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Failed Rear Lower Control Arm / Service Bulletin SB-19-31-001

JayyyDeee

Member
Apr 2, 2016
193
139
Canada
Good luck to you!
But Tesla really doesn't care about you anymore, because they know you've been hooked and reeled in. Sadly, people who have been/are ardent supporters seem to be screwed over the most, because they're the ones very willling to give free passes when Tesla doesn't do the right thing. Tesla wants to woo the innocent and uninformed, who are enamored with Tesla's mission and oftentimes overlook the serious shortcomings.

As much as I love my car the word really needs to get out that Tesla is crooked.
 

JayyyDeee

Member
Apr 2, 2016
193
139
Canada
Just paid Tesla $3985.86 for repairs resulting from the failed control arm. Meanwhile, the letter I FedEx'd to the HQ Service Dispute department on September 2 (post #32) hasn't even been acknowledged. I really can't believe how unresponsive Tesla is! If I ran my business this way I wouldn't have a business to run!

Sorry but the single monkey they hired to deal with customer service complaints is a bit too busy to get to your issue...
 
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No CO2

Member
Jun 25, 2020
55
15
San Diego, CA
Just paid Tesla $3985.86 for repairs resulting from the failed control arm. Meanwhile, the letter I FedEx'd to the HQ Service Dispute department on September 2 (post #32) hasn't even been acknowledged. I really can't believe how unresponsive Tesla is! If I ran my business this way I wouldn't have a business to run!

Airsailor,
Sorry to hear about your ordeal with Tesla.
If it is any consolation, this thread you started may help others (like myself) be proactive, and it may actually save someone's life. This type of failure at highway speeds may be fatal.

I was also shocked at the "$200 per hour" labor rate at the Service Center. I am looking to service this car myself.

I now have an extra one of the newer control arms available for sale to members here. I ended up with 3 control arms, and only used two.
PM me if interested. $130 plus shipping
 
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msex10

New Member
Oct 21, 2020
3
8
Richmond Hill, Ontario
I just got home from the dealer/store. Right rear failed this morning on my S70D. My car warranty expired December 2019, but I purchased the extended warranty. I will update when I hear back.....one ray of light, I have a P85D for a loaner.
 
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maximizese

Member
Jan 16, 2018
476
454
California
I'm sorry this happened to you and I thank you for being some attention to this. Our used 11/2013 built S85 is about 90 miles for warranty expiration and I just sent Tesla a service request to confirm whether or not the vehicle has the faulty parts. I took delivery of the vehicle 3 days after the SB was issued. I would at least like to get this on the record with their acknowledgement either way, but most importantly I do not want a failure like this to occur when it can be prevented.

https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/2019/MC-10153421-9999.pdf
 
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msex10

New Member
Oct 21, 2020
3
8
Richmond Hill, Ontario
So,....I got a call from the service department, "they are replacing the control arm, doing an alignment I might have the car back today." I enquired about the left side and was told that they had gone ahead and replaced that one as well, which i thought was odd, as they had not run it by me first. I figured I would deal with it when I have to pay, as they had gone ahead and done the work without my approval.

With the extended warranty that i purchased, there is still a $350 deductible per visit. I just received a text, " Hello Mike, we were able to complete your vehicle. We replaced both your rear lower control arms. The deductible has been waived so there is no balance owing." I replied with "I would like the replaced parts left in the trunk, please." Their reply was "Unfortunately these must be sent back to engineering for review."

I guess if they are paying for the parts, they own them.

The repair was finished today, but not in time for me to get there before closing. I'll pick it up tomorrow.

airsailor, if you had not started this thread I would not have been as aware and ready for a fight. Your letter to the brass is very well spoken. If I can be of any assistance to you with your dispute, reach out, Ill be there;)
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
15,855
35,485
Oregon
While China is forcing a recall, it appears that Transport Canada agrees with Tesla that the rear lower control arm failing is not a safety issue:

Transport Canada (2020 - 0975) just notified me that they concluded their investigation as follows:

"We have determined that a failure of the rear lower control arm on the Model S is not detrimental to the safe operation of the vehicle and will be deactivating our file."
 

David.85D

Active Member
Oct 29, 2016
1,437
1,185
USA
While China is forcing a recall, it appears that Transport Canada agrees with Tesla that the rear lower control arm failing is not a safety issue:

I believe the difference is the Chinese recall is for front suspension failures we would attribute to the fore links.
 

Reefdiver

Member
Aug 12, 2017
41
64
West Palm Beach
Does anyone know when Tesla changed the control arms to newer, presumably better version? Does it correspond to China’s recall (into 2017 cars)? Makes me a little worried about my July 2017 build.
 

cduzz

Member
Jun 6, 2019
419
519
boston ma
Does anyone know when Tesla changed the control arms to newer, presumably better version? Does it correspond to China’s recall (into 2017 cars)? Makes me a little worried about my July 2017 build.

The difficulty here is that I don't think it's possible to see these failures without going to some non-trivial efforts.

Can the crack prone parts of the suspension be inspected with the car in a driveway? What about with the car in a driveway with an inspection mirror and light? Would you need to inspect the parts with dyes? Would you need to inspect these parts by x-raying them to identify fatigue cracks?

I'm imagining that a part has some intermediate steps between "as good as it was from the factory" and "Whompy Wheel"; I'm not sure how many people in a position to talk about it have actually found these cracks in-situ. How long would you expect a part to have a small crack before it totally fails (assuming it is being driven "normally", not sitting in a garage or driven in anger at Nürburgring)?

What would be some inspection strategies that might be tacked onto say a yearly safety inspection at an inspection station in Massachusetts where they lift a corner of the car with a jack and wiggle the suspension looking for play?
 
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David.85D

Active Member
Oct 29, 2016
1,437
1,185
USA
The difficulty here is that I don't think it's possible to see these failures without going to some non-trivial efforts.

Can the crack prone parts of the suspension be inspected with the car in a driveway? What about with the car in a driveway with an inspection mirror and light? Would you need to inspect the parts with dyes? Would you need to inspect these parts by x-raying them to identify fatigue cracks?

I'm imagining that a part has some intermediate steps between "as good as it was from the factory" and "Whompy Wheel"; I'm not sure how many people in a position to talk about it have actually found these cracks in-situ. How long would you expect a part to have a small crack before it totally fails (assuming it is being driven "normally", not sitting in a garage or driven in anger at Nürburgring)?

What would be some inspection strategies that might be tacked onto say a yearly safety inspection at an inspection station in Massachusetts where they lift a corner of the car with a jack and wiggle the suspension looking for play?

unfortunately, the crack growth rate (as in fatigue) is a function of the stress amplitude and the materials fracture toughness. You would need to know both to predict the life. And for a complicated loading history like the suspension sees, you need to adopt some sort of model to turn cycles of big bumps and little bumps into an appropriate average load.

in terms of inspecting, I would guess the normal road grime would make it very hard to notice visually. Dye penetrant testing or X-ray are the methods used, but the cost is prohibitive. Certainly cheaper to replace than to pay the labor to remove it, send it out for X-rays, pay for X-rays, then pay to have it reinstalled. Dye penetrant can be cheaper, but the companies that do that as a service probably have a half day or full day minimum to send out a technician.
 

cduzz

Member
Jun 6, 2019
419
519
boston ma
unfortunately, the crack growth rate (as in fatigue) is a function of the stress amplitude and the materials fracture toughness. You would need to know both to predict the life. And for a complicated loading history like the suspension sees, you need to adopt some sort of model to turn cycles of big bumps and little bumps into an appropriate average load.

in terms of inspecting, I would guess the normal road grime would make it very hard to notice visually. Dye penetrant testing or X-ray are the methods used, but the cost is prohibitive. Certainly cheaper to replace than to pay the labor to remove it, send it out for X-rays, pay for X-rays, then pay to have it reinstalled. Dye penetrant can be cheaper, but the companies that do that as a service probably have a half day or full day minimum to send out a technician.

And I'm assuming it isn't something that can be done in situ (IE put on lift, wipe clean with brake cleaner and spray dye on, go to next corner, when done cleaning / dyeing each corner wipe and develop the first and inspect, clean, and go to next corner).

The other choice is to play dice and either "let it roll" or replace with the 2018+ parts after 30,000 potholes? Presumably if there's a global recall they'd pay the R&R costs if you do the proactive swap?
 

Zuikkis

Member
Aug 19, 2020
250
288
Finland
Does anyone know when Tesla changed the control arms to newer, presumably better version? Does it correspond to China’s recall (into 2017 cars)? Makes me a little worried about my July 2017 build.

At least the Service Bulletin mentioned in first post only affects 2013-2014 cars.

The updated part number is 1027459-99-A. At least on my car it was easily readable from under side, just reach your hand under the car and take a few blind shots with a phone camera..
 

David.85D

Active Member
Oct 29, 2016
1,437
1,185
USA
And I'm assuming it isn't something that can be done in situ (IE put on lift, wipe clean with brake cleaner and spray dye on, go to next corner, when done cleaning / dyeing each corner wipe and develop the first and inspect, clean, and go to next corner).

I think the dye penetrant test could be done in situ. Welders do that. Definitely would prefer working on a lift. Getting it properly clean to start is usually the challenging part. And a dye kit is only $70ish. But takes practice. And to do it commercially probably should have some official training and certification.
 

MP3Mike

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2016
15,855
35,485
Oregon
I think the dye penetrant test could be done in situ. Welders do that. Definitely would prefer working on a lift. Getting it properly clean to start is usually the challenging part. And a dye kit is only $70ish. But takes practice. And to do it commercially probably should have some official training and certification.

I do wonder about testing the links, but if you say it takes a shop about an hour to test all four, and $70 for the dye test kit, you are looking at ~$300 each time you want to check them. How often are you going to check them? If you are that worried it would probably make more sense to just replace them proactively. (And it seems you can get used parts fairly inexpensively.)
 

dark cloud

Active Member
Apr 14, 2018
2,025
2,286
BC
The other choice is to play dice and either "let it roll" or replace with the 2018+ parts after 30,000 potholes? Presumably if there's a global recall they'd pay the R&R costs if you do the proactive swap?

I suppose someone could go to a large empty parking lot, crank the wheel to full lock, put the car in reverse and accelerate aggressively, repeat in the other direction, every 3 months or so? If it doesn’t let go in that situation the links are probably good for a while.

disadvantage is you need to call a flatbed to the parking lot as opposed to owners driveways where many of these breaks occurred.
 

cduzz

Member
Jun 6, 2019
419
519
boston ma
It looks like the only real hassle in replacing these parts is the front inner
I suppose someone could go to a large empty parking lot, crank the wheel to full lock, put the car in reverse and accelerate aggressively, repeat in the other direction, every 3 months or so? If it doesn’t let go in that situation the links are probably good for a while.

disadvantage is you need to call a flatbed to the parking lot as opposed to owners driveways where many of these breaks occurred.

The drawback to letting it fail is that when it lets go it's likely to destroy a bunch of other expensive parts of the car (at best) and may cause you to test out other safety systems like the air bags due to sudden unintended deceleration due to foreign object impact....

Some of it looks like it is doable for a dedicated wrencher; there's the front upper A arm that looks like it needs the traction battery removed or incorrect reassembly to clear one of the bolts.

I'm not sure which suspension parts are suspect.

Does anyone have a list of which parts have been revised over time?

I'm inclined to ignore the issue for another year (pre facelift 2016 90D purchased from tesla in 2019 so has 3 more years of their now extinct 4 year / 50k B2B warranty).

But I will have them inspect the suspension for play (not the fun / pretend kind) while it's there for unrelated issues.
 

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