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Powertrain fault. Tesla service.

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by daniel, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. daniel

    daniel Active Member

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    Spokane, WA
    On Monday, July 1, the rangers came out and performed my second annual maintenance. All seemed well. On Tuesday I washed the car, then drove out to the centennial trail and parked for an hour and a half in the sun while walking. We're having out first heat wave of the summer and it was brutally hot. The late-afternoon high was 99 F. After returning home and showering, I drove from Spokane Valley to Hayden Lake, ID, probably 35 or 40 minutes, and parked in the sun again while visiting with a friend for something between 30 minutes and an hour, and then started home.

    Something like 10 or 15 minutes into my drive home, the car chimed at me, and the little MFD said (IIRC) "Powertrain problem. Service required." I tapped the display to make the message go away, and a minute or two later, it repeated. It did this every little while until I reached a town where I could safely get off the road and park at a mini-mall.

    I phoned Danny, the service manager at the Seattle store, and he ran a remote diagnostic. About a half an hour later he called back, saying that it looked like a fan problem. He offered to give me the number for roadside assistance (which I already have in my phone) but I didn't want to wait the several hours it usually takes for a tow truck, and I also didn't want folks to see a Tesla on a flatbed. It would give the wrong impression. But mainly I didn't want to wait. Danny told me that if the car overheats, it will shut down with only about a sixty second warning. But he also told me that the temperature indicator would go to yellow before red, giving me a few minutes warning, and in answer to my question, said that I could drive it gently if I wanted to take that chance. It is HARD to drive the Roadster gently, but I did it and got home fine, the temperature not having gone any higher than it had been most of the day, which was the PEM still in the next-to-last blue bar.

    The rangers were still in Idaho, having just finished another service call, so they returned in the afternoon and examined the car. Finding nothing else wrong, they had a new PEM and fan unit overnighted to my house, and at 8:00 a.m. yesterday (July 3) they installed the PEM and fan, under warranty, charging me nothing. (I of course had paid for the annual maintenance.) They finished up at about mid-day.

    I call this A+ service. They were really great.

    I presume the problem was probably waiting to happen and manifested due to the heat and the long drive, and was not related to the maintenance done the day before.

    FWIW, today it was not as hot, and I didn't make a long drive, but I did park in the sun at the walking trail for two hours, and when I got home the PEM was still in the blue, but it was the last blue bar. I would pay for an upgrade to a water-cooled PEM if there were such an option. My battery pack and motor never get hot, so I have no need for a water-cooled motor, and of course the battery pack already is. We don't get a lot of hot weather in Spokane, and I'm out of town (hiking in Canada) during the hottest part of the year, so it's not a big deal for me. And I wonder if maybe parking in the sun is harder on the PEM temperature than driving in the heat. Maybe it gets more air circulation when driving.

    Just thought I'd share this.
     
  2. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Good story. Welcome back, Daniel! Would be interested in seeing your participation in all the investor action and drama that has been going on for the past 3-4 months!
     
  3. jbadger

    jbadger Roadster #506

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    I had the exact opposite of your story, Daniel, for the same issue. I did have to have my vehicle flat-bedded (as it had shut down completely). I had called before towing it and they had said they could not do a diagnostic over the phone if it was a Powertrain issue. I had to pay for the diagnostics and wait for six weeks for the new fan assembly to be installed. Ended up costing me about $1500.

    Would have preferred your story...
     
  4. daniel

    daniel Active Member

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    Thanks, gg. Won't be happening. I was told by a mod that my occasional references to my unmarried state and availability were inappropriate. Said I was treating the forum as a dating site. Didn't think I could change my style, but it's their site so they get to make the rules. So I dropped out. But I did want to post the above and give kudos to Tesla for their service, as well as info about the problem, in case it's interesting or useful to others. If the mods tell me that mod was just being overzealous, and they withdraw the reprimand, I'll be back. But I don't expect that, as I assume they consult with each other and were in agreement. So I'll just post about this issue and then take my inappropriate style elsewhere. I'm a strong believer that a board owner gets to set the rules, and members who don't like the rules need to either suck it up and follow them, or go elsewhere.

    I'm surprised. Was your Roadster out of warranty? Mine is still in warranty, being just two years old and low mileage. As for the remote diagnostic, mine is a 2.5. Does yours have the ability to do a remote log dump? Maybe it's a difference in what the service managers were willing to do. Had you ignored warning messages before the car shut down, or did it just shut down out of the blue? Had you had all the annual maintenances done?

    If your car shut down and the problem was the fan, I presume the fan had stopped. In my case, the fan was still running, and when I got home it was running like mad (hot weather). If you had to pay, I presume your car was out of warranty. Maybe that makes all the difference. Honestly, I am very surprised that you didn't get similar service to what I got, though of course it would not be free if it was out of warranty.

    If you've posted all the details, could you post a link to the thread?
     
  5. jbadger

    jbadger Roadster #506

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    It was definitely my fault for not stopping when I got the first warning message, and yes I was out of warranty hence why I had to pay for the repairs. Annual maintenance was done, with no issues reported and the car had been in a couple times recently before the issue.

    It's just interesting that I hear all these great stories about amazing service, but it's always for the people who are under warranty. I feel the out of warranty cars are getting treated no better than other car companies. I'm still happy with Tesla and the guys are really nice, but I don't feel the level of customer service I would expect for how expensive my car is and the amount I've spent on repairs.

    Power Train Problem Service required
     
  6. daniel

    daniel Active Member

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    I read your thread. The difference appears to be that your fan actually stopped, allowing the PEM to overheat. My fan never did stop. It ran the whole time. and the PEM temperature never went into the yellow, much less the red. They decided the fan and PEM needed replacing based on the codes and/or the diagnostics, and maybe based on the experiences of others. The fan was still running when they took it for a test drive after trying to find the problem that first afternoon and they got the same fault message.

    Given that my fan was running and the temperature was normal, I really don't know why they decided that the problem was the fan & PEM. I think they suspected that the fault code was being thrown by an intermittent problem that they feared could result in a fan shutdown if left unfixed. But that is my speculation.

    The rangers thought that the new fan was louder than the old one, meaning that the old one was not putting out enough air. But I could not tell. I am mystified why, if the problem was the fan or PEM, the temperature never did go above normal. All the way home that first day, all the time it was giving me the problem message every few minutes, the temperature never even reached the last blue bar.
     
  7. tdevince

    tdevince Member

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    Tesla needs to be very careful about the quality of their service right now, otherwise the argument that the Dealers are making in states like TX, VA and NC start to gain traction. Their biggest argument seems to be that franchised dealers provide better customer service than a manufacturer will, thus manufacturer's should not be allowed to sell directly to the customer.

    Sadly, my latest customer service (still under warranty) hasn't been so good. I've spent the last 3 weeks calling my service center (seldom getting them to call me back) trying to get a ranger to replace my peeling headlights. They tell me model S cars are getting priority over roadsters now. UGH!!! When I first got the car, the service was the best I've ever had with any car dealer.. They're supposed to call me back on Monday, we'll see what happens then.
     
  8. ViperDoc

    ViperDoc Roadster 1305

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    It must be a coincidence, but I returned home from a week away just now. I had left my Roadster in storage mode just to see how much charge it lost over the 8 days. It was in my garage, and the temps have been in the 80's here in VT although the garage is usually cool. When I looked at the screen on the dash when I got home, it was reading "POWERTRAIN FAULT". The car was just sitting there! It can't be charged in this state (red ring around charging port) apparently. Nice to return home from vacation to my driveway washed out and my car on the fritz.
     
  9. PRJIM

    PRJIM Member

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    Here is another coincidence, I too just got back from vacation earlier today and decided to take my Roadster out for a quick grocery run. Right after I left my driveway I got a Powertrain Fault and a Reduced Performance Fault. The PEM was in the red portion. Ugh I hope these cars are not all failing at the same time. My car is a 2010 2.5.
     
  10. ViperDoc

    ViperDoc Roadster 1305

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    Powertrain Problem

    Mine is a 2011 2.5.

    I just checked fuses to be sure it wasn't a radiator fan fuse. When I pulled the cover off the fuses for the first time, there was no fuse puller in the fuse puller holder on the back! A pair of pliers got the job done, but it wasn't a fuse. Hopeless optimist. Hopefully Rangers will come to the rescue.
     
  11. jbadger

    jbadger Roadster #506

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    I had same issues. Phone routing system didn't work and if I did get a live person they said they would look into it. Several days (3-5) would go by with no response, and i'd have to call again.

    I've got the same issue. Frement says they have a third party who is going to demonstrate a long term fix and once it's available will let me know.
     
  12. Eberhard

    Eberhard #421 Model S #S32

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    Do you have the old 2 fan system or the newer one with a central motor an two rotors?
     
  13. ViperDoc

    ViperDoc Roadster 1305

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    Fan system

    Soon after I got the car, they did some sort of work on it that they were doing "for everyone". I am not sure if any PEM work was involved. How can I tell which fan system I have?

    Thanks

    DJ
     
  14. Eberhard

    Eberhard #421 Model S #S32

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    You have to open the cover from the back. But i think you got the upgrade to the two-rotor system. There is also a problem with the wires. they are only 1,5mm from the PEM to the socket.
    Because of vibration one wire broke and burnt for 2cm. I got a new plug replaced but with more wire connectors. This adds more contacts resistences. Now I get #1144 too because the system has problem to let the fan run on higher speeds at higher ambient temperature and cannot achive the higher current because of voltage drops.
     
  15. jordanthompson

    jordanthompson 2010 2.0 Sport, VIN 0683

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    I was told that they were doing the fan upgrade on cars that were in warmer climates. When they installed the upgraded in fan in our car at the service interval last year (we live in Florida and our car originally came from northern California) everything was fine for about a month until we started getting warnings (don't remember what they were). I was told that the PEM (Mine is an early 2010) would not handle the new fan assembly so they replaced it with a new one.
     
  16. Botbldr45

    Botbldr45 Member

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    #16 Botbldr45, Jul 11, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
    HELP!!

    Went out to the garage after the end of morning charge to 182 at SOC 99%. Charge stopped at 6AM and I went to garage at about 7:30AM. Opened the passengers side door and the PEM fans came on..... that's unusual but garage was about 75 degrees. Went back in house to get more stuff and came back out, fans off, slid into car and started up to a "Powertrain Problem, Service Required" freaked out and turned car off. Turned it back on and Fault Warning still there! Got out of car, plugged it in, set the alarm ....... usually don't set the alarm but did this time. Went into house to arrange a ride. Went back out, doors would not open ....dah! car was locked..... unlocked car, unplugged it, started it up and all was normal. NO, warnings! Had a coworker pull up and decided to try it with her following me. Car ran normally so I set the video dislay on the temp bars and noticed the PEM temp reading was up one click higher than nomal. It ran that way all the way to work ... about 8 miles. I drove normal 50-55mph and battery went up one click ... normal .... PEM temp did not change.

    What do you think???
    No I was too stupid to get the fault code!

    PEM fan problem or PEM burp!


    Fan upgrade WAS completed last summer.
     
  17. djp

    djp Roadster 2.0 VIN939

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    That sounds like a one time glitch rather than overheating since you were sitting overnight in 75F ambient and no problems with the temperature indicators. Opening and closing the charge port door resets the system and would have cleared the error. Take it in to service if it reoccurs, but you're probably fine.
     
  18. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Yeah there's a few edge cases in the Roadster where it gets screwed up; you might have somehow found one.

    I had a cute glitch the other day. Unplugged, got into the car, turned it on, then realized the charge port door didn't close all the way. Asked my wife to push it closed. After that I couldn't get the car into Drive or Reverse - it would give that warning message about depressing the brake pedal first. Thing was, my foot was on the brake! Power off/on didn't clear it, so I powered down again and asked my wife to cycle the charge port door. After that the car went back to normal. That's life with the Roadster!
     
  19. Botbldr45

    Botbldr45 Member

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    Doug_G,

    That has happened to me with the charge port door also ..... just as you described it. I just figure that was the car's personality telling me to be more precise with procedures. The warning was something new. I'll let it go for now and watch the Temp Bars for anything different. If I get something out of the ordinary I will call service and report it here also ..... we are ALL in this together!

    Thanks for response guys :)
     
  20. strider

    strider Active Member

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    On warm days here (85-92F) my PEM is always on the last blue bar. My car sits out in the sun all day and I also charge at 30A sometime during the day. I definitely worry about long-term health of of the PEM as it seems to be hot all the time.

    I wonder... There's the coolant reservoir right there next to the PEM. How difficult and beneficial would it be to plumb some lines to carry that coolant over into the PEM? I should try to measure the temp of that coolant.
     

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