2019 Kona EV Motor Noise Issue

Discussion in 'Hyundai Kona Electric' started by Mdsweb, Sep 24, 2021.

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  1. Mdsweb

    Mdsweb Member

    Hello everybody... I know this topic has probably been posted more than once, but I thought getting some fresh opinions would be helpful before I attempt to convince my dealer in Ontario, Canada that there is a problem with motor noise on my 2019 Kona EV (purchased April 2019).

    The problem started about 6 months into ownership but I've been tolerating it by drowning it in loud music ... lol... as it does not seem to affect performance at all.

    I finally decided to strap on an old iphone to the engine (motor block) and turn on the voice recorder while I took it for a short ride.

    Here is a breakdown in the timeline of what the car is actually doing, so you can follow along:
    0:00 - 0:20: accelerate to 80km/h (clicking noise in motor heard during acceleration)
    0:21 - 1:39: holding speed around 80-85km/h (low pitch motor noise evident during acceleration only - goes away only during coasting/regen)
    1:40 - 2:06: gradual slowing approaching a left turn
    2:07 - 2:19: complete stop / accel with clicking noise
    2:20 - 2:42: same
    2:43 - 3:22: same

    Does this sound familiar to any of you? If so, what solutions are out there?

    I've heard about motor replacement, and I've mentioned it to my dealer in Ontario and they had a shocked look of disbelief and I knew I wasn't going to get anywhere without some proof to back up my claims. They even took it for a ride and could not detect (or hear) a problem, which does not surprise me if all you drive is an ICE every day where noise like this is ignored and common.

    My car is also due for a battery replacement, that is a whole new topic... but wouldn't it be nice if both issues were resolved while I was stuck without my car for a few days.

    Any help appreciated!
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  3. Electric Rich

    Electric Rich Member

    Hi, I havent had the issue but agree that motor has a problem. I've heard that before on here. That rumble noise etc. From what I've read it will get loader over time so they wont be able to ignore it much longer. If the dealer will let you record a new Kona in the same way, be a good comparison and should highlight the issue.
  4. A few days ... You're funny!
    Sorry, I feel with you!
  5. NRH

    NRH Active Member

    I'm in the same situation with my 2019. I mentioned the clicking to the dealer about 6 months in, and they couldn't replicate it. Now we're 2 years in, and it's more common (but still pretty subtle). I'd love it if my dealer could do all the work when it goes in for the battery, because the dealer is almost an hour away.
    Plus I've got the steering wheel grumble, so that needs replaced.
    Is there a TSB on this motor/gear box click? My service manager actually likes it when I bring in TSBs that relate to my problems.
  6. Mdsweb

    Mdsweb Member

    I don't think there is an official TSB yet - but after doing some more research it boils down to 2 possible fixes/solutions:

    1. Drive shaft assembly rotation by 180 degrees (I've attached an actual work order of a Kona driver who claimed it fixed his issue)
    2. Complete Traction Motor Assembly replacement (Electric motor, drive gear & motor assembly) 36500-0E701 or 36500-0E702 (newest model)

    I'm not sure if I'm willing to try option 1 first - with limited success if done properly - and I'm worried about existing damage to the assembly - as any noise coming out of there must be wearing something down and doing some harm.

    Any thoughts or experience out there with these fixes?

    Attached Files:

    Wildeyed likes this.
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  8. Surface Effect

    Surface Effect New Member

    Here's an example from the UK. My Kona Electric was delivered in March 2019, so similar vintage. I too heard the dreaded clicking/pattering noise about 6 months into ownership. I knew what it was, having read about the problem on a Kona forum. It was very brief and disappeared. It resurfaced about a year later and continued to happen intermittently. It was always at less than 35km/hr. Above that it was quiet. Spring/summer this year, I started getting harshness
    at higher speeds which you could "switch" on or off by applying power or easing off. This was gradually getting louder and the clicking/pattering was now very very obvious and predictable. At this point, I was sure that the Hyundai dealer could not ignore it, so took it in to be checked. They confirmed the noise and ordered a new traction motor. It took about 4 weeks to receive and fit the motor. They tried to get around their technical problems by leaving me in the dark but as I pestered them about what the issue was, they admitted that the new motor had not fixed the problem and they had been advised by Hyundai UK that it would need a new transmission which they had duly ordered. Three weeks later the car was returned with shiny new drive machinery (latest motor, serial number .....702) and without the dreaded noise.
    As others have suggested, the problem is most likely a slight misalignment of the motor drive spline inside the gearbox input shaft and that a long period of running in this condition had probably damaged both components. It seems a bit drastic to replace the entire reduction box and differential assembly, but I am not complaining (apart from having to drive an ICE Mini for several weeks, that is). Hyundai have told me officially that my Kona is also due for a new battery, although there are rumours that this may not happen (in the UK, at least).
    electriceddy likes this.
  9. NRH

    NRH Active Member

    Thanks for that report. I hate the back and forth, so I think I may delay this issue a bit longer, until it's more obvious. Currently just a faint clicking (very much like the recording that mdsweb posted above).
  10. Where the noise is still subtle and dealer help is not imminent, to be proactive it would not hurt to check the cleanliness of the gear reducer oil. I haven't done this personally but it would be a matter of opening the filler plug and inserting a Q-tip or similar inside to take a sample. There have been several cases of very dirty oil, indicative of excess wear, but this is not noticed until things completely fail. The oil type is just a common straight 70 weight GL4.

    I think this photo is from hobbit's site, hopefully he won't mind.

    hobbit likes this.
  11. apu

    apu Well-Known Member Subscriber

    If your dealer is uncertain how to proceed ask them to contact HYTAC(Hyundai's technical assistance advisors) They have definitely dealt with this problem before.
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  13. Mdsweb

    Mdsweb Member

    Thanks to all who have contributed their experiences with this issue!
    Here is an update on my vehicle:

    By chance my recall battery arrived last week and I had the replacement appointment yesterday. (took about a full day and they gave me an ICE loaner)
    While that was being done they attempted to rotate the traction motor by 180 degrees (as recommended by Hyundai) and after a quick test drive, the noise was still there. So next step is to replace the motor - ELECTRIC MOTOR, DRIVE GEAR & MOTOR ASSEMBLY. The part is on order (I would suspect they will ship the 702 version) and will probably take a couple of months - so I will update you once everything is done and hopefully resolved.

    Nice to see the shiny new battery installed @ 66,000 km so gives me a fresh start... and Dealer has been great so far, but I have a feeling hearing the motor noise on the iPhone recording may have expedited the whole process. So if any of you have the similar issue, I would recommend doing the same thing to save some time during the diagnosing stage.
    R P likes this.
  14. zoominbc

    zoominbc Active Member

    I had a similar noise noticeable above 60kph and my dealer replaced the reduction gear. After replacement the noise is worse and now occurs at low speed. The dealer acknowledged the problem and has now started the process to replace the motor assembly. They apparently need approval from Hyundai Canada so I imagine it will take some time. It appears the dealership was aware that replacement of the reduction gear alone was unlikely to resolve the noise issue but its up to Hyundai Canada to approve the warranty work.
  15. I had the noise in my 2019 Kona - it became noticeable in 2020 after about 11,000 miles, and gradually got louder. My dealer ended up replacing the drive motor without too much fuss. I don't think they replaced the reduction gear, but it has been fine ever since. I'm just hoping now that my battery has been replaced too, I can enjoy the quiet and low-maintenance driving expected from an EV.
  16. Electric Rich

    Electric Rich Member

    Hi all, is anyone else a bit paranoid like me. Is it just a matter of time before we get 'motor' issues. I'm reading dealers are adding 'brackets' or at least have installed longer mounting bolts etc to new motors when they've been replaced. I drive my car pretty conservatively so perhaps havent repeatedly loaded up the drive train as much as some. Is that the only reason mine is still ok so far.?
    I'd like to hear thoughts on taking proactive measures in relation to these issues. Should we be asking dealers to install these 'extra strength' supports before the motor bearings fail? If they change the original mounting bolts when changing a motor over (which they do) then that suggests a 'flaw' with the original mounts.
    Be interested to know if the new motors have new mounts built in, or if an original motor could have the new mounting flange added. Even if they didnt do it for free, I still might part with some $$ to future proof my drive train.
  17. NRH

    NRH Active Member

    You've got 100,000 miles to let something come up. If you aren't hearing the ticking motor noise now, I wouldn't sweat it. Enjoy your nice quiet ride. When you get up around 80,000 miles give it another careful listen to make sure it's not developing the noise.
    BC-Doc and electriceddy like this.
  18. Warranties differ widely by market and many of us do need to pay more attention to this as expiration dates approach. My own warranty will expire next week.
    It's a good question and that has been on my mind also. We don't know exactly what the root cause is (or multiple causes) so all I can suggest is checking or changing the gearbox oil annually to see if any unusual debris or discolouration is present. That might catch a bearing (or bearing retention) failure which has happened in a few of the documented cases. It wouldn't catch motor spline issues that is the apparent cause in other cases.
    I think the key is to report it to the dealer as soon as something sounds amiss. If they aren't cooperative, personally I'd dive into it myself before more damage was done. The quandary is that the dealer may be able to get Hyundai to come to the table to pay for parts (or all of it) but only after the car stops functioning, too late to save the hardware. The other option is to buy an extended warranty, or sell or trade in the car.
  19. Electric Rich

    Electric Rich Member

    Thanks Kiwi, I still have 3 years left on my warranty but will do as you suggest and check the gear oil often, also might turn off the radio once in a while. Have a good listen :)
  20. I have had this noise (whirring/clicking) start over the last three weeks. So I brought it to the dealer, two EV techs drove it and said it was the VESS o_O. I have driven the car for 2.5 and VESS obviously does not sound like this. Did a drive with a service manager and pointed out when it's occurring on acceleration. They agreed it was not normal. Bringing it back late next week and will update what they find.

    One thing that bugs me is all the EV techs needed to do was unplug the VESS. That would make it super obvious and clear that it was not VESS and is an issue.

    As part of my 30-month service, they also checked the reduction fluid and replaced it due to it being dirty. Didn't affect the sound but not sure if it may be related.
  21. Can you let me know your dealership? I might benefit from a dealer who'd already det with these issues.
  22. Myers Barrhaven Hyundai (in Ottawa). They have only so far said it sounds like there is something wrong. I'll have an update hopefully after I go in next week. I don't think they have seen this before based on my experience.
    Wildeyed likes this.
  23. What was the cost for the gearbox oil replacement also your mileage?

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