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Vendor Preventative Maintenance regarding Battery Failures in early Model S vehicles (2012-2014)

aerodyne

MS LR = Last Car?
Nov 19, 2018
5,195
8,373
Los Angeles
Is there a way on Teslafi to check battery and module health? If so, please do share as I would love to scan mine.
Teslafi will only report rated range. The other details were reported by SMT.

However, if you know your EPA rated consumption, your current range, and SoC, you can make a rough approximation of pack capacity.
 
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The one from the dual motor procedure is the one used for the retrofits also. However, I would not suggest removing the hose from the car as it's pretty much impossible to reattach from the frunk area if you pull it off of the evaporator drain fitting inside the car.
Thanks - I was wondering how it attached on the other side of the firewall grommet that hte hose passes through.
 
Teslafi will only report rated range. The other details were reported by SMT.

However, if you know your EPA rated consumption, your current range, and SoC, you can make a rough approximation of pack capacity.
Looks like my current range is 238.9 and the fleet average is 237.7. Says there are zero vehicles with a higher range. Guess that is a good thing!
 
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vanwho

spaceship goes zoom
Nov 21, 2020
37
32
Hamburg, DE
Thanks everyone for detailed info and pics here. As a Dec 2014 manufacture date / Mar 2015 first registration date P85D in Europe, things are interesting. All these cars had final assembly of motors and battery to the chassis in the Netherlands, so battery dates can be different from chassis dates.

I Have VIN P67... but battery serial T15C, which from this thread I've learned in a March 2015 battery, so perhaps some luck that the battery has some of the improvements re: sealant and vents?

Definitely going to check the drain routing. With 217kkm, 135k miles, and warranty up in a few months, and neither motors or battery ever touched as far as I can tell (2nd owner)... bit worried over here. Still get the 130kw charging in perfect conditions for a few seconds, and don't want to sell the car and pay more for a 90D.

Hose routing, even on dual motors is a no brainer, but the side vents, would love to know more there. I'm not afraid to drop the battery if I need, also. We're talking 13k€ prevention, and those of us that work on our own cars and electronics and have access to shops, use a transmission lift or two, should be ok to do the drop and perform maintenance.

So how to do the vents, is that posted anywhere? Fuse access sealant is pretty straightforward (and replace fuse while at it just in case it seems, or at least if any corrosion). And fasteners if they're corroded, do those and new O-rings/added sealant. Do you have to open the pack to do the vents? If opening the pack then might as well do the rest 057 mentions re: contactors.

I don't think there's any worry of open sourcing all the info, because there are so few people that would ever do this themselves, almost no shop just popping up to do it for people with the info, and so many folks that will still need this and bring it to 057 and the, what 2 others in the whole U.S. and none in Europe. Thanks so much wk057 for pioneering all these years, and everyone for sharing.
 
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aerodyne

MS LR = Last Car?
Nov 19, 2018
5,195
8,373
Los Angeles
While examining how my local service center overfilled my front DU, and blew out the seal, got a good look at what I think is the AC drain hose on my Jun9th 2015 build MS 85D.

Note the little flap to keep bugs out.

Hope this is helpful to someone.
 

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updated drain setup including bug guard on the drain end. also fabricated a custom 90 to use with 16mm heater hose where it meets the 14mm drain tube on firewall. no clamps needed, all snug press fit. used zip ties to keep the 90 bend on final discharge away from the rack and pinion by securing around the frame. attached pics. If there is interest i might offer this as a kit.
 

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updated drain setup including bug guard on the drain end. also fabricated a custom 90 to use with 16mm heater hose where it meets the 14mm drain tube on firewall. no clamps needed, all snug press fit. used zip ties to keep the 90 bend on final discharge away from the rack and pinion by securing around the frame. attached pics. If there is interest i might offer this as a kit.
Hey @beastman - I would be interested in at least the custom parts (90 bend and bug guard) as a kit.
 

wk057

Vendor & Senior Tinkerer
Feb 23, 2014
6,212
15,205
Hickory, NC, USA
I see a few people extending this with fittings. This will work for a while, but eventually that can get clogged up at those joints as the condensation nuclei (usually dust and such) grows at these locations. If DIYing this, make sure you use a setup where the existing hose in inserted into a new hose or fitting, not anything being inserted into into the existing hose.
Just going to reiterate this note. ^
 
Just going to reiterate this note. ^
Would a bug guard (a bunch of small holes) possibly create the same problem as the elbow that goes inside the hose, thus creating a smaller diameter path or ridges for the fluid to pass through and possibly collect "crud" which would plug the exiting of condensation? As I think what you are trying to get across is to make sure the pathway for the condensate to exit is kept as smooth and free of any obstructions?
 
My 2013 model S has a 4xxx VIN and was manufactured in January of 2013. Earlier in the year I had the issue of moisture getting into the battery, and I am curious if the evap drain was to blame. Total cost was ~$2000 for a new fuse, field CRT kit, umbrella valves, and a rapid mate plate. Took 2 weeks.

For reference, I supercharge more than I should. For the past 2 years I have been supercharging every 2 weeks.

IMG_378D51838090-1.jpeg
 
Would a bug guard (a bunch of small holes) possibly create the same problem as the elbow that goes inside the hose, thus creating a smaller diameter path or ridges for the fluid to pass through and possibly collect "crud" which would plug the exiting of condensation? As I think what you are trying to get across is to make sure the pathway for the condensate to exit is kept as smooth and free of any obstructions?
I will find out in a bit of time whether I get any buildup. On my setup the final discharge is at a steep downward angle so the fluid should not build up once it reaches the last leg of the drainage. There are over 20 small holes on my setup for the bug screen - I would think it would take a considerable amount of time to ever clog this up if ever - I would assume humidity and each person's particular area is a key factor for some kind of mold/mildew bacterial buildup. The drain line needs to be in a situation where water does not sit there very long to prevent buildup and the drain line must run slightly downhill.

kool-it can be used to clean the a/c drain hose and probably is a good idea for those of us to clean this out every few years (see link). I also used thicker rubber tubing (16mm) vs. the standard Tesla 14mm a/c drain hose so the last stretch of this is not the limiting factor.

Maybe certain climates will have more difficulty than warm Northern CA with crud buildup, all I can be sure of is that the alternative is destroying the battery long-term without this solution due to corrosion on the bolts around the penthouse. Re-routing the drain line may be the least expensive and important modification for 2012-2014 owners that could maximize life out of the vehicle battery.

It's probably one of those maintenance items to put on a list -- clean a/c drain line annually- especially for those out of warranty and $15.00 for kool-it lube is about 20x cheaper than a single hour of troubleshooting at Tesla service. Takes about 20 minutes to take out the tub in the frunk to get to that area worst case. I haven't ever had another vehicle I owned ever get the A/C condensate drain buildup in the last 30 years in my area.

Kool-It
 
057 Tech ran my 2014 p85dL VIN and let me know that my car falls into the window after Tesla implemented a lot of changes to correct the issues that are addressed in the thread- thank you 057!

My next questions are now regarding the longevity of a battery and reliability of a car like mine as my warranty expires in December. Should I be concerned that it has the upgraded Ludicrous mode, or may that help the drivetrain somehow due to the hardware upgrades that the upgrade required upon installation?

How about the air suspension? I haven’t had any issues in the past (car had 83k miles), but I’ve had other cars (sl55 and e55) and eventually those were big cost items to repair…is that the case for Teslas too, and can I somehow get tesla to do “pre-purchase” type of inspection to check for any issues while under warranty-has anyone had success getting the service center to do such a thing?
 

cousin_IT

Face provided by boredhumans.com
Oct 27, 2020
522
496
Netherlands
There are some definite trends with early battery packs failing in earlier Model S vehicles... from day 1 builds up to about Q4'2014 and some even Q1'2015... and any cars that have had Tesla-refurbished packs installed.

The issues are all pretty much the same thing in one form or another, almost always related to moisture ingress into the battery pack via deteriorated side rail vents (which are supposed to be sealed one-way vents for safety purposes). Secondary would be moisture related rust and corrosion of the top-front of the battery pack cover due to years of standing water on top of the battery pack from the air-conditioning condensate drain line design on earlier cars which drain directly on top of the battery pack.

I figured I'd do a quick thread on this, as 057 currently has over twenty customer vehicles in the shop (yes, our shop is > 30,000 sqft), all of them with essentially the same battery issue, all out of OEM warranty, and these folks have very few options at their disposal.

First, I want to point out that I don't think Tesla is under any obligation to do anything about this. I don't think they did anything wrong, and I don't think they're going to do anything about it. I'm not sure they should do anything about it either, as they've already improved the design and this isn't really an issue on newer vehicles.

That said, I can see a huge percentage of early S vehicle being affected by this problem. Tesla already "fixed" one variant of this with the brick 6 emulation for when the sense wire on a single module is damaged (99% of the time by corrosion from moisture). Details in a writeup I did a while back here.

On our end at 057, we're refurbishing these batteries when possible, and replacing them when not. Replacements have to be newer than the problem era in order to make sense, which makes it pricier, especially since we can't just go to Tesla and buy a battery pack. We've been updating the side vents on older pack chassis, and have even been doing full transplants of hardware from older an chassis into a newer one in order to mitigate these issues for our customers.

We've already done some proactive service like this for some customers, which we're going to start offering at as low of a price as possible to our customers as a scheduled service option... although right this second we don't have the manpower to do so and officially pull the trigger on this. We're pretty swamped already (not a bad problem to have for us, but I digress...)

Where I think Tesla is doing something wrong is that they don't seem to always correct the underlying issue on their refurbished batteries that they sell to customers. Despite usually offering some kind of warranty on their somewhat expensive refurbished replacements, it doesn't make sense to me to not always correct the original issue since even with a warranty it would suck to have the downtime yet again. So you could get one of these refurbished replacements and end up in the same boat a few years later.

Not 100% sure what the best solution is for this, but here's where I'm at:

Right now, we're doing testing of some custom-made parts to be able to retrofit into these older battery packs to prevent the moisture ingress issue and better seal the pack for the long term. As part of the service we'll test for existing moisture ingress, use some custom equipment to remove any moisture from the battery pack, and give the customer an estimated idea of what we expect the long term health of their battery might be afterwards. We eventually hope to offer this as a preventative maintenance service to customers as a one-day service (scheduled in advance, of course) for < $1k, possibly by the end of the year. In my opinion, this is going to be an essential service for these vehicles once we've got it streamlined.

Depending on the level of moisture measured, we'll also offer the option of a full rebuild of the battery pack. This would be a longer process and a bit more expensive, but we would then inspect and test all of the 100+ sense connections within the battery, update other components as needed (contactors, fuse, etc), and basically do a full refurbishment on the battery pack. While we're not going to in any way require customers to go this route, the issue is that the ultrasonic welds Tesla uses on the sense connections are pretty sensitive to moisture and can fail unexpectedly even after we remove internal moisture and correct the underlying ingress issues. Once above a certain amount of moisture, which we believe we have sufficient data to have honed in on, that failure is pretty much imminent, even if it can be delayed.

Anyway, just wanted to get some feedback on this. We've gotten a lot of direct customer feedback thus far on this and pretty much everyone thinks it's an excellent plan, but figured I'd throw it out here and get some thoughts on interest and such before we really start dumping resources into making this happen.
So what you’re basically saying is that the batteries themselves aren’t the problem but the moisture is. This would imply that you should see a lot less repairs coming in over the next few years as the issue is (to an extend) now mitigated. That, or there will be new problems 😊
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
8,769
11,441
Boise, ID
How about the air suspension? I haven’t had any issues in the past (car had 83k miles), but I’ve had other cars (sl55 and e55) and eventually those were big cost items to repair…is that the case for Teslas too,
Tesla was using a common air suspension system from a supplier that was used on multiple other brands of cars, probably the same as Mercedes, since they were using a lot of Mercedes parts. So I think it would be exactly the same. That is the reason I made sure to NOT get a car with air suspension. I didn't want a $4,000 per wheel repair bill lurking.

and can I somehow get tesla to do “pre-purchase” type of inspection to check for any issues while under warranty-has anyone had success getting the service center to do such a thing?
I would think so.
 
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