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I thought it would be helpful to have one central place where someone interested in buying a used (or "new") Karma could go to see a checklist of items that they should review before purchasing a Karma (Mods, can we make this sticky)...

Here's my first cut and please let me know if I have any errors or missed anything (I will try to keep this message updated). From memory:

Critical items

Takata Airbag Recall — Fisker Karma’s front passenger side airbags were among the airbags that were recalled as part of the massive worldwide recall of Takata air bags. Karma Automotive has agreed to replace the defective airbags at no cost to owners through the CSP network. The replacement process began in early October 2017. There is a detailed thread on this topic here. Before committing to purchase a used Fisker Karma, make certain that this recall campaign has been completed.

- HV Battery – A123 supplied Fisker with batteries that had faulty hose clamps which made the battery subject to eventual failure; the recall was for nearly all cars of all VINs and should have been completed

- RDM/TMs (traction motors) – Early VINs (under [1,200] or so) had RDMs with soft splines which over time and extended use, could lead to a powertrain failure. Also, earlier VINs (under [1,000]) also had a different clip on the RDM which could cause a failure of the parking pawl

- Cooling fan – One of the cooling fans in the ICE area was prone to failure, causing the infamous fires in Texas and California; all Karmas should have had the fan replaced

- Muffler – Fisker switched muffler suppliers from Stillen to Bosal in VINs starting roughly at [1,000]; Bosal mufflers are more robust and have a much lower failure rate

- Software – The latest and most stable of the software for the car is version 535. This was preceded by version 520. DO NOT BUY A CAR WITH SOFTWARE VERSION 530. 520 or 535 are fine, but not 530. See this thread for more information.


Other minor issues
- Trunk overbite – Early build cars had body panel alignment issues with the trunk creating an “overbite” – this was fixed in later builds and earlier models had it somewhat fixed

- Heat shield – Also early in the builds, when the ICE is engaged in Sport mode, a rattle at speeds or going downhill can be heard coming from in front of the driver or passenger’s feet. The fix for this involved adjusting/bending the heat shield

- Manual pull tabs in front doors – these were replaced with glow in the dark tabs (older tabs were black and also broke off when pulled)

- Wind noise – The rear passenger (and in some cases, driver’s side) window had a seal issue which at freeway speeds, caused noticeable wind noise (like a plastic bag flapping); Fisker had a fix out which owners could voluntarily have done

- AC unit – Some AC units of early build cars did not operate properly and needed to be replaced
 

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- RDM/TMs (traction motors) – Early VINs (under [1,200] or so) had RDMs with soft splines which over time and extended use, could lead to a powertrain failure. Also, earlier VINs (under [1,000]) also had a different clip on the RDM which could cause a failure of the parking pawl
Soft spline traction motors and generators do not have reliable clean points and neither do the differentials equipped with the circular C Clips. These items were not installed in sequential order.

Example: TM S/N XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX01 was not installed in VIN CA000001

- Muffler – Fisker switched muffler suppliers from Stillen to Bosal in VINs starting roughly at [1,000]; Bosal mufflers are more robust and have a much lower failure rate
I'm 99.9% sure bosal mufflers were never installed from the factory. If they were it was very late VINs.
 

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I have the VIN breakdown for the RDM/TM issue, but I've been told I can't post the exact numbers. I'd have that section read like this.

- RDM/TMs (traction motors) – Early VINs (under [400]) had TMs with soft splines which over time and extended use, could lead to a powertrain failure. Also, earlier VINs (under [1,000]) also had a different clip on the RDM which could cause a failure of the parking pawl.
When determining if the RDM will have an issue, the serial # for the RDM should be inspected, regardless of VIN.

Fixing a bit of info on this one.

- Cooling fan – Both of the cooling fans in the ICE area were prone to failure, causing the infamous fires in Texas and California; all Karmas should have had the fans replaced and fitted with only one fan with a yellow dot in its center area.

The center exhaust didn't really have a VIN changeover that I know of. If there is one, it's much higher than 1000.

- Muffler – Fisker switched muffler suppliers from Stillen to Bosal; Bosal mufflers are more robust and have a much lower failure rate. A quick visual check under the car can tell you which muffler the vehicle has.

The VIN cutoff for the HVAC Control Module is known.

- AC unit – Some AC units of early build cars did not operate properly and needed to be replaced. VINs after 1288 should have the newer module.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Soft spline traction motors and generators do not have reliable clean points and neither do the differentials equipped with the circular C Clips. These items were not installed in sequential order.

Example: TM S/N XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX01 was not installed in VIN CA000001


I'm 99.9% sure bosal mufflers were never installed from the factory. If they were it was very late VINs.
Is there an approximate VIN vintage that would definitely have the updated RDM/TMs (e.g. anything above 1800 "for sure" has it, etc)?
 

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I'm 99.9% sure bosal mufflers were never installed from the factory. If they were it was very late VINs.
Every Laguna I've looked at had a Bosal in it from the factory. I'm unsure about other colors with really high VIN's though (over 2400 or so)
 

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As FA should have Records about what has been changed in the cars, is there a list, where I could Look up my #730?


Stefan
German Karma Forum
www.karma-forum.de
 

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I thought it would be helpful to have one central place where someone interested in buying a used (or "new") Karma could go to see a checklist of items that they should review before purchasing a Karma (Mods, can we make this sticky)...

Here's my first cut and please let me know if I have any errors or missed anything (I will try to keep this message updated). From memory:

Critical items
- HV Battery – A123 supplied Fisker with batteries that had faulty hose clamps which made the battery subject to eventual failure; the recall was for nearly all cars of all VINs and should have been completed.
Great idea and very good start!

On the HV battery issue, you are mixing two different problems:

1) The recall of 239 cars in Dec. 2011 to address the faulty hose clamp issue. Since this was an NHTSA recall, all affected cars should have been fixed.

2) The manufacturing defect in batteries produced by A123 at its Livornia, MI facility. This was the problem that affected the Consumer Reports car and a voluntary replacement program (not a recall because it wasn't a safety issue) was announced in March 2012. Fisker/A123 prioritized batteries that were having problems, and authorized dealers to replace them after verifying that the battery was one of the affected serial numbers. I know this because mine was replaced.
 

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Is there an approximate VIN vintage that would definitely have the updated RDM/TMs (e.g. anything above 1800 "for sure" has it, etc)?
I have the VIN breakdown for the RDM/TM issue, but I've been told I can't post the exact numbers.
As far as the C clip issue goes, there was a "clean point" based on differential S/N....then those started breaking...

For the soft splines on traction motors and generator motors...the list of what S/Ns that were installed in each VIN is far from correct. I would say though if your car had a soft spline issue it would have failed by now unless its a garage queen.

My main point I'm trying to get across is that record keeping at Fisker was less than stellar and should only, if anything, be a guideline and not the word of god so to speak.

Every Laguna I've looked at had a Bosal in it from the factory. I'm unsure about other colors with really high VIN's though (over 2400 or so)
More than likely it was put on at the port if anything. Anybody that did any work at the port didn't keep any kind of record whatsoever which is why most lists should be used as reference only.

Should the hose clamp issue and silicon water leak be added to this list?
The water leak issue is present on every car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Fab can you make this sticky?
 

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Thinking about buying a fisker? Things to know

Going through the process to buy one for myself and a friend I learned a lot. 80 hours of research and ended up with a gorgeous Karma!

1.) You need to find a reputable Fisker techinician/mechanic. If you live in SoCal or want to speak to an expert contact Travis. You can send me a msg privately and I will give you his number.

2.) Unlike buying regular cars, you want a car that has more miles on it. Ideally above 10 or 15 thousand. This shows that the battery is not having any issues.

3.) Unlike buying regard cars, do not shy away from Manufacturer Buy Backs (Lemons), because Fisker being a new auto manufacturer they worked on most of the cars that came back to make them premium. Their executives drove them after everything was updated. For example the RDM, Exhaust, battery, software. A technician can tell you what has been done.

4.) Try to stay away from VIN numbers bellow 500 and if possible bellow 1000 unless the technician checks the car and confirms that updates have been done.

5.) The exhaust will 99% of the time go bad and need replacing, but the technician said it will not cost much. If the RDM goes bad and need changing you are talking about 2-3k. If your battery goes back you are talking about 2-3k to fix moduals or up to $8k I've heard. It is not $20k.

The Car msrp was $110 approx to $120 approx. You can see them in the market from approx $50k to $95k. Some of them are buy back, which is actually better than those not in most cases. I believe that the prices will go much higher once the buy back and remaining few Fisker stock remaining are sold. Their is a dealer who made a deal for the last 40-60 cars and that is who I bought mine and my friends from.

If you have one, hold on to them and see the price go through the roof. That is my prediction. If you want, get one with a technician. There is no way around that.
 

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2.) Unlike buying regular cars, you want a car that has more miles on it. Ideally above 10 or 15 thousand. This shows that the battery is not having any issues.
Thanks Sean for the good word!

Just wanted to touch on the above statement. You're thinking traction motors. Of course it's not a guarantee, though most motors are failing in the 7,000-15,000 mile range (if they're going to fail). For batteries, I've seen them fail with under 1000 miles. You just never know with them.
 

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Thanks Sean for the good word!

Just wanted to touch on the above statement. You're thinking traction motors. Of course it's not a guarantee, though most motors are failing in the 7,000-15,000 mile range (if they're going to fail). For batteries, I've seen them fail with under 1000 miles. You just never know with them.
Its really all over the board to be honest. Most exhibit symptoms of failing with less than 5 but can actually still function for another 15-20k miles.

The majority of traction motors were replaced as a part of a differential failing and then upon inspection the splines were out of spec or showed abnormal wear patterns.

I'd still buy a car with more mileage than less but ive stated my reasons a million times in other threads.
 

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Hi Fellows, Could someone please post a dictionary covering all the lingo? Its all very interesting of course but difficult to follow for beginners7outsiders.
 
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