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bubbles on touchscreen

Joe2013

Member
Sep 11, 2018
7
6
Palo Alto
I don't know about the X, but on my 2013 S the air bubbles have not affected the functionality yet in any way, which is why paying so much to replace something like this that is still working is questionable. However based on other posts my worry is that it might stop working all together at some point (due to the gel leaking on the MCU or etc?) and put the car out of service for days/weeks waiting for a reactive fix rather than doing it proactively. The bubble do not move in my case as the screen is still rigid. No other affects yet and I haven't taken the dash apart to see where the gel has gone but if air is getting in the gel is getting out so I expect a pool of it somewhere in the local dash area. I've written to customer service and hope they will offer a goodwill replacement or at least sharing of cost as reported by others so as to limit the cost to $1200 or so but don't know yet. All that said I am still a loyal and enthusiastic Tesla owner- 5 years and 129K miles later I still love this car and still have 91% of battery capacity left even with aggressive full range charging all the time. My previous car, a BMW 335i was awesome for a gas car and it had 4 high pressure fuel pump replacements and a slew of out of pocket $1K to $3K repairs after the warranty expired at 50K miles. Ditto with previous high end cars I've had, so while it would be nice to get perfection from a high priced car that isn't realistic to expect with complex machines and the Model S is as reliable or more so than my previous BMWs, Audis, and Infinitis. As Tesla finds that certain components needs to be better engineered I hope they are reacting and improving them, and indeed they have and have comped several out of warranty repairs on my S thus far including a heater core failure a few years ago. In their words "something like that shouldn't fail in just 3 years" and so they replaced it at no cost. So overall they have been a pretty stand up company to me thus far...I just hope they continue that with this leaky screen issue...and that instead of throwing these things away they set up a subcontractor that will perform a simple fix and put them back in service, I mean seriously how tough could it be to replace the gel and reseal the darn thing properly?
 
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demundus

Active Member
Jul 5, 2015
1,312
842
Oceanside, CA
I have a 2013 Model S (no warranty) with the bubble problem...was going to bite the bullet and pay $1200 for a replacement screen from Tesla service center but today they told me Tesla now will only replace both the LCD and MCU together, no separate LCD replacement parts anymore, and the cost is now $3200 given that. Have written email to customer service and am awaiting answer. Please include me on any petitions, class actions, etc and I look forward to the results of your work on this with Tesla management.

This doesn't sound right at all. They specifically made a LCD replacement only because of this issue. What service center are you? You'd be the first one with this "issue". Did they provide another reason other than "we don't do LCD anymore?"
 

demundus

Active Member
Jul 5, 2015
1,312
842
Oceanside, CA
I don't know about the X, but on my 2013 S the air bubbles have not affected the functionality yet in any way, which is why paying so much to replace something like this that is still working is questionable. However based on other posts my worry is that it might stop working all together at some point (due to the gel leaking on the MCU or etc?) and put the car out of service for days/weeks waiting for a reactive fix rather than doing it proactively. The bubble do not move in my case as the screen is still rigid. No other affects yet and I haven't taken the dash apart to see where the gel has gone but if air is getting in the gel is getting out so I expect a pool of it somewhere in the local dash area.

If you have bubbles you likely have adhesive pooling in the cubby where you cant see, it doesnt affect the MCU and because of how the screen is orientated, it cant damage the MCU per-se
 

Joe2013

Member
Sep 11, 2018
7
6
Palo Alto
If you have bubbles you likely have adhesive pooling in the cubby where you cant see, it doesnt affect the MCU and because of how the screen is orientated, it cant damage the MCU per-se

Thanks for the info on the gel not draining onto the MCU- that's a bit of a relief. I visited the Palo Alto service center yesterday and got the bad news on the $3200 replacement even though I showed them all the responses on here and the Tesla forums where folks say they are getting it done for $1200 for just LCD at other locations. On a related note of inconsistent policy at different service centers on the good side the Palo Alto center has already replaced two of my door handles for the microswitch/lever failures and is now going to do a third for labor only at about $150. I originally approached them last year when two failed to get the $40 parts and was going to do it myself rather than pay like $700 to $900 each just for two small and inexpensive internal components failing, since someone was nice enough to post an awesome YouTube video on how to do it. When I approached them to get the parts at Palo Alto that is when they offered to replace them via mobile service for just the small labor charge and they did the first two fast and easy while my car was parked at work and that really saved me a lot of time and I'm sure frustration since they know how to do them quick and have all the right tools and experience. I mention this because the other service center I use (Rocklin in the Sacramento area where my other home is) did not offer to do the handle replacement via mobile for just parts before and again did not when I took the car in last Friday. So that's why I approached the Palo Alto service center yesterday and told them what they did for me before and asked if that was still the policy. Initially the newer service rep I was talking with said no they couldn't do that anymore but then later surprised me and said they would go ahead and do it for labor only via mobile service again (hooray). Now I will return the parts for the fix to the Rocklin service center. Silly that policy is so inconsistent across different service centers and I guess it pays to shop around. Now if I could only find an awesome YouTube video on how to refill and reseal that LCD and a slower one on how to take it out (there is a high speed one posted now)...
 
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Evthusiast

Member
Nov 3, 2017
48
72
California
Bummer that it did not happen during warrantee period. My 2013 model S had the bubbles a few years ago and they replaced the entire screen for free as it was under warrantee. Hope they can at least lower the price way down as its a known issue with the old part.
 

Joe2013

Member
Sep 11, 2018
7
6
Palo Alto
PS- Yes they specifically said Tesla does not supply just the separate LCD anymore, only bundled LCD/MCU, even when confronted with conflicting testimony via these forums...maybe they just changed but likely are trying to reduce labor costs and rework if they feel the MCUs are going too on the older cars or something.
 

demundus

Active Member
Jul 5, 2015
1,312
842
Oceanside, CA
Now if I could only find an awesome YouTube video on how to refill and reseal that LCD and a slower one on how to take it out (there is a high speed one posted now)...

Theres a video (sped up, YT lets you slow videos down in the little settings button) about how to REMOVE the MCU. Its tedious but doable by everyone. Theres like 4 bolts holding it to the inner dash frame. THEN:

1.) remove 8 torx screws around the perimeter of the MCU "cage", the LCD is recessed into the cage, suspended by screws above the MCU
2.) pry the screen out, recessed as mentioned. about halfway, so you can disconnect the two ribbon cables CAREFULLY
3.) remove the screen completely
4.) clean the bottom of the cage from any glue that dripped or is just causing stickiness
5.) do the same with a donor screen from a salvage you bought on ebay
6.) reverse the procedure with the donor screen onto your MCU

Took me about 3 hours the first time and 1 hour the second time.
 

demundus

Active Member
Jul 5, 2015
1,312
842
Oceanside, CA
PS- Yes they specifically said Tesla does not supply just the separate LCD anymore, only bundled LCD/MCU, even when confronted with conflicting testimony via these forums...maybe they just changed but likely are trying to reduce labor costs and rework if they feel the MCUs are going too on the older cars or something.
The "new" MCUs aren't retrofittable as far as they've made known. This wouldnt make sense from their standpoint. I'd ask a couple other SVC... again Tesla themselves developed the LCD only fix to alleviate the price headache and uproar of failure
 

Joe2013

Member
Sep 11, 2018
7
6
Palo Alto
Good job with the DIY man. I'm surprised there aren't yet e car service centers ready to work on stuff like this and the other e things both evolving in all cars and e things peculiar to e cars...when there are enough volume of e cars out there (hopefully soon) perhaps we'll see those start to pop up...until then DIY when you can at these costs
 

demundus

Active Member
Jul 5, 2015
1,312
842
Oceanside, CA
Good job with the DIY man. I'm surprised there aren't yet e car service centers ready to work on stuff like this and the other e things both evolving in all cars and e things peculiar to e cars...when there are enough volume of e cars out there (hopefully soon) perhaps we'll see those start to pop up...until then DIY when you can at these costs

It has more to do with the lockdown of Tesla systems, the limited "legally" acquired knowledge and documentation, and the implication of working on it that would potentially void the warranty due to said lack of documentation on proper procedure.

For instance, you can't TECHNICALLY drain the coolant for a battery coolant flush without the Tesla toolbox software. There's a way to do it with clips and clamps, but its not the approved way. So if you muck it up, the potential to have your warranty voided is now top of mind.

There are people on this forum (and not) who can/will take care of your car with you, for a cost. They just dont come in the form of a brick and mortar shop :)
 
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SMAlset

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
8,963
9,594
SF Bay Area
Our car is newer, 2017, and while it hasn't experienced the bubble issue (seems to be most prevalent in 2013s at the moment), we have had the yellow border issue instead, again adhesive related. Our screen yellowing was pretty noticeable and it was replaced under warranty. More recently however we've noticed a faint border developing on this unit as well. At one point not sure which thread issue, I saw that people were getting refurbished screens while others were getting whole units. They weren't replacing them with the faster processing ones though. The thought occurred to me and had me wonder if the adhesive used in screens in the older cars that leaked, was replaced by adhesive in new model screens that instead turned yellow along the borders. Also wonder who makes the screens for them. Given that our units do way more than most car's typical itty bitty screens, I'm not surprised that we don't hear about those other screens having issues like this.
 

Jason

Member
Feb 6, 2013
149
13
DFW, TX
1 Seems they fixed this before the X came out
2 mine still works and the bubbles grew to one large area - only a 7-10" oval in the middle remains, mine started at 50k (didn't notice till 52k so out of warranty) and now car has 120k, 3 years later
3 pressure didn't seem to do anything to them
4 It takes years to drain and makes a mess the whole time. For the first year would put gaffers tape under cubby to catch most of it, some still leaked past. Then removed cubby to be able to catch it better, and cubby was all gummed up. Still leaking today.
5 Seems to only come out bottom - so right onto cubby and floor/console beneath cubby
 
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demundus

Active Member
Jul 5, 2015
1,312
842
Oceanside, CA
1 Seems they fixed this before the X came out
2 mine still works and the bubbles grew to one large area - only a 7-10" oval in the middle remains, mine started at 50k (didn't notice till 52k so out of warranty) and now car has 120k, 3 years later
3 pressure didn't seem to do anything to them
4 It takes years to drain and makes a mess the whole time. For the first year would put gaffers tape under cubby to catch most of it, some still leaked past. Then removed cubby to be able to catch it better, and cubby was all gummed up. Still leaking today.
5 Seems to only come out bottom - so right onto cubby and floor/console beneath cubby

Mine started leaking within a year of bubbles. Generally though, your timeline and observations are pretty much in line. Why not replace the screen? :)
 

Jason

Member
Feb 6, 2013
149
13
DFW, TX
Mine started leaking within a year of bubbles. Generally though, your timeline and observations are pretty much in line. Why not replace the screen? :)

Don't want to spend couple thousand dollars, think my quote was 2400. but that was years ago. And the screen still works... I'd probably pay around $500 so I'll keep waiting. Of course, if screen quits, then I'll pay whatever the current price is :)
 

Lifeinabox

Member
Aug 1, 2017
699
517
Los Angeles
Ugh, just had bubbles show up a few weeks ago and now slowly spreading at the bottom of my screen. Interestingly, they showed up right after my last service visit where Tesla replaced a faulty LTE board. I wasn't getting any LTE or wifi reception. Need to schedule for a replacement as I'm still under my CPO warranty.
 

cookie99

Member
Mar 14, 2016
899
448
California
wanted to add that mine is starting to bubble. its in a penis shape too from some angles..

2018-10-11 12.59.39.jpg
 

mgodfre3

Member
Aug 10, 2014
24
3
Winter Garden, Fl
I had the bubbles show up on my screen and it has just been growing expentionally since. I asked tesla SC in Orlando for a quote and the replied $1180 with the TS being on backorder. I of coarse ordered it and mentioned that, I am more then annoyed that I have to pay for this fix. This is a supplier issue with the TS and Tesla should take it up with supplier. I am happy to pay labor, since I am out of warrenty but this is ridiculous that such a major component of the car is failing on me.

I also found a ton of sticky, clear liquid similar to Corn Syrup on my Yacht floor and immediately wondered what I or my wife had spilled, turns out, like my hunch it is adhesive from the screen as it is all over the bottom corner of screen and cubby. I cleaned it up, placed a rag to collect the additional drippings, and sent SC an email saying they need to look under yacht floor as well, and clean up the mess. I got most of it with Goo Gone.

This is ridiculous, and the fact I am also buying a model 3 this month, makes me a bit sour.
 

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