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Loud AC sound from outside (video)

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by justaddsun, Apr 12, 2013.

  1. justaddsun

    justaddsun Member

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    Just want to cross-check this with other owners: I'm assuming when it's hot in the cabin and the AC is trying to catch up and cool down everything, I hear a pretty loud "whizzing" sound from outside the car (kind of like a propellor plane, or a blender). It seems to be coming from the frunk and is maybe the AC compressor. I was pretty surprised at how noticeable it was and, not surprisingly, I'll often find it doing this as I approach my car after I've been pre-cooling the cabin from the app. I believe it is louder than what I would hear on an ICE car, even factoring in the ICE sound... It will cycle off, but maybe b/c I am looking for it, I can hear it coming on again from in the cabin while driving or at a stop and even feel it a bit through my foot on the accelerator. So, just want to see if others have this as well, or is it something that needs to get checked out. In this video, the car is in an opened garage, so the sound may be amplified a bit:

    th_TMSACsound-1.jpg

    if above doesn't work, here's a link:
    TMS AC Sound Video by dockhoa | Photobucket

    Thanks!
     
  2. bluetinc

    bluetinc Member

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    Yep, mine sounds exactly the same. I took it by service a couple of days ago just to be sure this is "normal" for the AC, and they said yes it was.

    Peter
     
  3. dbfish

    dbfish Member

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    Sounds like the compressor, but it could be doing double duty cooling the battery pack whereas ICE cars may have a smaller compressor just for the cabin? Or maybe it only seems louder than an ICE car because you don't have any engine noise drowning it out!

    When I'm in parking lots in EV mode in my Camry, and I'm creeping behind people that can't hear me, I turn my vent fan on max, they hear the fan noise, and get out of the way. Much nicer way to do it than a horn tap, I think.
     
  4. jomo25

    jomo25 P4398

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    I assume its normal. I've parked next to a Roadster and in the PHX summer, there's a significant fan sound the whole while when the car is 'off' but charging. Assumed its maintaining the battery in a good temp range while charging...
     
  5. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Yup, as a data point heard this myself in the garage 2 days ago.
     
  6. Plug Me In

    Plug Me In Member

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    We had our first 90+ day here recently and I got the same (very loud) sound. Definitely not a sound that would be covered up by an ICE and kind of embarrassing. I actually turned the AC off at a stop light it was so loud.
     
  7. DrComputer

    DrComputer Member

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    Get use to it. It's the very loud electric compressor Tesla chose to use in the S and Roadster. They would have been much better off using the one Lexus uses in their hybrids.
     
  8. gtimbers

    gtimbers Member

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    Mine has made noise from the first. The problem I need solved is a loud drone that lasts for about 5 minutes but it only occurs when it is hot outside. I also get a vibration in the steering wheel. If turned off, the noise may or may not return upon restarting the AC. Under any condition, the noise will go away after 5 or so minutes. Noisy compressor not, this is not a normal occurrence. It can be heard outside the car from 20 feet away and drowns out the stereo on the inside.

    Based on some input from the Tesla forum, I opened up the area under the frunk and found that the exit pipe from the compressor was touching my steering shaft. I reoriented the shaft and put a few cable ties on the wiring harness on the compressor. I then ran the AC at max cool and didn't get any drone noise. The compressor does make unusual noises, but in the car, they are easily drowned out by the fan. I put everything back together and again tested at full freeze with no abnormal noises notices. I have to wait until mid next week for the weather to warm up to make sure I solved the problem. The other forum mentions contact between the compressor and the frunk bucket. I don't see how this is possible as there is plenty of clearance in my car. The cable ties I added help to hold the power cable to the compressor even lower.

    Compressor.jpg

    The two black ties, one at the top left and the other in the center on the orange cable are the ones I added.

    Steering Shaft.jpg
    The pipe was touching the back side of the steering shaft. I was able to move it away by an inch or two. I suspect that when the compressor runs, it shakes and was causing contact with the steering shaft.
     
  9. patp

    patp Member

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    Great. How did you access this part of the frunk? I don't want to mess anything!
     
  10. gtimbers

    gtimbers Member

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    It is easy to do, but a bit of a pain in the ass. I started by removing the light. It has two push pins under the top seal gasket by the hood latch. Then remove the two electrical plugs on the light and switch. Next, gently pull up the right, left and center plastic cover panels by the windshield, left and right fenders. There is a "U" shaped cover at the top of the center section of the frunk. It is attached with velcro and it will pull off with some effort. Now you can gently pull back the main gasket around the tub and pull out the 2 side covers to the tub. The floor mat comes out. You should now have a big plastic tub with bolts in it. Remove the bolts and studs around the front tub and pull it out. You have to remove the plastic trim piece on the front edge of the frunk. It pulls directly up, but it is very hard to do. The fasteners are really strong. I gradually worked it up from one end and was successful, but watch out for this part! You should now be able to remove any remaining bolts and the main tub will come out. Please take this whole process with a grain of salt. I am repeating from memory. I had no difficulty getting things apart by being slow and careful so just probe around and be gentle. Once in, everything is very accessible and beautifully laid out. I am quite impressed with the construction and layout. Considering how many parts I removed to get in, I find the design to be very good because everything came off and went back without breaking.

    I also noticed that there was no hose on the overflow spigot on the coolant reservoir. If you do get in, let me know if you have one or if the overflow is blank.

    Open Frunk.jpg
     
  11. metafor

    metafor Member

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    The same happens with the AC on my Prius. It seems to be something that's inconsistent with each car (as I've known other Prius owners of the same year and trim that don't have the noise). It also does depend on the temperature outside as well as how long it's been running -- the sound disappears after about 10 min of running.
     
  12. jerry33

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

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    That is because the compressor is variable speed. When it starts it runs at a high speed and when it's just maintaining temperature it runs at a lower speed.
     
  13. gtimbers

    gtimbers Member

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    Yup, I was unsuccessful in eliminating the "angry bumble bee" sound. I did get rid of the vibration in the steering wheel, however. Now I just start the A/C remotely and let it sing on its own. I want to try to limit the fan speed initially and see if that slows the compression down. I don't particularly like the big rush anyway and can wait a little longer for cool air.
     
  14. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I noticed that my car also does not have a hose on the coolant overflow spigot. I pulled the top cowl piece off to get to the fuse panels and could see this. (FYI, I was not having any fuse-related problems, but read in another thread about fuses not being pushed in completely. Sure enough, I had fuses that were't seated all the way in, so I simply pressed them all the way down and put the covers back on).

    - - - Updated - - -

    I get a vibration on the 17" touchscreen with the a/c on. I can feel it when I access the screen on the tip of my finger. Not a horrible problem, but kind of weird.
     
  15. Raven

    Raven Member

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    Just to bump this thread so others might see it....I get this exact noise as well. Tesla should really look into finding a quieter AC unit, otherwise everyone will think we're a 50cc scooter going by at full throttle.
     
  16. TurboFroggy

    TurboFroggy Member

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    I have found that if I have the climate control set for ECO (range mode) the AC compressor is much quieter and doesn't rev up so fast. It limits the output of the AC though, but it might be worth a try to eliminate some of the high speed compressor noise.
     
  17. EarlyAdopter

    EarlyAdopter Active Member

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    Oh, weird. That sounds awful. I don't have that whirring, grinding, buzzing sound.

    But I do have a very deep, rumbling, bassy vibration that sounds like a helicopter flying overhead, or a large truck driving by. Only audible inside the car, which had me a bit puzzled. I discovered that the plastic frunk liner back in the "microwave oven" nook was acting as a big bass drum, amplifying the vibration of the A/C compressor below it. I lined the nook with some dynamat and it muffled it down a bit. Still there, but not as loud.
     
  18. breading

    breading Member

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    My car didn't do this at first; but a couple of weeks ago it started making this same buzzing noise which gets louder with increasing AC settings and maxes out at the LO setting. I can feel the vibration through the steering wheel.

    I hope this isn't normal. It is irritating.
     
  19. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    I have that, and so does my coworker. It is just a really loud compressor.
     
  20. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    Toyota did a better job in the Rav4EV IMO with the air conditioning. It really blasts cold better than the MS, and has 1/2 the noise outside at full blast.
     

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