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Leaking 3-way valve

dmwahl

Member
Mar 12, 2021
27
22
Verona, WI
I just purchased a used 2015 85D and after driving with the heat on, found a small puddle of coolant under the front of the car on the passenger side. It only appears when I run the heater (which is why I suspect the previous owner never noticed it as he was in a warmer part of the country). After pulling the frunk, it was obvious which part was leaking based on the puddle of coolant underneath it. Coolant level was just barely below the normal line, so it clearly has not been leaking a lot or for long. When I drive around without using the heat there's never any coolant on the ground.

20210402_184031.jpg


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20210402_184102.jpg


I've looked all over and found only a few references to the 3-way valve in forums (pn 6007384-00-*), although lots of references to the 4-way valve which is on the other side of the "engine" bay.

My question is has anyone done this replacement themselves and have wisdom to share? It looks pretty straight forward to remove/replace but you never know. I have a set of hose clamps already to prevent too much from leaking out, other than that any special procedures? I've done just about everything on my previous ICE cars, but never worked on a Tesla before.
 

dmwahl

Member
Mar 12, 2021
27
22
Verona, WI
Try this Thread
I have an appointment to get my 4-way valve replaced on the 21st and the estimate is $183. It includes a coolant purge and flush. To me that's well worth the cost!
I did see that one, the 4-way valve seems to be a much more common failure. That said, my question was about doing the 3-way valve myself, not having tesla do it for me. Since few seem to have done it themselves and even fewer have posted about it I plan on doing it and taking photos along the way to help the next person who wants to do it themselves.

Tesla is ridiculously deficient in the realm of letting people work on their own cars, largely due to how long and inefficient the process to get spare parts is. I had to submit a service request and tell them that I want to swap the part myself, then it takes them 2 weeks to get the part, then they send a service tech out to hand me the part. Contrasted with every other manufacturer where I can go online, to autozone, rockauto, etc and have the parts more or less immediately this is asinine.

I appreciate the response though, the rant was not directed at you :)
 

Greg63

Member
Jan 10, 2021
36
34
NC
I understand but my point was that at that price it isn't worth it for me to do it myself. I could easily fix it myself but materials are going to cost me at least half that amount and my time is worth more than that. OK I still have to bring my car in and wait for it but that's easier. I'm also past the age of wanting to do it myself unless it's going to save me a chunk of cash.
 
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dark cloud

Active Member
Apr 14, 2018
1,990
2,244
BC
I did see that one, the 4-way valve seems to be a much more common failure. That said, my question was about doing the 3-way valve myself, not having tesla do it for me. Since few seem to have done it themselves and even fewer have posted about it I plan on doing it and taking photos along the way to help the next person who wants to do it themselves.

Tesla is ridiculously deficient in the realm of letting people work on their own cars, largely due to how long and inefficient the process to get spare parts is. I had to submit a service request and tell them that I want to swap the part myself, then it takes them 2 weeks to get the part, then they send a service tech out to hand me the part. Contrasted with every other manufacturer where I can go online, to autozone, rockauto, etc and have the parts more or less immediately this is asinine.

I appreciate the response though, the rant was not directed at you :)
I have not done either of these coolant valves yet, but I don't foresee any cavitation issues; just block off the hoses and replace the valve and reconnect.

I would just suggest if you are doing one valve, you might as well do the others at the same time as well? I might do both (or is there 3...) proactively next year when I change the coolant which will be 8 years old next year. Tesla initially stated to change it at 4 years, then 8 years, then not ever. I will anyway.

I haven't researched if I can do that myself or if the car needs a special "toolbox coolant flush" mode. But if they want less than $250 for the valves and coolant flush it would be hard for me to justify going through the effort.
 

dmwahl

Member
Mar 12, 2021
27
22
Verona, WI
I have not done either of these coolant valves yet, but I don't foresee any cavitation issues; just block off the hoses and replace the valve and reconnect.

I would just suggest if you are doing one valve, you might as well do the others at the same time as well?
That's not a bad idea, hadn't thought of it but I'll see if they can add the 4-way valve on to my order. Otherwise it's guaranteed to leak a week after I finish :). I would expect the coolant flush mode is just cycling all the valves and pumps make sure there are no air pockets hiding anywhere. I was planning on just hooking it up for a charge and turning the heat on/off a few times after I'm done to get things moving around, then top it off.
 

tekknoschtev

Member
Apr 27, 2020
7
1
Michigan
Just had my 3-way valve replaced. I couldn't diagnose it as clearly as your photos which was part of my reasoning for sending it in. Cost more for the tow than it did for the repair. $256ish and a few days of waiting and it was back in business. Mine started leaking rather quickly and suddenly so I didn't feel confident in driving it in.

Knowing what I know now, if/when the 4-way valve goes bust I'll give it a go myself if for no reason other than to avoid a 70 mile tow and a 140 mile round trip visit (and bribing my wife to drive me there) to get the car back.
 

dmwahl

Member
Mar 12, 2021
27
22
Verona, WI
Got my invoice from Tesla... 3-way valve $55, 4-way valve $75, S&H $15. All in with taxes ~$155 for both. Plus a jug of the G48 coolant from O'Reilly for $21. The leak seems to have stopped for now despite using the heat relatively frequently, but I will still replace both valves once the parts arrive.
 
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dmwahl

Member
Mar 12, 2021
27
22
Verona, WI
Finished the job this weekend, the 4-way valve was a piece of cake. Just clamped the coolant lines, removed them (top and sides first, then the bottom), and 2 screws to get the valve out. The 3-way valve was a little harder but not bad. Mostly just one of the 2 screws was as easy to get at. I found the easiest way to do it was to attach a wobble extension and long straight extension to my T27 (or T30, I forget) torx bit, snake my left hand down to the left of the frame rail (blue arrow), and loosen the screw from the right side of the frame rail. All in took my about 45 minutes, and most of that was getting the frunk out, cleaning out all the crud that accumulates in there and the leaked coolant. Maybe 10 minutes to actually get the valve itself in and out.

After that I cleaned up the coolant that spilled, topped off the coolant tank, reconnected the 12V battery, and the pumps ran for a while to get the air out. Topped it off again and have been leak free.


20210402_184031 - Copy.jpg
 

Scarface

Member
Apr 26, 2021
8
0
Grimsby
D
Finished the job this weekend, the 4-way valve was a piece of cake. Just clamped the coolant lines, removed them (top and sides first, then the bottom), and 2 screws to get the valve out. The 3-way valve was a little harder but not bad. Mostly just one of the 2 screws was as easy to get at. I found the easiest way to do it was to attach a wobble extension and long straight extension to my T27 (or T30, I forget) torx bit, snake my left hand down to the left of the frame rail (blue arrow), and loosen the screw from the right side of the frame rail. All in took my about 45 minutes, and most of that was getting the frunk out, cleaning out all the crud that accumulates in there and the leaked coolant. Maybe 10 minutes to actually get the valve itself in and out.

After that I cleaned up the coolant that spilled, topped off the coolant tank, reconnected the 12V battery, and the pumps ran for a while to get the air out. Topped it off again and have been leak free.


View attachment 656875
Do you really need to disconnect the 12v battery? On my 16 RWD 70 the battery is very difficult to access under the bulk head! Obviously later models are a lot easier. Asking for advice and guidance.
 

dmwahl

Member
Mar 12, 2021
27
22
Verona, WI
Do you really need to disconnect the 12v battery? On my 16 RWD 70 the battery is very difficult to access under the bulk head! Obviously later models are a lot easier. Asking for advice and guidance.
You probably don't need to disconnect the 12V but I would suggest doing so. I didn't disconnect the HV battery, just the 12V and then waited 15 minutes or so until I heard the contactors click off. My concern with leaving the 12V connected wasn't safety, it was the fact that I know sometimes the pump turns on for a while even when the car is sitting idle. My guess is this is to keep the HV pack temperatures equalized. If it's been sitting long enough you might be able to get away with it, but having the pump turn on while you have the hoses disconnected could make one big mess.

This is what I did:
  1. Roll down the driver side window fully
  2. Remove the frunk
  3. Disconnect the 12V negative terminal
  4. Wait ~15 minutes until I heard the HV contactors shut off. Alternately disconnect the HV pack with the connector by the cabin air filter and wait a few minutes (Tesla's official process).
  5. Opened the driver door to confirm that power was off (the HV pack will continue to feed the DC-DC converter even with the 12V disconnected)
  6. Clamp the coolant lines to/from the 3-way valve
  7. Remove/replace the valve
  8. Top off the coolant to the max level
  9. Clean up all the spilled coolant and grime. I used simple green in a spray bottle to loosen the gunk, dumped water over everything, and dried it off with my (electric of course) leaf blower.
  10. Reconnect the 12V negative (the pumps will run automatically for a few minutes after the 12V is reconnected)
  11. While the pumps are running keep an eye on the coolant level and top off as needed.
  12. Top off coolant again to max and put everything back together. I had to pull the frunk the next day to replace one of my cooling louvers and noticed the level had dropped from max to about halfway between max and normal after ~30 miles of driving.
 

Scarface

Member
Apr 26, 2021
8
0
Grimsby
Finished the job this weekend, the 4-way valve was a piece of cake. Just clamped the coolant lines, removed them (top and sides first, then the bottom), and 2 screws to get the valve out. The 3-way valve was a little harder but not bad. Mostly just one of the 2 screws was as easy to get at. I found the easiest way to do it was to attach a wobble extension and long straight extension to my T27 (or T30, I forget) torx bit, snake my left hand down to the left of the frame rail (blue arrow), and loosen the screw from the right side of the frame rail. All in took my about 45 minutes, and most of that was getting the frunk out, cleaning out all the crud that accumulates in there and the leaked coolant. Maybe 10 minutes to actually get the valve itself in and out.

After that I cleaned up the coolant that spilled, topped off the coolant tank, reconnected the 12V battery, and the pumps ran for a while to get the air out. Topped it off again and have been leak free.


View attachment 656875
Well done, looking at doing both my valves this coming Monday! Just a couple of questions.
When disconnecting the 12v battery I presume you took off the positive terminal and left the earth connected?. My Battery is tucked away under the bulkhead!
Did you "power off" the car from the main screen as well?
 

Scarface

Member
Apr 26, 2021
8
0
Grimsby
You probably don't need to disconnect the 12V but I would suggest doing so. I didn't disconnect the HV battery, just the 12V and then waited 15 minutes or so until I heard the contactors click off. My concern with leaving the 12V connected wasn't safety, it was the fact that I know sometimes the pump turns on for a while even when the car is sitting idle. My guess is this is to keep the HV pack temperatures equalized. If it's been sitting long enough you might be able to get away with it, but having the pump turn on while you have the hoses disconnected could make one big mess.

This is what I did:
  1. Roll down the driver side window fully
  2. Remove the frunk
  3. Disconnect the 12V negative terminal
  4. Wait ~15 minutes until I heard the HV contactors shut off. Alternately disconnect the HV pack with the connector by the cabin air filter and wait a few minutes (Tesla's official process).
  5. Opened the driver door to confirm that power was off (the HV pack will continue to feed the DC-DC converter even with the 12V disconnected)
  6. Clamp the coolant lines to/from the 3-way valve
  7. Remove/replace the valve
  8. Top off the coolant to the max level
  9. Clean up all the spilled coolant and grime. I used simple green in a spray bottle to loosen the gunk, dumped water over everything, and dried it off with my (electric of course) leaf blower.
  10. Reconnect the 12V negative (the pumps will run automatically for a few minutes after the 12V is reconnected)
  11. While the pumps are running keep an eye on the coolant level and top off as needed.
  12. Top off coolant again to max and put everything back together. I had to pull the frunk the next day to replace one of my cooling louvers and noticed the level had dropped from max to about halfway between max and normal after ~30 miles of driving.
Oops thanks didn't see your early reply, great write up!
 

dmwahl

Member
Mar 12, 2021
27
22
Verona, WI
Oops thanks didn't see your early reply, great write up!
No problem. The reason I disconnected the negative was Tesla's service manual says to disconnect the negative. It's counter to years of working on ICE cars where you always disconnect the positive, but I don't really know why Tesla is different. I didn't turn off the car from the main screen either.
 

David.85D

Active Member
Oct 29, 2016
1,419
1,162
USA
No problem. The reason I disconnected the negative was Tesla's service manual says to disconnect the negative. It's counter to years of working on ICE cars where you always disconnect the positive, but I don't really know why Tesla is different. I didn't turn off the car from the main screen either.
Disconnecting the negative first is a very common service procedure on vehicles that have negative attached to chassis ground (which is most - maybe all - modern cars). The list of positive grounded cars is historically curious - the Model A but not the Model T, early Packard, Nash, Hudson, Pierce, and Studebaker, early Jags and MGB, etc.

From a circuit perspective, opening any part of the loop is about the same. I was taught negative first is the rule with negative-grounded automotive 12V systems as a precaution against accidentally grounding a tool to chassis while removing the positive (hot) and creating a dead short with your tool/hand in the circuit and wreaking the battery and/or burning yourself. If you accidentally touch the tool to the chassis while wrenching on the negative terminal, nothing happens - it's already grounded!
 
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MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
15,600
34,262
Oregon
The leak seems to have stopped for now despite using the heat relatively frequently

Heat usage, at least for the cabin, has nothing to do with these valves or the coolant system in the Model S. (They use an electric PTC heater in the cabin.)
 

quickstrike12

Member
Jun 13, 2018
611
451
Fort Worth Texas
Disconnecting the negative side FIRST is always the safest practice in moder automotive repair practice. It will keep you from welding a wrench to a nearby peice of the cars frame 😃 ask me how I know.
it’s actually ironic really when you look at it. We now know that electrons actually flow from negative TO positive.
 

tj1772

Member
Jun 10, 2019
58
56
Las Vegas
The negative side in Tesla 12v battery is live as opposed to ice cars. There are current going through the battery even the car is off. Do Not touch metal when disconnecting the negative side of the battery. Tesla is different than ice cars when it comes to the 12v battery. Also, according to Tesla you want to disconnect the 12v battery first before disconnecting the HV pack.
 
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