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Need advice on door handle

domodan

Member
Jul 15, 2020
432
199
UT, United States
So, tonight I took my son to soccer. When he came to get back in the car the passenger handle won’t present. It’s making some clicking noises. I took a suction cup and was able to pull the handle out and the door opens, but then the handle just sucks back in. Other than paying Tesla (what I heard is $1,800) what can I do to fix it? I’m a handy guy and few comfortable diving in to things. I’m about to leave the country for a week and would love to get any needed parts ordered before I leave so I can fix it right when I get back.
 

domodan

Member
Jul 15, 2020
432
199
UT, United States
Is it as easy as buying one of these?

 

PCMc

Member
Jul 1, 2016
319
285
Columbus, IN
Not sure where you get the $1,800 to fix. I had one of my replaced/repaired for same symptoms about 1 year ago. The total cost out of warranty was just under $300 including labor and local sales tax.

Parts cost for new microswitch assembly, paddle gear, outer seal, and a clip was $150.25.
 

KalJoMoS

Member
Aug 11, 2019
447
224
EETN, EST
If your handle opens the door, like you described pulling it out did let it open then this kit would not help you (my assumption only, haven't bought this kit). I do think that your handle have different issue, the handle just no longer present but all the other functions do exist. Does the handle presents if you unlock the car with the fob or by double clicking “P” on gear selector or the padlock icon on the MCU screen? If you do some search here there are several discussions about this. There is a third sensor inside the handle that controls the “push-to-present” function so this would be your issue.

edit: just found this discussion
 
Last edited:

PCMc

Member
Jul 1, 2016
319
285
Columbus, IN
the passenger handle won’t present. It’s making some clicking noises. I took a suction cup and was able to pull the handle out and the door opens, but then the handle just sucks back in.

Description of the failure suggests is the sector gear that has broken. These are the exact same symptoms as mine. While they also replace the microswitch and harness on mine, I think that's as much about the fact that if you're going to pull the door panel apart the rebuild the handle, it makes sense to replace both at the same time.

Regarding the clicking ... I ended taking a microfiber cloth, folding it and inserting it behind the handle. With a little trial an error around how many folds, found a thickness that had the handle out just enough to stop the motor for continually trying to cycle yet the door still stay latched in the closed position while in my garage.
 

domodan

Member
Jul 15, 2020
432
199
UT, United States
Thank you for your thoughts. The handle does not present itself in any scenario…no matter what I do, the handle will not present.

The sound it’s making is less a clicking, but it’s like I can hear the thing cycling. It’s like it tries to present, the sensor sees the handle is still in the same place, so it keeps cycling that little motor. I did hear something sound like it’s rattling around in the door now.

Hearing you got it fixed for $350 is encouraging…maybe I’ll schedule a Ranger to come out and take a look.
 

Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,697
4,279
Colorado, USA
It's a broken pedal gear. The sound you're hearing is the motor continuously running trying to push the handle out because it doesn't realize that it isn't. These motors are quite strong so there is really zero concern that you're putting excess wear on the motor and they can generally continue running without anything attached to them for months without any noticeable wear that's going to shorten their life.

The paddle gear is about a $4 part but prices are all over with mark up. You can order that part and with the help of a few posts and videos online change it out yourself in an hour or two depending on how many beers you drink during the process.

That said, the same repair from Tesla now is probably about $300 but they're going to replace your entire handle assembly with the newest version 3 more than likely. This newer version is far more robust and probably about 50 times less likely to fail while you own the car.

Unless you enjoy taking the door card off and getting the handle out I would recommend the ladder option as it will be the last time you'll need to worry about that handle ever again most likely. If you put a little bit of sweat equity into it you can get by just replacing the paddle gear but know that there are seven other failure points that are relatively common on the version one and version two door handles that you'll likely need to address at some point if you own the car long enough.

Personally, I would do one of those two options and wouldn't waste my time with a rebuild kit of a v1/v2 assembly. If you're going to spend that much money spend a little bit more and get the newest and best version handle assembly direct from Tesla installed.
 

domodan

Member
Jul 15, 2020
432
199
UT, United States
It's a broken pedal gear. The sound you're hearing is the motor continuously running trying to push the handle out because it doesn't realize that it isn't. These motors are quite strong so there is really zero concern that you're putting excess wear on the motor and they can generally continue running without anything attached to them for months without any noticeable wear that's going to shorten their life.

The paddle gear is about a $4 part but prices are all over with mark up. You can order that part and with the help of a few posts and videos online change it out yourself in an hour or two depending on how many beers you drink during the process.

That said, the same repair from Tesla now is probably about $300 but they're going to replace your entire handle assembly with the newest version 3 more than likely. This newer version is far more robust and probably about 50 times less likely to fail while you own the car.

Unless you enjoy taking the door card off and getting the handle out I would recommend the ladder option as it will be the last time you'll need to worry about that handle ever again most likely. If you put a little bit of sweat equity into it you can get by just replacing the paddle gear but know that there are seven other failure points that are relatively common on the version one and version two door handles that you'll likely need to address at some point if you own the car long enough.

Personally, I would do one of those two options and wouldn't waste my time with a rebuild kit of a v1/v2 assembly. If you're going to spend that much money spend a little bit more and get the newest and best version handle assembly direct from Tesla installed.
Agreed. While I’m a handy person and I do enjoy these types of things (to a certain extent) my time is extremely valuable and it doesn’t take much of a mishap on a DIY job to quickly put yourself in the same cost range as hiring a professional from the get go. I’m perfectly happy to pay Tesla a few hundred bucks to do it. I had heard it was close to $2,000, which is a point where spending my time seemed like it was worthwhile. For a few hundred bucks they can do it. For a couple thousand, I’ll pull the door panel apart and use a rebuild kit.
 

PCMc

Member
Jul 1, 2016
319
285
Columbus, IN
Here are the details from my service invoice when I had my driver side rear door handle rebuilt. This was right at 1 year ago, Oct 5, 2020.
1633616370334.png

Total cost was $292.02 with sales tax included.
 

Huachipato

Member
Jul 16, 2019
309
237
Murphy, TX
I had a similar issue with my driver's door handle. I wrapped the handle with tape to make a pull tab while I waited for Tesla's Mobile service to come and perform the gen 3 handle upgrade. As others mentioned less than $300 and not worrying about it happening again.
1633617542700.png
 

Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,697
4,279
Colorado, USA
Agreed. While I’m a handy person and I do enjoy these types of things (to a certain extent) my time is extremely valuable and it doesn’t take much of a mishap on a DIY job to quickly put yourself in the same cost range as hiring a professional from the get go. I’m perfectly happy to pay Tesla a few hundred bucks to do it. I had heard it was close to $2,000, which is a point where spending my time seemed like it was worthwhile. For a few hundred bucks they can do it. For a couple thousand, I’ll pull the door panel apart and use a rebuild kit.
As of has recent as a year or two ago you would have been right. It's a further testament to one thing Tesla does very well and that's engineer and better their products over time.

The presenting door handles is one place where they've made great leaps forward in terms of moving parts and complexity but also did so in a manner that greatly improved both reliability and cost.

There's actually a really good video circulating currently that demonstrates the differences between the new version and the previous versions. My guess is if you take the 15 minutes required to watch that you will quickly realize that wasting an hour or two to save a couple hundred dollars on Band-Aid repairing a faulty designed item is likely just going to result in you needing to do it again short-term. I have to give them credit where credit is due in terms of improving the parts that make up these vehicles in much more efficient and shorter time frames than the established manufacturers would.

Now, if only they would apply the same improvement curve to their customer support, I'd be the happiest customer on Earth.
 

Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,697
4,279
Colorado, USA
I had a similar issue with my driver's door handle. I wrapped the handle with tape to make a pull tab while I waited for Tesla's Mobile service to come and perform the gen 3 handle upgrade. As others mentioned less than $300 and not worrying about it happening again.
View attachment 718762
I've done this a couple of times as well. Use a library card or something soft so you don't scratch the paint around the handle to pry it out. Once out, you can use a piece of tape doubled over itself (so it doesn't stick to the handle or get any adhesive on there that's difficult to remove once it's repaired as they will reuse that handle even if they upgrade to the newest version 3 assembly) wrapped around the handle with a little tab to open it easily moving forward. Then, anytime the other handles are presented all you have to do is walk up and pull the tab you created which will not only pull the handle out but also allow you to engage the sensors that will activate the door latch mechanism releasing it. For added style points you can utilize clear packing tape as it doesn't stand out as much to the casual observer.
 

Takumi

Member
Aug 25, 2006
749
381
IL
Does anyone know if the newest Model S door handle version shown in the linked video is backwards compatible?

 

PCMc

Member
Jul 1, 2016
319
285
Columbus, IN
I wrapped the handle with tape to make a pull tab
Soft fabric backed velco straps, like you can buy for securing electrical cords work really well. I bought a pack that had a couple rolls of 50 ties each for not very much and that was my solution to make a homemade pull tab while awaiting service. The type I have have the eye loop type feature at one end, so you wrap it around the handle (cord) then through itself like a zip tie so it securely holds the handle securely, then can use the velcro to wrap it around to leave as much of a tab left as you want. Functional, easy to remove when repaired, and without any concerns of leaving residue.

I have to give them credit where credit is due in terms of improving the parts that make up these vehicles in much more efficient and shorter time frames than the established manufacturers would.
I'm not sure why people have this perception that Tesla is doing something so revolutionary when it comes to making improvements over time on problematic parts. In this case is was going on 6 years from initial introduction in 2012 until about 2018 when Tesla really seemed to finally figure out a robust design that eliminated all the failure modes. I worked in the industry for close to 40 years and this rate of improvement of problematic designs in nothing exception by any stretch of the imagination.
 
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Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,697
4,279
Colorado, USA
Soft fabric backed velco straps, like you can buy for securing electrical cords work really well. I bought a pack that had a couple rolls of 50 ties each for not very much and that was my solution to make a homemade pull tab while awaiting service. The type I have have the eye loop type feature at one end, so you wrap it around the handle (cord) then through itself like a zip tie so it securely holds the handle securely, then can use the velcro to wrap it around to leave as much of a tab left as you want. Functional, easy to remove when repaired, and without any concerns of leaving residue.


I'm not sure why people have this perception that Tesla is doing something so revolutionary when it comes to making improvements over time on problematic parts. In this case is was going on 6 years from initial introduction in 2012 until about 2018 when Tesla really seemed to finally figure out a robust design that eliminated all the failure modes. I worked in the industry for close to 40 years and this rate of improvement of problematic designs in nothing exception by any stretch of the imagination.
If you've been in the industry for close to 40 years then you should understand that other manufacturers stick to model cycles pretty religiously. Tesla takes advantage of its agility due to its smaller size by making changes to its assembly line and parts supplies monthly in some cases. While it's true the door handle only had three versions across six or so years, other parts have seen far more upgrades over the same time period. The newer LED style headlight, for instance, came out in 2016.5 and has seen no less than five different versions since then. Some would argue that it shouldn't have taken them that many revisions to get right but at least they're constantly attempting to improve. Bringing it back to the door handle, let's not forget that they didn't just take somebody else's design for their own. Nobody else is making a handle like this and in many respects they had to pioneer the components that comprise the previous versions and especially the new version. They're willing to put in the R&D that sometimes doesn't produce fruit but occasionally produces something that nobody else is doing. That's what sets them apart from the establishment who has only been doing just enough to get by for decades now.
 

PCMc

Member
Jul 1, 2016
319
285
Columbus, IN
If you've been in the industry for close to 40 years then you should understand that other manufacturers stick to model cycles pretty religiously. Tesla takes advantage of its agility due to its smaller size by making changes to its assembly line and parts supplies monthly in some cases. While it's true the door handle only had three versions across six or so years, other parts have seen far more upgrades over the same time period. The newer LED style headlight, for instance, came out in 2016.5 and has seen no less than five different versions since then. Some would argue that it shouldn't have taken them that many revisions to get right but at least they're constantly attempting to improve. Bringing it back to the door handle, let's not forget that they didn't just take somebody else's design for their own. Nobody else is making a handle like this and in many respects they had to pioneer the components that comprise the previous versions and especially the new version. They're willing to put in the R&D that sometimes doesn't produce fruit but occasionally produces something that nobody else is doing. That's what sets them apart from the establishment who has only been doing just enough to get by for decades now.
Others in the industry will make running changes on parts through-out the model year. It may not be visible to you, but it happens frequently, especially if necessary to handle quality issues.

I agree that in general these running changes do not normally result in "visible" changes in features or options, which I think is what gives people the perception that Tesla is somehow doing something so massively revolutionary. Tesla, as all full BEVs have an advantage on not having to comply with an exhaust emissions, including OBD, certification review process which also requires that all changes in potentially software/calibrations generally are disclosed and approved prior to implementation. That's one of the main things that enables Tesla being able to drop software updates at a moments notice and at times on a almost alarming frequency. If all of those needed to be documented and approved by external regulatory agencies you'd see a lot fewer updates.
 

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