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Door handle failure (lights up, won't open from outside)

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by FrozenCanuck, Jul 17, 2015.

  1. FrozenCanuck

    FrozenCanuck Member

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    Hey gang,

    I searched for quite a while on this topic and couldn't find a match to my problem so I'm wondering if this is common or totally uncommon.

    About 4 days ago we noticed the front passenger door can't be opened from the outside. The handle presents itself, and the light DOES come on, but no luck when tugging on the handle. I have to open it from the inside, and Tesla (Toronto) gave me over a 3 week wait time to fix this! Irritating. But not major.

    I tried rebooting the computers, turning off/on autopresent and autolock on walk away. I tried pulling and re-inserting fuse #32 (left side doors), and no success. I was pretty sure the fuse would do nothing since I have lights, where other people who've successfully used this fix had no lights working in the door handle.

    Thoughts? I'm a bit disappointed that Toronto didn't just volunteer to send a ranger to fix this.
     
  2. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    More common than Tesla would like.

    A wire on the microswitch that detects a door pull has fatigue fractured from all the in and out cycles of handle presenting.
     
  3. FrozenCanuck

    FrozenCanuck Member

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    That would explain it. Yeah, probably at about a thousand cycles for the doors at this point (1 year), and if the joint is flexing too much with each handle presentation I can see how that would happen. Long ago my 2nd job as an engineer (Nortel Networks, way back) was as an interconnect engineer. I quickly learned that most problems are interconnect related. Connectors rusted, worn, joints broken, etc. Almost every problem (not all, but most) was related to some electrical connection being faulty.
     
  4. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    They used to. I think they've just sold too many cars for this type of service to be practical any more.
     
  5. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    Here's a link to a write up I did on the issue.

    door handle retraction mechanism

    You can see some stress relief is needed, badly. It's amazing they don't have 100% failure of this vintage handle.
    The one they put back in to replace it did not have relief either, but the wires were more carefully routed so the motions are averaged out over a longer segment of the wire. My guess is just delaying the inevitable. This is a case where a little dab of glue would go a long way toward ending this issue.

    I guess the "good" news in all this is it would be a DIY fix if off warranty.

    Fwiw I still have Nortel stock.
     
  6. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    You made it a year, I didn't even make it a month before my door handle failed under the same circumstances.

    Mine opened from the inside though, so to get my kids in the car, I'd open the drivers door (which worked), reach in and open the rear door...
     
  7. FrozenCanuck

    FrozenCanuck Member

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    Great root cause analysis! Nice photos. I would love to see that whole assembly up close to analyze it better. Perhaps it could be significantly cost-reduced and redesigned with improved reliability.
     
  8. woof

    woof Model S #P683 Blue 85 kWh

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    My condolences.
     
  9. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    I had this happen one of the times. High chance it will require a new handle if the rear isn't affected. However, try pulling the fuse just in case. I think it's in the forties.
     
  10. FrozenCanuck

    FrozenCanuck Member

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    It's fuse 32, supra. I did pull it. No luck. Major annoying to drive around with no outside access to this door. Can't wait to get the thing fixed.
     

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