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Out of Warranty Drive Unit Replacement and Cost

rickyjb

Member
Apr 30, 2017
91
55
united kingdom
I agree, 3rd party (like the shop where I work) will be much cheaper than Tesla in terms of doing a drive unit rebuild/replacement. I would argue however that the milling noise could have a damaging effect of the motor eventually.

The milling noise is a direct result of wear of the rotor and/or primary drive gear bearings. With excess wear, comes excess play, which can cause accelerated wear of other items, such as the rotor splines, and especially the rotor coolant seal. If the rotor coolant seal begins to leak, the coolant could permanently damage the motor and/or inverter beyond repair which is of course a much more expensive repair, and not to mention could leave you stranded with zero warning.

At our shop, the most common reason for drive unit rebuilds these days is actually due to the coolant seals failing, and not nearly so much milling noise (in later motors, they switched over to ceramic bearings which mostly fixes the milling issue, but they also changed the coolant seal to an inferior design that does not last). A full rebuild is $4,000, assuming the drive unit is in "functional" condition and can be rebuilt.

If we were to do a full overhaul at the shop where I work, we would:
-Replace rotor bearings with upgraded hybrid ceramic bearings
-Replace primary drive gear bearings
-Replace rotor coolant seal with an upgraded triple lip PTFE seal
-Inspect all parts of the drive unit for excess wear (splines, gears, etc.)

It is possible to swap in another used drive unit for probably about the same amount of money, but by doing so you are swapping in a unknown part. If the replacement drive unit ends up with a failed coolant seal, or develops the same milling noise issue 10k mi down the road, then it could be a lot of money spent for nothing. That's why we rebuild every motor that comes through our shop, regardless of whether it "seems" good or not.

I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend that ANYONE with a Large Drive Unit equipped Model S should check their drive unit for internal coolant leakage at least once per year, especially if you are out of warranty. For anyone who is near Vista California, we can perform the check free of charge at our shop (just make to call ahead first so we can make sure to have a lift open). For those not close by, here's a video on our shop's YouTube page on how to perform the check:

is it possible to check this without voiding warranty ?
 

ajbessinger

EV Repair Technician at QC Charge
Sep 2, 2020
55
157
San Marcos California, USA
is it possible to check this without voiding warranty ?
Let me put it this way, I've never heard of someone's warranty being voided by removing the speed sensor. There are no warranty stickers or labels of any kind on the rotor speed sensor, so Tesla cannot legally void your warranty if you remove or even replace it (actually they technically can't even void it if you did break a seal/sticker, but good luck with that).
Similarly, can Tesla void your warranty for replacing the 12v battery yourself, changing the drive unit gearbox oil, or putting aftermarket wheels on? Not really, unless they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you damaged the car by messing with it (e.g, for example, you drained the oil and then didn't refill it, or you put the terminals on backwards on the 12v battery, or the wheels rubbed on the brake calipers, etc.). Same goes for touching anything else on the car, including the drive unit. As long as you don't break anything, they technically cannot legally void your warranty, though that's not to say they might not try...
 
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Snowballmo

Member
Apr 22, 2021
5
7
Santa Clara CA
Good it’s covered under warranty. Please update part number once you can
Concern: techncian verified gears stuck. Advised to remove and replace rear drive unit
Verified customer concern. . Replaced Large Rear Drive Unit. Verified Proper Operation.
Correction: Drive Unit - Rear - Large (Includes Alignment Check) (Remove & Replace)
Parts Replaced or Added
Part Quantity
ASY,PTRAIN,
RMN,MDLS,BASE,CMC,HS,FA2+
(1025276-00-Q)
1.00
Correction: Four Wheel Alignment (Adjust Camber Caster Toe)
Pay Type: Drive Unit Limited Warranty
 
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alloverx

Member
Mar 20, 2016
887
615
Seattle
For those just out of warranty, once you get the quote from Tesla would not hurt to try and bargain it to 50%.
BTW, I had a Ford engine die on me with a vehicle basically serviced 90% at dealership. They would not assist in any way, so no more Fords for me.
And yes I spent over $100K on 2 subsequent vehicles.
 

rickyjb

Member
Apr 30, 2017
91
55
united kingdom
Let me put it this way, I've never heard of someone's warranty being voided by removing the speed sensor. There are no warranty stickers or labels of any kind on the rotor speed sensor, so Tesla cannot legally void your warranty if you remove or even replace it (actually they technically can't even void it if you did break a seal/sticker, but good luck with that).
Similarly, can Tesla void your warranty for replacing the 12v battery yourself, changing the drive unit gearbox oil, or putting aftermarket wheels on? Not really, unless they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you damaged the car by messing with it (e.g, for example, you drained the oil and then didn't refill it, or you put the terminals on backwards on the 12v battery, or the wheels rubbed on the brake calipers, etc.). Same goes for touching anything else on the car, including the drive unit. As long as you don't break anything, they technically cannot legally void your warranty, though that's not to say they might not try...
Good to know there is no warranty seals , Just crossed 80k mi . I'll take the car to my local HEVRA garage for its next service and ask them to remove and inspect this sensor, Just crossed 80k mi.
 
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aseito

Member
May 31, 2021
28
4
92683
I know it doesn't help you, but they proactively replaced my rear drive unit last month. I brought it in due to a "thunk" noise at slow speed acceleration/deceleration. Turns out the sound was from the mounts failing, but the tech claimed to hear a very slight grinding sound in the motor - which I never heard or noticed - and they replaced the drive unit under warranty. I had to pay for the mounts.

2015 (May) 70D, 84,000 miles.

bwb1
I have a similar noise in the rear of my 2014 P85. How much was the mounts?
 

rickyjb

Member
Apr 30, 2017
91
55
united kingdom
I have a similar noise in the rear of my 2014 P85. How much was the mounts?
don't know if its the same as the issue you are talking about , but there is a good thread over here Frame Failure called "Normal Wear and Tear" by Tesla Service

A few P85 owners have reported the rear motor mounts from the sub frame breaking. My14 P85 broke around 60k miles.

Drop a message in there if it is your issue you have , good to keep it updated with the latest cost estimates and part numbers from Tesla.
 
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Ssvladi

Member
Jan 2, 2020
25
29
Sf bay
don't know if its the same as the issue you are talking about , but there is a good thread over here Frame Failure called "Normal Wear and Tear" by Tesla Service

A few P85 owners have reported the rear motor mounts from the sub frame breaking. My14 P85 broke around 60k miles.

Drop a message in there if it is your issue you have , good to keep it updated with the latest cost estimates and part numbers from Tesla.
Can confirm, rear subframe motor mount cracked at 80k miles. Got quoted ~3.5k, found indy shop for 1k for everything.
 

aseito

Member
May 31, 2021
28
4
92683
Can confirm, rear subframe motor mount cracked at 80k miles. Got quoted ~3.5k, found indy shop for 1k for everything.
Crap, I guess I'll get the quote. It's far out of warranty, no chance @ a goodwill replacement huh? Anyone know of an indy shop in socal to use for this? Can't be the only one down here. I looked at the other thread, 7 pages of people. Some got goodwill but I think they may have been under warranty. How do we go about asking for a recall other than tweeting elon musk? Thanks!
 

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