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TPMS - Again on my LEMON. 4 times 37,000 miles

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by scotty2541, Oct 26, 2016.

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  1. scotty2541

    scotty2541 Member

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    Yet again, every year like clockwork, the TPMS has given me a failure.

    I have a few questions for the experienced service people.
    How can I determined the exact cause? The logs only says "Hardware Fault". The info display and the diag display both are showing blanks for the pressure and temperature.

    If it's the tires sensors, who makes them? and where can I get new sensors not at 1000% markup? They replaced them for me last time at 10 times the price, and told me they last 4-5 years. In reality, it has been exactly one.

    If it's the control module, where is it? It'll be the third one in this thing. What is the tool needed to reset it? Is there someone else who will do it, because it's getting really old paying hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and thousands and hundreds of dollars to have them keep fixing this defective car.

    I think my boss is going to cancel his order, because he is seeing all the problems I am having. And I don't blame him.

    Very Annoyed Tesla Customer. (Aka Scotty)
     
  2. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Is your Roadster a 2.x? Its already known that this system is not robust.

    Also it sounds like you're venting / ranting. To compare a car that's been out there in the market that only 2500 have been produced to a mass produced car isn't that much of a fair comparison wouldn't you say?

    I have a 1.5, I have the original TPMS in the car since it was built in April 2009. The only TPMS issues I get is due to the battery going dead in the TPMS module located in the wheel due to the battery aging, but this actually outlived the expected lifetime of the battery for TPMS's since I'm going on 7.5 years and 60,000 miles on them. TPMS modules have an expected lifetime of 5 to 7 years. I get TPMS errors in cold mornings since the battery voltage drops, normal dying battery behavior.

    Would I recommend a Tesla Model 3, Model X, or Model S to my friends based on my experience with the company and the cars. Yes. Would I recommend them to buy a Roadster? Well that depends. It is an older car that is limited in production where limited people have experience working or understanding them. So the person who's interested would have to understand these risks, just like buying any used car, but has more risk since its limited production. If they said which version of the Roadster I recommend I'd say the 1.5 based upon my positive experience and reliability I've had with this car.
     
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  3. thefortunes

    thefortunes Member

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    Wiztecy is correct, the TPMS on the 2.x is not as robust as on the 1.5s. I would disagree with his version recommendation for ownership, but that has been discussed ad nauseum in other threads ;)

    I have had my 2.5 Roadster for 3+ years now. I had the rear TPMS receiver replaced early in my ownership, and the rear tire modules replaced a year or so later. As I am now approaching 6 years on the clock, the front tire modules are finally failing (batteries dying) and need to be replaced.

    If you have OVMS you can tell if it is the receiver or the individual tire modules by looking to see what is reported. If you can see a current temperature/pressure, then that tire is ok. If not, the tire module is probably failing/failed. If you cannot see any current temps/pressures then you have another problem (such as when my rear receiver needed to be replaced).
     
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  4. scotty2541

    scotty2541 Member

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    Yes sir! I am absolutely ranting. I'm glad you could detect that :)

    I have had to deal with so many failures on this thing, it's infuriating. These are the same problems, over and over and over. I have to question the quality of the components they choose to go into newer models. And then later on, what people are going to be paying in maintenance after the warranty is up. Because most S and X are still covered.

    Then I hear all these other people telling me their service center is giving them "good-will" fixes for things, while the service center here is screwing me... Last year, they told me is wasn't the receiver because it had been replaced the year before. It was the tire sensors, and I should get them all done. Apparently it was $100 a wheel to replace them, I did it 12 months and 2 weeks ago. I recall reading somewhere later that they are about $12...? That made me feel really "warm and fuzzy".

    So if it's the receiver module, that's not original either...

    Lets not compare it to a mass produced car. Lets compare it to the previous models, after all you would expect the engineers to learn from the earlier ones and improve... But, as you admit, the 1.5 is better. Getting worse as you go from a 1.5 to 2.0 to a 2.5 is kind of a wrong trend, wouldn't you say?
     
  5. MLAUTO

    MLAUTO Member

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    About all you can do is verify if it is one of the antennas-there is one for the front and one for the rear. Let the air out of one of the front tires and see if you get a low pressure warning. Then fill it back up and do the same for the rear. If either the front or rear does not give you a warning, you know the corresponding antenna is bad. You can replace an antenna yourself, anything else requires a visit to Tesla to get programmed.

    Tesla switched form the high end BERU system in the 1.5 to one of their own design (made in China junk) in the 2.x. Probably trying to save a few bucks. If enough people would file a complaint with the NHTSA, they would probably be forced to recall them and finally fix the problem.
     
  6. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    I've got a 2.5 as well, and I've had the same kind of issues with my TPMS as you're talking about. Namely, seemingly annual failures almost like clockwork.

    While the car was under warranty, I went ahead and had them fix it. With the car now out of warranty, I just ignore the errors and check the tire pressure manually roughly every quarter or so. I've driven cars for ~25 years without a TPMS system and it was never an issue, so I've decided I'd rather deal with the error each time I get in the car than continue spending a seemingly limitless amount of money to make that error go away for a few months.

    That's how I've elected to deal with it. I feel your pain - it's not a solution I like.
     
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  7. scotty2541

    scotty2541 Member

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    Please elaborate. What is OVMS? I am only relying on the little 4" screen (which I thought was DVM or something). The regular info page shows all tires as blank. When I examine the service diag screen, and press TPMS, it also shows blanks for all tires. When I press the button to look at messages, it says "Hardware Fault". When I pull the system logs via USB, it also says "Hardware Fault".
    Which is identical to what it said last year. And the year before. And the year before... But every time they blame some other component to the whole system.

    On their recommendation, I paid a lot of money to have all the sensors fixed which should last "4-5 years" according to the service guy. Instead it dies 2 weeks after the "parts and labor" guarantee. And then they can't even get me in for weeks...

    I also could "rant" (as Wiztecy indicates) about how lately every time my car goes into the service center, it comes out worse. Perhaps another thread :)
     
  8. scotty2541

    scotty2541 Member

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    No, not an antenna. Because I'm getting blanks on all four tires. Can't get any readings on anything.

    And I had to seriously argue with the guy on the phone this morning. He told me one of the tires was probably just low. I've seen a "low tire pressure warning"... Amazingly enough, it says "low tire pressure warning" and even tells me the tire pressure. Not "System Service Required".

    I've already been into the dash more than once (I should tell you about the loose parts that rattled under there for years until I dug them out), and R&R the aux battery. So digging in isn't intimidating... except for that cabin blower, which they replaced and lasted all of a month.
    Where exactly are these antennas? Even though I'm sure that's not the issue.

    Where is the receiver? Or any other device I should examine?
    I'll take apart and re-solder the "junk" china device as well. I already had to do that to my keys, as the buttons stopped working.
     
  9. scotty2541

    scotty2541 Member

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    T
    Thanks. That may be my solution.
     
  10. MLAUTO

    MLAUTO Member

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    If there is a problem with either antenna, nothing will show on any tire, even though the other half is still working. Try letting the air out and see what happens. The receiver/module is located under the far left side of the dash, behind the round air vent. Each antenna is located in the center of the car front and rear, about a foot back from the bumper. They are easily visible once you remove the lower aluminum panels on the bottom.
     
  11. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Mine would consistently go wacky everytime I passed the Madison exit on I-80 (North Sacramento). Every time I'd get the 'Requires Service' message. Annoying as hell, since I passed that exit every time I drove to the airport. My best guess is that there was something in that vicinity with high emissions. No idea, but the repeated error was definitely geo-based.

    After about a dozen starts/turn off over the next week, it would disappear - until the next time I had to go to the airport.

    And yes, I've had individual sensors fail. It's not robust. Just saying that the whole system failure righted itself after driving the car for awhile.
     
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  12. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Any car that doesn't work or meet your expectations will for sure irritate you, it would for me, so I understand where you're coming from. As for my opinion that the 1.5 is better is based upon my opinion which is biased for that I have a 1.5, but also being an engineer, I can see and appreciate how this car was built and truly put it out there as an engineering marvel. The 1.5 had to be built solid since this was prove your design works or forever hold your peace and walk away type of stage for Tesla. Granted the 1.0's had their fair share of issues, esecially with the gearbox that was resolved in the 1.5 version. Not to many people had the 1.0's at that point, so the impact was minimal on the customer. Anyways, with the 1.5 I also worked with the purchasing agent who bought all the parts for this car, and they really didn't spare too much of an expense on things early on. However the 2.0 was a cost cutting version, yes there were some minor improvements, but what I can see there were things that gave the customer a really bad experience. Crappy TPMS system, which the only positive part was that you had tire-learning. So that in a sense was an upgrade that gave unreliable results. PEM cooling was improved and the PEM underwent a little bit of a redesign, but with that the cooling was good at the cost that it clogged up regularly with road debris and leaves. The 1.5 CF center console and shiftier was replaced with a faux leather console and push button gear selector, all which cut costs. Tesla did the cost cutting in order to make their investment dollars go farther and to survive which proved to work as we look back today. But any car can turn into a lemon, just bad luck, bad timing having multiple parts fail over and over again, even the 1.5 is not immune to that in my opinion as well :)

    Sometimes if you have a car that gives you grief is to just get out from under it and sell it. Possibly pick up another in the future and do more research in the history, ownership, and maintenance records of the car before you do purchase it. This will at least give you the upper advantage when buying a car.
     
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  13. adiggs

    adiggs Active Member

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    Worth adding - despite this particular big annoyance, I also go out of my way to find excuses to drive the Roadster. This is within the larger context of it being our primary car. So while this is a big annoyance, for me it also dwindles away to a nit within the overall context of driving the car.

    And yes - this includes driving the Roadster through the Oregon winter rains, all winter long. This will be my fourth winter driving in the rain (if I'm not miscounting), and I can't imagine leaving the car parked for months on end.
     
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  14. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    #14 markwj, Oct 26, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2016
    The Tesla VDS (little display screen) will only show 'all or nothing'. Any fault, and all pressures and temperatures are blanked out.

    OVMS shows you what it can (based on partial data on the CAN bus). A summary is:
    1. There are two TPMS antennas in the car - one in the front and one in the back. If you see only front or back pressures/temperatures on OVMS, that means the corresponding antenna has a problem. This is the most common TPMS error in v2.x cars that I have seen. Note that two faulty TPMS sensors could also cause this (see point #2 below), but as these sensors are independent, that is less likely than an antenna failure.
    2. If you see three tyre pressures/temperatures on OVMS, and only one is missing, then it is most likely that single sensor is faulty.
    3. If no tyre pressures/temperatures are shown on OVMS, then most likely the module is faulty.
    Two other things to note:
    • The sensors only transmit after a minute or so of driving, so don't expect an update immediately.
    • If the car doesn't see any updates from the sensors for 20 minutes, it alerts TPMS failure. So, if you switch the car on, but don't drive for 20 minutes (perhaps working on the car, or reading a book with the aircon on while waiting for your kids to stop chatting with their friends after class and finally get out of ballet - my life), you can get a TPMS alert with nothing actually wrong with TPMS.
    This 'OVMS' mentioned is the Open Vehicle Monitoring System. An open source hobbyist project to bring remote telemetry and smartphone monitoring to the Tesla Roadster and other EVs.

    Open Vehicle Monitoring System
     
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  15. bolosky

    bolosky Member

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    You have to be a little bit careful about this assumption. During the all-too-frequent times when my TPMS is failing, it tends to pop up the error more-or-less at the same place. However, I think that this is because it takes 20 minutes from power-up to error message, and on my commute I'm roughly at the same place after 20 minutes.

    And yes, the 2.0 TPMS is garbage. Broken way, way too much. I don't think that that reflects in any way on Tesla's newer cars, however.
     
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  16. gregd

    gregd Active Member

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    I was going to say the same thing. For me, it always happened around the Penryn / Loomis area. Then someone mentioned the 20 minute timeout, and that's just about right. I forget what the SC did to fix it, but the TPMS has been good for over a year now, and even alerted me to a slow leak (nail in a tire), so it's proven its worth. Ok, maybe that's stretching things a bit...
     
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  17. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    This particular area was about 20 miles from my house, which fits with your 'about 20 minutes from powerup'. But the key is it didn't happen anywhere else (not even the Penryn exit, Greg, by my former home :)), that was not a regular route for me, & the error consistently happened in that area and only that area.
     
  18. strider

    strider Active Member

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    The TPMS in my 2.5 has been TU for awhile now. I took it into Burlingame before I left and they couldn't figure it out. First they said the batteries on the sensors were low and needed to be replaced. Then they said the sensors were fine and the antenna needed to be replaced. They replaced that and still no dice. Next they said the control module needed to be replaced but they couldn't get one before we left the Bay Area. So I just ignore the error. There is a 20-minute timer that if the car doesn't get a TPMS signal by then it'll throw the error. Luckily most of my trips are less than 20 mins now so it's not a big hassle. Wish I could disable the TPMS via the VDS diag screen :(
     
  19. Mark77a

    Mark77a Member

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    This would seem to be the obvious answer ... I mean, is it SO bad to check and adjust tyre pressures once a week and before big trips ?
     
  20. strider

    strider Active Member

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    Sadly I believe some govt nannycrat has mandated TPMS on all cars and so we/Tesla can't legally disable them.
     
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