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Repairing a Flooded Tesla Model S : HOW-TO

Btr_ftw

Court Jester
Dec 19, 2015
1,037
2,110
Mass
I should have named this thread, "How to spend all of your spare time and money for something that may end up being a lost cause"


About me

I'm a bit of a tinkerer, and while my toy car is put away for the winter, I decided to take on another project in the meantime. I wasnt going to tell anyone
about this project (so if I fail I can pretend the whole thing never happened) but telling people keeps me motivated, maybe I can be known as "The guy that tried, but just couldn't do it"


My background

Sys Engineer/Admin


Experience with electric vehicles

Zero


Stress tolerance

High


Why

To challenge myself and entertain the community, after all, whats the worst thing that can happen to a car that is about 90% electronic based? Thats right, excessive water.


Things to keep in mind

If more than a week goes by without me updaing this thread, please assume that I have died.

I may not finish this and pass it off to someone else that has has more money and time than I do. So if you are interested in taking over... stay tuned

This will be the first time I have touched or even sat in a Model S
 

Btr_ftw

Court Jester
Dec 19, 2015
1,037
2,110
Mass
These are the only pieces of information I have on the car. Just these 6 photos.

This is what is going through my mind...

Is the nosecone really gone?

How long did the car sit?

Saltwater? Freshwater?

Apparently the hood "wont open"?

Is it missing half a backseat?

Car is equipped with air suspension with no more air in the tanks, are the bags done?

How high was the floodwater?


UI9w1tj.jpg

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hT6Wg2G.jpg

MPZjQyg.jpg

sjGaJYQ.jpg
 

pgiralt

Supporting Member
Jun 16, 2013
1,520
155
Cary, NC
At least you live in Massachusetts, so that's a plus because you have access to the repair manuals. Good luck. Be careful :)
 

Btr_ftw

Court Jester
Dec 19, 2015
1,037
2,110
Mass
I'll put this out there now, here are the 2 things I REALLY REALLY REALLY don't want to do to this car..

1) Remove the motor
2) Remove battery pack.... and having to go into the battery pack


Unfortunately... this seems unlikely. I will definitely need assistance/guidance from some of the guys in the 'hacking thread" with getting diagnostic info from the pack so hopefully they find their way over here.
 

ArtInCT

Always Learning
Sep 2, 2014
1,713
433
Southern Connecticut
I think you have to work on one sub-system at a time.... to maintain any sanity.

Where to start? Probably the 12 volt system as without it all else is pretty much unavailable.

BTW eBay has quite a few Model S parts for sale.
 

Btr_ftw

Court Jester
Dec 19, 2015
1,037
2,110
Mass
BTW eBay has quite a few Model S parts for sale.

Not for the prices I'm interested in paying. The body parts (nose cone, doors, trunks, headlights) are a dime a dozen, but the electronic stuff? Not so much..

- - - Updated - - -

Day one




Lets start off by saying just how heavy this car is, I mean its HEAVY, I've never even sat in or touched a model S prior to this moment. The car was loaded onto
a trailer via forklift and the trailer sagged so badly I couldn't believe it. My tow guy's top speed the entire 6 hour drive was about 45mph.


After it arrived at 10:30PM in front of my house it was an absolute nightmare to get off the truck, guess what? Battery was dead and the ebrake is stuck on, car would not power up, literally just
a 5000LB brick, we had to use my engine crane to jack up each individual wheel and put a dolly underneath (this took an hour, because the car is slammed to the ground and we were trying not to destroy
the fenders) not only this but we had to use my truck to pull the Tesla off the trailer (yes, even with the wheel dollies). It took another 2 hours another day just to push it into the garage by myself (no friends were around) and the dollies could not clear the lip over my garage, had to use my truck and a giant foam cushion to push the car into the garage.


During its tenure outside I had about 4 neighbors ask "is that a Tesla? must be niiiice", when I told them "yeah It was in a flood, I'm trying to fix it" they tilt their heads and
say "welp....... good luck" and back away slowly.
 

SabrToothSqrl

Active Member
Dec 5, 2014
3,721
3,008
PA
I assume you've read the issues others have had, repairing cars, correct? Where Tesla will/can/does disable them if they have not been checked over, by Tesla...

I wish you the best of luck, just don't want to see you spend months fixing it, then some legal jargon leaves you with a pretty paper weight :-/

If anything, I'd start parting out what you know works, and testing other things.
 
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Btr_ftw

Court Jester
Dec 19, 2015
1,037
2,110
Mass
I assume you've read the issues others have had, repairing cars, correct? Where Tesla will/can/does disable them if they have not been checked over, by Tesla...

I wish you the best of luck, just don't want to see you spend months fixing it, then some legal jargon leaves you with a pretty paper weight :-/

If anything, I'd start parting out what you know works, and testing other things.


I have read the other threads in detail and I suppose I am a sucker for punishment.

Either way this will make one hell of a story for you guys to follow and perhaps an expensive lesson for those that wish to do the same thing.

Keep in mind I'm certainly not the first to do this... there are others out there....
 

eye.surgeon

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
1,368
2,014
California
You've figured this out already but the rear seat is just folded down on one side, not missing. Personally I think this is a doable job. Not by me certainly but by someone more capable than me. The battery pack and motor are designed to be water tight, and frankly there's less to be damaged by flooding than an ICE car. I think the rate limiting step will be how willing the local service center is to plug it in and help out.
 
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SabrToothSqrl

Active Member
Dec 5, 2014
3,721
3,008
PA
What does restricted mean? (In this context)

Also, if you start taking stuff apart - film it. When mine's out of warranty I know I'll need to replace the charge port that breaks every 5,000 miles on me...
 

scaesare

Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2013
8,271
13,295
NoVA
I have read the other threads in detail and I suppose I am a sucker for punishment.

Either way this will make one hell of a story for you guys to follow and perhaps an expensive lesson for those that wish to do the same thing.

Keep in mind I'm certainly not the first to do this... there are others out there....

Awesome project (both in coolness and daunting factor), I'm tuned in...

You've probably seen this blog, but just in case: Stretchla (backtrack and start from the beginning)
 

StaceyS

Member
Jul 10, 2015
210
49
Bend, OR United States
Simple, just put it in a container full of rice for a few days...


Seriously though, I'd say your chances at recovery are better if it was flooded in freshwater. If it was salt water, I think you're boned. I've actually recovered many electronic items from freshwater flooding, including a Roomba that spent 8 hours underwater. You need to make sure all of the electrical circuit boards and components completely clean and dry, which on the Model S is going to be tricky!

For high voltage, I think you're probably ok. Its the circuit boards and low voltage stuff that's going to give you trouble I think, because water can jump those circuits much easier at those small scales. If it were me, I'd be planning to take the entire interior apart with the goal of cleaning and drying every low voltage system on the car. I would keep my fingers crossed that the battery remained sealed and no water go into it, but you'll have to figure out how to test the condition of the battery.

I've got no experience messing with any of the computer systems in the Model S, but I have lots of experience with computer hardware and electronic bits and bobs.
 
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Btr_ftw

Court Jester
Dec 19, 2015
1,037
2,110
Mass
Simple, just put it in a container full of rice for a few days...


Seriously though, I'd say your chances at recovery are better if it was flooded in freshwater. If it was salt water, I think you're boned. I've actually recovered many electronic items from freshwater flooding, including a Roomba that spent 8 hours underwater. You need to make sure all of the electrical circuit boards and components completely clean and dry, which on the Model S is going to be tricky!

For high voltage, I think you're probably ok. Its the circuit boards and low voltage stuff that's going to give you trouble I think, because water can jump those circuits much easier at those small scales. If it were me, I'd be planning to take the entire interior apart with the goal of cleaning and drying every low voltage system on the car. I would keep my fingers crossed that the battery remained sealed and no water go into it, but you'll have to figure out how to test the condition of the battery.

I've got no experience messing with any of the computer systems in the Model S, but I have lots of experience with computer hardware and electronic bits and bobs.

stay tuned, I'm sure I'll need you
 
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