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Signature Roadster Power Train failure

PARoadster

Member
Jun 5, 2019
14
5
Palo Alto
I have one of the Signature Roadsters (original owner). Very light use, less than 7k miles on it. Two weeks ago I tried to drive the car and received a "Power Train failure" error. Called Tesla and was told to have the car flatbed towed to the local SC.

They have had the car for two weeks and still have not determined the root cause. The text I received today stated that they believe there was a failure in the "battery management system which necessitates replacement of the HV battery pack."

When I called in, the service rep was already gone for the day.

I searched the forums to see if anyone has reported similar issues. Am curious to know if anyone has or has any suggestions on next steps.

Thanks in advance.
 

X.l.r.8

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Feb 18, 2018
1,543
969
Toronto/Miami
My first question to the SC would be “do you have a replacement HV battery pack?”
It’s a simple question that should elicit a yes or no answer.
I don’t know if they are holding battery’s back for warranty’s or certain conditions but the word on the forums is they no longer carry HV battery packs. All is not lost.
Firstly have you had yearly services whereby the PEM has been removed? Can you give us more history other than the criminally low milage. :)
 
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PARoadster

Member
Jun 5, 2019
14
5
Palo Alto
My first question to the SC would be “do you have a replacement HV battery pack?”
It’s a simple question that should elicit a yes or no answer.
I don’t know if they are holding battery’s back for warranty’s or certain conditions but the word on the forums is they no longer carry HV battery packs. All is not lost.
Firstly have you had yearly services whereby the PEM has been removed? Can you give us more history other than the criminally low milage. :)
My first question to the SC would be “do you have a replacement HV battery pack?”
It’s a simple question that should elicit a yes or no answer.
I don’t know if they are holding battery’s back for warranty’s or certain conditions but the word on the forums is they no longer carry HV battery packs. All is not lost.
Firstly have you had yearly services whereby the PEM has been removed? Can you give us more history other than the criminally low milage. :)

Thanks for the reply. I have had the yearly maintenance done each year at the local SC. Not sure what that entails, but it makes the error message on the screen go away. So, if removing the PEM is part of that service, then they have done it every year since 2008.

The only service other than the yearly maintenance and replacement of wiper blades this vehicle ever needed was a replacement lock on the trunk. One day the lock just fell out.

I'll ask tomorrow if they have the battery packs. As for warranty, I have both the extended maintenance warranty and the battery warranty. However, the service rep told me in the message that this service would not be covered. I will need more detail from her on that when we speak.

Appreciate the help.
 
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gregd

Active Member
Dec 31, 2014
2,585
1,802
CM98
So, the expertise at every service center is somewhat unique, and rather variable. Being in the Bay Area, I would hope the one you took the car to is among the better ones, just due to the volume of cars if nothing else.

That said, I've not been super impressed by the initial diagnosis on several issues that have occurred with my car over the years. I needed to push on them with several layers of "why?", because the default "fix" is often to replace very large, expensive, and ultimately rare parts of the car. As an engineer by trade and temperament, this was a natural action on my part, trying to really understand what the cause of the issue has been, and why - REALLY why - the action they propose is the right and only course of action.

For example, one big deal indicated I needed a new $10k PEM, but pushing on it got them to work with the factory resulting in the revelation that the few $$ PEM fan connector had burned contacts (they're undersized) and needed replacing. The result was that I paid for the connector and a few hours labor to replace the pins. The PEM itself was swapped with a refurbished one, essentially for free.

Swapping a battery pack is one of those large, expensive, and rare hunks of the car. My recommendation is to really get to the bottom of what error(s) the SC is seeing, and what they mean. Let us know what they say, if you're not understanding things. These cars are essentially engineering prototypes, and each of us need to be beta test engineers.
 

X.l.r.8

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Feb 18, 2018
1,543
969
Toronto/Miami
For the reasons noted by @gregd i was wondering if the infamous connectors had been effectively worn out by the maintenance schedule. I am also curious to know if being a signature series it has been left alone or had the air fan ‘upgrade’. I think have a bias that a car like yours would unfortunately prove, that is the upgraded fan would put a lot more stress on the connector that cools the ‘powertrain’ Causing the overheating and premature failing or at least the perceived premature failing of major components. As also mentioned the usual response at the SC is simply replace the major component with varying levels of success, the plug causing the initial problem is fixed by default or at least one half is. With the varying milage of many of the other vehicles and unknown history due to multiple owners it’s been hard to establish any real reason. But you have a one owner car, with no perceived milage, with known history that has potentially had the same service work done as a high milage vehicle that would/could be expected to have ‘powertrain’ issues. I would certainly be asking questions regarding the PEM plugs which I do not believe that the SC would change alone. They would indeed replace a $10,000 component for a $5 plug.
 

PARoadster

Member
Jun 5, 2019
14
5
Palo Alto
Thank you all for your help.

Update as of this morning. Had a call from the SC tech who apologized for giving me the wrong information last night. She tells me they now believe it is the battery management board inside the battery pack. However, and this is good news, that would be covered by the ESA. She told me they are still not certain, but hope to resolve soon. I'll post once I get a definitive answer. I really appreciate everyones help on this, thank you.
 

gregd

Active Member
Dec 31, 2014
2,585
1,802
CM98
Thank you all for your help.

Update as of this morning. Had a call from the SC tech who apologized for giving me the wrong information last night. She tells me they now believe it is the battery management board inside the battery pack. However, and this is good news, that would be covered by the ESA. She told me they are still not certain, but hope to resolve soon. I'll post once I get a definitive answer. I really appreciate everyones help on this, thank you.
Bingo...
 

PARoadster

Member
Jun 5, 2019
14
5
Palo Alto
My Tesla has returned!

Took awhile, but I now have back my Signature Roadster. Everything works great.

One lesson from this experience that I had not appreciated is how difficult it is to get parts and repairs on the car as it gets older. My roadster is just under 7k in miles, however the failure of the battery management board has me thinking that perhaps I should sell the car. I am not the type of owner who likes to tinker with or DIY repair for any auto-related items. (Computers, sure, but on a car it is simply a skill set I do not have). Curious if others have thought of moving on from their Roadsters due to the cost and complexity of repairs.

Thanks
 

strider

Active Member
Oct 20, 2010
3,630
1,005
NE Oklahoma
Well, it's going to be like most other low-volume cars. Parts and expertise will be harder and harder to find over time. But my feeling is that this forum will be the place to figure out how to keep these cars on the road.

At this point, Tesla is still supporting them so I would keep it. I'm not sure the delay is due to it being a Roadster, Tesla Service is slow no matter which model you have. Based on the mileage I assume this isn't a daily driver for you so I would keep it and enjoy it. If something else like this happens Tesla till take care of it, it'll just take time.

I keep hoping they'll do another round of 80kWh batteries (or do one w/ MS cells). I'm down to 161 miles on a standard charge.
 
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