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Model 3 Body High Frequency Vibration

I do love the car, the performance, the technology, the interiors… the exterior, but coming from a German brand, almost 2 years ago, some things should be talked about more openly. If for nothing else, to be properly addressed.

Four months ago, I started a troubleshoot process with my local Tesla Service Center because my car (M3P) has a high frequency vibration. When I got the car, I tried to justify it as “normal”, then because it’s electric, but latter last year I decided that a foot massage should not be part of the driving experience (unless you paid it as an extra in the car :)

I first noticed it in the dead pedal, but this high frequency vibration is everywhere (floor, doors, console, etc) and even from low speeds. For those thinking: it’s the tires, stupid… it’s not. In coordination with the SC, the tires were replaced, the wheels were perfectly calibrated and validated, and the vibration remained.

In the SC, the issue continued to scale up and got to the chief mechanic. He proposed to ride the car and feel it for himself. To his astonishment, the vibration was really there. We spent the next hour riding several model 3 to qualify if it was something specific to my car, or to the model 3 in general.

We drove a 2021 M3 Long Range with 19’’ and another M3P from 2020 with 20’’, besides my 2019 M3P with 20’’. Conclusion: all have the vibration, even the 2021 with 19’’ wheels!

To be perfectly clear, it’s not a showstopper, in a M3P you will feel the road much more than this, but again, a car in this category shouldn’t be doing this.
 

Mash

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I do love the car, the performance, the technology, the interiors… the exterior, but coming from a German brand, almost 2 years ago, some things should be talked about more openly. If for nothing else, to be properly addressed.

Four months ago, I started a troubleshoot process with my local Tesla Service Center because my car (M3P) has a high frequency vibration. When I got the car, I tried to justify it as “normal”, then because it’s electric, but latter last year I decided that a foot massage should not be part of the driving experience (unless you paid it as an extra in the car :)

I first noticed it in the dead pedal, but this high frequency vibration is everywhere (floor, doors, console, etc) and even from low speeds. For those thinking: it’s the tires, stupid… it’s not. In coordination with the SC, the tires were replaced, the wheels were perfectly calibrated and validated, and the vibration remained.

In the SC, the issue continued to scale up and got to the chief mechanic. He proposed to ride the car and feel it for himself. To his astonishment, the vibration was really there. We spent the next hour riding several model 3 to qualify if it was something specific to my car, or to the model 3 in general.

We drove a 2021 M3 Long Range with 19’’ and another M3P from 2020 with 20’’, besides my 2019 M3P with 20’’. Conclusion: all have the vibration, even the 2021 with 19’’ wheels!

To be perfectly clear, it’s not a showstopper, in a M3P you will feel the road much more than this, but again, a car in this category shouldn’t be doing this.
Spooky. I don't have that, but I will unsubscribe from this thread to eliminate chance of finding it out.
 
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KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
4,401
4,112
Maine
I do love the car, the performance, the technology, the interiors… the exterior, but coming from a German brand, almost 2 years ago, some things should be talked about more openly. If for nothing else, to be properly addressed.

Four months ago, I started a troubleshoot process with my local Tesla Service Center because my car (M3P) has a high frequency vibration. When I got the car, I tried to justify it as “normal”, then because it’s electric, but latter last year I decided that a foot massage should not be part of the driving experience (unless you paid it as an extra in the car :)

I first noticed it in the dead pedal, but this high frequency vibration is everywhere (floor, doors, console, etc) and even from low speeds. For those thinking: it’s the tires, stupid… it’s not. In coordination with the SC, the tires were replaced, the wheels were perfectly calibrated and validated, and the vibration remained.

In the SC, the issue continued to scale up and got to the chief mechanic. He proposed to ride the car and feel it for himself. To his astonishment, the vibration was really there. We spent the next hour riding several model 3 to qualify if it was something specific to my car, or to the model 3 in general.

We drove a 2021 M3 Long Range with 19’’ and another M3P from 2020 with 20’’, besides my 2019 M3P with 20’’. Conclusion: all have the vibration, even the 2021 with 19’’ wheels!

To be perfectly clear, it’s not a showstopper, in a M3P you will feel the road much more than this, but again, a car in this category shouldn’t be doing this.
High frequency vibration? Not normal. Does the vibration frequency change with speed? Strange that the other cars would have the same vibration.
 
What speed do you notice it or is it always there? Sorta a different question then KenC.

It's not permanent, but it's almost always there, even in low speeds, like 40/60 km/h. It's not high amplitude, think of it like a buzzer kind of vibration. Use light shoes, put your foot on the dead pedal, or even on the car floor, and you will feel it. If I had to guess, I would say it's coming from the electric motor.

I understand KenC, it's the kind of thing, that when you feel it, you can't unfeel it... like the chief mechanic did.
 

Tevo Solutions

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Local Vendor - The UK & Ireland
Dec 21, 2020
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Shame you are not based in the UK. We are about to start a project looking at NVH in the Model 3 and you would make a great case study!

If anyone else in the UK feels they have similar issues, please let me know as we'd like to investigate it.
 

KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
4,401
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Maine
It's not permanent, but it's almost always there, even in low speeds, like 40/60 km/h. It's not high amplitude, think of it like a buzzer kind of vibration. Use light shoes, put your foot on the dead pedal, or even on the car floor, and you will feel it. If I had to guess, I would say it's coming from the electric motor.

I understand KenC, it's the kind of thing, that when you feel it, you can't unfeel it... like the chief mechanic did.
I wonder if it's the grounding strap issue, but just a different manifestation of it. For some of us, the ground strap has been creating a whine at speeds in the 30mph to 50mph range. A high-pitched whine might also cause a high-frequency vibration.

The ground strap issue can be looked up, there's several threads on it, but in general, there may be two issues; one, the solid ground strap initially used in production seemed to be a problem and was switched to a braided strap later in production, and two, the tightening spec is 10Nm, which is barely finger tight, and may be too loose, causing the whine.

Several of us, including me, tightened the rear ground strap much more than 10Nm, takes 20 mins, and the whine disappeared. You have to remove the driver-side rear tire, and the ground strap nut should be clearly visible. Remove it, clean it, and put it back on, tighter. It's super easy for anyone who has ever removed a tire.

Here's a few pics, and the Tesla bulletin describing how to swap it. The last page mentions the 10Nm tightening spec, which is barely finger-tight:
IMG_9165.jpeg
IMG_9173.jpeg
IMG_9172.jpeg


The things that make me think it's related to the ground strap is the speed range 40 to 60km/h. That's near the speed range where people complained of the whine, 30 to 50mph. You also said, once you feel it, you can't unfeel it. That's exactly what happened with the whine. When you hear it, you can't unhear it. Both the vibration and the whine are suspected to come from the motor. And, it can affect alot of cars because if it's true that the tightening spec for the nut is too low, then the issue can be random and possibly widespread, but in batches. So, if all the cars in the lot had the vibration, it wouldn't be a surprise.
 

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Tevo Solutions

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Dec 21, 2020
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Actually you can just use Android phone and logger app of 3D accelerometer. Fix it hard to the floor and record high speed log. If vibrations are there - it will show it. Otherwise it's a placebo.
Vibrations are present in all cars, so of course you will see something, but unless you measure it and compare it against another car without the vibration issue, that's not much help. Even if you could see a difference, it won't help diagnose the issue.

NVH measuring equipment can pinpoint the source of a vibration through the use of frequency analysis and time domain which is only possible using multiple sensors and microphones.

We're using such kit to evaluate different suspension/wheel/tyre options for the Model 3 so customers can actually see the difference with objective measurements and not just rely on what the manufacturer says their parts will do. A side benefit is we should be able to help owners diagnose problems of this sort.
 
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Tevo Solutions

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Dec 21, 2020
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Is this still a possible issue for 2021 LRs? I always drive bare-footed (meaning in socks), and haven't felt any vibration in almost 2K miles, and lots of highway miles at 80+ (TX highways). But if still possible later on, I'd like to take care of that now, early in the car's life. Thanks.
It's impossible to say without first understanding what the vibration is. I drove a 2021 M3P a while ago and I felt something, but I can't say if it's the same feeling described above. To me, it felt like vibration from the road surface transmitted thru the tyres and suspension.
This is why we're going to try and measure it objectively from now on.
 
It's impossible to say without first understanding what the vibration is. I drove a 2021 M3P a while ago and I felt something, but I can't say if it's the same feeling described above. To me, it felt like vibration from the road surface transmitted thru the tyres and suspension.
This is why we're going to try and measure it objectively from now on.

That could explain why with the new tires and more pressure (45 psi), this high frequency, low amplitude, vibration is more prevalent. One other way of explaining it, would be like the vibration mode from a phone, after a long trip you end up with a tingly in your feet. I could try to lower to 42, as a test.

I would love to be part of that study, if it's something from the suspension I'm even willing to change it... but without knowing for sure, I'm afraid of making the investment. Don't you want to visit sunny Iberia? ;)
 

Tevo Solutions

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Local Vendor - The UK & Ireland
Dec 21, 2020
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That could explain why with the new tires and more pressure (45 psi), this high frequency, low amplitude, vibration is more prevalent. One other way of explaining it, would be like the vibration mode from a phone, after a long trip you end up with a tingly in your feet. I could try to lower to 42, as a test.

I would love to be part of that study, if it's something from the suspension I'm even willing to change it... but without knowing for sure, I'm afraid of making the investment. Don't you want to visit sunny Iberia? ;)
I would love to visit sunny Iberia :D
I can't even visit rainy Scunthorpe right now...

I don't want to make any assumptions before we do some comparative measurements and in any case there can be multiple sources of NVH in any vehicle, so the process will be to try and narrow down the source(s) of any vibrations first so we fully understand what's happening.

I think it will take some time to build up a database of waveforms we can then use to diagnose problems like this more easily. In the beginning we'll be testing different tyres, tyre pressures, road surfaces and road speeds in a production Model 3 to get a starting point. Then we'll be trying different aftermarket suspension setups to see how they compare.

Even with the initial testing I'm hoping we'll at least be able to say that tyre pressures make a significant difference (or not!) and that one wheel/tyre combination is more comfortable than another.

Watch this space!
 
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KenC

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Sep 4, 2018
4,401
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Maine
That could explain why with the new tires and more pressure (45 psi), this high frequency, low amplitude, vibration is more prevalent. One other way of explaining it, would be like the vibration mode from a phone, after a long trip you end up with a tingly in your feet. I could try to lower to 42, as a test.

I would love to be part of that study, if it's something from the suspension I'm even willing to change it... but without knowing for sure, I'm afraid of making the investment. Don't you want to visit sunny Iberia? ;)
If you're going to test, make the difference huge, to make it as clearcut as possible. In Winter, I run 38-39psi.
 
If you're going to test, make the difference huge, to make it as clearcut as possible. In Winter, I run 38-39psi.

We are still in lockdown around here, but today I had the opportunity to try lowering the tire pressure. I went from 45 psi to 40 psi and at low speed (<80 km/h) I would say that the vibration is there, but much subdued. Higher speeds, like 130, 140, it feels the same. One other thing I did notice is that whatever the speed, if I’m braking or accelerating, the vibration is also much subdued.
 
I'm going to running some tests in the next few days. First one will measure any difference in vibration between 35psi and 45psi on 18" tyres in a Model 3 LR.

Great! We didn't test the 18'', only two 20'' and one 19', but this could give some pointers on the influence of the tires/wheels/suspension.

One other test I was able to do, was to drive the car in Neutral, to take the engine out of the equation. I can confirm that this kind of vibrations are the same in Drive or Neutral. I tested at several speeds (80, 140, 150 km/h).
 

Tevo Solutions

Member
Local Vendor - The UK & Ireland
Dec 21, 2020
184
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UK
Great! We didn't test the 18'', only two 20'' and one 19', but this could give some pointers on the influence of the tires/wheels/suspension.

One other test I was able to do, was to drive the car in Neutral, to take the engine out of the equation. I can confirm that this kind of vibrations are the same in Drive or Neutral. I tested at several speeds (80, 140, 150 km/h).
I was going to suggest trying it in N, so glad you did. Do you think the frequency of the vibration changes at different speeds?
 

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