Mar 28

Tesla Model 3 Tow Hook License Plate Mount

I knew from the beginning that for my next car I will not want a front license plate. But since I live in British Columbia and I believe that sometimes the police can have the last word (….pfff) I said fine, I will mount one. I generally dislike the plastic mounts and loving the front end of my Model 3 so much I decided to look into tow hook plate mounts.

I also considered mounts from STO-N-SHO and The Bandit, which mount in the lower grille and also some from DEWHEL, DC Sports, Etreme Online Store and Evannex. I will not say that all these don’t work since I haven’t tried them, but somehow I found the Cravenspeed Platypus (Amazon) the most appealing, likely because of the amount of details on their website and also previous reviews from other Model 3 owners.

Full disclosure: I am NOT getting anything in return from Cravenspeed for writing this up.

At the time I got this on Amazon, it was listed at $93 which is not a bargain, but at least I had the option to return it for free if there was something wrong with it. Before ordering I had to confirm that they include the extension bracket that helps the mount clear the Model 3 sensors. Customer service was very prompt and confirmed that the mount comes with the extension bracket included.

craven1

It came in a nice box with everything required for the installation.

For the install, I had to remove the tow hook receiver plastic cap. Quick warning for anybody installing a similar mount, when removing the plastic cap, do not pull too hard as there is a wire attached to the cap with a zip tie on it’s back side. I am not sure what the wire is used for, I’d appreciate someone posting a comment about that. After cutting the existing zip tie I put some electrical tape on both sides of the connector, just to keep it clean, considering that it’s exposed to the elements behind the bumper.

IMG_1683A

 

A brand new zip tie and the wire was loosely secured to the lower notch just behind the bumper

Next step was to attach the tow stud which, by the way, it’s left hand threaded, meaning lefty loosey now becomes lefty tighty. For this I needed a 3/4 wrench.

With the stud attached, it was time for the extension bracket. This is a special bracket that helps the plate clear the Model 3 sensors. Normally, I believe they don’t include this for most of the other cars. When installing this, it’s important to make sure that the threaded hole is used for the plate support, not for the stud mount. Initially I tried to use the threaded end with the stud but then consulted the manual (always a good thing) and noticed that I had it wrong. Should look something like this:

Next, it was the back-plate’s turn. The short screw is used for this one and it can be a bit tricky to tighten because of the leverage created by the extension arm. While trying to tighten the top screw, I was usually moving the bracket out of alignment, but with a bit of patience, all was good and tight.

Finally, plate installed. I had absolutely no false alerts from the sensors. So far I can say this fits the bill and proved to be an easy and pretty sturdy install.

 

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I will be happy to answer.

 

Sep 10

Super easy way to DIY a grocery bag hook for the trunk of Tesla Model 3

I

have been a little bit baffled as to why Tesla did not add a few hooks in the trunk of the Model 3 especially being considered a mass market car for the … well … masses. Last time I checked, these people tend to go shopping quite often, you know? But, not to worry, every overlooked feature by Tesla is a world of opportunities for the DIY community. So here’s one that surprised even myself how easy it was.

Here are two options that I tried and worked like a charm for adding a trunk hook in the Model 3.

Option 1

As with many DIY projects, Home Depot is your best friend, and if you don’t have one close by, any home improvement store should have good alternatives to the items used here like Lowe’s or HomeBase.

The first thing I tried were these hooks, found in the hardware isle. They’re called 20 lb. 1/2 in. Steel Mirror Support Hangers made by OOK and they sell for about $1,97

All it took was a bit of muscle to bend the hook at 90 degrees. I did it with the help of a vice, but two sets of pliers will do the job easily. Here’s a before and after picture:

With that done, all you need is an M6 nut and that’s it. In the trunk there are a few bolts that you can use to fasten this. In my case, the most convenient was the one on the right side as you open the trunk since it’s the closest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hook is quite strong and can take the weight of a few full grocery bags without any problems.

Option 2

For the second option, I found these 90 degree corners in the same hardware section. They are called Corner Braces and usually retail for about $2. What I liked about specifically these ones (pics below) is that they have rounded edges so there is less chance for scratches.

 

 

 

 

For these ones, you may need to drill a larger hole, around 7-8 mm (5/16 inch), in one of the sides in order to fit the M6 bolt. Once that is done, you have various options for the hook itself. Here are the two I tried:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both worked like a charm. Here is the carabiner in action:

Hopefully this will add a bit of functionality to the trunk of you Model 3. I would love to hear about other affordable simple DIYs for this issue in the comments below!

Ta-da!

Jul 15

How to set up dash cam recording and media files on the same SSD for Tesla Model 3 – Complete Windows Guide

As an alternative to connecting an USB Hub to one of the ports in the front console, for the purpose of fully taking advantage of all the Model 3 can achieve via these ports, like charging phones, listening to your own media or recording dash cam video, let’s explore the idea of sharing one storage media for both dash cam video recordings as well as media files for playback. USB Hub works too, if you don’t mind the clutter, that is.

Based on a fair amount of research it seems that most of the external SSD brands work and the process of formatting will be pretty much identical in all cases. I did not try it, but I am confident that this process applies to internal hard drives installed in an external enclosure connected to the PC via USB.

In my testing I used one of the most popular SDD drives favored by the Tesla community, the 500GB Samsung T5 SSD which retails on Amazon for about $79.99:

The drive comes pre-formatted and loaded with some applications used for managing and encrypting your data. If you are going for this drive, I suggest a backup of these applications although I am sure they can also be downloaded from Samsung. The drive itself looks quite sleek and being a very small form factor, fits nicely in the space below the USB connectors in the Tesla Model 3.

Step 1 – Connecting SDD Drive to PC

First things first: connect the SSD to a PC and confirm that Windows correctly detected the drive by accessing it in windows explorer. This would be a good time to backup those pre-loaded applications that came with the drive. Once you have confirmed that the drive works out of the box, make a note of the letter windows assigned to it. In my case the drive letter was I (capital i).

Step 2 – Launch Disk Management application

For this step you will go to the disk management section of windows. You can usually find this section in the Administrative Tools -> Computer Management, or by simply clicking Start and searching Disk Management. In windows 10 the Start menu entry is called “Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions”.

This should look something similar to this:

Step 3 – Delete existing partition on the SDD Drive

Notice in the lower pane that the installed hard drives are pictured as complete rows and partitions on each of the drives are pictured as separate boxes on the same row. In our case, the Samsung T5 SDD drive should have only one partition (one box spanning the entire row). Make a note of the disk number assigned by windows to this drive.

Since you will want to have both personal media files and Tesla dash cam recordings on the same drive, the best idea is to create two separate partitions on this drive. In order to do that you will need to delete the existing partition that came with the drive.

IMPORTANT: Please make sure that the correct SDD is selected and any actions you take from here on are done by clicking/right-clicking the CORRECT drive. This step destroys data on the drive you select so take extra care. Best thing to do is to always remember the disk number, which in my case was “Disk 4”.

In order to delete the existing empty partition that came with the drive, right click in the lower pane on the large white box titled Samsung T5 (or whichever name your drive came with) and select “Delete Volume…”

Confirm the deletion of the volume. Once this action is done, the box will have a black band at the top and the label of the box will say “Unallocated” which means that now we are free to create the new partitions the way we want.

Step 4 – Create the dash cam recordings partition

The plan now is to create two separate partitions for our purpose. First decide how large you want each partition to be. In my case I decided that I will dedicate 300Gb to the dash cam and whatever is left of the drive to personal media. Feel free to decide how much you want for each partition based on your needs.

So let’s create the first partition, in my case the dash cam storage, with a size of 300Gb. Right click as before on the big “Unallocated” box and select “New Simple Volume”:

 

The next dialog will prompt you to select the new partition size. As I mentioned, I went for a 300Gb size for this, but you can enter any size you want here. One thing to note is that the value in the box is in Mb not Gb. That means for my 300Gb partition I had to enter a value of 300000 Mb (1 Gb is roughly 1000 Mb). Remember also that you want to save some space for the personal media files partition, choose a smaller size than what is already selected when the dialog opened.

 

 

Clicking “Next” will take you to the type of partition you want. It’s important that at this step you select exFAT as this format will later be switched to FAT32, the only type currently accepted by Tesla. Once “exFAT” is selected, leave the allocation unit as “Default” and name the partition to something relevant, like “TeslaCam” for example. Also make sure to check the “Perform a quick format” option as it will save you a lot of time.

Click Next and start the formatting process. When it’s finished, you should be able to see that the new partition spans to about the half way point of the entire row for your SDD. It should have a “Healthy (Primary Partition)” label and a size of around the value you chose before formatting.

Step 5 – Create the personal media partition

You will now create the second partition that holds the media files. For this, you will use whatever space is left on the disk after you created the first partition. So, right click on the “Unallocated” space right of the partition you just created.

You will follow the same steps as before in creating a new partition. Select “New Simple Volume”. This will open the size selection dialog. This time however, we will leave the value that Windows suggested. That is the entire portion left available on the disk.

Next you will select again the “exFAT” partition type and name the partition to something more relevant, like “Media” for example.

After the quick format is performed, you should now see the second partition of the drive labeled also “Healthy” by Windows. At this point you will also notice that your SDD drive will list two drive letters in windows, one for each of the partitions. Don’t start copying media on the drive yet, as you have one more step to do.

Step 6 – Convert partitions to FAT 32

In order for Tesla to be able to access the partitions we just created, you need to convert them from exFAT to FAT32 format. This is just the way windows and other devices store and manage files on the disk. The simplest tool I found so far to achieve this is FAT32Format. You can download the tool by clicking the image on it’s home page. In case the URL may become broken, I am sure you can find plenty alternate sources to download this tool from, by googling “fat32format gui“.

Again it’s VERY IMPORTANT that you select the correct drive letter (confirmed by the label) so that you don’t format by mistake a different drive.If you used the same labels as I did, then you should see a TeslaCam label once you selected the correct drive letter for the first partition on your SDD.

Initially, after selecting the drive, the format will be listed as exFAT (that’s what you selected when you created the partition in the first place). Check the “Quick Format” box again, to avoid long format delays. After confirming that the correct partition is selected and without changing the Allocation unit size, click Start. The format process should be fairly quick. Once that is done, you will notice that the new format listed next to the drive letter is now FAT32.

Repeat the step for the second partition which is the personal media storage.

Step 7 – Create the TeslaCam folder

Now that all is good with the drive partitions, the last step is to create the required folder on the dash cam recordings partition.

In windows explorer, select the TeslaCam partition and create a new folder called “TeslaCam”

Step 8 – Copy personal media files

Before ejecting the drive remember to copy a few mp3 files on the Media partition for testing and making sure that the car recognizes the partition and is able to play the files.

Disconnect the drive and connect it to the USB in the car. Now you should be able to see the dash cam icon on the Model 3 screen (if it does not have the red dot, simply tap on it and it will start recording).

Also in the Media screen, you should be able to see the “USB” section which will contain the MP3 files you just copied.

Enjoy!

May 11

Tesla Model 3 wrapped in Stealth XPEL Paint Protection Film

Well, it finally happened. This was on the cards from the day I got the car. Being quite particular about paint defects, scratches, dents and chips, I wanted the peace of mind that comes with a good paint protection film. Since it’s not cheap I took my time to figure out which brand to use and also to find a good shop that can do the work.

It seemed that XPEL is not only the most recommended but comes with a good 7 year warranty. The shop was very helpful to give me enough information to make the final decision. In my case I wanted to go for the matte look which implied a bit more meticulous work as the film now needs to be wrapped around the edges as opposed to regular glossy PPF which is ok to end before the edge of a panel.

After a few days in the shop, the result looks stunning. There were still a few water bubbles under the film but they go away in a few days due to the film being porous and built with the water release in mind.

Here are the pictures

Now the question is, do I want these back?

As a quick note, the open port in the front bumper is the tow hook mounting point. That’s where my license plate goes but since I had planned a ceramic coating immediately after taking the pictures, I didn’t want to have to mount the plate and then take it off again.

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