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Body Panel Gap and Alignment Issues

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by PureAmps, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. PureAmps

    PureAmps Model S P85 (#2817)

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    #1 PureAmps, Dec 29, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
    Now that Model S production is in full swing, I wanted to document some remaining body panel gap and alignment issues. Overall the body panel gaps and alignment have improved a lot from the beta and pre-production vehicles used at the test drive events, but issues still remain for a vehicle at this price point, especially along the hood and front fenders. I know this has been discussed before, but it was in the context of white/silver vehicles, and included beta and pre-production vehicles.

    I'll post some examples in follow-up posts. I'm curious if others see similar issues.
     
  2. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    I looked at a recient Model S and looked for this since reading the many posted concerns. And at least to my untrained eye the car looked great and I saw no unsightly gaps or misalignment on the one car I saw.
     
  3. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    +1 I was at the factory yesterday and looked at a lot of Model S - specifically looking for gap/alignment issues. I didn't see anything worrisome.
     
  4. PureAmps

    PureAmps Model S P85 (#2817)

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    #4 PureAmps, Dec 29, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2012
    Large Gap Between Hood and Fenders

    The most obvious gap on my car is between the hood and the front fenders. The gap is about 1/4" wide on both sides. It is substantially larger than any car I currently own including a 10-year old Acura MDX and my wife's 2010 Lexus IS 250. While the gap doesn't look horrible on its own, it jumps out at me each time I walk by because I can see the top of the headlamp assembly exposed in the gap. This is made prominent by the dark color of the blue paint, and may not be as visible on lighter colored cars. Has anyone else noticed this on their cars?

    Here's an example picture below:

    Screen Shot 2012-12-29 at 4.55.21 PM.png

    My planned "fix" for this issue is to cover the top of the headlamp assembly with black gaffer's tape. I didn't have any handy, but I tried a few strips of electrical tape and liked the result.

    Screen Shot 2012-12-29 at 4.58.55 PM.png
     
  5. MikeK

    MikeK R#129, TSLA shareholder

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    #5 MikeK, Dec 29, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2012
    I definitely notice things that are not right with my car. They're minor, but I agree with PureAmps that they are not really acceptable on a premium vehicle. I think some can be corrected in the field, though. Here's an example. The tip of the front quarter panel is bent outwards from where it belongs where it meets the A pillar. This is the case on both sides.

    image.jpg
     
  6. PureAmps

    PureAmps Model S P85 (#2817)

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    Front Fenders Flare Away From A Pillar and Side View Mirrors

    On my car both front fenders flare slightly away from the A pillar at the Side View Mirror. It is not something I would notice every day, but they should be flush. Here's an example from the passenger side:

    Screen Shot 2012-12-29 at 5.09.08 PM.png

    Here's an extreme closeup:

    Screen Shot 2012-12-29 at 5.10.35 PM.png

    - - - Updated - - -

    I just posted this as well, so at least its consistent.
     
  7. MikeK

    MikeK R#129, TSLA shareholder

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    Interestingly, I looked at the grey car at Menlo park, which was built before ours, and this area was perfect. No issue at all. One wonders what happened.
     
  8. Hank42

    Hank42 Member

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    So, I wonder if all the effort put into those silly automatically protruding door handles is negated by the drag these awfully large gaps create.

    Anyone have access to a wind tunnel??
     
  9. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

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    It appears to be a spring back issue, which could happen at one of several stages of stamping, assembly, hemming or painting. I wouldn't be surprised if Tesla was already tracking down the stage at which it was happening.
     
  10. GDH

    GDH Banned

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    The car at the Tesla in Portland has the same gap, just not as bad. I personally think you should talk to Tesla about your gaps, they are huge!
     
  11. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    I, too, have panel issues. They aren't major though, and while it's not welcome on a "premium" sedan, it's FAR better than what we saw in early pics (heck, I even got the white after hating on the lines).
     
  12. AltPowr

    AltPowr Member

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    I have to say, I see the same panel issues. It is nowhere near the perfection of my previous Lexus. As a matter of fact, the top edge of the front fender by the A-pillar mentioned above is something that is common on a 1969 Camaro - which I have a body shop correcting on my Camaro. For me to notice it and compare it to a 43 year old Chevy is somewhat sad, actually. But that is not something that can be fixed easily on a car that is already painted, so I was letting that go and trying to ignore it. However, I have 3 other areas that have been bugging me, to the point where I was going to adjust them myself.

    - The trunk closes too much so that the gap with the bumper is very tiny, and the top edges of the rear quarter panels stick up about a quarter of an inch higher than the trunk.
    - The passenger rear door is adjusted to close in too much where the rear quarter panel sticks out farther than the door by maybe about 1/8 of an inch.
    - The front passenger doors rear edge sticks out beyond the rear door about 1/8 of an inch. (Maybe the rear passenger door is adjusted in too far overall, front and rear, 1/8 inch.)

    I would hate to have someone adjust them and potentially scratch the car, so I may try adjusting them myself. I typically don't bring my cars to anyone to work on - I do everything myself except tires and alignment, but I guess I may have to treat the Tesla differently because there are electronics involved. I already adjusted the round rubber stops in the sides of the trunk - they screw up and down. When I shut the trunk manually, everything lines up perfectly. However, if I use the electric closing, it beeps and reverses. Not sure how to reset where it thinks it is supposed to stop. I'm sure it's sensing more pressure than it did originally. So I have moved back to the original position of the stops.

    I will take pictures of the 3 gap areas tomorrow.
     
  13. strider

    strider Active Member

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    Tesla service can absolutely reset the stops.
     
  14. MikeK

    MikeK R#129, TSLA shareholder

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    That was my assumption as well. I noted that this area is quite flexible, and it seems as if it could be "massaged" by somebody who is skilled in such things so as to be aligned much closer to the correct position.
     
  15. contaygious

    contaygious Active Member

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    I don't care much about the side ones that flare out a bit, but the hood ones are super obvious on my white. I'm told that I have the some of the best gaps they have seen though and that only future cars might have smaller ones at some point, but it is not something they will fix on current cars as it has to do with the hood and body production process which will see improvements eventually.

    I'll live. I am getting uses to them. At least they are even.
     
  16. CapitalistOppressor

    CapitalistOppressor Active Member

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    A friend of mine got his Sig near the beginning of November. He had been really concerned about the panel gaps after seeing the cars during the Get Amped tour, so we went over his car with a fine tooth comb. We found a few irregularities, but just for lulz we looked hard at my BMW and managed to find a few problems with its panels too. The point being, his build quality seemed good.

    The key though, is that he has a Sig and we know Tesla was spending a lot of extra time on QA during that period. My assumption would be that the huge gaps in the OP have a lot to do with the higher production rate. Anyone with gaps like that should seriously call Tesla and see if they can get them adjusted.

    It's totally unrealistic to expect precision like you see with Lexus (which made its reputation on this issue), but I think its totally fair to expect the level of quality you see with the major German and American manufacturers. Many of these issues likely can be fixed with a few hours of shop time.
     
  17. Brian H

    Brian H Banned

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    Yeah, the kinda thing that makes me itch to grab a rubber mallet. Bad idea.
     
  18. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    ISF,
    Please keep us posted on your progress. I too prefer to do my own work for a lot of the reasons you mention. I suspect the electronic closure issue would be a matter of moving the latch up the same amount as the rubber stand offs as there is most likely a closure switch in the latch that provides feedback to the closure relay. I would be very surprised if this is an electronic or software limit adjustment as these systems are normally set using a mechanical jig on the assembly line.
     
  19. AltPowr

    AltPowr Member

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    It bugged me, so I adjusted the doors last night, they line up correctly now. It's just two Torx screws, you loosen them up, move around the latching unit a little, tighten back up, and done. I placed some green tape around the screw heads before loosening so that I could see how much I was moving them before retightening. Obviously the adjustment has to be pretty small in order to make sure the door and window still seals properly. So only have the trunk lid left, I'll take a look at the plastic trim today to see if I can remove that carefully in order to adjust the position of the latch.

    I'm sure the Tesla service centers can do this just fine for anyone that needs, I just find it easier to do myself and know it's done right.
     
  20. Zextraterrestrial

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    I have a grey and the gap bu the mirror seems perfect. the upper edge lines up w/ the mirror just right. it is an 'interesting' area of intersecting panels and such and it looks like the air would flow nicely the way it is flared at the upper part.
    View attachment 13670
     

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