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Two annoying sounds my S makes that are driving me crazy

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by tinm, Jun 22, 2015.

  1. tinm

    tinm 2013 S85 Owner

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    Two different sounds, two different situations.

    I've posted them on SoundCloud --> https://soundcloud.com/tinm-sounds

    • The first sound (file: "annoying-sound-ModelS-makes-very-often") is the moaning loud buzz that comes out of the frunk area. Note that the NEITHER air conditioning or heating is on when this sound happens. The car just does it on its own. I hear it a LOT, from the moment I turn car on and pull out of garage, to moment I come home and park in garage. (I made this recording as I pulled into the garage, so midway into it you hear the parking brake go on. The sound stops when I get out of the car.) While driving out on roads, it goes on and off from time to time, but I hear it often even in traffic. It started making this sound around the 22K mileage point a few months ago. Car is now at 25K mi.

    • The second sound (file: "high-pitched-whine-Tesla-ModelS") is more subtle and difficult to discern without headphones. I applied an EQ filter so all the low-end of the audio is removed, like wind noise. I know some of you have experienced this whine too and no it is NOT the baloon squeal we all know and love when you floor it. Just the opposite. This is subtle, when you're being verygentle with the car. You hear it when you're driving, usually at low speeds, even in parking lots of big shopping centers (and it causes head-turning, I have seen people wonder what's making that sound). When I gently tap on accelerator, and the green indicator pops up a tiny bit to say 2kW to 7kW, that is the sweet spot where this whine happens. It echoes off of buildings, road surface, walls, fences, even the curb. This recording was made while I was driving in a neighborhood that had nice solid walls that were reflecting the sound. I like to drive with the windows down a lot, when the weather is agreeable, but this sound really gnaws at me and is getting ever so slightly louder as time goes on. Also note: this is my S's second drivetrain. I had this one put in around the 13K mile mark a year or so ago.

    What's the prognosis, experts?

    (And no, I haven't shared this with Tesla Service Center because here in New Mexico there ARE no Tesla Service Centers thanks to the New Mexico Automotive Dealers Association paying off the legislature. But I digress...)
     
  2. Zarwin

    Zarwin Member

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    #2 Zarwin, Jun 22, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015
    The first sound .. beats me. Only guess is a pump that has a loose mount or something touching it that rattles when it engages. Edit: Before anyone says its the parking break, I hear that but also hear the subtle buzz like noise you are talking about.

    The second sound I have heard my car make several times, but only once in a while. Exactly the same as you describe it, just barley touch the accelerator and it makes a high pitched whine. For me it's not loud enough or common enough to be of an annoyance, but if it were louder and happened all the time, sure, it would get annoying. No clue what it is, just ignoring it unless it gets annoying to me.

    Edit: For the second sound, I'm going to just guess that the first time I heard my car do that was around the 18k mark, car has ~22k now
     
  3. tinm

    tinm 2013 S85 Owner

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    I should add some details:

    Regarding the first sound:
    It happens no matter what the temperature is outside or in garage. Cold, mild, hot, no diff.

    Regarding the second sound:
    I was recently in the parking lot of a Home Depot, creeping along around 2-3 mph looking for a parking spot... I had the windows closed and when I tapped on accelerator for gentle ~3-5kW of power to motor, I heard the sound for the first time without the windows open. Really striking: it sounded like the transmission gears whining. It was definitely the same sound, but the acoustics were different because all the windows were closed and it sounded like it was coming out from beneath the rear seats, which makes sense. But it was a lot crisper, sort of like listening to an electric screwdriver or power drill at low power. I thought I read somewhere in TMC long time ago that someone had reported this sound to their Service Center and the SC wound up doing a drivetrain replacement because the sound is a symptom of something bad. I'm curious if anyone recalls that?
     
  4. Zextraterrestrial

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    pretty sure the second sound is the inverter

    first sound almost sounds like brake booster but it goes on for way longer than that item ever runs for.
     
  5. tinm

    tinm 2013 S85 Owner

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    #5 tinm, Jun 22, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015
    Inverter, huh? I thought the inverter was just an electric component, didn't have moving parts that could create this kind of sound. Hmm. Interesting!

    UPDATE: Found an old 2013 thread that seems to be talking about the same noise as my second sound above.
     
  6. Bighorn

    Bighorn Member

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    Second sound, as you described it--I didn't listen to your file, is likely the milling/locusts sound that is commonly heard with low levels of energy (0-20kW) and is thought to be characteristic of a more mature inverter. It is quite often absent when new, but I've seen it develop on both of my drivetrains within the first 20k miles.
     
  7. tinm

    tinm 2013 S85 Owner

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    So once you get the "mature inverter" sound, it never goes away? And it gets slowly progressively worse/louder over time?
     
  8. Zextraterrestrial

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    believe so
    similar to old sodium lights in parking lots. they usually (always?) get louder when older.
    not sure how different the Tesla 3 phase inverters are and some don't seem to get loud
     
  9. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    I can't say I've really experienced either one, but regarding the first, you should probably be aware if you aren't already that the AC compressor may run frequently even when climate control is turned off. It is used as part of the battery cooling system, and simply turning off climate control in the vehicle does not guarantee the compressor will stay off.

    That said, it shouldn't be coming on when you pull the thing out of the garage, either. Perhaps you have a thermal sensor broken and the car thinks it needs additional cooling more often than it actually does? It's definitely an odd one.
     
  10. tinm

    tinm 2013 S85 Owner

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    Right. Fully aware of the cooling system has a mind of its own to cool/heat the battery regardless of passenger climate control status. And yeah, it makes the sound an awful lot. Now that you mention it, a faulty sensor that would cause the car's computer to inadvertently turn the noise-making widget on makes a lot of sense.

    Startin' to sound like the first sound is a candidate for presenting to a Tesla Service Center. (In my case that means I have to plan for a hotel stay in Denver, 6-7 hours away. Car's due soon for its 2-year scheduled maintenance, and the tires need rotating soon as well. From what I hear, the Denver Service Center is so overwhelmed I might be looking at weeks-months to set up an appointment.)
     
  11. CUBldr97

    CUBldr97 Member

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    So I take it the TESLA doesn't have an automatic noise generator for "pedestrian warning"? Ie cant sneek up on someone walking. The reason I ask is the Nissan Leaf generates a higher pitched whistle (whine) when at slow speeds, goes off around 25mph or so... I was told this was a mandatory (federally required) safety feature since the car is so quiet.
     
  12. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    One test that might be interesting is to wait until you hear the sound, and have someone run around to the front of the vehicle to check if the cooling louvers are open. That might provide some insight if they're open immediately after the car's sat in the garage for hours. If not then we'd still be in the dark, but it's easy to check.
     
  13. cgiGuy

    cgiGuy Member

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    Will echo what others have already said: First sounds like just brake (and air suspension) pump, but is about 10 times longer than I've ever heard mine on for--needs to be looked at by service. Second sound is the milling/cicada noise that was on my first drivetrain, and is now also on my second (it's scheduled for service this week).
     
  14. tinm

    tinm 2013 S85 Owner

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    Milling/cicada -- exactly, a perfect description for second sound.

    And yeah, for the first sound, I wonder now if I have low brake fluid or the pump is malfunctioning somehow. I'm sold: time to report it to Service Center.

    FYI I don't have air suspension, forgot to mention that.
     
  15. mobe

    mobe Member

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    #15 mobe, Jun 22, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015
    Regarding the second sound........
    I actually think that that is a common sound with electric vehicles, my volt did it, my ELR did it. I will be surprised if my Tesla doesn't do it. I actually like the sound.
     
  16. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    First sound sounds like the brake booster vacuum pump. When you first get in the car after it sits overnight, is the brake pedal difficult to push? Sort of like an ICE car when it's not running? Does it get easier to push after the pump starts running? Mine started doing that and the vacuum pump started to run longer than usual, but not anywhere near as long as yours is running. I took it in for service a couple of weeks ago to have them check for a vacuum leak but they couldn't find anything. They said it was normal. The brakes work fine, but if my car sits more than ten hours or so, the brake is very hard to push on initial start-up, which tells me I have a slow vacuum leak. Apparently, the leak is not fast enough to be out of spec. Yours sounds like it is out of spec.

    My car developed your second sound at about 17K miles. It only happens under light "throttle" and since it's not actually friction-related, I'm not worried about it. The sound doesn't really bother me. If it gets worse, I might bring it in to service, but mine isn't bad enough to warrant a service call....yet.
     
  17. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    The second sound will get worse over time. I apologize I do not know what the exact cause is, only that a drive unit replacement seems to fix it (although maybe only temporarily until you hit another 20k miles).

    I caught mine early and was only able convince my SC there was a problem when it grew progressively louder. It started only between 0 and 20kw, but after a recent 1500 mile trip, it does it all the way up the power band and only road nose drowns it out.

    I do not know what the final form of this symptom is. It could be catastrophic failure or simply an annoyance. My irritation stemmed from the fact that it got loud enough to warn pedestrians I would have otherwise normally snuck up on.
     
  18. cgiGuy

    cgiGuy Member

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    Tesla cars do not currently have this. I'm sure that Tesla will abide by any laws set forth, once we reach the mandatory implementation date.
     
  19. tinm

    tinm 2013 S85 Owner

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    Quite interesting!

    When I first get in the car each morning, the brake pedal is indeed stiff and difficult to push. This started happening a good while ago, maybe sometime after my first annual service. But the buzz sound started later, maybe 3-4 months ago. And come to think of it, when I am out in traffic, it buzzes a lot, especially when in busy intersections. I'd never really thought about it before, but those are nearly the only times I ever use the brake. I love regen and am a regen hound, but when you have a red light or stop sign in busy traffic, you gotta use the brake pedal. And it is during these times, or seconds afterwards, that the ugly loud buzzing sound starts again for 10, 20, 30 seconds. So yeah, it sure looks like a symptom of a brake/pump/vacuum problem. I'm about to go call talk the "nearest" Tesla Service Center (ha ha ha, it's about 7 hours' drive) and see what they say.
     
  20. Cyclone

    Cyclone Active Member

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    Are we saying that even is an "asleep" car, the brake pedal is supposed to be easy to press? In the morning, I can't even push mine an inch and on more than one occasion, I didn't press it far enough to "start" the car. I didn't know this was "unusual" (mine's a CPO that was delivered with 31k miles, so no past experience to base it on).
     

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