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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
First, I wonder if the steering wheel is supposed to have some level of play in it or not? With the car off and thus no steering assist, I can wiggle the wheel and it feels like it's got actual slack, not just the usual play of the tires at the "resting position." I'm still able to control the car just fine but the steering wheel does move around a bit on me. I'll be alright if it stays that way but it would be nice if there's a way to tighten that up.

Second, there are a couple of sounds I'm curious about. One of them is right before the engine spins up, there's a loud whirring from the front end of the car. My guess is it's the auxilliary fluid pump in the drive unit making hydraulic pressure to clutch the engine to DM/G A for starting; I could be wrong though. Just wonder if that's normal or if it should be quieter. There's also a little tone-like kind of sound that comes from the front end when I turn off the ignition. Loosely reminds me of some sounds that idle air controllers/electronic throttle bodies can make.

I have a recording of these sounds but it's in audio format and the forum won't let me post links yet because I just joined. I just got the car Tuesday evening(10 Sep).

Lastly, the driver's door handle button, as many have posted, doesn't work. I'm fine with replacing the handle myself, I can get it on RockAuto for $98-ish. They claim it's a set of two for the front. What I'm curious about is if anyone knows how if at all the door handle can come apart. The pictures of the rear door handles make it appear that the outer shell, the painted part, can be separated from the rest of the assembly. If the front door handles can do this too, then that might save me some paintwork, and thus money in fewer supplies.
 

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The steering is electric assist rather than hydraulic, which most cars have, so it may feel different from what you are used to. I am not sure about how it feels with the car off because I have never played with it with the car off. While driving, the feeling of mine is extremely light compared to other cars I am used to. I like that, but it is a little different. There is absolutely no slack or dead spot in the center. Any slight change in the steering wheel angle will generate a slight change in the vehicle heading on my car. Some cars have had an issue where the steering wheel feels a little stiff at the dead center position under rare conditions, and there was a warranty extension for that specific issue. In some cases it was fixed with a software update, and in some cases they replaced the power steering unit.
 

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GM's tend to have a little slack in the steering wheel. This is by design so the small twitches we all have don't jerk the car all over the road. My Volt has about an inch of play where the response is a little slow but if I hold it the car responds.
 

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As I recall, with power off, the steering in my Volt was quite tight. There was no motion without some level of centering torque to it. I could twist the wheel back and forth an inch or two but it always centered itself.

Regarding your loud whirring noise just before engine spin-up, that doesn't sound familiar at all.
 

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WRT your door handles there is a lot of info on the German forum and the UK forum - the UK shows the best way to separate the handle cover, the German shows the best way to replace the switches cheaply!!

I can't post links yet so you will have to build the links up from the below!!


www[dot]speakev[dot]com/threads/repairing-door-handle-buttons[dot]142410/

www[dot]opel-ampera-forum[dot]de/viewtopic[dot]php?f=15&t=4154&sid=d1ecae57b97257122c1596d04cc7c6b8&start=10
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)

Figured out a way to stuff the audio into a video file and toss it on YouTube. Now you can listen to what I mean. The recording is edited, I did let the engine run for a little longer than that. Used mountain mode to trigger engine start.


The steering is electric assist rather than hydraulic, which most cars have, so it may feel different from what you are used to. I am not sure about how it feels with the car off because I have never played with it with the car off. While driving, the feeling of mine is extremely light compared to other cars I am used to. I like that, but it is a little different. There is absolutely no slack or dead spot in the center. Any slight change in the steering wheel angle will generate a slight change in the vehicle heading on my car. Some cars have had an issue where the steering wheel feels a little stiff at the dead center position under rare conditions, and there was a warranty extension for that specific issue. In some cases it was fixed with a software update, and in some cases they replaced the power steering unit.
I am acquainted with electric assist, we also have a Model 3 and a 2011 Sienna, both of which also have electric assist- three levels of it too, in the case of the TM3. The Sienna is even more assist-y than the Volt too. It definitely doesn't feel stiff in mine or seem to have a sticky spot.

I'll get a short video of the steering wheel play later today.
 

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Not a familiar sound to me. The cranking of the engine should be basically silent, by itself.
The shutdown tone is totally normal. I remember hearing it anytime I had the windows down when I powered down.

If you want to listen more closely to things, open the hood while the car is off and have an assistant press the power button. The engine will run anytime the hood is open when the car is in ready mode.

Edit: There is a belt driven water pump on the engine (the only belt-driven accessory). Perhaps the belt is slipping with the rapid spin up of the engine? Just guessing. FWIW, it's a stretch belt, with no tensioner.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Not a familiar sound to me. The cranking of the engine should be basically silent, by itself.
The shutdown tone is totally normal. I remember hearing it anytime I had the windows down when I powered down.

If you want to listen more closely to things, open the hood while the car is off and have an assistant press the power button. The engine will run anytime the hood is open when the car is in ready mode.

Edit: There is a belt driven water pump on the engine (the only belt-driven accessory). Perhaps the belt is slipping with the rapid spin up of the engine? Just guessing. FWIW, it's a stretch belt, with no tensioner.
It sounds electrical/motorized to me. I think the belt slipping would have an entirely different and much higher pitched sound. I'll play around with trying to locate it later. FWIW, my phone taking the recording was placed right under the center of the front facia. Very close to the drive unit. Later I may at first try again with my phone at different positions and see if the whirring noise gets louder or softer between those recordings, that might help me narrow it down.

Good to hear on the shutdown tone. I'm not so concerned there, just curious what it is. Feline curiosity is a trait of mine.
 

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I hear a tone similar to that when I activate pre-conditioning from the fob. Never heard it on shutdown though.
 

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The tone on startup & shutdown, my thoughts were that it sounds like the main inverter/drive system doing a quick diagnostic self test just as its powering down, testing the windings of the motors. You'll then hear a clunk shortly thereafter that which is likely the main battery contactors opening. (in addition to the intermittent motor noises the hydraulic brake accumulator makes for roughly 30 seconds after)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The tone on startup & shutdown, my thoughts were that it sounds like the main inverter/drive system doing a quick diagnostic self test just as its powering down, testing the windings of the motors. You'll then hear a clunk shortly thereafter that which is likely the main battery contactors opening. (in addition to the intermittent motor noises the hydraulic brake accumulator makes for roughly 30 seconds after)
Sounds about right, though the tones between start/shutdown are different. I think I've pretty much identified which clunk is the main contactors. It's considerably more subtle than those in our Model 3. May have to do with them essentially being buried further into the vehicle than the Tesla's. In the TM3 pack the contactors are only like an inch or two past the bottom surface of the pack. From what I've seen the contactors in the Volt battery may not be as beefy either, but that makes sense as they probably aren't handling even half as much current. The rear motor alone in a model 3 would draw more current at wide open throttle than the Voltec M/G B would, to say nothing of dual motor models. Between the two the nominal battery voltage is pretty close to the same too.
 

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When you first start up all the accessories (that you have on, like air conditioning) come on. The air conditioning can be quite loud.
 

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When you first start up all the accessories (that you have on, like air conditioning) come on. The air conditioning can be quite loud.
I believe this is happening when the engine starts--not when powering the car on.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I believe this is happening when the engine starts--not when powering the car on.
Correct.

I'm pretty certain it's the auxiliary fluid pump by now. I paid more attention today and I hear the same motor sound briefly any time I shift into Reverse or Drive which makes sense because the "Variable Low 1-2-Reverse" clutch gets applied to hold the ring gear. I'm kinda fascinated by the fact that it seems to only run for a second or two at a time. The pump makes pressure, clutch is applied, and then my guess is the pressure is held with a closed valve so the pump doesn't have to run continuously? Whereas unless I have been mistaken my whole life I had the impression that your typical automatic transaxle had a constant supply of oil pressure due to the torque converter shell driving the oil pump full-time.

If no one else has heard theirs making noise then this is probably something I will want to look into. Not going to be a walk in the park though.

As for the steering wheel, I got around to making that short video today.

 

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Not normal.

I once had a similar effect with a VW Rabbit and it was a universal joint clamped to the steering shaft that had loosened. In that case, it was a quick operation with a wrench just above the pedal cluster inside the car to tighten the clamp up.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Does it do that at 3,6,9 o'clock too?
It does. Well, it did.

Not normal.

I once had a similar effect with a VW Rabbit and it was a universal joint clamped to the steering shaft that had loosened. In that case, it was a quick operation with a wrench just above the pedal cluster inside the car to tighten the clamp up.
Innumerable kudos to you my friend! Anecdote to the rescue.
IMG_20190916_092953[1].jpg
That clamp/bolt was the culprit. I took an 11mm socket and tightened that by about 1/3rd of a turn, and all play in the steering wheel is gone.
 

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It does. Well, it did.



Innumerable kudos to you my friend! Anecdote to the rescue.
View attachment 159405
That clamp/bolt was the culprit. I took an 11mm socket and tightened that by about 1/3rd of a turn, and all play in the steering wheel is gone.
Terrific!
On my Rabbit (circa 1980) it was only noticeable on rough pavement or gravel roads.
 
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