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Noise issues - AC and clunk?

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by FreeOfPge, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. FreeOfPge

    FreeOfPge Member

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    Hello everyone, we have owned a Volt for 2 years now and recently purchased a MS. First, hands down, the Model S is FAR superior to the Volt, or any other vehicle on the road (IMHO); and electric driving is pure awesomeness. That said, there are a two problems, both noise related that the MS has and Volt doesn't.

    1) The A/C compressor fan in MS is MUCH louder than the Volt; and MS does not cool with noticeable differences. The big problem seems to be some type of ramp-up period when the the a/c first kicks on, it sounds like a 4 bannger ICE for two minutes or so. Once ramp-up is finished, the Volt and MS noise is about the same.

    2) At low speeds, along our driveway and private road, there is a clunk from the rear of MS when you let off the go pedal. This only happens at speeds between 5-18mph. Our private road is 1/4 mile long with three speed bumps a gate, so we hear this clunk 4 to 5 times each time we leave or return home...along w/every parking lot in between. In the Volt, its perfectly silent. Tesla Rocklin test drove the car and says this relatively common and there's nothing to worry about as long as it does not get louder.

    Had MS been our first electric vehicle, we would have dismissed both noises as minor trade offs for driving electric, but they are not. Anyway, I'm sure Tesla will eventually fix these issues and they are (relatively) minor, however they do currently exist.

    FWIW, we are keeping the Volt until MIII is available...
     
  2. steve841

    steve841 Active Member

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    A visit to your service center is needed.

    1. Ask for the acoustic cover. This improves the A/C noise BIG TIME.
    2. Hopefully they can reproduce the noise, then they can fix it.
     
  3. gaswalla

    gaswalla P4201/85/airsusp/pano/19i

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    yep... these are issues that can be fixed and need to be fixed if they bother you.. quick call to a service center will solve it for you
     
  4. FreeOfPge

    FreeOfPge Member

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    Cool, I'll run to the service center tomorrow or Thursday and report back afterwards...
     
  5. Electricfan

    Electricfan Member

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    Have you searched for "clunk" on this forum? I've read many posts about people hearing this noise, and sad to say it usually leads to a drive train replacement. The only really bad thing about this is it may happen while you're on a trip, and leave you stranded on the side of the road. I'd carefully monitor it, and if it gets louder go back to your service center. Tell them you'd rather not get stuck on the side of the road with the infamous message that the car is shutting off and you need to pull over immediately, which is what will happen. My car has 12k miles on it and has never had a "clunk" of any kind, and it is most certainly not a normal noise. Good news is Tesla has replaced so many drive units they can do it quickly. You'll get your car back within a day or two if/when it dies. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I assume since you posted you wanted to know. By the way I have a 2011 Volt with 45k miles on it. I drive the Volt a couple of days, then the Model S a couple of days, back and forth. I prefer the Volt for comfort (seat is infinitely more comfortable) and of course the S for speed and fun.
     
  6. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    The clunk is a bad sign, I'm sorry to say, and in almost every case has led to either a drive unit or high voltage battery replacement. Unfortunately, some owners were told by their service centers that this is normal only to have the car fail on them while driving, merging on the freeway, or other dangerous situations.

    Please take your car in for service and demand a fix for the clunk. While there could conceivably be another cause, I've started calling it the Tesla Clunk of Death. If service tells you it's normal - do not accept this response and escalate to service manager or regional service manager to get it addressed and completely resolved. Do not take "no" for an answer.
     
  7. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Mine was in for the drivetrain "clunk" and it was deemed "normal" by Tesla. It sounds and feels like how you would imagine a loose U-joint would feel. I notice it when the car transitions between accelerate and re-gen. It's not horrible or anything... just noticeable.
     
  8. Henning76

    Henning76 New Member

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    It's not normal in the least. Previously they've been replacing drive units over this, but now they can apparently apply a much quicker, cheaper and correct fix.
    I had my drive unit replaced around a month ago - and the "clunk" is utterly gone.
     
  9. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Mine was replaced quite a while ago for the loud transformer-like hum, but that first unit never did have the "clunk". When my car was in a few weeks ago, the loaner they gave me had the clunk way worse than my own car. With the loaner, I could both feel and hear the clunk. With mine, it is very subtle and I may only hear it with the windows down in an underground parking lot.
     
  10. Jeeps17

    Jeeps17 Cath Jockey in a P85

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    Regarding the clunk at low speeds, I had a low-speed noise that was more like a metallic "click", which would happen from 1 to 5 times when beginning an acceleration or a deceleration. My local service center listened to it in a short drive around the lot, added lubricant to the driveshaft splines (both sides), and the noise completely disappeared.

    Just wanted to point out that not all sounds from the drivetrain require its replacement.

    I also had the noisy AC compressor, the above-noted fix resolved it almost completely.
     
  11. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Mod Note: thread title updated to reflect actual discussion. Conversation about the Chevy Volt is over here.
     
  12. FreeOfPge

    FreeOfPge Member

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    Update: Just back from the service center, the clunk is indeed the drive unit and will be replaced. They'll check out the noisy a/c ramp-up when the drive unit is replaced...fingers crossed it can be replicated. To improve the odds of replication, I may wait for a heat wave to schedule service since it only happens on super hot days.

    Electricfan - I am doing the same thing as you, switching back and forth between the Volt and MS. Like you, I have found there are times when it's more enjoyable to drive the Volt and a big plus personally, it has satellite radio!

    MKnox - The U-joint analogy is dead on, this is exactly the sounds. Unfortunately, it's become louder and happening at higher speeds now too...
     
  13. FreeOfPge

    FreeOfPge Member

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    The drive unit was replaced last Thursday at the Rocklin SC, the clunk is gone. We also had the humming sound that others have reported at high speeds, but didn't realize it was a problem until the sound was eliminated.

    We are being told they did replicate the loud A/C ramp up and it's normal. I didn't fully understand the verbal explanation, here's the written explanation:

    HVAC is operating normal. AC will be louder on hot days or while supercharging, this is normal. AC will get softer once the set temperature in the cabin has been reached, or supercharging has stopped.

    No car is perfect so we'll live with the loud AC ramp, fortunately it only lasts for a couple minutes. I'm sure the engineers are well aware of this issue and will find a solution before M3 is released, if not sooner.

    Overall, the SC was great and the warranty experience exceptional!
     
  14. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    The AC ramp up noise is normal, but Tesla has issued a service bulletin to install an acoustic blanket and a new bracket. That is being installed at owner request regardless of whether the AC is "normal" or not. Did you request that retrofit? Don't accept the service center's answer if they haven't at least gone to the effort of dampening the sound with the service bulletin. This is free of charge and is available to all Model S owners.
     
  15. FreeOfPge

    FreeOfPge Member

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    No, I didn't request the retrofit, but it was mentioned as a solution by the person who scheduled the repairs. The service advisor took over once I arrived for the work to be done and he was pretty hum-ho about the noise. For now I'll live with it, but if the car goes back in for additional service I will ask for the retrofit for sure. Thanks for the help.
     

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