as the car speeds up

It's not that the noise is really all THAT annoying, it's just that for the first 18 months I had the car it didn't exist, and I get nervous when cars start making "new" sounds. I recorded the sound from inside the car and posted it here:

Link to audio file: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8WOnozpsK7qNnJzMWZnenZrQzA/view?usp=sharing

The clip is ~55 seconds long, the sound I'm concerned about is most noticeable in these three acceleration periods... this was just driving up a very shallow hill in my neighborhood between 5 and 25 mph...
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,894
Toronto, ON
That is the "Milling Sound" that has been widely discussed in multiple threads here. If you take it to a Service Center, they will typically record the sound, send it back to the Tesla mothership and if it is deemed severe enough, they will schedule a drivetrain replacement. I myself am on a waiting list for this service. I am told it is a "cosmetic" problem and that it doesn't represent any kind of imminent failure.
 
that is the cicada like drive unit sound, you need to go to your service center and have them record the sound and measure the level of sound so they can send the data to the mother ship so an engineer can ok a drive unit replacement.

You may need to force the issue by complaining a bit because I've found that some service centers are less helpful than others in getting the necessary work done for the owners.
I went from one having one service center that said "yes that's a know issue" but they did not take the recordings that are necessary to begin the replacement process.
then when I went to my "home" SC they first told me it wasn't that bad, after bit of back and forth discussion we moved the issue to the point that a replacement was warranted.
once we got to the point of agreeing that a repair was needed I was then told that there are no replacement units available and when I pushed for a date I could expect a unit to be available I was told "whenever". That response provoked me to start squawking a bit louder and I was forced into taking the issue up the chain at Tesla until a unit had been located and that I had the work completed in a timely manner.
in the end the car is back to being almost perfect but it sure was a bit an ordeal to get the car to this point.

- - - Updated - - -

I am told it is a "cosmetic" problem and that it doesn't represent any kind of imminent failure.
until it fails
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Moderator
until it fails
This is a well intentioned question, not meant to incite controversy: are there documented cases where this "milling sound" was noticed and then not long after that the drive unit "failed" and it was determined that the sound was a symptom of the part that failed? And by "failed" I mean "the car would not move" or something similar. Thank you.
 

tomas

Out of warranty...
Supporting Member
Oct 22, 2012
4,336
4,255
Santa Barbara/New York
This is a well intentioned question, not meant to incite controversy: are there documented cases where this "milling sound" was noticed and then not long after that the drive unit "failed" and it was determined that the sound was a symptom of the part that failed? And by "failed" I mean "the car would not move" or something similar. Thank you.

And I think a good question. One that only Tesla could answer accurately, given that any one owner's experience is going to be subjective (i.e., what noise they heard, how they describe, interpretation of whether it contributed to failure). So, just as we trust Tesla engineers with our life every day as we climb into the car, we need to trust their telemetry and root cause analysis. We just don't have the sample. There are some things we can determine and prove conclusively on this forum. I believe this is one we cannot.

So, it comes down to whether you trust Tesla or not. I do. So if they say it is "cosmetic" and doesn't represent imminent failure, then that's what it is for me. Others choose to assume there's some cover-up going on... but what baffles me is that they still get in the car and drive it every day - even though they question the integrity of the manufacturer!?!?!?!! I know someone's going to respond on this one to try to school me... have at it.
 
This is a well intentioned question, not meant to incite controversy: are there documented cases where this "milling sound" was noticed and then not long after that the drive unit "failed" and it was determined that the sound was a symptom of the part that failed? And by "failed" I mean "the car would not move" or something similar. Thank you.
the short answer is possibly yes, however anything you see and hear on forums like these are anecdotal hearsay.
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,894
Toronto, ON
This is a well intentioned question, not meant to incite controversy: are there documented cases where this "milling sound" was noticed and then not long after that the drive unit "failed" and it was determined that the sound was a symptom of the part that failed? And by "failed" I mean "the car would not move" or something similar. Thank you.

I hear you and am only relaying what I've been told. (I've had the milling sound, getting progressively worse, for over 1 year now). FWIW, I was also told I didn't need to worry about my car's need for main contactor replacement, but it DID fail first in that circumstance.
 
I've also heard an increase in my electric whine/intermittent squeal sound. I'm not sure if this is the milling sound other threads have talked about. It started around 15,000 miles, and now at 22,000 miles, it's gotten much louder. I'm not sure if this is a bad thing as it just sounds electric. It is most noticeable on accel or decel around 20-30 mph.

But I'm worried that if it keeps getting worse, this will be highly annoying at louder volumes. I also worry that even with a drive unit replacement, should I go down that route, it'll just happen again after another 20,000 miles.

- K
 
My was the drive unit and it happened almost exactly as you described, the car was smooth was the first 15-20,000 miles, then after a battery coolant pump needed replacement, I picked it up from the service center and it whined whenever i pressed on the acceleration. At first they declined to do anything, then I was able to replicate the sound with a service tech in the car and he verified it was the drive train.
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,894
Toronto, ON
I think I'm going to have to call. Mine's been buzzing for over a year now and they just tell me that they'll call when "parts are available". In my neighborhood, I notice people on the sidewalks now turn around as I approach because they can hear me buzzing towards them!
 
I think I'm going to have to call. Mine's been buzzing for over a year now and they just tell me that they'll call when "parts are available". In my neighborhood, I notice people on the sidewalks now turn around as I approach because they can hear me buzzing towards them!

Same here. I didn't report it at first, because it wasn't that bad. Reported it to sc about 8 weeks ago and still no replacement (part is on order). It has gotten quite loud now to the point where I can hear it at freeway speeds (and with freeway noise) if I really listen for it. Someone was following me somewhere yesterday and they could hear it from inside their car. 37k miles
 

Zroiron

Poodle Pack Leader
Feb 11, 2014
282
67
Las Vegas
I was hearing a 'clunk-like' sound at speed as soon as I released the accelerator pedal. Took the car to the SC and they determined that the notice was coming from inside the drive unit which is sealed. The DU was replaced yesterday and the car is totally quiet again.
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,894
Toronto, ON
I was hearing a 'clunk-like' sound at speed as soon as I released the accelerator pedal. Took the car to the SC and they determined that the notice was coming from inside the drive unit which is sealed. The DU was replaced yesterday and the car is totally quiet again.

My "clunk-clunk" developed just before the buzzing a bit over a year ago. At that time, my SC told me the clunk was "normal". At least they have said the buzzing is not normal, so when my DU eventually gets replaced, I'll kill two birds with one stone.
 

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