Rich Rebuilds Takes Us Inside A First-Gen Tesla Model S Motor


A detailed look inside a drive unit that has never been replaced by Tesla

We all can learn two things from this video: rebuilding a Tesla Model S motor isn’t that hard and the crew at Rich Rebuilds hate chimes.

Since the former is a bit more important to our readers, let’s dive into that aspect a bit more. Rich Rebuilds is a channel that centers around showing YouTubers ways around cars like the Tesla Model S. They mostly do videos where a Model S is taken apart – in one way or the other.

For this video, the crew set out to show us how to rebuild a motor, found in a Model S P85D from 2013.

The Model S seen here comes with a rear motor that’s producing a grinding sound. Tesla replaced motors from these vehicles in large numbers a few years back, all for similar issues. Some motors produced a whining noise, some had a clunking noise coming out of the rear, while some even showcased a shaking and wobbling effect. This Model S P85D is a pre-salvage vehicle, that Tesla won’t actually service in any way.

In the video above, you’ll see the entire process of removing and rebuilding a Model S rear motor. From the look of things, an experienced crew shouldn’t have any issues disassembling the rear of the vehicle, removing the motor and servicing the parts in it. This particular motor comes with shot bearings, it’s got ground down shaft teeth and it seems the fix is easy enough to allow the driver to use his Model S for a long time to come. It also shows us that in the future, an entire servicing industry¬†might be born, as more and more electric vehicles are coming out.

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4 Comments on "Rich Rebuilds Takes Us Inside A First-Gen Tesla Model S Motor"

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The bearings in the early Tesla motors go bad because of an induced current that pulls them out of alignment. To avoid this, you need to install a copper grounding brush, which these guys did not do. The bad spline was also not replaced. This Model S will probably be back for another motor.

Yeah, unfortunately things like the very worn Spline at only 40,000 miles is one of the things that gives me pause. I’m quite surprised Tesla didn’t include a grounding brush considering the high frequency/speed it runs at. I’d also sometime like to see the wear in the main reduction box at 40,000 miles.

From what I understand, the early cars did have grounding brushes, but some of them were defective or flawed. I’ve seen some say they do this with a common mode choke now, but I don’t have a strong understanding of those.

I’m pretty sure they said “prior salvage”, not “pre-salvage”… Which makes more sense to me — but then again, I’m not a native speaker either…