Clunking noise while car is off or waking up

Spiffywerks

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#1
While parked, not charging and off, the car is making a clunking sound followed by fans running. It turns off about 1-2 minutes later, then starts again after about 20-30 seconds.

I just sent an email to Tesla service to see if they have anything to say about it.

I'm on version: 2018.4.6 9a47df4

Please see this video, it clunks 3 times and flashes the lights once in 2.5 minutes: (Please forgive my cluttered garage.)
 

Spiffywerks

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#2
So I tried a couple of things:

1. Rebooted the car (holding down both scrolls wheels.) No Change.
2. Drove the car around the block and parked it again. No Change.
3. Plugged in the charger... CHANGE!

So after plugging in the UMC charger, I could hear the familiar clunking, but only once. I let it go for about 3 minutes to see if the clunking would continue and it did not.

I unplugged the UMC and it's been about 30 minutes and I don't think I've heard it clunk again.

Earlier today I was driving around and floored it a few times on my way home, not sure if this has anything to do with it, but I'll have to test my theories tomorrow.
 

3V Pilot

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#3
So I tried a couple of things:

1. Rebooted the car (holding down both scrolls wheels.) No Change.
2. Drove the car around the block and parked it again. No Change.
3. Plugged in the charger... CHANGE!

So after plugging in the UMC charger, I could hear the familiar clunking, but only once. I let it go for about 3 minutes to see if the clunking would continue and it did not.

I unplugged the UMC and it's been about 30 minutes and I don't think I've heard it clunk again.

Earlier today I was driving around and floored it a few times on my way home, not sure if this has anything to do with it, but I'll have to test my theories tomorrow.
Thanks for doing some troubleshooting and posting your results. As someone who has yet to take delivery it's nice to get an understanding of what noises are normal, what are not, and how to possibly stop some of them.
 

teslarob

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#4
Sounds like the car is going to sleep, then waking due to phone proximity, and the clunks are the pack contactors opening and closing. I think the "fan" noise is actually the coolant pumps, which come on when the pack contactors close.
 

Spiffywerks

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#5
Sounds like the car is going to sleep, then waking due to phone proximity, and the clunks are the pack contactors opening and closing. I think the "fan" noise is actually the coolant pumps, which come on when the pack contactors close.
I had this same thought and put my phone on the other side of the house just to make sure it wasn’t a proximity issue. I also went into the menus and manually turned the car off. It was still doing this.

It seemed like it was something with the battery pack. I was trying to place the sound and it seemed to be coming from the lower rear section at the back of the battery pack.
 

teslarob

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#6
I had this same thought and put my phone on the other side of the house just to make sure it wasn’t a proximity issue. I also went into the menus and manually turned the car off. It was still doing this.

It seemed like it was something with the battery pack. I was trying to place the sound and it seemed to be coming from the lower rear section at the back of the battery pack.
The loud clunks are definitely the pack contactors cycling. Not sure why they would be doing that continuously, however. Should stop once the vehicle goes fully to sleep, however.
 
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#7
I can report the same exact behavior with my Model 3. I was working on swapping out my EVSE this morning with a HPWC and going in and out of proximity of the car with my phone creates the same sounds.
 

Spiffywerks

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#9
Well, the car is no longer doing this.

I tried a couple things:
  • Went for a 10 mile drive. Came back, parked it, waited an hour. Car made no unusual sounds other than the fans running for a while to cool the car down.
  • Went for a "spirited" drive. Four 0-90 mph pedal to the floor sprints getting on and off the freeway, then returning home and parking. Fans a lot harder for couple hours, but the cycling noises did not return. 3 hours later the car was completely silent again.
So not sure exactly what happened that caused this to begin with, but seems plugging it in reset whatever was going on and it hasn't returned. The only thing different about that day, if it has anything to do with it, is I used a Supercharger for the first time to charge from 80 --> 280 miles of charge.
 
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gkl68

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#10
My car is making the exact same sound, coming from the lower rear section of the car. I took it into service and they said it's something about relays for the main battery to clamp/charge the 12V battery. When the 12V battery is charged up then it won't make this sound. If you let the car sit a while, and come back with the phone/key to activate the car, then you may hear that sound. Service says model S does the same, just that model 3 is louder. Although I never hear this type of sound on the S.

I do feel like it's quite loud and strange how mine repeats this sound over and over. I suspect your 12V has been charged after your drives. Please report back if you sound comes back again.
 

teslarob

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#11
The Model S and X make more of a "tick" sound, whereas the Model 3 is definitely a "clunk". I would say it's not anything to worry about.
 
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#12
Hi Friends,

I took delivery of my 3 two weeks ago. It has exceeded every expectation. After driving, it has sat quietly in my garage awaiting the next mission. Until now! After the most recent software update, I too have the cyclic clunking while parked. It is aptly described above in the previous posts. Plugged in. Not plugged in. Charging. Not charging. Locked. Not locked. Environmental system on or off. Powered off from the screen. All the same.
Random sequenced clunking. Sometimes pumps/fans. After hours at rest with no noises. It will start again. Phone off. App Off. Card key locking. No help. I turned off Walk away locking and walk up unlock with o change in behavior.

I am thinking the software update is related to these noises that did not happen prior to the update. Any guidance or information would be appreciated. I love the car, but this behavior is not quite up to the standard I have expected from the car at rest. Thank you all for your efforts to keep us all informed.

Paul
 
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Spiffywerks

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#13
Hey Paul,

Try putting your phone on the other side of the house or in the backyard far away from the car when it starts doing this and see if it stops. I have been trying to experiment with this thought: The car is monitoring the phone's GPS. If it looks like the phone is close, not within Bluetooth range but GPS location-wise, it gets the car ready by connecting the battery pack connectors (the clunk) to power on the car and ready itself to unlock the doors and do all it's chores for you to enter the vehicle. If after 30 seconds you ignore the car, it tries to save battery power by disconnecting the pack, but then it says "BUT WAIT! You're still close! Let me get myself ready for you!" *CLUNK* goes the connector.

OR it could be your GPS is being wonky and making it look like your approaching and moving away from the car, so it cycles. This is why I suggest moving your phone outside in the backyard, where it can get a better GPS signal to ensure it looks like you've moved away from the car so it doesn't try to ready itself. Give it a try and report back your results. :)
 

ng0

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#14
wow that clunking sounds so awful! Makes me nervous about my model 3 when I get it! Sounds like someone's banging on it with a hammer. Hope you get it resolved!
 

NRG4All

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#17
The clunk is not a problem. It is normal operation of the HV battery :) If it goes away, then you won't be able to drive your car ;)
We can hope that a "clunk" is better than a "tick". It may be that the connectors are more substantial (or perhaps just a different solenoid vendor).
 

ng0

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#18
The clunk is not a problem. It is normal operation of the HV battery :) If it goes away, then you won't be able to drive your car ;)
Still sounds really bad! It's interesting that this is the first time I've heard anything about this.
 
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#19
Hi Kids,

Thanks Spiffywerks. I think your suggestion about GPS location might be applicable. If I keep my phone upstairs or on the other side of the house the clunking continues for a few minutes then ultimately stops. Maybe 5 minutes of clunking. With the phone out of bluetooth range but closer to the car (a room or two away) the clunking begins again. I will continue report and watch for more info here at the forum. Thanks again.

Paul
 

gkl68

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#20
Spiffywerks is exactly right, this sound is from the connecting/disconnecting the 12V battery pack. Mine just feels louder than it should be, but let me know what you guys think?