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Two Thirds of Early Model S Drivetrains May Fail By 60,000miles

Discussion in 'News' started by Bulletproof, Dec 10, 2015.

  1. Bulletproof

    Bulletproof Vendor

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  2. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    That article uses the word "failure" to justify replacement. I think failure makes it sound like the motor died. Most of the drive-unit replacements are due to noise which is mostly cosmetic.
     
  3. islandbayy

    islandbayy Active Member

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    But if it's not being fixed without replacing the whole DU, then the DU has failed. I'm getting my 5th drive unit in less then a year within the next 1-2 weeks.
     
  4. Kevin Harney

    Kevin Harney Active Member

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    Not to make excuses but perhaps it COULD be fixed but they have determined that it is better to take the old ones and study them to help solve the problem. So sorry for your troubles !!! That really stinks !!
     
  5. FreeOfPge

    FreeOfPge Member

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  6. islandbayy

    islandbayy Active Member

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    I agree, but at this point, studies should be coming to a close. My last one was a revision Q and didn't even make it home before it started acting up. Either way, Tesla has been doing the right thing, and pro-actively replacing units BEFORE they leave the customer stranded on the side of the road.
     
  7. santana338

    santana338 Member

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    After reading the article the other day I added my data to the Pug In America site. It looked like they getting more owners to report, which is a good thing.

    Plug In America

    I'm still on my original drivetrain from 2013. From IslandBay's experience it sounds like I need to try to hold on to it as long as I can.


     
  8. gavine

    gavine Petrol Head turned EV Enthusiast

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    And what if you still had your original drive unit because they refused to fix or replace due to it only being cosmetic? Would your car be dead by now or would you just be living with the noise still? I still don't agree that it should be called a drive unit failure just because they replace instead of fix. Failure to me means that it doesn't work anymore. Of your replacements, how many of them were failures where the drive unit didn't work at all?
     
  9. tomsax

    tomsax Member

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    More Survey Reponses Needed

    Getting more reports on the Plug In America Model S Owner Survey would be a big help, both to test the Green Car Reports projection on the 2012 and 2013 cars and to compare with more recent cars. The survey is pretty heavy on the early cars, which is great for getting the longest histories, but lacks depth on the newer vehicles.

    I encourage all owners to report their experience on early and recent cars whether your car has had service issues or your ownership experience has been trouble free.

    To share your experience, use the survey form. If you filed a report previously, you can use the update form so you just have to fill out the fields that have changed.

    For more info on the survey, see this thread.
     
  10. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    The report however was focused on the early models (2012-2013) where a disproportionate amount of replacements could be for study or might have been field repaired (the shim repair) if it was today. That is why the headline is misleading even using your definition of failure (this is not going into the other issues with the ease of repair and how drivetrains were replaced in a preventative way early on). I had a conversation with the author and even he admits knowing what he does now (previously he presumed a drivetrain swap was analogous to an engine swap), the title should be changed to "Two Thirds of Early Model S Drivetrains May Be Replaced By 60,000miles" to be less misleading.
     
  11. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Jeepers.

    I'm troubled by your phrasing though (but I think I know what you mean).

    Specifically, you said "5th drive unit in less than a year" but it appears you took delivery of the vehicle 2.5 years ago. Can you give us a better feel for the timeline of the replacements? Thanks.
     
  12. wart

    wart Member

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    I just filled out the Plug In America survey. May 2015 car, just under 5,000 miles. No drivetrain problems yet.

    But I do have a door handle acting up already. I'd really hoped those days were behind us.
     
  13. tinm

    tinm 2013 S85 Owner

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    Some data points:

    • My Summer 2013 S85 has 36500 miles.

    • It is on its third drive unit.

    • Most recent drive unit installed around July 2015, when car was around 26K miles.

    • I've noticed a change in the current drive unit in past few days. For the first time with the 3rd drive unit, if I accelerate too quickly, it's like the "differential" slips, there's a clunk and a shudder before power hits the wheels. Not all the time, and I don't even need to stomp on the accelerator, just be a little more aggressive than usual. Doesn't happen all the time, but I have noticed it multiple times per day this past week. Very unsettling because this is EXACTLY one of the symptoms I had in prev 2 DU's, and things went downhill from there over ensuing months.

    • Also, for the first time with the 3rd DU, just this afternoon I heard.... the cicada/milling sound again. Crap. Not good.
     
  14. eye.surgeon

    eye.surgeon Member

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    Either you're unlucky to the point of statistical impossibility, or you have another problem that's causing DU failure, or you complain about the slightest noise.
     
  15. valakos

    valakos New Member

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    I am a long time reader and following your posts here - after reading this post i felt the need to reply. From your post you presuppose that failure is inevitable you state "pro-actively replacing units BEFORE they leave the customer stranded on the side of the road", you've reiterated this and encouraged others to have their tesla's checked out. This sort of misinformation leads to articles like jalopnik's. My ICE car makes a noise, but I don't go running to service every time. I believe tesla is pro actively managing chronic complainers like you by replacing drive units - there is no evidence that they will always lead to failure as you presuppose. My leaf also makes a noise, it works fine - personally I think tesla has given too much charity in managing this issue by replacing the whole drive unit to appease people such as you. It might well be minor but you should not speculate as to complete failure and it may well be part of its normal operation - as i said before, some ICE cars are naturally louder.
     
  16. islandbayy

    islandbayy Active Member

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    #16 islandbayy, Dec 10, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
    1 was a intermittent failure, inverter. Almost got hit by a semi when power cut out in a intersection. Then it kicked back in as I frantically smashed at the accelerator and it blasted full speed just in time to NOT test the safety rating of the car. That was drive unit #3. Drive unit #1, my original, developed the clunk, which progressively got worse to the point it would Echo between my house and my neighbors house(I've posted video/audio of this). #1 also had some "safety" issues that resulted in loss of control on one occasion (long story). Drive unit #2 developed the Milling noise, which became loud enough where my neighbor across the street from me could hear it IN her home as I drove by (Yes, doors and Windows closed). I also got a email from someone that was Supercharging at the service center. Said they were pulling a black Model S around, and he was taking a nap. The loud noise (The milling noise) was enough to wake him up INSIDE his closed vehicle. Looked again and saw it was mine. His words, "Holy Schnit Was that loud)". Replace the one word with a more colorful one. I'm keeping this family friendly.

    #4, went to pick up the car from having a fresh unit installed to fix the Pending Inverter Failure in #3. I live 60.1 miles from the service center. Between leaving service center and making it home, it developed the Milling Noise. Within 500 miles of install, it developed the Milling noise Worse, and a Drone noise accompanied by Vibration at above 75mph.

    Which of these would you not call a failure, or pending failure waiting to happen? To me, Eminent Failure is Failure, just caught before leaving me stranded over and over again.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Havent updated that in a while. Once #5 is installed in my car within the next week or so, that will be the cars 5th drive unit. All installed in 2015. Original DU, which developed the Clunk, that progressively got worse, the clunk started toward the end of 2013, at approx 25,000 miles on the car roughly. Pushed for a resolution for the worsening clunks, they applied many fixes, including shims, grease, re-torque etc... Finally, had a incident at the end of 2014 which prompted to finally just replace the unit. That was ordered, then replaced beginning of 2015. DU #2 was replaced in Beginning of June if I remember correctly, DU #3 was replaced in august I believe, #4 in September/Early October (Not looking up the exact dates...) and #5 is going in within the next few weeks. Need to call for appointment tomorrow.

    I will say they are really taking care of me, and given the parts numbers, they are going through a lot of DU Versions or fixes. Since all swapped DU's are Refurbished units (I asked about just getting a NEW unit and being done with it), Potentially some issue with the Refurbishment process???


    And current Mileage is 75,000 as of 12/10/2015

    - - - Updated - - -

    Given my cars overall service record, I would lean toward either another problem thats causing DU Failure, or Just plain bad luck. Or possibly a problem with Drive Unit refurbishment process.

    Almost the entire history of my car is all on video on my youtube channel. Pushing around 400 videos on my Model S since Delivery. Just about everything is recorded, and on record.

    - - - Updated - - -


    I'm sorry if you took it to sound like I am implying that all these issues will lead to failure. That was not my intent. Part of the problem with the Model S, is lack of ability of the owner to access diagnostics, or even service the cars accept for the most basic of things (Brakes and tires come to mind as the most serviceable item on the car). This in turn, means no real way to diagnose any issues. At least on a ICE, you can plug a OBD2 reader in, and get usually get a trouble code of some sort if something isn't working or sounding right. When my truck started making a strange engine noise, and then had some mild vibration, guess what, that reader told me cylinder 6 was mis-firing. Turned out to be a defective spark plug. Replaced, done. Avoided getting stuck, needing a tow.

    I am saying, in a case where the potential is of high risk or increased risk of a "stranded failure", the pro-active replacement of drive units is a good thing. So you do not like that I am praising Tesla for taking Initiative?

    Yes, I encourage people to have their cars checked. Would you prefer me to say, no, just keep driving it, worry about it if/when it leaves you stranded. When being stranded could have been prevented with a short service visit?

    I'm sorry you believe I am a Chronic complainer. I purchased a vehicle that was advertised to me as High Reliability, Low maintenance, and the price I paid for my car should reflect that. Door handle fails, of course I'm going to complain, cooling fan fails allowing the radiator to get hot enough to cause steam to come from the front of my car, of course I'm going to complain, cooling pump fail, of course I'm going to complain, water intrusion into my trunk, over and over and over and over and over again, of course I'm going to complain. Key not in Vehicle, over and over and over and over again, of course I'm going to complain. Should I continue? I document everything. I take no joy in going to the service center so often. I love when my car is working as intended. It's pure joy to drive.

    Charity for replacing my drive units? Sure, safety issue & extreme echoing noise, milling loud enough for neighbors to hear inside their homes with the windows and doors closed, intermittent inverter failure almost causing myself, and my two small children the opportunity to test out the safety rating of the model s by inviting a semi to slam into us, 60 miles on a DU for it to start milling, ~500 for it to mill louder, drone and vibrate the car above 75mph. Yes, I am getting Charity for expecting a vehicle that does not have the issues mine has in 2 1/2 years of ownership.



    EDIT: what leads to articles like Jalopnicks, are website owners that don't give a rats backside about what they wright, as long as it's FUD, "Shocking" or some other stupid thing that nets them large quantities of page views. That is all. How do you think they make their money? Sure, they could wright a article saying "Tesla Drive Units are Fast". Everyone knows that, no one is going to read it, they will not make money. Wright a article, incorporate some FUD, and "Shock", such as "Two Thirds of Early Drive Units Will fail before 60,000 Miles", then you get people saying, WTF, I better check this out. It's called Click Bait. You know what... It works. Otherwise this thread would not be here.



    I still praise Tesla service. It is top notch unlike any other!
     
  17. KJD

    KJD Member

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    islandbayy what are your thoughts about the newer 85d models? Do you think the dual motor units will be more reliable than the RWD versions?
     
  18. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    It's a race between the power being spread across multiple components (so each component is stressed less) and the more components the more the reliability is reduced. That said, my early 2013 has 62K miles with zero failures, noises, etc.
     
  19. Sunlight

    Sunlight Member

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    As an outsider (and a complete EV convert and Tesla fan) looking in, I find this thread so disturbing..........

    I could live with 100% DU failure of early cars with a new DU replacement and then NO (or minimal) problems. And few DU problems reported in later cars.

    And continuous improvement in DUs so that newer cars and later replacement no longer had this issue.

    But how can 2015 DU replacements still fail (in under, say, 100k miles)? Is Tesla just putting in (badly) refurbished old DUs one after the other? Surely doing it properly now is essential to get this issue to go away - it must be having detrimental affects by now on Tesla....

    Maybe Tesla is really struggling to solve the issue and still hasn't got to the bottom of the problem. Why not?

    As I have said many times - as soon as the DU issue is sorted then all replacement (and new) DUs will be 'bullet-proof' and the issue will gently fade away but this point sadly does not seem to have arrived yet.

    This may be doing more harm to Tesla's reputation than to their cash balance as I imagine replaced DUs are relatively cheap.
     
  20. islandbayy

    islandbayy Active Member

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    Different design, hopefully incorporating what they learned in the Classic Model S cars.
    I do believe they are more reliable. And so far, due to lack of complaints posted here and elsewhere, I'd say they ARE more reliable. Stress is distributed between two motors. Even the P85D and P90D, which use a First Gen large Drive Unit in the rear, seem to be having less failures.

    Also, redundancy. Elon said it himself. If one DU goes out, you can still drive using the other (Though highly reduced power output).
     

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