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Cold wind/air infiltration through door handles ?!

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by golojap, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. golojap

    golojap VIN PO4837

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    #1 golojap, Nov 8, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
    Hi Tesla owners (who live in geographic areas where it can be cold),

    I believe I have a serious issue with my car, and I wanted to investigate if I was the only one, or if anybody else out there has/had the same problem.

    My Model S seems to leak outside air through the front door handles. The cold air comes inside the cabin via the area under the little triangle windows at the front (in the area of the rear view mirrors).

    At first it didn't really bother me and thought that it was just the window that was cold, but the more I drove the car and tested, the more I noticed a really cold air flow. Last Monday, it was -5c degrees outside, and my fingers could nearly freeze because of the cold air flowing in.

    I left home with my car fully warmed up at 20c degrees and decided to do a simple test: shut down the heat while driving (with this cold air flow coming in), and measure how long it would take for the car's inside cabin temperature to drop. Well, it took less then 5 minutes and I was freezing in there !!

    Imagine how much energy I'm wasting heating the cabin because of that f*&$?% leak of air !


    My car's VIN is below the 5000, so maybe it's an early production problem, I don't know. The SC center is trying to help, they're doing their best but they seem to be restricted by certain fixes that Tesla allows to be done on vehicles. I went several times for that problem but it's not fixed yet. I'm going again this week.

    Do any of you have/had the same problem ? If yes, what did you or Tesla do about it ?


    Don't misunderstand me, I love my Model S, I've had it for 8 month and would not imagine driving another car. ICE's are a thing of the past for me. I've converted several friends and strangers and will continue to do so ... but it's just frustrating to drive a 100k+ car that leaks air when any entry level car doesn't !

    Thanks for your help folks



    Update:

    Dropped my beloved Model S at the SC in Montreal today. They were (like usual) very professional and re-assuring. They confirmed it wasn't anything "normal" and that they would do whatever it takes to fix the problem ... even if it meant changing the 4 doors.

    On my way back - I got a Dodge Charger for a loaner from the SC - I did the same test that I did with the Model S. Once the cabin is fully heated, turn the heat off and mesure how long it takes for the cabin to become unpleasantly cold. I drove for 45 min with ventilation/heat OFF and was totally comfortable inside. With my Model S after 5 minutes I was freezing.
     
  2. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I've noticed with HVAC on (set via mobile app) that I can feel quite a stream of air coming out around the handles when I go out to the car. I suppose it could work the other way too...
     
  3. golojap

    golojap VIN PO4837

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    Thanks for sharing, I'm not alone ... yééh.

    I never tested the air leak problem in the summer (and would probably not have noticed it since the air escapes from the car instead of coming in), but it certainly is a big waste of energy too.

    I'll keep you guys posted on what the SC/Tesla will do/recommend.
     
  4. ACDriveMotor

    ACDriveMotor Member

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    I had recently just noticed the same. I was pre-warming the cabin early in the morning and as I went to open the door felt air coming out from the door handles. Not a big deal I guess in a more moderate climate like Seattle or CA.
     
  5. ken830

    ken830 Model S (Res#P12,447)

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    Not sure why this topic keeps coming up. This must be the third or fourth thread about door handles and air. Cars aren't air-tight (and shouln't be). Air will travel through any gaps available, and a door handle is the largest opening on the door panels.
     
  6. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Yes. In fact if you think about it, if air is drawn into the cabin with the windows up, it has to go out somewhere. But the OP's original concern was that cold winter air seemed to be coming into the car from this area. I was simply using the door-handle example to confirm that this area does seem to connect the exterior and interior of the car from an air ingress/egress perspective.
     
  7. tomanik

    tomanik Member

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    Had a similar issue with a breeze and wind noise coming from the little triangle window. Had a range visit to install the newer front window vent and at the same time he took care of a service bulletin related to A-Pillar Wind Noise. The fix involved installing some foam tape, happy with the results, reduced A pillar noise and no more draft.
     
  8. golojap

    golojap VIN PO4837

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    The SC did the same fixes to my car during the last month (front vent and a-pillar wind noise), but unfortunately it did not help the cold wind from flowing inside. Based on my observations, the cold air flow seems to come from all 4 doors ... so I'm not sure what's wrong with my car. I'm glad your car got fixed though.
     
  9. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Last March when it was still real cold, I had cold air in the vicinity of the little triangle window too. I would also get a trickle of water in the car from that area at the car wash, and assumed that's where the cold air was coming from. The SC fixed it up for me and I have no wind noise or water trickle any longer. I will keep an eye out to see if I'm still getting cold air at that spot in the car, but so far have not noticed anything.
     
  10. golojap

    golojap VIN PO4837

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    I had exactly the same problem, wind noise and occasional water trickle when doing a car wash, and the "a-pillar wind noise" fix seems to have resolved that problem. I hope you won't get the cold air infiltration like I have... keep us posted.

    On my end I'll keep you guys posted on what the SC does to my car.

    Cheers
     
  11. cinergi

    cinergi Active Member

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    What you're describing does not sound normal based on my experience with my car. The car is well-insulated and not drafty at all. I usually don't need the heat unless it's below 45F / 7C outside. During the -10C to -18C weather here, I never felt like there was a draft.
     
  12. golojap

    golojap VIN PO4837

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    Thanks for sharing your experience cinergi. I must say it reassures me to know this is not a "general" problem on the MS.

    And based on what you're saying, my car definitely has a problem. I really feel the cold wind from the outside as if it the AC was blowing full pin.
    I noticed it a little bit during the summer, but it did not bother me at that time. Now that the very cold winter of Quebec is coming, it's a big problem. Because even with the heat at 20c, I HAVE TO wear a scarf and coat inside the car if the temperature is near 0c.

    Like I said, I'll keep you guys posted on what the SC says/does.
     
  13. NoMoGas

    NoMoGas Member

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    #13 NoMoGas, Nov 10, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
    While I appreciate your frustration, this is an annoying constant with complaints. Paying 100K for a car doesn't leave it immune to developing issues, in fact there is a point where 500k cars can become useless. Maybe I'm grouchy but I'm a bit tired of this dopey comparison.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Keep in mind the ICE car has an engine that gets hot and radiates inside, a heater core that brings hot water inside the vehicle and an exhaust that gets quite hot that radiates upwards.

    Keep us informed as to the solution... id think spray foam insulation would do wonders.
     
  14. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I've been keeping an eye out and even with a very cold, windy day here today, I noticed no cold air infiltration or drafts inside the car. I wonder if some seals got missed inside one or more door panels?
     
  15. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    There is supposed to be a reasonable level of sealing - not hermetic or anything - to ensure that the air bags go off during a side impact. They are triggered by the pressure pulse inside the door when it is crushed.

    Personally I really doubt any such air infiltration is due to the door handle. More likely the little triangular window isn't sealing properly. There is a service bulletin for that.
     
  16. golojap

    golojap VIN PO4837

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    NoMoGas

    Please remember that I'm in love with my Model S. I've been following Tesla since it's early stages and ordered my MS over a year ago when very little people believed in them. If there was a "first fan" kindda thing, that would be me. I understand that you are annoyed by this constant complaint "100k car", because that's how I feel too when I read other's complaints ... it's just that this time, I personally have the problem, and it's not cool. (hhhmm ... cool ... maybe not the best word)

    I also know exactly what the differences are between an ICE car that wastes energy like hell by releasing heat, believe me ... big fan of EVs here. I also know the test I did does not mean much. I would have preferred comparing my MS with somebody else's, but that unfortunately was not possible. In any way, the ICE loaner felt much better "air sealed", and that in my mind is not right.

    Insulation foam was actually my first idea/question for the SC (I think I wrote that earlier). But the SC said they could not "just shoot foam like that", that they had to follow the corporate guidelines before repairing anything.


    Doug_G

    The SC already applied the bulletin for the little triangular window. It did not fix the problem. And the thing is, all my 4 doors leak air ! Not just the driver side. The driver side is where it's the worse, but I can feel cold air drafts at all 4 doors.


    Anyway, the good news is, the SC seems completely is on top of it. I should get a status update today, even though the fix may take a few more days.

    Thanks all for your feedback.
     
  17. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    That really is odd. I've been keeping an eye out, running my hand around surfaces and can honestly say my car seems draft free. I also had the triangle window fix done, and that did help a very minor draft and car wash water leak that I had in that area. Still seems to me some piece of trim or sealing inside the doors must have got missed, but what do I know? Glad the SC is on top of it for you.
     
  18. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    So I took a long drive yesterday out to a rental property I own. As I was driving along, I noticed my feet getting cold even though the cabin was nice and warm and the heat was blowing to the floor. A little later, I touched the door panel with my bare arm and it was freezing cold. I ran my hand around and could definitely feel drafts where there are panel gaps. I had never noticed this before.

    I noticed that the HVAC fan, on Auto, was running at 2 or 3. I bumped it up to about 7 and the draft stopped I assume because I had more internal air pressure as a result.

    I did have a fairly strong side wind against the driver's side of the car and wonder if the infiltration is through the door handle gaps.
     
  19. William13

    William13 Member

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    I believe this draft is a "feature" on the Model S to help de-ice the door handles using the remote app.
     
  20. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    It also helps keep the driver awake :)
     

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