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Drive Unit failure symptoms and thresholds for replacement

Discussion in 'Model S' started by supratachophobia, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    As of April, 2015, what are the current official drive unit failure symptoms that one would experience prior to a drive unit failure? And what are the detection methods Tesla currently uses to define drive unit failure or predict drive unit failure?

    I'm asking for updated clarification since in the past we've heard that possible symptoms are "clunks", " whines ", and "humming/buzzing". I would think that Tesla now has certain metrics to measure against rather than relying on owner feedback that may be falsy induced or inaccurately observed.

    Thanks ahead of time.
     
  2. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    They have some means of measuring the motor noise/squeal/whine and if it exceeds a certain threshold they swap it out. I had a mild whine (mild to me, but clearly audible, even with the stereo on on any acceleration) and it exceeded the threshold and they replaced my drive unit. There were never any drivability issues. I believe those that get to the 'clunk' stage are much worse.
     
  3. Blaze

    Blaze Member

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    My car is in for the first time mainly to get the shield installed and I mentioned hearing a noise on acceleration. I just received a call from my Service Advisor and Tesla will be changing the drivetrain. The car is 13 months/ 35,000 miles old. (Still the best car ever).
     
  4. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    Now THAT is service!

    I am beginning to notice the sound of my motor more now than when new. I only have 9,500 mi on her. I seem to recall almost complete silence when I would hammer her. Now I can clearly here the motor. Not annoying at all and quite discreet. I can only hear it if the music is off. I don't know if it is me just getting accustomed to it or not. I do now notice just how loud my other car is. And annoying.

     
  5. JPP

    JPP Active Member

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    Not sure what the 'official' symptoms are, but when I was in for my 24k service a couple of months ago, I had my drive unit replaced for a low level intermittent clunk from the rear. No milling noise, no buzzing, no warning messages, no actual failure. FWIW, the service tech is required to try the TSB shim fix first, and, if the sounds do not go away, then they are authorized to replace the drive unit. There also is a retrofit new motor mount bracket that gets replaced at the same time.
     
  6. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    Really appreciate the updated information. Both the mileage and the symptoms mentioned here sound all too familiar, but I wanted more info before jumping to conclusions or involving the SC.
     
  7. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Member

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    Have we ever learned what exactly the reason for the "clunk" was, and has it been permanently fixed in the newer cars?
     
  8. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    Based on this thread, im going to say the chances are slim they have found a permanent fix....
     
  9. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    #9 AmpedRealtor, Apr 18, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
    This is why I will never, ever, buy a Tesla product unless it's been market-tested for at least 2 years.

    Tesla has a really bad habit of using its owners as beta testers and offloading QC that should have been done by Tesla onto its customers. The reason Tesla service is so superior is because Tesla knew, very early on, that it will have to mitigate poor initial quality by offering a great service experience. And here we are in 2015 and owners are still experiencing drive unit problems. The three drive units that have been replaced in my car hardly inspire confidence to purchase a 2nd Tesla vehicle down the road.

    Sure, I love the car, but the initial quality that would be expected from a $100,000 car purchase just wasn't there. My Volkswagen Jetta, Acura Integra, Toyota Highlander, and Toyota Prius all had far better initial quality and none of them required any warranty repairs - none. I spent a total of less than $500 on out-of-warranty issues on all of these vehicles combined. Tesla has a very, very long way to go and I am quite concerned about what my costs will look like once the Tesla warranty expires.
     
  10. fiksegts

    fiksegts Active Member

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    I'll take any Tesla any day over those cars, no matter what.... :)

    Tesla replaced the drive unit in my P85, they drop a loaner off at my house before I left for work, replaced the drive unit, and dropped the car back off at my house the same day.... no inconvenience to me at all...


     
  11. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    I prefer my Tesla as well, but that doesn't mitigate the fact that it had very poor initial quality.
     
  12. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    I still think there is an inconvenience in dealing with the problems in the first place. Then there is the troubleshooting on your part, the communication on your part to relay the issue to service, verifying the problem really is resolved, etc.

    I've already said that Tesla has a habit of squandering the time and goodwill of its owner base. Then gambleing an amazing service experience will cancel it out. Well it mitigates it, but it doesnt solve the underlying problem. And it shouldn't take 7 months to get a car to the point where it should have been when it left the factory.

    This thread wasn't meant to be a rant or a slant on Tesla, but ampedRealtor seams to have really touched on an issue I have been skirting for a while. I try to keep my SC details private, but let's call my service history "lengthy".

    This is another reason I'm extremely critical when I see articles touting the car as the best at anything. These reviewers have maybe a 24hr window to test and take notes. This is literally the blink of an eye in the tapestry of ownership. I will admit there are outliers here and out there that seem to have less issues. Id be super interested to see if lower mileage and/or more temperate climates contribute to statistical differences.

    Don't get me wrong though, I'm still in this. And I suspect part of the reason i am is because when you don't have problems, the car and the experience are untouchable. Unfortunately, it looks like I have something else to add to the list.

    .
     
  13. sorka

    sorka Active Member

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    I'll take a defect problem free car over great service any day. Good to have both, but if I had to choose.....


    I'm hearing an occasional clunk out of the rear when going real slow. I think it's while changing directions. It's happened five or six times in the last 1300 miles. I wasn't concerned until I read this thread.
     
  14. flybob08

    flybob08 Member

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    I too appreciate a service free car and my Tesla has been pretty close - but when you buy a company's first production model in its first real world year - you have to anticipate being a bit of an explorer - this is a 100% new car; not just an adaptation of some prior model. I'd say they did pretty darn well!!

    I'll take my Tesla, even with its few quirks (FWIW it has had less service than my BMW at comparable mileage).
     
  15. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    I totally get that argument and as a normally early adopter on many technologies (doesn't mean I don't research), I would give lots of things passes for Tesla. But the reality is that this is the third production year and we are seeing similar issues across all manner of VIN numbers. I would argue the third year should not have the same problems as the first year in such a rapidly moving paced field as Tesla is in. I'm all for different problems. ☺

    But seriously, at this point tell me, is the technology flawed or is it their application of that technology?
     
  16. Atebit

    Atebit Member

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    Will the "exemplary service experience" that Tesla is able to deliver at the ~65K fleet size continue to scale at 100K? 150K? At what point will they decide that it's costing them too much, causing the experience to change, and not for the better?

    One way for Tesla to continue to deliver this level of service experience as the fleet grows is to shake out the bugs earlier, (that is, before they end up in the owner's lap), therby reducing the number of cars reporting to a SvC for "known" issues, letting them concentrate on break/fix vs as-designed issues.

    A major tenent of agile is the concept of releasing things that are "good enough" and waiting for feedback on things in that release that are broken.

    ...Sound familiar?
     
  17. cwerdna

    cwerdna Active Member

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    I don't think the technology (electric motors) is flawed. Drivetrain replacement for any reason (noise, failure, etc.) is almost unheard of on the Leaf, from my long time being on MNL, despite there being several times more Leafs in the world than Model S.

    (Gen 2) Rav4 EV (aka poor man's Tesla) also has similar drive unit noise problems and many people have gotten theirs replaced, despite a much lower max output rating on the Rav4 EV. It's still an ongoing problem w/that vehicle, not surprisingly.
     
  18. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    #18 mkjayakumar, Apr 18, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
    I have no idea how Nissan dealership service is. Why? Because my two Leafs over 55k miles have not seen a service center (except for the mandatory 12 month battery check).

    Not once. It just drives.
     
  19. SmartElectric

    SmartElectric Active Member

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    Same for my Smart ED. Never seen the dealer in 1.5 years. I absolutely thrash on my little EV, and no issues so far.
    I do wonder if there is something to the size/scope of moving a massive car like the Model S at the rate of speed it's capable of...
    My car is 1/3 of the mass, and 1/6 of the motor power...
     
  20. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    Like I said, the only way one can cope with this is the exemplary customer service. If the service center wasn't so close and so willing to deal with every single issue in a timely manner, I'd be in a very bad mood most of the time and the subject of Tesla would be a sour subject indeed.

    I won't go as far as to say we deserve such great service, because what they do often goes above and beyond the minimum of what they need to do. However, I have come to expect great service as the norm. If I take the car in, I will get as best a service experience as one can hope given the fact a six figure purchase has issues, again.

    Now fleet size terrifies me and always has even before purchase. But everyone whom I asked regarding the issue had an interesting response. The service level for model S will stay the same no matter what. It's like some corporate 10 commandments from on-high.

    Back to the topic, were there ever any issues with drive-train and the roadster?
     

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