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Wind Noise at A-pillar FLAPPING Sound - Solved for now

AxlxA

Member
Jun 23, 2020
478
327
Bay Area
Hi everyone,

VIN PLATE:
Been on a noise hunt in the past week. My very first rattle from purchase 12/2019 was the VIN Plate rattle. Very easy to fix. Just stick a trim tool or a wedge thing and push it HARD down(i'd avoid a flat head screw driver because that'd probably crack the window. You want something wider to spread that pressure when you wedge). Wedge into the glass and vin plate, and push it down toward the dash. It's held on by some metal bracket. It can take a lot of force. The SeC tech did it for me during Jan 2020 before COVID.

Since COVID started, SeC tech's kept telling me they wont do ride-alongs with customers so all rattles are not being addressed - CALIFORNIA. I also heard they have some sort of 1-year from purchase free rattle fix. otherwise it'd start costing us. I didn't believe this but I had my trunk alignment issue done 6mo into ownership but they CHARGED ME for it, saying it's out of their good will window (I think for that, it was like 1000mi) *If anyone wanna know how to align trunk, hit me up

A Pillar Noise:
Noise: Wind noise at A-pillar. Only driving in windy environment or speed > 70MPH roughly. Sounds like something flapping or taping in the A-pillar. Does not happen during low speed over bumps. Does not replicate when you physically tape on the A pillar trim.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/KadYZCzmAc3buaUM8 - faint tapping that sounds kind of plasticky. In real life, sounds like a plastic-wrap-around label flapping against something.

The fix: (Source:
)
For me, the reason for the noise is likely from air entering my wheel well and shooting up the A pillar through the little crevices from the metal body. Fill these gaps.

20200804_212907.jpg
20200804_212905.jpg
20200804_212858.jpg

1) Remove front wheel well liner - For me, I took down 4 rivets shown in video below. Basically the bottom rear two rivets, the top vertical rivet in a little hole toward the rear (very hard to get out), and one more rivet right above the wheel. (*apparently a previous mobile tech appt must've lost my bolt under the driver's door because I didn't have one any more..... i'll have to buy one or just let it hang) If you have this bolt (a hex nut) remove this too. it's under the rocker panel.
2) pull the wheel well liner out, it's a piece of plastic, can bend many ways so don't be afraid.

20200804_212847.jpg

3) Take a look with a flash light, up the fender, toward the hood hinge and A-pillar, you'll see some gaps. These are the gaps likely jetting air into the A pillar. Fill it(my pic already has a grey wedge piece into it next to the red painted body and the unpainted crash dummy brown bracket)

20200804_214133.jpg

20200804_213432.jpg

20200804_213440.jpg

4) I cut out random length of packaging sponge (like you get from buying electronics), you can use your left hand/arm and with the liner peeled back, with your head and torso in front of the side indicator/camera, can shove that arm up into the fender above the side indicator cable, and can get into the gap pretty easily. Arm size matters, smaller the easier.

20200804_214042.jpg

5) I saw once I filled the big hole, there's still that smaller hole on the outer side, so I cut a smaller sponge and shoved it up there too. I wedged it deep hoping the sponge will cradle the 2 sides of the metal, hoping it wont just fall out with time. I pretty much used a 1.5" wide sponge and get 0.75" of that past the gap, just half half to keep it straddling.

I made a quick shitty video, it was late so I couldn't think of the word "rivet"
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Q5BQcA8cTQ72QpjR7

Result
I drove 25mi on the highway with a 10mph headwind today at 70-75mph to work. There was ZERO flapping noise! I'm gonna update if I confirm no more noises in the next 100 miles(within a week) or if i hear it come back earlier.

Other rattles/wind noise resources:
Sources of wind noise from driver's side's left(assume LHD):
Windows not aligned properly, some has adjusted the windows tracks to make it go up more in or more out. Some have badly shaped rubber seals on top(heat gun or SeC to fix)
Side Mirror: Many pieces on the mirror can make noise. The chrome piece can be lose, tap it hard. Some have that triangle rubber piece misaligned or deformed. Heat gun or add more rubber or SeC - use tape to help you isolate or test your hypothesis.
Side Mirror Interior triangle piece - also can be deformed and allow wind to come through, push it up against the window or tape it up while you're in the vehicle to check if it helps.
A-pillar interior trim has some plastic that is tapping on something. This is where the airbag is too.
Door upper speaker - can rattle inside it due to some lose clips. There's videos on how to pull it out and open it up, superglue it so it wont rattle etc.
Wheel well liner taping on the fender - sounds like a tapping rattle. take a weather stripping material or some sort of insulating foam with adhesive and tape it to the inner lip of the fender. Or tape it half way around the liner on the outside and inside.

New rattle from my right side heard after the fix... found it was due to my freaking dome light/emergency signal housing. I pushed it harder back up to the head liner and it stopped. I thought it was my parking tag on my mirror so I took it down and still had the noise.

Next rattle to hunt for is something with passenger seat belt. It goes away when I grab the seatbelt bucket clip. I'm wondering if its' just as simple as buckle hitting the side of passenger seat's plastic backing/side. I do know about the seat belt tensioner making noises too but for me, it's more plastic than a metal cling.

References:
Solved: wind noise ---> the one with most comments addressing similar issues initially. 2019 or so production has this updated trim piece that blocks the inner side of that A-pillar body part to avoid air from getting. Older car owners used B shape rubber tubing to block the gaps.
Wind noise at 70+mph
Wind noise
Wind noise: whistling sound (vido)
Wind/road noise from doors/windows -- fix it for good

I say we make a repair sub-forum because knowing the delay in getting any service appointments, we might as well fix it ourselves.
 

XLR82XS

D M C
Jul 26, 2019
3,110
1,737
SWFL | Vegas
Nice detailed write-up. Did you install any foam tape on the edge of the wheel liner where it meets the fender? You mention the wheel liner issue - did you use the foam tape for wheel liner tapping? I had the flapping noise at the top of the driver side A-pillar and I applied foam tape to the edge of the liner and BOOM - noise gone. I did not go through the process of removing the liner and adding foam anywhere inside the fender since there is no more noise.
 
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AxlxA

Member
Jun 23, 2020
478
327
Bay Area
Nice detailed write-up. Did you install any foam tape on the edge of the wheel liner where it meets the fender? You mention the wheel liner issue - did you use the foam tape for wheel liner tapping? I had the flapping noise at the top of the driver side A-pillar and I applied foam tape to the edge of the liner and BOOM - noise gone. I did not go through the process of removing the liner and adding foam anywhere inside the fender since there is no more noise.
I did not because I wanted to do one solution at a time to really determine if it's the jetty air vs flapping liner. So for me I drove home this morning and zero flaps. I'm quite happy to hear my other rattles now.
 
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AxlxA

Member
Jun 23, 2020
478
327
Bay Area
The stock wheel liner still allows air to flow in some how, especially since the outer edge is not affixed to anything. There's also many holes in the wheel liner without a rivet. There's also the interior portion of the liner that isn't abut against anything. I can see how so many have rats chew through their wires.
 

RichieBT3

New Member
Apr 29, 2021
1
1
Australia
Hi.
Just noticed this problem, and Tesla tech came to my place, and put a thin bead of silicone goop around the last 1/3 of the wheel arch inner, and the wheel arch liner now is semi-bonded to it.
He said it was a regular issue, and... a regular fix.
 
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