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KiwiME

196 posts

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#291882 11-Dec-2021 11:49
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I've been chasing down an unexpected technical deficiency I've spotted on my Kona EV and thought I would be remiss if I did not take the time to alert owners of the above vehicles because they may be similarly affected.

 

To be clear, this has not caused my Kona EV to break down or caused any noises (by 19,000 km) but the potential service life would certainly have been shortened, and the likelihood of a future gear reducer failure increased. This may or may not be related to the few complaints of knocking noises, nothing like that is implied as of yet.

 

So, I personally acquired power transmission troubleshooting experience way back in the early '80s in the UK where I worked as a technical services engineer in a firm that manufactured and installed engine and gearbox dynamometer test facilities for automotive, aerospace and industrial customers worldwide. I was the guy that had to figure out where our machine designers had screwed up and come up with practical solutions that could be applied in the field.

 

In essence the gear reducer in the Kona is not equipped with the most basic form of ferrous particle filtration commonly fitted to all simple splash-lubricated gearboxes with steel gears, otherwise known as a magnetic drain plug. The Series II is the same according to the experience of one helpful owner in Australia with only 3,700 km.

 

The end result is that steel particles that normally wear off gears (especially during the first 1,000 km) will continue to circulate in the gear oil and pass through the precision ball and tapered-roller bearings over and over. They'll get crushed down to a fine dust, discolouring the oil and adding unnecessary wear to the bearing raceways.

 

On every EV with the same deficiency the factory oil will come out looking like black coffee by 4,000 km and contain fine ferrous particles. I've found that two oil changes will clear that up.

 

Unfortunately, I don't have an easy way to determine which vehicle models are affected and the only way to find out is to change the oil. But frankly I'm pretty sure all those I've listed are affected.

 

The minimum course of action I'd suggest for owners of these vehicles to take is to change the gear reducer oil as soon as practical at your expense.  Anytime after 1,000 km is appropriate. That will rid the lubricant of most of the unwanted contaminants.  I believe that this one step will significantly lessen the risk of problems down the road. You can also verify whether or not you already have a magnetic drain plug installed.

 

Several owners outside of NZ have reported difficulties getting dealers to carry out this relatively-simple job because it's not scheduled maintenance until 120,000 km. One dealer did not believe that an EV even had oil in it. Another dealer did not have a standard billing category so they ended up using a "diff oil change" as it's similar.  Dealers have the appropriate oil as it's used in DCT transmissions as well.

 

The job is easy enough to DIY for those experienced and if that's on the table for anyone I'll outline the steps on request. I've done it four times now.

 

Diligent owners may want to also get ongoing oil changes at the major service intervals, or consider adding a magnetic drain plug if your car is out of warranty and you're willing to take any attendant risks.


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cokemaster
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  #2830353 11-Dec-2021 11:55
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New Outlander PHEV's had a mandatory service after 1 month or 1000km, whatever happened earlier. I believe my Prius V also had a similar requirement when I purchased it (New). Otherwise normal service schedule was 15,000km or one year for the Outlander PHEV, or 10,000km or 1 year for the Prius V.

 

I believe this might be why.





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  #2830354 11-Dec-2021 11:59
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things are built to fail nowadays. it's called planned obsolescence.

 

OP is correct. if you follow what the national dealer says, your car will fail soon outside the warranty period. if your car is going to last 20 years how are they going to sell new cars.

 

if you want it to last a long time there are secrets that no dealer will tell you. 15000km/18mth oil change on a 300kW ICE. yeah right.

 

example went to dealer to change CVT gearbox oil. he said - why do you want to change it, it's a lifetime oil. of course it is, once the gearbox dies that's the end of the life of the car. i made him change it because i know what will happen if the CVT oil on a 221kw car with 400Nm torque is not changed.





Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.


gzt

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  #2830371 11-Dec-2021 12:59
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KiwiME: In essence the gear reducer in the Kona is not equipped with the most basic form of ferrous particle filtration commonly fitted to all simple splash-lubricated gearboxes with steel gears, otherwise known as a magnetic drain plug.

Can an owner resolve this with an aftermarket drain plug or sump dimensions just don't work for this? I realise it's kind of pointless if it's not done immediately on delivery. It could make me feel a little better about buying secondhand if an opportunity arises.



KiwiME

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  #2830377 11-Dec-2021 13:23
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gzt:
KiwiME: In essence the gear reducer in the Kona is not equipped with the most basic form of ferrous particle filtration commonly fitted to all simple splash-lubricated gearboxes with steel gears, otherwise known as a magnetic drain plug.

Can an owner resolve this with an aftermarket drain plug or sump dimensions just don't work for this? I realise it's kind of pointless if it's not done immediately on delivery. It could make me feel a little better about buying secondhand if an opportunity arises.


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  #2830381 11-Dec-2021 13:38
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cokemaster:

 

New Outlander PHEV's had a mandatory service after 1 month or 1000km, whatever happened earlier. I believe my Prius V also had a similar requirement when I purchased it (New). Otherwise normal service schedule was 15,000km or one year for the Outlander PHEV, or 10,000km or 1 year for the Prius V.

 

I believe this might be why.

 

 

i wouldn't believe this is why.

 

find out what is actually done.

 

could be just to check the tyre pressures for all you know.





Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.


KiwiME

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  #2830382 11-Dec-2021 13:41
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gzt: Can an owner resolve this with an aftermarket drain plug or sump dimensions just don't work for this? I realise it's kind of pointless if it's not done immediately on delivery...
I've checked carefully that there is 3 cm approximate clearance for a magnetic plug in both drain and fill positions and have been testing a US-made product for a few weeks. Aside from clearing rotating parts and not protruding into fast-moving oil, I also have to be confident that it won't fall apart.  Automotive OEM magnetic plugs are typically ceramic magnets crimped or staked in place while aftermarket are usually rare-earth and glued. IMO and experience, the strength of the magnet is far less important than the presence of one.  I did determine that early Toyota Land Cruisers used what appears to be a suitable part in the diffs, M18x1.5, but have not pursued that with their parts people. It could be a good source of a highly-reliable part.

 

You're right that it needs to be present from the start to be of optimum benefit but my feeling is that the wear rate will be markedly flattened from the point at which remedial action is taken.  If a bearing was heading for certain failure it would not take long.  One failure I heard about in Poland had gone from a noise to parts littered all over the highway in only 3 days. There is a teardown video of another failure in Russia at this link. The mechanic blamed it on a defective bearing but I seriously doubt that was the cause. This IMO was a case where the ferrous loading became just high enough to cause a cascading release of further wear materials of one tapered-roller bearing inner raceway. Note, in the video, he intentionally pulled out one roller to inspect the inner race, it was not broken up or missing.


KiwiME

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  #2830394 11-Dec-2021 13:57
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Batman:

 

cokemaster:

 

New Outlander PHEV's had a mandatory service after 1 month or 1000km, whatever happened earlier. I believe my Prius V also had a similar requirement when I purchased it (New). Otherwise normal service schedule was 15,000km or one year for the Outlander PHEV, or 10,000km or 1 year for the Prius V.

 

I believe this might be why.

 

 

i wouldn't believe this is why.

 

find out what is actually done.

 

could be just to check the tyre pressures for all you know.

 

 

My Kona also had a check at 1 month and an oil level inspection was listed as part of that, certainly not an oil change.  Even if an inspection was carried out involving taking a small sample via the filler opening, it would not reveal the horrors brewing within because the oil looks fine in very small quantities.




KiwiME

196 posts

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  #2830410 11-Dec-2021 14:18
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I should add, because I know the question will be raised, has an oil analysis been done?

 

Yes, as of last week we have two, one in Oz (3,700 km) and one in Canada (15,600 km), both Konas and both running fine so far.

 

The results are that iron content was high but not excessive on both, as you would expect.  Particle content was moderate, but that's not unexpected because most particles would have been ground down to micron-level dust.

 

The unexpected contaminants were aluminium and silicon, both over acceptable limits on the Oz report.  Based on my knowledge of the gearbox design, the aluminium could have only come from outer raceway spin on the primary or intermediate shafts. Those bearings appear to be slip fitted in the housing.  Also, there are reasons why spin could be initiated on the primary shaft but I'm trying to triage the overall situation so will not be discussing this for now.

 

We don't have any plausible theories for the high silicon as the Oz Kona was not driven off paved roads and an analysis of a similar unused VW gear oil does not exhibit high silicon. Again, I'm going to ignore this for now because dealing with the iron is the immediate problem.


RUKI
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  #2830515 11-Dec-2021 21:24
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Side note, not related to oil maintenance. Just FYI for those with Hyundai you may wish to remember for future reference:
My tools are capable of EOL various features programming in Hyundai, e.g. TPMS disabling/enabling is one of EOL features.


If anybody in Auckland will be dismantling dash in Kona / Ioniq EV - I am keen to quickly get the CAN trace in Idle mode recorded.




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  #2830523 11-Dec-2021 21:59
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Wait what, I'm shocked - how can this possibly be. We've been told for years that EVs require zero maintenance :P

Does seem odd that they wouldn't have included a magnetic strip on the bottom of the sump, would be a 50c cost. An odd omission.

RobDickinson
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  #2831183 13-Dec-2021 09:06
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Model 3's have an oil filter and magnetic drain plug if anyone cares.


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  #2832250 14-Dec-2021 16:03
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@kiwiME

 

Thanks for the info.


KiwiME

196 posts

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  #2835295 18-Dec-2021 16:06
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Batman:

 

things are built to fail nowadays. it's called planned obsolescence.

 

Based on the silence from the importer since I emailed them 3 weeks ago I'm inclined to agree. But I'm just as surprised by the lack of owner enthusiasm for carrying out this proactive maintenance.  The few, perhaps 10 owners that have had the work done (or DIY) and kept me informed (on other forums, not here) have been suitably concerned and relieved to have perhaps dodged a bullet.  No one has said it wasn't worth the cost.

 

The total fleet size of Chevy Bolts is not far off the Kona's.  You never hear of a Bolt gearbox failure but for Konas it's every few weeks.

 

RobDickinson:

 

Model 3's have an oil filter and magnetic drain plug if anyone cares.

 

 

True. The filter is just as much about the M3/Y using oil directly as a motor cooling medium and needing a pump to carry that out, which must be protected from ingesting particles.  The Chevy Bolt is much the same but relies on a screen filter and a huge magnet, neither of which was intended to be serviced during the car's lifetime.

 

The Hyundai/Kia models I've listed above all use coolant through the motor stator-only for cooling, probably limiting to some extent the motor performance.


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  #2860265 1-Feb-2022 21:56
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Reduction oil go changed in family members Kona Electric at 36,957km a few weeks ago.

 

As expected completly black.

 

No issue getting the dealership to do this. They were unable to source a magnetic plug, but were happy to fit the vortex brand one we supplied. We only replaced one plug, receipt says it was the drain plug that was replaced. Did charge a lot given it was a simple drain & fill job.

 

 

Thanks again for the heads up about this issue @KiwiME

 

Remains frustrating that some kind of oil filtration wasn't included at the factory.

 

 

 

KiwiME:

 

But I'm just as surprised by the lack of owner enthusiasm for carrying out this proactive maintenance.

 

 

In this case there was a little concern proactive maintenance could just push a failure out beyond the warranty period (or CGA coverage).

 

 

 

In terms of enthusiasm, I suggest a decent chunk of Kona / Ioniq owners brought them new. Not really any financial incentive to go beyond the manufacture recommended maintenance, if you intend to sell / trade in the car before it goes out of warranty / CGA cover. Often new car owners only do maintenance so that the warranty is kept valid.  

 

 


KiwiME

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  #2860322 1-Feb-2022 22:20
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Thanks for providing that feedback and clearly that was proactive maintenance worth doing. That now makes it about 14 owners (globally) that have reported their oil change. 

 

Scott3:Remains frustrating that some kind of oil filtration wasn't included at the factory.

 

On that note an Ioniq owner somewhere in Europe posted some interior photos of the gearbox a few days ago and it seems that there is a ceramic magnet secured inside.

 

However, the black oil is evidence of crushed steel and that in turn is evidence that the factory magnet is insufficiently large or strong enough to hold the required particle loading, so the addition of a magnetic drain plug is still just as beneficial.

 

 

 


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