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front suspension aggressively squeaking

afadeev

Member
Feb 28, 2019
776
931
NYC
Folks,
I've picked up suspension-related squeaking from the left (driver) front shock tower in my '19 TM3P with 28K miles.
Service appointment has been scheduled, but is still weeks away.
I've taken the wheel off, and all bolted suspension links and bolts are firmly in place with no obvious sign of wear. I haven't figured out how to remove the fronk plastic tub to get to the upper shock mount, but otherwise, the shock tower looks clean.

I'm suspecting it is either:
1). LF shock had failed (without leaking)
2). Upper strut mount is failing (either ball bearing or the rubber mount)
3). The (infamous) upper control-arm assembly's ball joints


Does this sound familiar (pun intended) to anyone?


TIA,
a
 
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afadeev

Member
Feb 28, 2019
776
931
NYC
I'll take Door #3!

That's absolutely the upper control arm. Had the same; was an easy repair, quick, painless.

Thanks, good to know it rings a bell.
I have 11 more days to wait for the Tesla service appointment, and that one is not even anywhere near me.

Any idea how fast these fail?
I would like to believe I don't need to worry about ball joint separating in the next ~100 or so miles?

Either way, I'm glad Model 3 is not my one and only car. Else this 4-week gap to next available service appointment, regardless of the severely of the problem, would be highly problematic.
 

dmurphy

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 7, 2018
3,827
5,408
New Jersey - Morris County
Thanks, good to know it rings a bell.
I have 11 more days to wait for the Tesla service appointment, and that one is not even anywhere near me.

Any idea how fast these fail?
I would like to believe I don't need to worry about ball joint separating in the next ~100 or so miles?

Either way, I'm glad Model 3 is not my one and only car. Else this 4-week gap to next available service appointment, regardless of the severely of the problem, would be highly problematic.

It's not a safety issue at all; just an annoying squeak. No issue continuing to drive it for weeks, months or years like that. Ball joint in no danger of separation.

Where are you getting it done? Paramus knocked mine out in about 2 1/2 hours flat.
 
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afadeev

Member
Feb 28, 2019
776
931
NYC
It's not a safety issue at all; just an annoying squeak. No issue continuing to drive it for weeks, months or years like that. Ball joint in no danger of separation.

Where are you getting it done? Paramus knocked mine out in about 2 1/2 hours flat.

Union Rt 22 location. That was the earliest available when I was booking a few weeks ago.
Did you get both sides replaced? Did Tesla put up a fight to do both?

I have a few other nagging issues that will need to be addressed "while you are in there": driver seat controls have fallen off (again), and the AC blower has randomly started taking afternoons off.

a
 

dmurphy

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 7, 2018
3,827
5,408
New Jersey - Morris County
Union Rt 22 location. That was the earliest available when I was booking a few weeks ago.
Did you get both sides replaced? Did Tesla put up a fight to do both?

I have a few other nagging issues that will need to be addressed "while you are in there": driver seat controls have fallen off (again), and the AC blower has randomly started taking afternoons off.

a

I've also had good service at Springfield; you'll be in good hands. No fight at all; Paramus did both without even asking.

Both of those other problems sound reasonable to have addressed - as long as they're in the service ticket, shouldn't be an issue... keep us posted!
 

afadeev

Member
Feb 28, 2019
776
931
NYC
I've also had good service at Springfield; you'll be in good hands. No fight at all; Paramus did both without even asking.
I may, in fact, have more of a fight on my hands than I wished for.

With 1 week to go before the appointment, I messaged Springfield service center with a request to prepare parts for upper control arm replacement job on both sides of my TM3P.
First response was: "Thank you!"
Second response was: "Review and approve your estimate", and the estimate listed "reseal bearings".

I messaged them back to reconsider their approach, and asked again for a replacement.
We'll see what happens next.
 
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dmurphy

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Dec 7, 2018
3,827
5,408
New Jersey - Morris County
I may, in fact, have more of a fight on my hands than I wished for.

With 1 week to go before the appointment, I messaged Springfield service center with a request to prepare parts for upper control arm replacement job on both sides of my TM3P.
First response was: "Thank you!"
Second response was: "Review and approve your estimate", and the estimate listed "reseal bearings".

I messaged them back to reconsider their approach, and asked again for a replacement.
We'll see what happens next.

Resealing isn’t the worst thing. If they can grease and reseal the ball joints without replacement, that’d solve the problem. There’s really no issue with the ball joint itself, except it needs better greasing.
 

android04

Member
Apr 1, 2016
481
486
Southeast Nebraska
I may, in fact, have more of a fight on my hands than I wished for.

With 1 week to go before the appointment, I messaged Springfield service center with a request to prepare parts for upper control arm replacement job on both sides of my TM3P.
First response was: "Thank you!"
Second response was: "Review and approve your estimate", and the estimate listed "reseal bearings".

I messaged them back to reconsider their approach, and asked again for a replacement.
We'll see what happens next.
That estimate is not set in stone and they have to get their hands on your car to determine the best course of action and what exactly the issue is. I'd let them do their thing. They might end up replacing them after all.
 

afadeev

Member
Feb 28, 2019
776
931
NYC
OK, the final note, for anyone who reads this in the future.
After 4 weeks of waiting, I got the upper control arms finally replaced by Tesla service.

Per service folks,
Step 1: "Elon requires" them to initially respond with an attempt to re-seal the ball joints.
part 1.jpg

Step 2: Then, as they know and fully expect, the effort is deemed insufficient, and they are allowed to actually replace the control arms.

part 2.jpg


End result - car is back to its former quiet self.
Should be good for another ~28K miles.
Then repeat?

Hope this helps others,
a
 
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Phlier

Bluebird
Jun 12, 2019
1,910
3,327
Utah
Should be good for another ~28K miles.
Then repeat?
Hopefully a bit longer than that. :)

Notice the "J" as the last digit in the part number? That's the revision number (or letter) that they're up to on that particular part now.

FWIW, I've been kinda keeping an eyeball on all the control arm repair posts, and I have yet to see someone in need of having a "J" revision replaced... yet. But of course, it's too early to know if they actually got it fixed with this revision, or if it's just too new yet to see any problems.

I had mobile tech out to replace a failed headlight assembly a few weeks ago, and the guy said that they aren't allowing mobile service to do the SB seal job anymore, as the pot life on the sealant is extremely short after opening and they are trying to get as many done per container of sealant as possible.

So I gotta drive 135 miles to have it done. I'm actually glad that the closest SC is 135 miles away. Gives me a perfect reason to take my car on a bit of a drive. Hm.. Maybe I'll take it to Salt Lake to have it done, instead, as that's 300 miles away! :)
 

android04

Member
Apr 1, 2016
481
486
Southeast Nebraska
OK, the final note, for anyone who reads this in the future.
After 4 weeks of waiting, I got the upper control arms finally replaced by Tesla service.

Per service folks,
Step 1: "Elon requires" them to initially respond with an attempt to re-seal the ball joints.
View attachment 708496
Step 2: Then, as they know and fully expect, the effort is deemed insufficient, and they are allowed to actually replace the control arms.

View attachment 708497

End result - car is back to its former quiet self.
Should be good for another ~28K miles.
Then repeat?

Hope this helps others,
a
The new control arms should be sealed and not have to be replaced again (hopefully?). Also, the sealing is only effective on control arms that don't already squeak, so they would do that when the car is being serviced for something else.
 

afadeev

Member
Feb 28, 2019
776
931
NYC
The new control arms should be sealed and not have to be replaced again (hopefully?).

That's right.
The whole idea of "sealing" or "packing grease" into ball joints makes zero sense.
If the ball joints are new, they should be properly lubricated, and isolated from the dirt and grime. In other words, there should be nothing to "seal".
Clipboard01.jpg


If the ball joints in the old control arm are compromised (boot is torn, dirt got in, etc.) and the joint itself has worn out enough to be squealing, then packing it with new grease would provide at best a VERY temporary relief. It will return to its old squeaking and wearing self in little time. Either the ball joint needs to be pressed out and replaced, or the entire control arm needs to be replaced.

But Elon wants to save money, so the service advisors are forced to say whatever he makes them say.
The good SAs, will find a way to replace the worn-out control arms in the end.

Also, the sealing is only effective on control arms that don't already squeak, so they would do that when the car is being serviced for something else.

Control arm ball joints are not a maintenance item. On any car. Ever.
It should be sealed for life, and never require any further attention.
Unless the seal fails, dirt gets in, and metals starts wearing out and squeaking. In which case, it should only be replaced.

a
 

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