Scott3:Unfortunately you’ll have to get them to redo the job at their expense. That oil is far thicker than 70W and not compliant to the call-out. If they don’t have the correct oil (Hyundai DCT 70W) they could use Penrite 70W-75 gear oil from supercheap or Repco.
… Was expecting 70W. But dealer used 75W90. Assuming this is close enough?
Thanks for the info. Will have it taken back...
Here is an image of the oil on a rag. Not quite as black as the oil appears in the jar.
The Kona EV gearbox operates at around 45°C and at that temp the 75W-90 is almost three times thicker than 70W-75. I'm not sure if there is downside to the thicker oil other than poor economy but it may be specified because the pinion runs at up to 10,000 RPM.
Some Canadian owners have complained of a gear whine when cold in -30°C weather and I'm pretty sure that's due to excessively high oil viscosity. The "pour point" is around -45C, so at -30 it's like molasses.
The blackness in your oil is typical of the vast majority who have reported back, around 14 now globally. We did have one Niro owner with normal coloured oil at 160,000 km but the reason remains a complete mystery. The reason for the blackness is still not 100% proven but my next oil change at about mid-2022 will tell me if this is an ongoing problem, or the addition of the magnet has solved it.
There was even a small hint as of yesterday from the Ioniq owner with the failed gearbox that this could be an electrical discharge issue, but evidence either way is thin on the ground. The Nissan Leaf has a nearly identical gearbox design but curiously adds some sort of grounding brush on the intermediate shaft. To be continued ...
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.
Just to update this post late Feb 2022, subsequent information from the above Ioniq owner in Poland indicates that the noisy bearings in the above (classic) Ioniq gear reducer left no mentionable ferrous debris on the internal magnet.
The concern now is that the bearing damage was due to spark erosion from a voltage potential applied to the reducer from the motor. I haven't been able to get any more information out of the owner regarding a bearing teardown where proof would be found.
The motor output shaft does have a circular grounding brush but if that were compromised by even a small amount of oil or grease there could be an issue as there is no apparent backup ground. The Nissan Leaf, a nearly identical design, has a grounding brush on the intermediate shaft presumably as that shaft is essentially floating on oil films during operation. It's not clear if there is also a brush on the Leaf motor output shaft (there must be) and my questions about this on a major Leaf forum have so-far gone unanswered. I've never seen black oil come out of a Leaf gearbox from the several changes posted on YouTube. The two Leaf oil analyses I have are similarly much better than the three I have for the Kona/Niro but all show similar contamination elements: iron, aluminium and silicon.
So, at this stage my suggestion for those owners concerned is to change your oil more frequently but there is no need to add a magnetic drain plug. I'll be doing mine once every 6 months to see how it's going (and because I have a lot of spare oil) and that will give me an idea if the blackening is a persistent issue or just a result of break-in. I'd suggest once every 2 years is more than enough for anyone who wishes to be conservative, given that the warranty is only 3 years on the Kona and any failures past that will rely on the CGA backing you up. We don't see heaps of gearbox failures in the global forums but 14 out of 15 have had black oil on the first change.
Just to bring this thread up to date as of June 2022, there has been a flurry of activity recently from global Kona EV owners that has lead to a better understanding of the issue. As 6 months has elapsed since the issue first was raised, some Kona owners who took mitigating steps last year have been reporting the results. Additionally, a couple of attentive new car owners carried out oil changes at under 1,000 km.
1. There is strong if not conclusive evidence that the factory's internal non-serviceable gearbox magnet is in fact non-magnetic.
2. The result is that ferromagnetic (steel) wear particles normally shed by gear meshing are staying in circulation rather than being sequestered as intended.
3. As particles are crushed down to dust by unwary precision ball and roller bearings in addition to gears the particles turn black and ferromagnetic attraction is lost.
4. Because 100% of approx. 20 first time oil changes reported worldwide came out black it's highly probable that the defective magnet problem applies to all Kona EVs to date.
5. Adding an aftermarket magnetic plug and renewing the oil stops the problem from continuing by two accounts so far. We have only vetted one plug brand and model to date.
6. The (US agency) NHTSA posted a TSB from Hyundai this month on troubleshooting a "motor rumble" but from the text it doesn't appear that they connect this with the gear oil. The reason it's posted by NHTSA is certainly due to reaching a threshold number of consumer complaints about the tapping noise. I'll stress that we don't have evidence that the dirty oil leads to the tapping or rumble noise but it would be no surprise if it did and there is a logical chain of events that could explain it.
7. The Niro and classic Ioniq have the same gearbox (with ratio variations) are likely to be similarly affected but I haven't stayed too much up to date with those owners. I'll note regarding the thread title that the Soul EV gearbox is a different design and so it's unknown if that's similarly-affected.
8. For all owners of Kona, Niro and classic Ioniq it would be to your advantage to carry out the actions in line 5. This is some evidence that the car does run quieter with clean oil. If you're buying a new Kona and it has less than 100 km on it you can skip the oil change and fit the magnetic plug to the filler hole as not to disturb the oil. Anything further and the oil becomes too far polluted.
9. The latest oil change was done on an Australian Kona at only 142 km this month, so the problem has appeared on a late example.
Oil: 1.0 litre: Hyundai 70W DCT, Redline MT-LV, or above freezing areas: Penrite Pro Gear 70W-75 GL4. Do not use 75W-85, 75W-90 or any GL5.
Magnetic drain plug: 1 reqd, search Amazon for "Votex - M18X1.5MM Stainless Steel Engine Magnetic Oil Drain Plug with Neodymium Magnet".
An alternative magnetic plug has been identified which could be more palatable for Kona, Niro and (classic) Ioniq EV owners who rely on dealers for servicing. It's a screw-in replacement, nothing different about it.
It's a Toyota part, readily available in NZ and looks nearly identical to the stock plug. I paid $50 for one in Hastings, crazy expensive for what it is but the American-made Votex costs about the same after shipping.
I'm also more comfortable with the crimped-in magnet rather than it being glued in, even though it's the weaker ceramic type.