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Fix your door that won't open

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by scottm, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    #1 scottm, Jun 24, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
    Very common problem happens, when you pull a door handle on the outside to get it and the door won't open. It's a broken wire at a microswitch in the door handle mechanism.

    Symptoms are the handle presents normally, when it should.. but pulling it does nothing. And using the interior handle to pull and open the door works.

    With cars coming off warranty, and ranger calls charging by the mile, maybe you want to tackle this one yourself... for pennies or nothing... but for your time.

    I made a video on the problem and how to repair it.
     
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  2. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    The microswitches used for this application are Panasonic ASQ series. Can be found at common electronics supply parts places, like Digikey. They're about $5 each.

    They make some pre-wired and exact matches for the ones found in Tesla door... or you can order them with lugs and solder your own wires. You'd only need to do this if you damaged a switch while working with it for some reason.
     
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  3. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    There are a few tips I don't mention in the video.. and will add here as I think of them.

    Like:

    ensure the door you're working on has it's window rolled fully up. But at the same time, you should roll down a front window of the door you are NOT working on.. so you can reach in to the center console to operate things without having to enter/exit the car using doors

    when working on the car, you want to prevent the handles from extending and retracting as you're trying to get the mechanism out of the door. You want them retracted. You do this by pressing the LOCK button on the center console. You can do a lock even when the door you're working on is swung open... it will retract the handle.. handy!

    keep your key off your body, so as you're walking around, doors don't retract/extend when you don't want that to happen. Just toss the key in the cup holder and leave it there for the job
     
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  4. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    #4 scottm, Jun 25, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
    Here's what the microswitches looks like up close.

    You can re-solder the wires by pulling apart as shown.

    IMG_5423.JPG IMG_5426.JPG IMG_5427.JPG

    That black plastic cap over the terminals is toast when a wire breaks... as it was moulded in place. Cut it off and throw it away.

    If you re-solder the wires onto terminals, figure out a way to insulate and provide the stress relief that the black cap once provided. I'd recommend some crafty hot gluing using a hot glue gun. ... and bend the wires over to exit to same side they once were (before the glue hardens), or exit in a direction more to your liking if you're choosing a different way to route the problematic wires! To lessen the chances of them breaking again.
     
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  5. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    #5 scottm, Jun 25, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
    One of the switches has a "simulated roller" (metal lever on it)... the switch with the longer length of wire.. the other switch doesn't use a level. Just direct pressure on the plunger.

    You could detach and move the lever over to a new switch if you ordered a replacement without. Just pulls straight off the switch. Has a couple "barbs" on the sides to hold it from wiggling out on its own.

    Notice the direction of wires / orientation of switch plunger w.r.t. to the "exit path" of wires is different on each switch. One is a lefty the other is a righty.

    Both switches use only the Normally Open contacts for this application. It doesn't matter which wire is which going to the 2 terminals you care about on the switch. You could reverse black and white and it would still work fine. IMG_5434.JPG IMG_5439.JPG

    Also shown is connector pin-out.
     
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  6. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    If Tesla were to do this design (right) again, the switch would be mounted on the fixed (non-moving) part of the assembly (plunger facing up), and there would be a tab on the arm that comes down to press the lever. No flexing of wires.

    I know they re-designed this part, maybe more than once. You can see unused vestigial / potential mounting spots were considered for this switch.. On the metal arm. And on the plastic ... wherever there's a couple holes or dimples that look like it would accommodate a microswitch. So we know they've played a bit.

    Notice this one switch has an adjustable striking plate for the plunger. The other microswitch of the pair does not. I did not play with the adjustment height when replacing a switch.

    IMG_5414.JPG
     
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  7. 2krazykats

    2krazykats Member

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    Helpful... I'll have to file this away for "someday". ;)
     
  8. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    Excellent post. It has very much been my intention to fix this problem myself should it happen when out of warranty. I knew it would be very doable and probably very cheap to do, much better than taking it in for an expensive service center visit. Nice to see you have already looked into this, and even nicer that you posted so much content on it. Very well done, and thank you.
     
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  9. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    I feel like this thread should kickoff a new forum category for DIY Tesla repairs.
     
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  10. TaoJones

    TaoJones Beyond Driven

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    This is gold and @ $1,000 per instance otherwise. Much appreciated.

    I second the motion for a DIY subforum without delay. Next month marks the start of year 5 of production. No time like the present for any and all DIY tips to help reduce out of warranty expense as applicable and as within the level of individual risk tolerance and ability.
     
  11. Fusion

    Fusion Member

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    Subscribed and hopefully I won't need to look back here. Thanks for the info.
     
  12. Veggen

    Veggen Member

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    Thank you!
    I have got this issue now on my right front door so may attempt this fix.
    My car is still within warranty, but there is a 4 month waiting time for service here in Norway now.

    Must say I am not impressed with that design, this will break sooner or later.
    Seems rushed, which I guess is the Tesla way...
     
  13. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    #13 scottm, Jun 28, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
    More tips:

    Rear door handle extraction is more difficult than the front, because it's a tighter squeeze to get it out.

    But here are invaluable tips on getting it out as efficiently as possible (least amount of teardown). First the door card comes off, follow videos on youtube or other sites cover how to do that.

    Window fully raised, for this job.

    Layer some TAPE over the chrome exterior handle, couple layers of masking tape. Trim the tape to follow the shape of chrome. This will prevent possible scratching of chrome as you wiggle and extract the handle through the inside of the door.

    Press the "lock" button on the console to retract all handles, then through the inside of the door opening, reach in and unplug the connector to the mechanism so it remains inactive (car won't accidentally present the handle while you're pulling it out).

    These next steps sound strange... but you need to do them to get some clearance in the door to wiggle the handle out.

    Remove the exterior door trim chrome strip running along the window glass. You do not need to pull off any rubber seals from the sides or edges of the door. The chrome trim pulls straight up. Start at the trailing edge of the door and get a grip on it. Just use your hands and fingers, no tools. IF you yank up mightily you will kink and likely ruin the trim piece as it will bend in the middle before freeing from the rest of the door. Instead, pull up a bit at a time, traveling in multiple passes along the window width, inching your fingers along pulling up more each pass, repeat, until it's freed. It's on their firm, so you be firm. (When you're reassembling, you press it on, go in reverse fashion aligning trim with surrounding chrome trim starting at the leading/hinged edge of the door.)

    Now, inside the door... Undo the top bolt holding the vertically oriented window guide rail as seen in the large hole you'll be extracting the mechanism from on the inside. I think you have to remove the sticky cover over an access hole to get at this bolt. When the bolt is off, it allows the guide rail to slop about at the top, as it remains fixed at the bottom side..

    It's the combination of chrome trim removal and sloppy window guide that allows enough clearance to be made for handle extraction through that hole opening in the rear door.

    The handle mechanism is held by 4 bolts all of the same size, you'll have to go by feel to get at the uppermost rearmost bolt. A quarter inch socket driver with 10mm socket works all around. A ratcheting 10mm end box wrench also handy for this job.

    It's hard to explain, but once the mechanism is freed inside the door, allow it to drop and rotate (in the direction a wheel would turn on that side of the car) about a quarter turn, bring the thing forward of the hole and then extract it backward out through the hole. You might have to push the window out of the way as you do this. It's tight, like 1 mm to spare but can be done. Be careful of the chrome even though it has been taped, some sharp edges in there can gouge through a couple layers of tape easily.

    If you drop a nut into the door, have a magnetic retrieval tool on hand. I used mine about 3 times per door. It finds the metal nut easily in the bottom crotch of an all aluminum door.
     
  14. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    Did you know? If your Tesla did not come with LEDs shining out from under the exterior pull handles... add your own. There's probably an unused connector on the mechanism that has a yellow and black wire. The video mentions it. Get creative. Maybe you want something other than white LEDs... blue LEDs might look sharp on a new-blue car.
     
  15. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    Welcome.

    My car is in warranty too. But some things aren't worth the wait, especially if you have the skills.

    I lost 2 doors in the same week in extreme cold conditions in Canada on a winter trip -30C
    These wires get too brittle in those temps.

    "Not a problem in California", I know. But Norway, perhaps yes.

    For us, it makes sense to replace microswitch wires with ultra flexible low temperature rated wire..... because of the "backwards" design of Tesla for this component.
     
  16. Veggen

    Veggen Member

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    Mine also failed in the middle of winter, you are probably onto something.
    Are newer revisions of the wires more flexible?
     
  17. Footbag

    Footbag Member

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    Scott, can you please clarify something. If I understand you correctly, your steps will fix the issue of when the handle presents, but will not open the door. What about the situation where the handle will not present? Maybe I missed it, but I don't think you mentioned that, and thus I am wondering if that is the same issue, or perhaps that is a different issue, that isn't solved by the steps above?
     
  18. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    This thread is about Handles presenting but not reacting to pull. I suspect the issue of handles not presenting is related to that third microswitch that we don't touch in this thread.

    The third microswitch is the one the senses the handle pusher position. That switch also has a metal lever on it. When the handle is retracted the switch plunger is pushed in and kept there. I think it's a Normally Open configuration switch as well. So the module will know to stop motor retraction when the switch is hit causing switch contact closure.

    Which means if the lever has fallen off, or switch misaligned, or broken wire on this one.. the switch fails open, so the module might think the handle is already extended, and not even try.

    It could also be that big center adjust screw for handle depth, which has what seems to be a hall effect sensor wrapped around it. Logically, it could provide the same function as what I just described for the microswitch. Seems redundant.

    So check that connector going to the module, may be loose. Causing fail open, same fault.
     
  19. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    #19 scottm, Jun 29, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
    One of the improvements I'd suggest to Tesla for redesign, is... use the Normally Closed contact pair in these switches and invert the logic in the controller. The module can then run diags each and every time prior to the handles being used - and could detect a broken wire, because it would fail into open loop.

    The other thing is, with the number of switches / sensors in these handles, even wired just the way they are today... there's enough redundancy to make it possible for software to survive a single sensor fault, compensate, and still give normal operation. No kidding! I've got an algorithm and would be happy to explain, but not in-forum that's too much detail and too specific.

    It's probably possible for Tesla to distribute new software OTA to update firmware in the door handle modules. If so, a software update could be dispatched to improve the handle reliability of existing cars, even if they have a broken wire... it could "bring it back to life".

    With this though, Tesla could then do telemetry back to the mothership and pro-actively learn of an impending failure and have a part scheduled for replacement before the driver is actually stuck with not having a working handle.

    The more important thing tho, would be to design-out the likelihood of failures happening in the first place. There's ways to do that too!

    If this was all put together, these handles could be bullet proof reliable instead of flaky. And we're not talking about adding any additional parts to the mix, so cost would be kept in line.
     
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  20. GreyP85

    GreyP85 New Member

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    Great write up! I have this issue and I am attempting the repair. Trying to remove the last bolt holding the handle assembly (right upper bolt on the passenger front) and it seems to be covered by the window. Do I have to remove the window to get the final bolt out on the passenger front? or is there a trick?
     

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