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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

First post on the forum. Have been reading a few of the threads in the last couple of months after FA stopped servicing the cars.

Just posting to say that my Karma, which I've had since March 2012, is in the shop for major surgery. New RDM and Traction motors. Lormax and another ex-Fisker technician are working on it. Big thanks to them for keeping us driving.

I thought I'd share some info, albeit useless at this time, with all of you since this episode has pushed me to seek a financial solution to keep the car functioning. Unfortunately there are none that I could come across. I talked to most big insurance companies and although many offer Mechanical Breakdown Coverage both as add-on and stand-alone products, they will not cover the Karma.

I've also been chatting with the head of the Shelley group that ran Fisker of Orange County to see whether a dealer-backed extended warranty company would jump in but it seems none of them are willing to do so. The car has been blacklisted by almost everyone in the US... at least as far as I know.

All this to say that I love the car but the current situation is putting a huge dent in the confidence I have in the Karma. I'm just hoping that no more major issues pop-up.

Anyway... great reading about everyone's experiences here on the forum.

Cheers.
 

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Sorry to hear about your Karma. Can you give us some background on what happened and how many miles you had put on your Karma before things went south? Also VIN vintage would be helpful to those of us that have low VINs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sure thing...

2012 Karma EcoChic, Earth/Earth Tritone

VIN: YH4K16AA6CA001478
... although according to Lormax, can't seem to go by the VIN to know whether updates were installed correctly at the factory. I should have received mine with the updated RDM but that wasn't the case when it was first looked at last month.

Mileage: about 8,400

Since I took delivery, I've had a couple of issues that were fixed at the dealership (Fisker OC). One was a battery fault and the second was a PRND fault. The car drove well until 8,000 miles. I started hearing a faint whine while driving. A little afterwards, the RDM started to make noises right before the car came to a full stop, or right as I accelerated from a stop. The whining started getting louder with every mile thereafter. I took the car to Lormax at the end of May who said that it was a known problem with the RDM. Unfortunately, due to the lack of a shop to do the work, the car had been sitting idle for the better part of a month. Took it in to a shop that Lormax had arranged last Saturday. The RDM and traction motors were removed on Monday at which point I found out that the damage was way worse than expected.
 

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Thanks for the background - sad and surprising to hear that even a relatively high VIN like yours still had RDM/TM issues... And that they didn't show up until 8,000+ miles! One of my Karmas is in the 500 range and has had no mechanical issues so far (knock on wood! 4500 miles and counting). The other one is in the 1600s with about 7500 miles and so far, with my admittedly limited driving so far, also no mechanical issues that I can detect. Good luck with yours - let us know how it turns out and what fix was applied!
 

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Lormax noted that to find out if you have an updated TM look under the car just behind the battery compartment at the TM. If it has a green circle painted on it, it is new, if not it is old. Very easy to see The circle is large. If you have to look around, too much it isn't there
 

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Follow up question - isn't that high pitched whine normal when accelerating?
 

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I'll get the pics of his traction motors up today. One was about ready to spin out. I'll also post a picture of the green circle Sportsmeddoc referenced as well.
 

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This is still a mid jan build date so not that late. Once you get into the late 1000's and 2000's (Mar and later) you start to see the updated parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@SoCalGuy, the whine was more of a mid-range one, a grind at high frequency when releasing the accelerator and coasting. Same when slowing down. The RDM sounded more like a bad gear-change 'clunk'.
 

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What is a traction motor? What is an RDM?
Is there a way for a technician to determine that these components are damaged and ready to fail?
Or does one wait until ugly noises start being generated?
Why did these really expensive parts fail so quickly?
Where were these parts manufactured?
Is there a way to get the manufacturer to be responsible for the repairs?
And by that I mean the company that made the part, and not FA.
I think my SPORT VIN is 514.
Thank you.
 

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"Traction motor" appears to be EV-industry jargon to specify "the motor(s) that turn the wheels that drive the car". In the case of the Karma, there are two of them. They are big heavy 150 kW permanent-magnet motors manufactured by (I believe) Jing-Jin Electric in Beijing.

"RDM" is Fisker-specific jargon, the "Rear Drive Module", which contains at least the two motors and some gearing (not sure what else is considered part of the RDM itself).

Can't speak to why particular ones are failing ... I only own one. :s As mine is a Laguna, high-serial-number (26xx) VIN, I just hope I have one that has most of the bugs ironed out...
 

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The failure of the traction motors is soft splines . You are correct of the manufacturer of the traction motors .
 

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As I understand it, the soft splines were due to improper heat treatment of some part(s). Is that of the shaft coming out of the motor itself? If so, is there perhaps some way for owners (and/or a revived Fisker Automotive) to obtain "remedy", as I think it's called, from Jing-Jin directly?
 

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The traction motors have female side of the assembly the Rdm is the male side . The splines and the traction motors have a couple of faults the mating service between the splines didn't have a tight enough tolerance and the metal used I feel wasn't strong enough to handle the torque of the motor .I don't know the process they used to make them but I'm sure they didn't use a process of heat treating the metal or used a grade of material that was strong enough that's just my opinion .
 

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Your RDM

Progeny,
I am the ex-Fisker guy working with Lormax on you vehicle.
You all need to understand that though you may have the updated clip in your RDM it does not mean it will not come loose. The best solution that we have at this time is the loctite.

It is unfortunate, but Karma owners are all Beta Testers for vehicle issues. This was suggested to me by an owner in Glendale that I was sent to visit for a charging issue he was experiencing. It is in my opinion quite true. It is the same true statement in many companies, never enought time to do it right, but always time to do it over. The worst part about this is that you the owner are paying quite literally for their haste to bring a car to market.
 

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Has one ever seen the splines brake a second time, after the replacement?
How much labor is the fix using the loctite?



Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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Thank you for the information on RDM and traction motors.
My next question: How many cars have had this devastating failure and required these parts to be replaced?
Can we compute statistics? Is the probability of failure on these parts 1%?
0.1%? 10%
If we ever get dealers with shops back on-line, do we need pre-emptive surgery or just wait for the crash?
 

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"Traction motor" appears to be EV-industry jargon to specify "the motor(s) that turn the wheels that drive the car". In the case of the Karma, there are two of them. They are big heavy 150 kW permanent-magnet motors manufactured by (I believe) Jing-Jin Electric in Beijing.

"RDM" is Fisker-specific jargon, the "Rear Drive Module", which contains at least the two motors and some gearing (not sure what else is considered part of the RDM itself).

Can't speak to why particular ones are failing ... I only own one. :s As mine is a Laguna, high-serial-number (26xx) VIN, I just hope I have one that has most of the bugs ironed out...
The most accurate terminology for Traction Motor is "Electric Machine". This is confusing to many because...well what kind of machine? The generator and traction motors are Electric Machines. The generator not only starts the ICE, but is also charges the battery and supplies supplemental power to the Traction Motors in sport mode. The traction motors drive the vehicle and can also charge the high voltage battery.
 

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This seems like a tolerance issue. The question is, whose tolerance is off? If it is the motor manufacturer, then we may be able to get the motor manufacturer to pay for the repairs.
 

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Progeny,
It is unfortunate, but Karma owners are all Beta Testers for vehicle issues. This was suggested to me by an owner in Glendale that I was sent to visit for a charging issue he was experiencing. It is in my opinion quite true. It is the same true statement in many companies, never enought time to do it right, but always time to do it over. The worst part about this is that you the owner are paying quite literally for their haste to bring a car to market.
Well, I knew I was a Beta Tester. I think that is true with new models of new manufacturers, no matter the cost of the car. But the warranty induced me to support this technology.
 
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