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Ground Stud Nut over torqued

Discussion in 'Model S' started by mrElbe, Feb 25, 2017.

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  1. mrElbe

    mrElbe Active Member

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    Stouffville, ON Canada
    2 weeks ago my right headlight started failing. So I ordered 2 HID D3S bulbs on Amazon and scheduled to tackle that job this weekend. The last Wednesday I get "Coolant low" message. Made appontment with Tesla service but was assured not to worry - probably a bad ground. The I got intermittent 3 beeps with a message flashing on the IP and main screen but not long enough to read. Also "Suspension needs service popped up frequently. I got worse yesterday while driving in the morning. In summary the following happened intermittently:

    - message: Coolant low ( just when starting car )
    - right headlight not working
    - right turn signal intermittent ( for about 20 minutes, then working)
    - message: Suspension needs service ( on permanently until full power off, then re-appearing)
    - message: front trunk lid open (this was the 3 beeps and message happening frequently)
    - phone notification: Car alarm has been triggered

    I thought that there must be some commonality to this, like a bad ground. I removed the Frunk tub and Voila! a broken ground lug / stud merrily swinging in the air. Looks like too much torque was applied at the factory.

    ground2.jpg

    ground1.jpg

    Drilled into the broken stud and tapped a thread
    ground3.jpg

    Then sandpapered the stud and brass lug connected to the 2 wires. Temporarily connected a jumper cable to the brass lug and low and behold the headlight worked and all warning messages disappeared.
    ground4.jpg

    Went to Hindle's Hardware in Clarksburg Ontario ( that is in the area where I was visiting ) and got a brass bolt with 2 nuts and special electrical paste for joining dissimilar metals. Reason for brass bolt is that the lug on the 2 wires was already brass.

    That Hardware store is amazing! Right out of the 30's complete with crank cash register. If he doesn't have it then it doesn't exist.

    Here is the finished job. All problems were solved by this including the malfunctioning headlight.

    ground5.jpg

    Total cost of repair CAD$ 5.20 ( and 2 beers and my time )
     
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  2. Veggen

    Veggen Member

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    Well done and nicely documented.
    I've heard several stories of ground connection problems, seems to be a fairly common issue.
     
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  3. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    Way to go! I love it when owners find this kind of problem and fix it themselves. Otherwise it's just a hassle with the service center.
     
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  4. Motomania

    Motomania Member

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    Great job troubleshooting and documenting the repair. (Sounds like an awesome hardware store too!)
     
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  5. llavalle

    llavalle Member

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    Had a very similar problem with my car. Coolant low and suspension issue. Also a bad ground from the factory. Ca was built about the same time as yours....

    Was fixed by the service center.. I called and they seemed to know what it was...
     
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  6. Tony

    Tony Member

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    Interesting ... I'm having the exact same symptoms as the OP plus my air suspension started to act up and auto-pilot is off line. Weird how this issue affects the right headlight and signal. I'm sure it is a ground in my case too ... symptoms are a perfect match to the OP! In my case the ground stud seems fine though ... not sure where to look next :( ... I tested the circuit and even tried an extra ground cable on it ... no dice. I guess Tesla can figure it out. S85D March 2015. I'll add to this post once I figure it out ...
     
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  7. Tony

    Tony Member

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    OK - got it. I was thinking it was the battery ground. After looking more closely at the OPs picture, the problem ground is on the passenger side frame ... duh. Drilled, tapped, and used a steel bolt with di-electric grease. Will change that out to a brass bolt next time I'm at a hardware. Solved all problems including the air suspension. Any money this issue will be really common!!
     
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  8. sundoc

    sundoc Member

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    Exactly the same symptoms with mine... and ours were built the same week i think :)

    I had some other work I needed done so dropped off at the SC.
     
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  9. EVCarGUy

    EVCarGUy Member

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    I, too, have a March 2015 S 85D. No problem yet, but I think I'll have a look for that stud.
     
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  10. sakimano

    sakimano Member

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    My car is a 90,XXX 70D and had the same symptoms as the op. Tesla service centre in Toronto fixed it. Apparently very common. I don't get what's causing them to sheer though?
     
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  11. mrElbe

    mrElbe Active Member

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    My educated guess is that the stud sheared off due to over torquing at the factory.
     
  12. u00mem9

    u00mem9 Member

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    Is it possible that the frunk is making contact with the stud and that contact eventually leads to the failure?
     
  13. sakimano

    sakimano Member

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    yes that would maybe make it easier to sheer, but what is causing them to actually sheer?

    They're welded into the frame, so perhaps there's flex in the frame that is causing it.

    Weirdly all 5 of the respondants to this thread echoing the symptoms/problem the OP had are in Canada...
     
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  14. mrElbe

    mrElbe Active Member

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    When I connected a jumper cable to ground, there was quite a spark meaning substantial current. The stud could have been hanging on by a thread and it took 2 years for the current to eat through the weakened aluminum.
     
  15. FabioFognini

    FabioFognini Member

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    The title of this thread lead me to believe this was a problem best resolved by a urologist. Really though, incredibly impressive to see the diagnostic and remediation skills that exist among Tesla owners.
     
  16. Lasttoy

    Lasttoy Member

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    Great job
    But, Mr elbe said spark, lot of current? With it parked? Wtf is that, could cause fire if swinging while driving, plus chk that out now.
    Real safety issue
     
  17. SMAlset

    SMAlset Active Member

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    #17 SMAlset, Apr 16, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
    I read this thread a few days ago but forgot about it involving a ground stud until I saw it just now again. Not a car person, and had not heard of this part before and Mr elbe's photos were great to illustrate. Anyway earlier today I posted to another thread here on TMC about an owner's ground stud that needed to be re-welded but the car in question had steering and braking issues among other alerts. Another owner posted they too had had their ground stud re-welded. Here's the link: Alert** loss of steering and braking while driving | Tesla Are all these type of problems coming from the same general location in the car (noticed 2 ground studs in the photo I think) or are there different ground studs in various areas around the car affecting different aspects of the car's functions?

    Discussion in the above linked thread alluded to the fact that maybe the salt on the roads caused the deterioration or "rotting away" of the connection. I noticed that Mr elbe's location is in Canada so wonder if that could explain what happened to his ground stud. Could the cold temps be a factor? It does sound like a number of owners in Canada are having this issue. Don't know about the location of the OP in this other thread but one person who commented there with the issue was also from Canada.
     

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