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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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Discussion Starter #1
I received a new Zoe last week, but it was not a moment of cheer and celebration because I took it for a test drive and it is making bad transmission noises at various speeds.

It is at its worst around 60~65mph.

The noise appears to increase after a drive (get warmer).

The noise is now noticeable at 30mph, I don't recall that on my first test drive. So, seems to be getting worse.

The noise is there at low-zero load on the transmission (i.e. ~0 kW), under load there is no such noise, and not audible over 70mph when there is essentially a higher load on the gears all the time.

There is also some 'harmonic' component to the behaviour, i.e. around 35 to 40mph the noise abates; 15~20 there is little noise, 35~40, and 70~80. You see the resonant pattern there.

The transmission on this Zoe sounds like the worn transfer box pinion gear on my Subaru, but the Subaru had done 200,000 miles, this has done 80.

I am now asking myself;
  • is there enough gearbox oil in this!?
  • could I live with this?
  • will it be a problem in the future?
  • does it go back?
On my mere 80 test miles, the battery is still at 66%! Fantastic battery capacity, this is an EV range I really want to have, but at what cost to my hearing and nerves?

I will also mention that I have driven a number of Zoes before and I do not recall driving one so comfortable and solid on the road, they have sprinkled French suspension magic on this. The seats are also perfectly comfortable and there is really nothing else that is a negative (notwithstanding the sound system which has no way to turn it off with one button or turn the volume down that I can find).

(If you wish to listen, you must change the extension of the attachment to .mp3)
 

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Renault Zoe 50
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Firstly, why did you keep this a secret?!?

Also, what deal did you get?

Send it back and demand a Zoe loaner. Mine is totally silent. :)
 

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Renault Zoe 50
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The seats are also perfectly comfortable and there is really nothing else that is a negative (notwithstanding the sound system which has no way to turn it off with one button or turn the volume down that I can find).
Do you mean the pedestrian warning system or the wireless radio?
 

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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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29,903 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Firstly, why did you keep this a secret?!?

Also, what deal did you get?

Send it back and demand a Zoe loaner. Mine is totally silent. :)
No secret. I said the Soul was going back, and no-one seemed to twig that would open up an EV-vacuum.

The deal is completely fantastic and I so want it, but this noise has really given my enthusiasm a good hammering. Some hours of disruption already to what I was hoping would have been a nice week with a nice new car.

Do you mean the pedestrian warning system or the wireless radio?
The stereo.

As far as I can tell, if it is 'on' and you mute it, then power off and come back to the car later, it does not stay in 'mute' but blasts out at you. At that point, you have to press no less than 3 'soft' buttons on the screen to dismiss the cacophony.

So, once you have powered down after muting the sound, there is no way to start it back up without the sound blaring out for several seconds while you fumble with buttons.

Maybe there is a way, but haven't had the luxury so far of getting as far as reading the manuals. If you have a short-cut, and way to prevent it unmuting after power-off, please let me know.
 

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ZOE GT Line R135 Z.E. 50, CCS
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That high pitched whine is definitely noticeable in the audio clip, and I can confirm mine does not have that. Could it maybe be capacitor or coil whine?

As for the sound system, my radio does the same when I turn on the car. From what I can figure out it seems to resume the last media source, so if you leave it on Bluetooth, and don't have that connected, then it stays quiet. I have had my Spotify resume playback when my phone is connected though.

As for a shortcut when this happens: On the "media stalk" on the steering column, the volume up & down at the same time mutes the audio (Radio and Bluetooth). You still have a moment of blaring music though.
 

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Renault Zoe 50
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As far as I can tell, if it is 'on' and you mute it, then power off and come back to the car later, it does not stay in 'mute' but blasts out at you. At that point, you have to press no less than 3 'soft' buttons on the screen to dismiss the cacophony.
Just tried it on mine.

To turn the music off, select the power button on the bottom left. Then select standby.

This will remain off even if you cycle the engine start/stop button.
 

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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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Discussion Starter #7
I have made the assumption that it is mechanical, slack between gear teeth, but I have not ruled out it could be loose coils in a power inductor, for example. The only reason I think less chance of that is because it is there at, and crossing, 0kW.
 

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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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Discussion Starter #8
Just tried it on mine.

To turn the music off, select the power button on the bottom left. Then select standby.

This will remain off even if you cycle the engine start/stop button.
Sure, yeah I figured you can power down the whole system, but if you have 'muted' it while driving, whatever, and don't realise it is still 'on' when you power off the car, you are doomed to this experience of noise.

My contention is that if you have left it on-but-muted before power off it should go back to being on-but-muted, and not logical to do otherwise. Might (/should) be a setting for that.

There is probably a start-up volume option buried deep in the settings, which might include '0' rather than the current '11'!!!

IMHO it is really missing a mechanical volume knob just to grab (without even having to look at it) and spin down quickly.
 

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Renault Zoe 50
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IMHO it is really missing a mechanical volume knob just to grab (without even having to look at it) and spin down quickly.
I don’t think there’s anything in settings. There’s a small chance the feature might arrive in an OTA update, but don’t hold your breath.

For now you’ll have to retrain your muscle memory to use the one-press mute behind the steering wheel.
 

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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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Discussion Starter #10
For now you’ll have to retrain your muscle memory to use the one-press mute behind the steering wheel.
We first need to get to the point that I actually have a Zoe to retrain my memory muscles for! That is beginning to look like a precarious conclusion.
 

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2020 Corsa E
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7,227 Posts
It's worth checking in Rlink to see if there are updates to the head unit software. Mine didn't remember a source when I first had it but did after I updated it. It should remember volume setting. Instead of muting try knocking the volume - down until it's on about 1 blob so it shouldn't be such a cacophony. It should remember that volume level.

That whine is annoying. That's probably why the stereo is defaulting to 11 ;)
 

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The noise sounds similar to a fault in a Kia e-Niro we had on rent last year into this - Turned out to be transmission. Don't know where. Car went back.

If it's leased, I'd get it booked in soonest and not worry too much about what it is - One of the advantages of leasing! :)

If you're likely to end up owning it outside the warranty period, I'd give them one opportunity to fix it, and if that doesn't work go straight to rejecting it, as is already your right so to do. Whatever's wrong with it could, possibly, already be causing more costly damage 5 years plus down the line.
 

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had an R240, got an R90, might get a ZE50
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Donald, pleased to hear your comments on the improved ride.
The ZE50 has five wheel bolts per wheel not 4, and this leads me to think there must be a suspension redesign on the ZE50.
I drove a Captur hire car when my R90 was having warranty work and I was surprised how much better the ride was in the Captur, sounds like the Zoé has caught up.

As for the gearbox or whatever, the warranty work was due to my gearbox dropping all its oil due to a mainshaft oilseal failure, a unique failure I believe. I can confirm that when you drive a Zoé without gearbox oil it works perfectly for at least 30 miles, and the reduction gearbox is not available as a complete unit like you'd get a conventional automotive gearbox but in separate parts.
 

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notwithstanding the sound system which has no way to turn it off with one button or turn the volume down that I can find
The steering wheel controls for the audio are on the stalk on the right hand side of the steering wheel, if you press both the volume buttons in at the same time it mutes.
 

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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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29,903 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
The steering wheel controls for the audio are on the stalk on the right hand side of the steering wheel, if you press both the volume buttons in at the same time it mutes.
I am blind! Thanks, there is actually an icon on the stalk showing exactly that, but it was .. errr ... hidden by the steering wheel!

Its worse than that because it is exactly like the stalk on my (ex-) Espace and Scenic, so I should know better. (notwithstanding they were little levers rather than buttons, the former working slightly better IMHO).

I think my attention has been distracted from such things, less on the controls and more on the larger concern of whether the car is fit.
 

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the former working slightly better IMHO
completely agree, I preferred being able to pull them over having to push the buttons on the end
 
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Our ZE40 R110 does something like that, but not quite as audible. Basically it sounds like a very quiet dodgems car motor from time to time, worst at around 30-35mph and when varying on and off load. It's generally not there when cold but appears as everything warms up. We took it to the dealers last weekend and they took out two other Zoes that happened to be in for service and he said they did the same thing so we shouldn't worry.
In this case yours does sound worse, and is the new generation, so I'd take it back in to a dealer for comparison with a demonstrator car...
 

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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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Discussion Starter #18
I do worry that they are all like this to some degree, perhaps I have got quite a poor one, but once you've heard this noise in your car, it's going to be tough to 'unhear' it just because it is a 'bit' quieter.
 

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Exactly. You can't unhear it, and it does bug me when we're driving it as otherwise it is so quiet. It brings back thoughts of the Ampera's band-saw gearbox bearing noise, even though I never had it...
 

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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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Discussion Starter #20
Exactly. You can't unhear it, and it does bug me when we're driving it as otherwise it is so quiet. It brings back thoughts of the Ampera's band-saw gearbox bearing noise, even though I never had it...
Regrettably, I had that (too).


The Fluence had a very high pitched reduction box noise that was audible around 30mph, as you decelerated from around 40 down to sub 30 (and vice versa) there was this jet-engine type 'spooling down' noise which was actually rather pleasant. It also allowed you to hear a frequency, very faintly, at 30mph which allowed for manual speed control (without hearing the frequency of an engine/motor, it is not always easy to stabilise your speed without speedo-watching).

This is different to all of that. Those were the days when it was all made by Continental, and Renault have gradually taken over manufacture of their design. I wonder when Renault took over manufacture of the reduction box.... Recently!? 😕
 
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