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Be aware! Missing Control Arm Nut: Potential Safety Issue

thisisdiddy

Member
Sep 3, 2018
108
43
NJ
Just checked my 30xxx VIN - also a month old. Mine are present and hand turned them to confirm if they are "tight". See photos below:

IMG_0409.jpg

IMG_0410.jpg
 

RoyalDoveMY

Member
Jul 22, 2020
10
73
Florida
@RoyalDoveMY - seriously, please submit a complaint to the NHTSB with your photos at File a Vehicle Safety Complaint | Safercar.gov | NHTSA

It's one thing to have paint flaws, misaligned doors, etc, but something like this getting through QA on such a critical component of the vehicle could mean it can happen to others, maybe around your production date/VIN, and it could be the difference between life and death.

Very good advice. Thank you. We will be doing that. Tesla is trying to make it right by giving us a loaner for the next couple of weeks while they order parts and get the Y fixed, but it is still very scary thinking how many other Y's are out there having this issue without the owners' knowing about it.
 

1965Falcon

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 10, 2019
110
195
Vancouver, WA
Looking at those pictures is interesting. Tesla has elected to use Nord Lock washers, which I've never seen an automaker use. They're an interesting lock washer design, but they're fussy and need to be torqued correctly or they will fail. Other auto makers use a castle nut and cotter pin, which is likely a cheaper solution than those expensive Nord washers.

You can see from the witness marks on the failed joints that the nuts were torqued, but never correctly/sufficiently. This is a serious manufacturing deficiency and there should be an immediate investigation and possible recall. Don't hold your breath though.

They likely are using Nord Lock's because they can easily be installed (well maybe not) by a robot. Looking at the marks, they may have been caused by an un-tightened nut "wobbling" around before the nut came off. If it had been fully or even slightly torqued I think there would be a more even imprint from the cams in the washers.
 

Golden1

Member
Aug 31, 2020
6
8
Birmingham
Oh my goodness....I just placed an order for a MY a couple of days ago...should I just cancel it and wait a year until all the production quirks have been worked out? If such a defect affects 2 out of a 100 or so forum readers, it is likely to be far more widespread. I can tolerate minor body panel mis-alignments, or an occasional paint flaw, but this is a serious and potential life-threatening issue.
 

ArtK

Member
Jun 1, 2020
195
169
NYS
This clearly demonstrates that Tesla must put greater effort into quality control and the final inspection process. Why would a car (like my MY) that is released to the public with 6-12 cosmetic problems NOT have serious mechanical issues as well. If the inspectors are approving nearly every car for release, why would a couple of missing nuts stop them? Kinda sad.
 

Redbrick

Member
Jun 27, 2020
216
112
Babylon 5
This clearly demonstrates that Tesla must put greater effort into quality control and the final inspection process. Why would a car (like my MY) that is released to the public with 6-12 cosmetic problems NOT have serious mechanical issues as well. If the inspectors are approving nearly every car for release, why would a couple of missing nuts stop them? Kinda sad.

completely agree...this product could be the greatest car ever made....but this is the summit of our efforts...sad...
 
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CyberGus

Not Just a Member
May 5, 2020
1,021
2,231
Austin, TX
This is not a "quality control" problem like loose trim or misaligned panels...no manufacturer's QC personnel double-check the torque of every fastener. Assuming that the design is sound when the nuts are properly torqued, then this is a manufacturing mistake. If the design is questionable, then it's an engineering mistake.

The source could be as simple as a line worker using a mis-calibrated torque wrench, or more likely a bad clutch on a power tool. If I had such a vehicle, I would verify torque with my own tools (assuming someone knows the correct spec).

Tesla should certainly make an engineering change to either use a captive nut of some kind, or have the line workers verify the torque of Nord-Lock nuts when they are installed.
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
16,274
36,738
Oregon
This clearly demonstrates that Tesla must put greater effort into quality control and the final inspection process. Why would a car (like my MY) that is released to the public with 6-12 cosmetic problems NOT have serious mechanical issues as well. If the inspectors are approving nearly every car for release, why would a couple of missing nuts stop them? Kinda sad.

But the evidence at hand says that the nut wasn't missing at the time of production. And was likely there when the car was delivered as well.

This may be a case that the torque wrench that was used to tighten the fastener failed, and wasn't tightening to the spec that it was set to. Or it could be a manufacturing defect in the ball joint or the arm it attaches to. (Such that it was torqued to spec, but there was some molding "flash" that wore away and released the clamping force after some driving that allowed the nut to come loose and fall off.)

We will probably get the details in either a NHTSA recall or a TSB at some point.
 

s34gull

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Aug 12, 2020
14
7
Denver, CO
If I had such a vehicle, I would verify torque with my own tools (assuming someone knows the correct spec).

Given the variables, seems like someone from Tesla would need to provide the torque data. Nord-Lock has a calculator available, but I’m not sure of the bolt type or washer type - assuming that it’s not a custom part for Tesla. Torque Guide for Nord-Lock Washers
 
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MY-Y

Active Member
Mar 4, 2020
1,057
1,171
MD
One data point, all four of those bolts on mine are tight. It's a 22mm socket BTW, and no room for a deep socket.
 
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Jan 26, 2020
226
359
Andrews TX
I’d imagine if it was a problem on the assembly line there would be several vehicles affected until someone noticed and fixed the issue. The worker would be obligated to stop the line and inform their supervisor so they could preemptively remedy the problem with any cars that made it passed that station before the problem was noticed.

Unless this was just a one off, there’s know way of knowing how many vehicles have loose parts unless they do an investigation on the cause.
 
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Az_Rael

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Jan 26, 2016
5,647
8,834
Palmdale, CA
NOT to excuse Tesla, but it seems that lots of car companies have issues--airbags w/ shrapnel, and so many other issues.

Fun fact! Tesla was using those same faulty airbags in their cars thru 2016. Had both my old 2013 and our 2015 S recalled for that.

Suspensions have been an Achilles heel for Tesla for years now, it is disappointing they are still having issues.
 

GoEV

Member
Jan 11, 2011
24
36
Fun fact! Tesla was using those same faulty airbags in their cars thru 2016. Had both my old 2013 and our 2015 S recalled for that.

Suspensions have been an Achilles heel for Tesla for years now, it is disappointing they are still having issues.
Thanks for the info about their suspensions. Haven't noticed it yet, but will definitely keep it in mind.

I, too, am disappointed by the Tesla deficiences (along w/ Elon's sometimes stupid words/actions), but on the other hand I know that what they have done has been basically a miracle--something that no one else has been able to achieve. As a result, I choose to accept their flaws (though not deny) because their pros outweigh their cons. Tragic fact: ICE car companies have also demonstrated numerous deficiencies including the biggest-- knowingly (for decades) killing our future by accelerating our climate crisis.
 

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