Drive Unit Replacements

Drive Unit Replacements

One thing I've noticed on this forum is that there seem to be far fewer postings about drive units needing to be replaced. I've been on the forum since October of 2015 when I purchased my 70D.

Has any dual motor owners out there ever had to have a drive unit replaced? Anyone else notice the fewer postings about drive unit replacements . . . or is it just me?

NKYTA | 23. januar 2017


Babaron | 24. januar 2017

There were a bunch of DU's replaced due to noise, mine included but since then (about a year ago), haven't heard of any.

J-Dan | 24. januar 2017

I have to ask to SC next annual service since my MS 85D 2015 sometimes makes some noises (a sort of clanking) during acceleration (apparently from rear). Could it be the drive unit? Should I hurry to take it in?

Silver2K | 24. januar 2017

I had a clunk during acceleration from a standstill. they replaced the unit 8 months ago

mychol | 24. januar 2017


I had a similar noise as you described, turned out to be wheel balancing. When did you last balance your wheels?
Have you bumped any curbs or end up going over any pot holes unintentionally?
is it like this noise? (Video Link)

This is what I was hearing and Tesla had taken my car in many times, one of the Tech's balanced the wheels in trouble shooting and have not heard it since.

J-Dan | 24. januar 2017

Thanks for your suggestion. Actually I've had my wheels balanced not long ago mounting winter tyres, but the noise was similar before and after.
It seems to be much louder and longer than in your video and often when accelerating from standstill (as SilverP85plus says) but also from slow speeds.

Thank you for sharing your experience.
Have you seen mychol's video? Was your noise similar or louder/longer?

scbroncos | 24. januar 2017

I had my drive unit replaced 3 months ago. 2014 MS85 delivered in September with AP1.0.

lilbean | 24. januar 2017

I hear a tweety bird whistling sound when accelerating from 28-33 mph. Is that my drive train?

jb1120 | 24. januar 2017

Sounds like dual motor Model S vehicles have had less problems . . . as it pertains to the drive units requiring replacement.

JAD | 24. januar 2017

Not sure the dual motor has anything to do with it. The issue is simply noise developed in the metal bearing and about the time the dual motors came out, they switched all motors to ceramic. So any 2015 or newer shouldn't have the issue as I understand it.

brian | 25. januar 2017

I had to have the rear one replaced last year on my P85D It just bricked, and no you can't drive on just one. The bummer was that it was in my garage and that car is a beast to push uphill, especially being all Aluminum. Tesla did come pick it on on a flat bed and brought it back home, but it took a couple of days. The error was something about an A and C pole failure.

Silver2K | 25. januar 2017


no mine was a loud clunk

-Gman- | 25. januar 2017

@JAD, when my Jan 2015 S85 had the milling sound, and DU replaced in November. I asked service when the ceramic bearings came into use, and they said the old bearings were in the supply chain and continued to be used for some time, well into 2015 (I did not think to ask RWD vs. Dual, but wouldn't be surprised if the older bearings were confined to the larger, original RWD motors already in the pipeline).

Captain_Zap | 25. januar 2017


Party foul! Bricked has a very specific meaning. It means that the battery drained to zero and it is unrecoverable.

lilbean | 25. januar 2017

I called service about the sound and of course, they've never heard of that before. Lol!

stereoshopper | 25. januar 2017

S85 December 14 build and had DU replaced at 15K miles due to milling sound. Took some negotiating with service to get it done, though.

J-Dan | 25. januar 2017


Such as this one?
(Sorry to bother you)

The flying hippie | 26. januar 2017

I went in to service for an unrelated minor issue and now have a new DU on order. They noticed the low speed milling when I drove in. Also a December '14 S85. Wonder if there was a bad batch or if these are just the last ones with the metal bearings. Probably the latter. I hear good things about the ones they're installing these days.

Silver2K | 26. januar 2017

J-Dan | January 25, 2017
Such as this one?
(Sorry to bother you)

mine was a loud single clunk sound in the rear. if you stood outside the car, it sounded like a person hitting casing with a hammer once

Rocky_H | 26. januar 2017

@flying hippie, Quote: " Also a December '14 S85. Wonder if there was a bad batch or if these are just the last ones with the metal bearings. Probably the latter. "

Yeah, I think it's just eventually working through the drive unit replacements with the bearings as they get to their scheduled service points. Mine is a March 2014 one. I had told service about the milling noise a little earlier on, like maybe at about 10 months or a year. They said within spec at that time, but when I took it for the two year service, they did go ahead and replace it. I think since they knew what the issue was, they figured it can just wait until a real yearly service to take care of it.

jordanrichard | 26. januar 2017

I too have a March '14 built car and my DU was replaced at 36,000 for the milling noise. They were actually going to just replace the cause of the noise (bearings) but when the parts kit arrived, it was missing a couple of seals. So rather than make me wait yet again for another kit to arrive, they went on ahead and swapped out the whole DU, which they had 40 on hand.

I am currently at 65,000, no issues

cweber | 26. januar 2017

Another March 14 car just turned 60K. Replaced DU at about 50K due to low speed milling. Work took about 3 hrs. and I had the car back. No problems since.

ron8853 | 26. januar 2017

2013 P85. Drive unit replaced at 24K and again at 80K.

Haggy | 27. januar 2017

I don't know how relevant it is to know how many times a drive unit was replaced, or even after how many miles, as much as it is to know when and to what revision. The final letter on the part number, as well as what size motor, seem to be what's important. The part number depends on whether it's for a P, and which axle.

CAPTMPL | 27. januar 2017

May 2014 S85 drive unit was replaced in May 2016 due to the "whining noise" the faulty bearings were causing. Approx 35K miles. No problems up to my December 2016 trade in...

J-Dan | 04. april 2017

Just had my MS from SC, 5 days ago.
The noise I've posted earlier (you can still hear it from here: was caused by a front drive shaft (semiaxix). They have changed both frontal (thanks Tesla!).
The noise didn't come back so far, so it really seems it wasn't the DRIVE UNIT, differently from what I have guessed.

Just to share | 04. april 2017

@J-Dan - Thanks for the post. Do you mind if I use the audio on my sounds of tesla page? It's not a sound I have yet: Also I presume you have AWD?

Haggy | 04. april 2017

" Do you mind if I use the audio on my sounds of tesla page?"

It sounds like the name of the worst ever Christmas album. | 04. april 2017

and it's only $19.95 in 3 easy installments!

Sefar | 04. april 2017

stupid question, but the portal of knowledge, aka google hasn't helped me. Are the drive units for all Model S the same? I thought that the output power was controlled by battery size and software, not an enhanced drive unit but now I am only sure that I am not sure.

hammer @OR-US | 04. april 2017

From what I understand there are two (maybe three) different drive units used in the S. The large DU is used in all rear wheel drive cars and in the rear of the dual motor P cars. The small motor is used in the front of all dual motor cars and in the rear of non-P dual motor cars. I have heard speculation that the rear wheel drive P cars have a larger inverter than the regular cars for the third variant.

abcev | 04. april 2017

the rear drive unit in my Dec2015 70D failed after about 11months/13,000km. I was driving and got a warning on the dash that the rear motor was disabled. No strange noises beforehand. Was able to drive home on just the front motor, and was able to put the car in park and then drive again. But next day (presumably after the car was completely off for a while) I was unable to start the car again. Flatbed time! Service centre found the inverter in the rear DU had failed and they replaced the whole motor.

donaldmeacham1 | 04. april 2017

December 2014 P85D. 42k miles. Slight high pitched whine from 40-45 mph. No other sounds and no problems.

Haggy | 05. april 2017

"and it's only $19.95 in 3 easy installments!"

Is that one of those "only" things where "only" doesn't mean "only" but means "not only that price, but also shipping and a random charge for handling that has nothing to do with handling anything"?

DLebryk | 05. april 2017

May 2014 S 85, 46,000 miles - replaced drive unit yesterday. Probably one of the last replacements from that early batch of motors / drive units.

Teslatap - thank you for that sounds of Tesla, what a great thing. Yes my car was making the exact same noise, had been for a long time.

In the last couple of months it got worse and mentioned the noise before third annual service. New Drive Unit, and the car is dead silent again, just like brand new.

RichardKJ | 05. april 2017

My June 2014 S85, 35,000 miles, has been whining for a couple months. I expect it will get a new drive unit at its third annual in May or June.

J-Dan | 06. april 2017

@ TeslaTap
Feel free to use the sound in your tesla page, I'm pleased to contribute, and yes AWD.

Qwiksilver | 06. april 2017

2013 85S
The DU was replaced around 30K miles.
Car shut down 3 times in 24hour time period. Tesla diagnosed "multiple DU faults" wirelessly. They replaced the DU with a re-manufactured DU. Only took them 1.5 hours!
Sometime later, they had to send my battery pack to Freemont for a failure as well.
Since Tesla took care of both problems, the car has run flawlessly.

kawdennis | 06. april 2017

My 2013 P85 had its drive unit replaced about a month ago @ about 57,000 miles

ST70 | 08. april 2017

P85DL- 13K had the warning "Drive unit needs service"...took it right away to Dublin, CA and the logs didn't download I drove it home 4 miles issue. Next day went back and they had the logs and said they want to take it for 3 days for diagnostics...I was OK with that since they gave me a Caddy loaner (kidding...that was the first time I didn't get a I was a big bumbed...what a crappy car). At the end of the day I got a call that my car will be ready first thing the next morning. I asked about the diagnostics....they just said I have a lead foot...and I said yes. I just got back from a 1100 mile round trip to Vegas and the car was perfect. I'm hoping to hear if back from Tesla on the issue. I will post when I find out. Love the car though.

scottperry | 14. april 2017

2013 P85 with 58,628 miles. Just dropped it off. Clunking noises and whir sound that's getting worse. DU getting replaced right now. I'll assume it's an upgraded gen replacement. Performance the same? Any differences that anyone has noticed with replacement DU's?

Innkeep | 14. april 2017

My Sept 14 S 85 had drive unit replaced at 31k miles for a whine at speeds up to 30 mph. Tech said the sound indicated bad bushings. Re manufactured motor has been fine for the last month. Had a P90D loaner with AP 1 and fancy sound system. Figured out that I don't need fancy sound.

I really thought the motors were supposed to be better by late 2014, so am a little disappointed.

Haggy | 14. april 2017

There's no reason to be disappointed because you now have one that meets the latest spec. It would have been disappointing if the 9/2014 met the latest spec and you still needed it done.

Silver2K | 14. april 2017

scottperry | April 14, 2017

2013 P85 with 58,628 miles. Just dropped it off. Clunking noises and whir sound that's getting worse. DU getting replaced right now. I'll assume it's an upgraded gen replacement. Performance the same? Any differences that anyone has noticed with replacement DU's?


I also had the clunking and replaced my p85+ du at 31k also with a P model in the part number. The P does not stand for performance, it's just a version. Ever since i got the replacement installed it's been very quiet and haven't had any issues.

DLebryk | 14. april 2017

@scottperry - The only difference I noticed, quiet. A lot quieter.

KeepAusWired | 14. april 2017

May 2014 S85. Drive unit bearing noise diagnosed at my 3rd annual service - 39,000 miles. Replaced with a remanufactured revision Q drive unit. The car is now quieter than it was when new. Received the usual outstanding service from the Austin service center.

Pungoteague_Dave | 14. april 2017

My drive half shafts (front) were replaced at about 25k on our late '14 P85D. New DU twice in 3/13 S85.

Silver2K | 15. april 2017


The q version for for non-performance

Silver2K | 15. april 2017

Is for

Haggy | 15. april 2017

The only difference I noticed was that it was quieter, perhaps quieter than when the car was new.