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Rear Hatch Latching Problem (Model S)

Discussion in 'Model S' started by berkeley_ecar, May 20, 2018.

  1. berkeley_ecar

    berkeley_ecar S 90D (fully loaded) delivered 18 Mar 2017

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    This evening I experienced an odd problem, for which I called Tesla Roadside Assistance to log the issue. Returning to my parked car with some purchases, I opened the motorized rear hatch using the manual switch under the chrome trim at the bottom of the hatch. It opened normally, I placed my purchased in the trunk, and I pressed the closure switch on the right underside of the opened hatch, as I have done many times before. The hatch appeared to be closed, but upon entering the car I noted that the dash display indicated that the hatch was open. Pressing the rear hatch button on the fob twice rapidly produced a triple beep alert sound on the car's audio system, rather than opening the hatch. The same alert sound occurred if I tried to manually open the hatch. Pressing down carefully on the hatch suggest that it is perhaps 1/8" higher than it would be if fully closed, although to the eye alone it appears fully closed. It was at this point that I called Roadside Assistance. I successfully rebooted the MCU, but that had no effect upon the problem. The hatch remained in this state in spite of repeated attempts to open/close it manually and with the fob. I did not use the iPhone app or MCU displays to try to control it (an unfortunate oversight on my part). I took the opportunity to report at the same time that I have had to reboot the MCU from 1-3 times daily, with few exceptions, for the past two weeks. My vehicle has also frequently lost LTE connectivity on multiple occasions for extended periods of time during the same period, a new experience.

    I was able to drive the vehicle home, though there was a small initial popup in the dash display along the lines of "Rear hatch open, proceed with caution," and an intermittent beep tone was played for a minute or so. When I parked the vehicle, the door handles refused to retract when I exited the car and pressed the center button of the fob. However, when I returned to my locked garage later, they had retracted (presumably doing so after the conventional delay time when one walks away from the vehicle without using the fob to lock it) and they presented themselves normally when the fob got within range. I used the MCU to turn off the power of the car in case it tried to activate the hatch while unattended.

    I removed my purchases by lowering the driver-side rear seat and pulling them out of the trunk area. When I had crawled into the trunk during the early part of this episode, thinking that I might be able to open the hatch from inside, I did not note any emergency trunk release switch, such as is present in the frunk -- I was a bit surprised at this (but may have overlooked it).

    Has anyone else experienced a similar problem? My thanks in advance for any helpful observations (this note is written in a spirit of sharing helpful information for those like myself who are eager to learn as much as they can about the Model S, and hope responses will be written in the same spirit). I still consider my Model S a splendid vehicle which I feel fortunate to own and find a delight to drive.
     
  2. Joe F

    Joe F FUD Buster

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    I had the rear hatch refuse to close fully once and it sounds similar to what you saw wrt the hatch sans door handles.

    First really hot day the car sat outside triggered it. Solution in my case was to slightly screw the 4 trunk adjusters in to lessen the force required by the motor, which probably triggered an overload condition.
     
  3. Bebop

    Bebop Active Member

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    Last time I was at the SC, it was to fix this exact issue. About a month ago.

    Out of no where my trunk would not open, I would get this multi beeping sound when I double tapped on my keyfob to try to open it. Inside the car, on the screen, it was showing that the rear was "open" even though it was completely shut.

    Turns out the rear latch failed and they replaced the mechanism. If you are having issues still, I would schedule an appointment with your SC.
     
  4. bmah

    bmah Moderator, Model S / Model X Forums

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    @berkeley_ecar: What you described could be this problem (TL;DR: rear trunk latch actuator mechanism has been known to fail; not a super-common problem but it seems to have been reported most often by owners of 2015 builds):

    Rear trunk won't open

    Bruce.

    PS. I think the emergency release for the trunk has something to do with the light in the liftgate, although I don't remember for sure and I'm not by my car at the moment.
     
  5. MarkS22

    MarkS22 Member

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    I had this happen a couple months ago. The motor had died mid-closure. Even the emergency hatch release wouldn’t work.

    A ranger came out the next day and replaced the motor. No problems since.
     
  6. JPP

    JPP Active Member

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    Same thing happened to me about a month ago on my 2013 S85. Rear lift gate stuck partially open about 1 inch—could not close it or open it. Service center had to replace latch mechanism under extended warranty. Not sure how they got to access the mechanism since they could not open the lift gate or get access from inside when closed. But all good now.
     
  7. sorka

    sorka Well-Known Member

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    My hatch latch is making this very sad sound trying sound when closing. I forgot to mention it at my 50K despite the fact that I wrote it down. It was the one complaint that didn't survive the copy to my email of concerns :(

    I tried lubricating it with grease but that made no difference.
     
  8. tranzndance

    tranzndance Member

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    I've had issues with the hatch not closing after I pushed the button to close it. One time I had walked away not knowing that the hatch had popped open. Fortunately someone I knew pointed it out to me. That was embarrassing that my car could fail like that.

    I was able to close the hatch by pushing down. I took it to SC but they could not reproduce the issue in 10 tries.
     
  9. murphyS90D

    murphyS90D Member

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    The emergency trunk release is behind a very difficult to remove plastic cover just below the light in the center of the trunk lid. I permanently removed the cover.
     
  10. JPP

    JPP Active Member

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    FWIW when my latch jammed/failed the emergency release did not work. Pulling on the cable would not unjam the latch.
     
    • Like x 1
  11. whitex

    whitex Active Member

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    My wife's 6 month old Model S just ran into this problem at home. It opened ok, but when trying to close it it doesn't even move from the open position, just gives 3 beeps and that's it. Closing it manually doesn't actually latch. Using the remote or screen controls produces the very same triple beep. HOWEVER, no message on the screen about WTF the error is. You'd think a car with such advanced tech and detailed logging, should at least tell you what it's having a problem with. Anyhow, after 10 minutes of gentle attempts, applied some violence to it and eventually it latched. Will schedule a ranger to get the latch replaced asap.

    @berkeley_ecar , what does Tesla roadside suggest when this happen? To drive with an open trunk? To call a tow truck to take you wherever you need to go until they can fix it? Tow it to a service center and get a loaner until they fix it?

    I will say this, everyone comments on Tesla quality improving over time. My experience has been the opposite - had no problems at all with my 2013 Model S, then some minor ones with 2015, then some weird ones with 2017 and now 2018. So my experience is really opposite, the later the car, the less QA it seems to have gotten (our 2017 mirror didn't fold out during delivery!). At least they have rangers now because SC is 40-90min away (no traffic - traffic) and while SC staff has always been stellar, my wife dreads going there (she drive the 2017 and now drives the 2018).

    Hmm... just tried Tesla's new online booking system - there is no option for a ranger visit, only drop off appointments are showing online, not available for almost a month, and nothing about loaners either. I'll call tomorrow morning to see what's up and to schedule a range asap since my my wife is afraid to open the trunk in fear of being stranded somewhere (I assume it's not safe driving with the trunk flopping open, Tesla doesn't cover any damage (e.g. water intrusion) or theft due to latch not closing, or doesn't provide free replacement hatch if I was to bold on some metal brackets with a padlock to keep it closed). Hoping Elon's big push for volume Model 3 didn't come at an expense of existing customers losing access to timely service - even Tesla cars require service, they are not like Honda, Toyota, VW, Lexus or Porsche cars I've owned which you buy and for the first 4+ years do nothing but scheduled services (longest I owned a car was a 2006 Lexus RX400h for 8 years with nothing but scheduled service, one recall done during regular service while they provided me with a brand new one to drive for 2 days).
     
  12. berkeley_ecar

    berkeley_ecar S 90D (fully loaded) delivered 18 Mar 2017

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    Berkeley, CA
    #12 berkeley_ecar, Oct 21, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
    I realize that I never provided a follow-up posting. My car was seen by my local service center two days after my initial report of the problem; they verified the problem and replaced the "cinch actuator motor," which was the same problem/solution reported by @bmah above. I am uncertain as to whether others here who report having to replace motors were suffering from the same issue. These were the parts involved:

    ASY LIFTGATE LATCH PWR REL (6006654-00-B)
    CINCHING ACTUATOR (1003549-00-A)

    Thanks for pointing this out, @murphyS90D. I shall be trying to add some mechanism to ease its removal, such as a pull-tab.

    The issues you raise never came up, as I was able to drive the vehicle, I park it in a locked garage, and the hatch did not appear to the naked eye to be unlatched, so I did not fear using it the next day. I simply drove the car, and put up with the periodic warning beeps. As reported above, the problem was fixed two days after I first reported it. Although I realize that one comes across complaints about Tesla service in the forum, I have nothing but praise for the speed and quality of work I've received from my local Service Center (which is about a 30m drive from home). I've always received a loaner vehicle, and have had no more difficulty with the car or servicing it than I had with my 1986 Volvo, purchased new, which was my only vehicle until I sold it to purchase the Model S. The S is infinitely more fun and interesting to own and drive than the 740 station wagon was, and has proven to be every bit as practical. I'm very sorry to hear about your QC/service issues, but working as I do with probability and statistics am cautious about drawing broad conclusions from limited samples.

    Best of luck getting your hatch closure problem fixed!
     
  13. EVCarGUy

    EVCarGUy Member

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    A Ranger replaced the latch and cinch motor in my 2015 S85D last week. He said they were Mercedes parts.
     
  14. whitex

    whitex Active Member

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    #14 whitex, Oct 22, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
    To be clear, my experience with the local service center has always been stellar over the last 5 years. They do what they can and in my experience go the extra mile for customers, but all within limits imposed on them by corporate Tesla. So for example, while I go loaners whenever they could swing it, sometimes they were simply out and there was nothing they could do but offer lyft service (to my office and back, not to shuttle kids around activities all day like my wife would require). I haven't needed service since May and the queue wasn't a month long back then. My concern is the Elon is overloading the Service Centers with the Model 3 push - probably with his usual naive optimism he thought they would all drive trouble free for the first few years and never need a Service Center visit, but it seems he was wrong, and customers suffer now because Tesla is unprepared to handle the load of services required. Of course I am open to another explanation as to why the wait times have gone up so much if you have one. :)

    Btw, my wife's trunk now opens and closes just fine, which creates another issue of having a reproducible problem. If I was to book an appointment a month out, the relevant logs which could help diagnose this will most likely be gone by then. Hoping I can get a ranger to come out soon. She doesn't want to be stuck somewhere where after loading the trunk with shopping she finds she can't close it, so things could fly out if the hatch opens, or simply rain intrusion will damage the car (unlike California, it rains here), or someone will steal the stuff when she parks it in a public spot.

    EDIT: I am more sensitive to issues like this when they affect my wife's car. I am an early adopter, and I am not afraid to duct-tape a trunk shut, but my wife is a different story (would not want to do it herself, nor drive a car with duct taped trunk). Also, as those of you who are married know, "unhappy wife, unhappy life", so that's one reason why she drives the newer one (was hoping for it to be past the early adopter stage).
     
  15. mbhforum

    mbhforum Member

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    I had this issue last month. My SC told me it’s best they handle it and not the the mobile service. It took them over a week to get the part in.

    At one point my trunk opened but couldn’t close but I eventually slammed it shut. All is well now but this was a frustrating problem.
     
  16. whitex

    whitex Active Member

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    Did you have a loaner for that week? Also, what were the replaced parts?
     
  17. Brass Guy

    Brass Guy Member

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    My 2013 non-tech (manual liftgate) latch broke at least 5 times. 2 or 3 under warranty, replaced once myself, goodwilled once which failed shortly after and was replaced again under parts warranty.
    I think the car is safe to drive like that, but it bounces just a little when you drive over bumps and you cannot lock the car at all; which is why the handles behaved differently in the OP.
     
  18. mbhforum

    mbhforum Member

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    Yes, I had a few other issues worked out as well, so they took my car for a few days and I had a 2018 75d loaner without AP from Enterprise. Here is the invoice for it covered under warranty.

    The car thinks the trunk is open so AP wouldn’t work and I had to manually lock the doors. This is why it was such a frustrating problem to drive around with.
     

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  19. Oldschool496

    Oldschool496 Member

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    Florida
    Same thing here, emergency latch through backseat a no go. They torqued on the lift gate a few times and gave up. Signed me up for a P85D for a week and then

    SAWZALL. Yep they sawzall the cinch motor clean off, taking the large lower plastic trim piece on the hatch with it and the two threshold pieces get damaged as well in the process. New latch installed and new trim pieces, works better then when new. Had a loaner for 5 days.

    Parts take the most time as above.
     
  20. whitex

    whitex Active Member

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    Sawzall? That's old school, I'm sure Elon is working on new, more efficient way to use directed explosives to perform the same job in a fraction of the time. He's cross-pollinating by sharing SpaceX expertise with high explosives. As soon as he gets government approval to ship high explosives to service centers and rangers, this will be a 5 minute job - blow the hatch, install a new one. :p
     

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