Safest Way to Close the Frunk?

Safest Way to Close the Frunk?

There's a lot of discussion about risk of damaging the hood by slamming the hood down when closing the frunk.

TM recommends two open palms evenly spaced around the center of the font edge, with a gentle but firm press.

Alternatives are discussed here, but apparently they too are vulnerable, so play it safe - avoid closing the frunk a lot, and if you need to use it, read up on what TM says about doing it right. This thread provides user experiences for additional insights into how and why it can get damaged.

I studied the frunk latch mechanism and experimented, and found what I thought was a better way (but some report problems with this too).

I use firm palm pressure at a single point directly above the latch. It can be one or two palms, but the point is for all the force to be right above the latch hardware (Caution! Latch is set back about 4-6 inches from the front edge of the hood, so don't press at the front edge or you will crease it. Owners have reported creases when doing this.

By not straddling the latch with a wide stance, the idea is to reduce the risk of uneven side forces that might tweak the aluminum hood stamping. Applying cantilevered forces perfectly in balance is hard for a human to do consistently. The single point press may be easier to do right, to prevent any tweaking torsional force (but if you are too close to the front edge, you can cause the same crease problem from front to back - so be careful).

Anybody else looked at this?

Some owners have reported creasing their hood even when carefully applying pressure at a single location directly over the latch. Others have reported creases when using two separate palm pressure points with both hands as Tesla recommends. A consensus among many owners is forming that the current frunk closing procedure is too subtle and too delicate to be consumer-grade.

Hoping that TM updates this latch setup to make it a simple auto-closing operation.

cgiGuy | August 15, 2013

I'd pay good money for an after market auto-close system. I don't mean from full open, I mean you close it to the first position and it pulls it closed the rest of the way.

TikiMan | August 15, 2013

cgiGuy, +1!

Mark K | August 15, 2013

+1 for the servo closer. TM should phase this in over time, so people don't need to think about it.

From the other thread - GeekEV reports creasing the hood by closing with one hand.

GeekEV can you post more details here - my guess was that the press wasn't over the latch and caused the imbalance.

Risk of being off center does make a case for the redundancy of two hands, but even there, if you're off center, you can create a torsional imbalance.

In any case, it would be good for TM to engineer this out of the picture. My MB SL has an aluminum hood and I just drop it from 10 inches without a problem.

This latch is a minor nit, but should get crossed off the list over time.

bdukov | August 15, 2013

Absolutely, a great idea for the servo-closer on first latch. I don't know why they didn't think of that as a way to avoid unbalanced hand closures!

Sailor | August 15, 2013

Ok, I may be dim but why does the frunk need to close and latch differently from the hatchback.... Which just pushes a button to a secure close?

Sailor | August 15, 2013

I am closing the frunk with two hands knuckles down on each side. No problems to date except the well mentioned skin oil marks on the hood.

dborn | August 15, 2013

Actually such a servo mechanism already exists and has been fitted to Lexus LS car doors for at least 12+ years! I had the release Lexus LS 400 in Australia and it came with this mechanism. So, no development program required, just speak to your investors over at Toyota.........

cfOH | August 15, 2013

I also use the one-palm-directly-above-the-latch method, as it seems least likely to hurt anything.

Brian H | August 15, 2013

Center-press closing is recommended nowhere, though it may be OK with the new heavier-duty lids.

jbunn | August 15, 2013

Right palm only, as I have a ring on my left. My wife prefers not to close it as she wears rings.

Our concern of course is not to scratch the hood. I really don't like the way the frunk closes though, especially on a car that has the power lift gate. I prefer not to use it when possible.

Brian H | August 15, 2013

If you wear rings, make 2 fists, and use the edges of your hands.

dlewis | August 15, 2013

Sailor, the frunk has to latch differently and double latch per government regulation because if it came unlatched while driving, the hood would fly up blocking the view of the driver suddenly. The hatch in back if it is undone doesn't present the same problem.

TheAustin | August 15, 2013

You know what I do? I turn around and put my ass on the very front edge of the hood and I sit on it! Works every time :)

cgiGuy | August 16, 2013

..or you could hire one of these "frunk closers."

Brian H | August 16, 2013

Hmm, the spacing seems about right ... Are they firm enough?

cgiGuy | August 16, 2013

Following Tesla Motors recommended protocol, I'd recommend one on each side of the latch center point.

"3... 2... 1... sit!"

Mark K | August 16, 2013

Now there's a cheeky servo.

fluxemag | August 16, 2013

I find myself never using the frunk because it's a mild pain to close. A full power lift and close would be sweet.

Mark K | August 16, 2013

fluxemag - true point. It's a great feature that people avoid due to trepidation about the latch.

This undersells the benefit that TM worked hard to create. Improving the latch is worth doing.

GeekEV | August 16, 2013

@Mark K - It was the latch area. My reasoning was the same as yours. It is the latch mechanism mounting hardware in the hood that actually caused the crease. My technique a single palm push over the latch... Word is they HAVE improved the hood strength and latch in later cars.

BossSrikanth | August 21, 2013

@dborn is absolutely correct. My aunt and uncle have an LS460, and they always tell me not to slam the doors because it hurts the servos that seal the doors. The funniest part of this is that TM and Toyota have an extremely close business relationship. They often work on joint development projects, and TM is a major supplier for the RAV4 EV. I'd say TM could easily secure a contract for those motors and install them. I'm always scared about closing the frunk because it seems so thin and flimsy compared to the doors. Some kind of motorized closer or sealer would put my mind to rest.

mikefa | August 21, 2013

i think the one-palm-directly-above-the-latch method is a great idea as it seems logical this method is the least damaging way to close the fragile frunk.

J.T. | August 21, 2013

@mikefa Your way sounds perfectly logical so I wonder why Tesla recommends the two handed close, each hand at the outside front of the panel.

Brian H | August 21, 2013

Wrong. Two hands, about a foot on either side of center is recommended. The newer frunk lids are stronger, though.

Mark K | August 21, 2013

Logically, if it is weak, loading with imbalanced cantilevered forces should not reduce risk.

Still, given GeekEV's experience, we should all use caution. Lighter forces reduce risk in all cases.

wcalvin | August 21, 2013

Just carry around a boxing glove for such occasions.

Since key fobs can be accidentally pressed by the seat belt while in a pocket with other items, it would be nice to be able to restore the frunk without stopping and exiting the car.

Maybe a software fix?

2-Star | August 21, 2013

Biggest issue for me with frunk lid is when it is wet and slippery -- quite hard to close with bare hands. Any ideas?

TikiMan | August 21, 2013

I was told the other day by the technicians’ at Tesla, that the safest way to close the frunk hood is to use both palms at the front far edges on both sides, applying equal pressure until it is locked.

J.T. | August 21, 2013

Sounds vaguely familiar.

SarahsDad | September 30, 2013

Word of warning, I closed my frunk yesterday with one hand over the latch and was left with a subtle but definite hood crease! This is an early September delivery so presumably the "stronger" hood. I'm going back to the two hand close technique. I have to use a fair amount of pressure to close the hood or it doesn't latch - do others feel that is true? If not I may have the SC take a look at it...

tomkist | September 30, 2013

Other comments in other threads, but the consensus is that many frunks are very difficult to close, some just mildly so.

thranx | September 30, 2013

I push/lower it down with one hand until it seems to be halfway closed, then give a firm push with the two-hand technique and it latches. Would gladly have paid extra for a power hood like in the rear.

Thomas N. | September 30, 2013

I've stated in other threads that I do not have a problem with it. My five-foot tall wife and 10 year old son are incapable of closing our frunk.

I let it close to the first click and then put some of my 230 pounds on the left and right of the center and it makes a second click and it's closed.

I do admit to treating it gingerly due to the crease threads and perhaps I've instilled that caution into my wife and son.

hammy16 | September 30, 2013

I have also "heard" that later models (we have a early sig) have an added strengthener. I would like to
know if this can be added to earlier models. We have a very small gentle crease even though we have
been quite careful.. Seems like a form fit backing panel(s) could be added on the underside with epoxy or some other adhesive.
Would be interested if anyone has compared the frunk hoods from early to late models to confirm
and describe..

Whalensouth | September 30, 2013

I vote the auto close... I put a little dent on the frunk at the latch in my first month of having the car... 6 months later that is the only thing that keeps it from looking like the day I picked it up.

jbunn | September 30, 2013

cgiGuy's method seems to be a good, but very expensive option.

I place my right open palm on the front edge of the frunk lid. Then put the left hand over that. Push down once for the click. Then push down again for the second click. It's not a long distance push. Just a short but firm stroke. It's pretty much the CPR stroke. My thinking is as long as you are directly over the latch you transfer the pressure to the latch, not into deforming the hood.

Mark K | September 30, 2013

Given the experience of GeekEV and sarahsdad, looks like the best way to operate the frunk is:

Leave it closed.

With the high sensitivity to either operation, (1 or 2 hands), if we don't want any creases, looks like we have to avoid using it.

That's a shame, given it is such a cool new feature of Tesla's skateboard implementation.

Hope TM beefs it up soon.

jjaeger | September 30, 2013

Given how my car fits in my garage when parked - using the frunk is much more convenient for me than the trunk. So I use it every day when going to/from work - and with the stop at the fitness center, I average 5 open/close cycles per day. Only took a few weeks for the procedure to become 2nd nature. 9 months of this and no issue observed with closing the frunk. So my input is to heed the advice we were given at pick-up and use the frunk all you want.

Roamer@AZ USA | October 1, 2013

The single push makes no sense since what you are trying to do is compress the circular rubber seal so the latch can catch. Distributing the force across a larger area will compress the seal more effectively.

Pushing on the latch area would be like trying to seal a plastic food container by pushing on the center of the lid rather than the edge that needs to seal.

For smaller lighter people the key is to lock your arms straight and push with your shoulders and upper body. All my ladies close the Frunk with no issue. Not sure it's worth adding 500 to 1000 dollars to the price of the car for such a minor thing. But then I also don't use the Frunk very often so to me it's not a good cost Benefit.

Teaching petite women how to pull the slide on a semi auto hand gun works the same. If they try to muscle it with arm strength they struggle to grip and pull. When I teach them to lock their elbows point the weapon down and use their shoulders to produce the push and pull force they can do it instantly.

Palms toward the car hands centered and spaced a foot apart and push with your upper body. Very easy. I would do it the way Tesla recommends to prevent damage to the car.

Mark K | October 1, 2013

4rhansen - I thinks it's more subtle than that.

The system has two elements - a spring latch and a seal. When you close it, you must cause the latch to deploy by overcoming its built-in spring. When you do so, the seal compresses as the latch hooks down.

The seal force has to be less than latch retention force, so the latch dominates this operation.

The Tupperware analogy is not a perfect match. There, the latch and the seal are one and the same, i. e. the lip. So pushing on the center of the lid does not load either element since they are both at the periphery of the lid (that lip around the edge). But here they are disparate elements.

Based on his this works, I'm still concerned that with either method, the force may be too great to guarantee no distortion of the hood.

Oliver in Seattle | October 1, 2013

I haven't used Tupperware in years, but I do recall that there was always a circle in the center of the lid, marking the location you were supposed to push to close.

I've mostly been using the two hands at the sides of the front hood edge (as recommended) without any damage to the hood. That said, it makes a horrible creaking when closing, and I rarely use the frunk.

J.T. | October 1, 2013

@Oliver With Tupperware you were also attempting to remove as much air from the container as possible while you close it ("Burp") to preserve freshness. Not so with the Frunk.

wcalvin | October 1, 2013

You should not get a crease unless you press too hard. Ease toward that click.

Two hands symmetrically placed is a lot easier on your body than one hand atop the other in the center.

GeekEV | October 1, 2013

@SarahsDad - See? Told you!

As for the stronger hood, I've been told by the service center there's no truth to that myth. The loaner I recently had (VIN 12,xxx) was the exact same hood as I have (VIN 4,xxx).

SarahsDad | October 1, 2013

The irony is that I was showing off the Frunk to some co-workers when the crease happened - but for the record the palm of my hand was directly over the latch, I leaned on it until it "clicked", and got the crease anyway.

Requiring two hands to close something that's designed to keep items that you're likely holding in one of those hands isn't the best engineering concept, in my opinion.

Brian H | October 1, 2013

Um, if you've put said items in frunk, wth are they doing still in one of your hands? Sense no makes it.

J.T. | October 1, 2013

Um, if you just took something out of the frunk . . .

Roamer@AZ USA | October 1, 2013

Not to over discuss a silly issue but the latch is just a latch.

The thing you are compressing that is pushing back with lots of square inches of surface resistance is the seal.

Take you seal off and it will latch with a breath of air. Well almost.

The key here is leverage. The farther you are from the seal the greater the moment arm you have available to compress the seal. If you think it thru the front edge is the longest lever point.

The real proof is that it seems from these posts that everyone who invents a new way to close it has a crease.

jjaeger | October 1, 2013

I agree w/ @4rhansen - and that aligns with the input I received from Tesla at my pick-up. And yes, I have to put my gym bag down to get a proper 2 hand push. It really isn't that hard, but if you try and short-cut it, I can see how that could result in the issues noted.

TikiMan | October 1, 2013

Unfortunately, I too have the dreaded small depression now on my frunk hood, because when I got my P85 Sig, the delivery reps were still telling owners to close the frunk hood with two hands, placed evenly toward the middle edge (not at the far edges, as it should be).

When I brought my P85 Sig into my local service center, and explained what happened, and how rarely I even use the frunk, and if they would be willing to fix it, they kind of washed their hands of it (even though it's a known design flaw on the early MS's).

Like one of the other posters here, if it was't for the frunk hood depression (dent), my P85 Sig would be still in showroom condition :-(