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Installing the official Tesla model 3 roof rack

TomHudson

Member
Jul 13, 2018
54
58
Port Washington WI
Hi all. Looking to properly install to 5-6 Nm spec. Can anyone recommend a good torque wrench from Amazon? Would the following torque wrench work?

Venzo Bicycle Bike 1/4 Inch Driver - Torque Wrench Allen Key Tools Socket Set Kit 2-24Nm - Small Adjustable https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00811WQT8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_CU4yDb5MT5V8G
I got this one, which is very similar:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01ISPD5A0/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It worked well. And I love my roof racks -- no noticeable difference in efficiency with it installed.
 

sroh

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Sep 10, 2017
692
2,452
San Jose, CA
Hi all. Looking to properly install to 5-6 Nm spec. Can anyone recommend a good torque wrench from Amazon? Would the following torque wrench work?

Venzo Bicycle Bike 1/4 Inch Driver - Torque Wrench Allen Key Tools Socket Set Kit 2-24Nm - Small Adjustable https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00811WQT8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_CU4yDb5MT5V8G

I think even that is overkill. You don't need a torque wrench. Kinda hard to explain in words, but the lock makes sure the nut can't loosen. I just hand tighten and then maybe a half turn with the allen wrench.
 

640k

Member
Jul 15, 2019
929
631
Cincinnati
so i looked at my roof glass closer yesterday and noticed it's off-center by a 1-2mm. most of the posts i've seen have stated that if your glass is off-center, you risk cracking it if installing the Tesla rack and i'm not sure i want to take it in to be serviced so it can be centered. what are your guys' thoughts?

i did discover that I have the tow-hitch cutout under the back bumper but the initial investment of the hitch solution is quite a bit higher.
 

novox77

1.21 Gigawatts
Nov 25, 2017
1,643
3,554
NH, MA
Hi all. Looking to properly install to 5-6 Nm spec. Can anyone recommend a good torque wrench from Amazon? Would the following torque wrench work?

Venzo Bicycle Bike 1/4 Inch Driver - Torque Wrench Allen Key Tools Socket Set Kit 2-24Nm - Small Adjustable https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00811WQT8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_CU4yDb5MT5V8G

I own this torque wrench, mainly for building and tuning road bikes. It's excellent for the torque range it supports.

For the roof rack, I ended up just hand tightening mainly cause of all the popping noises it was making even with just the hand tightening. Bars feel really secure. It's been a while since I installed, but IIRC, if you want to use the locking mechanism, you can't do a partial turn. You have to commit to an additional 360 degree turn to align the nut with the locking pin.
 

kayaker

Member
Jul 24, 2018
58
31
HALIFAX
Hi all. Looking to properly install to 5-6 Nm spec. Can anyone recommend a good torque wrench from Amazon? Would the following torque wrench work?

Venzo Bicycle Bike 1/4 Inch Driver - Torque Wrench Allen Key Tools Socket Set Kit 2-24Nm - Small Adjustable https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00811WQT8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_CU4yDb5MT5V8G
when the rack was always sold out back in February I managed to win the lottery and get one and got all excited and got a torque wrench to get to 9Nm which was the instructions at the time. the rear 2 did tighten to that but the front made weird noises at about 2 Nm. so I stopped and locked at that torque. those j-clips were of the crop that frequently cracked. the rack seemed secure but when the replacement j-clips were sent by Tesla, I realized that one front and one rear clip had cracked in two. the new clips were so short that it was impossible to tighten them to anything above about 2 so that is as tight as they got in March. As others have pointed out , the lock does stop it from detaching. I haul one kayak almost everyday and sometimes 2 at highway speed. Nothing is loose. Nor has the glass cracked.
 

Hanz

New Member
Aug 28, 2018
4
3
San Francisco
when the rack was always sold out back in February I managed to win the lottery and get one and got all excited and got a torque wrench to get to 9Nm which was the instructions at the time. the rear 2 did tighten to that but the front made weird noises at about 2 Nm. so I stopped and locked at that torque. those j-clips were of the crop that frequently cracked. the rack seemed secure but when the replacement j-clips were sent by Tesla, I realized that one front and one rear clip had cracked in two. the new clips were so short that it was impossible to tighten them to anything above about 2 so that is as tight as they got in March. As others have pointed out , the lock does stop it from detaching. I haul one kayak almost everyday and sometimes 2 at highway speed. Nothing is loose. Nor has the glass cracked.


Thanks all for your recommendations. I’ll try installing without a torque wrench.
 

mountainsean

Member
Nov 10, 2019
11
4
Colorado
Question for those with the new clips: did you get some weird/scary/disconcerting crunching noises when installing your rack at low torque levels? I installed mine yesterday and took great care to follow the directions to a T. When it came time to tighten the nuts, I used a precise bicycle torque wrench set to 3Nm. Even so, before I got to 3Nm, I heard these crunchy sort of noises on all 4 feet. I stopped, backed off the nuts, went to retighten, and everything sounded ok to 3Nm. Is this normal for the first install or did I damage something?
 

kayaker

Member
Jul 24, 2018
58
31
HALIFAX
Question for those with the new clips: did you get some weird/scary/disconcerting crunching noises when installing your rack at low torque levels? I installed mine yesterday and took great care to follow the directions to a T. When it came time to tighten the nuts, I used a precise bicycle torque wrench set to 3Nm. Even so, before I got to 3Nm, I heard these crunchy sort of noises on all 4 feet. I stopped, backed off the nuts, went to retighten, and everything sounded ok to 3Nm. Is this normal for the first install or did I damage something?
crunches were normal both times I installed. last install 8 months ago. many kilometers with kayaks . no loosening. no cracks. no leaks.
 

Marius A

Member
Apr 2, 2019
612
478
NORWAY
Just want to post my experience with this.
I did a 6nm installation, but it still cracked my roof. Tesla said it was because of the vinyl wrap, so I had to pay €1400 for the repair myself.
They also botched the repair, so I now have the noisiest EV in history with a cold draft through the roof.
Found pieces of shattered glass lodged in the passenger seat, so they obviously struggled with getting the original roof out.
 

640k

Member
Jul 15, 2019
929
631
Cincinnati
Just want to post my experience with this.
I did a 6nm installation, but it still cracked my roof. Tesla said it was because of the vinyl wrap, so I had to pay €1400 for the repair myself.
They also botched the repair, so I now have the noisiest EV in history with a cold draft through the roof.
Found pieces of shattered glass lodged in the passenger seat, so they obviously struggled with getting the original roof out.
what do/they mean by "because of the vinyl wrap?" the install comes with film to protect the paint, right? did you put the film on top of the wrap?
 

mountainsean

Member
Nov 10, 2019
11
4
Colorado
crunches were normal both times I installed. last install 8 months ago. many kilometers with kayaks . no loosening. no cracks. no leaks.

OK thanks, I feel a bit better about it. I took off the bars and triple-checked that my hooks were in the right place and that the glass wasn't cracked, retightened, and didn't get crunchy noises the second time around. Still kept it to 3-4Nm though, afraid to go higher. Took it out yesterday with bikes and everything seemed fine (but only got to 65mph).

As nice and streamlined as the rack is, I would have much preferred it if Tesla had built in more robust factory mount points, even if that would mean giving up a little sleekness. What's there works, but seems way too delicate for the cosmetic benefit, and too easy to get it catastrophically wrong.
 

N54TT

Member
Aug 14, 2018
963
740
NY
Will be ordering the rack for this winter/ski season. Tired of putting the skis/snowboards in the car lol. I’m one who likes to torque things down to spec when installing my wheels, doing suspension /engine work etc and have 1/4 and 1/2in torque wrenches. I’m contemplating buying one of those bicycle torque wrenches. But if hand tightening and an additional turn with the wrench keeps the rack solid and can’t budge...what’s the point of trying to tighten to spec? Especially with concerns for glass breakage and if the cap prevents the nut from loosening...there shouldn’t be any concern. Knowing me...I’m going to buy the wrench and end up just hand tightening lol.
 

njneer

Member
May 17, 2019
26
25
Vancouver BC
Paid Tesla in Vancouver BC $100 to install the rack for me (I didn't have to order it as they had one in stock). This thread was very helpful in convincing me that it was better to transfer the risk to them. I have used black electrical tape to secure the post covers as they were all quite loose and the tape has held on firmly through rain and hail for about two months now.
 

kayaker

Member
Jul 24, 2018
58
31
HALIFAX
Paid Tesla in Vancouver BC $100 to install the rack for me (I didn't have to order it as they had one in stock). This thread was very helpful in convincing me that it was better to transfer the risk to them. I have used black electrical tape to secure the post covers as they were all quite loose and the tape has held on firmly through rain and hail for about two months now.
smart moves...both the install and the tape. my closest service centre is 1000km. i did that drive once but roof rack wasn't even made then. one of those post covers fell off after about 5 months. you know there's no easy way to order that part...the service app actually made me an appointment at that service centre which seemed a bit unnecessary and though the drive is lovely in a Tesla , 2000 km for 10 cm of plastic wasn't going to happen. In the end, Tesla came through as usual and just sent me that part for free. I think I will put some tape on right now. thanks for the reminder.
 

Marius A

Member
Apr 2, 2019
612
478
NORWAY
what do/they mean by "because of the vinyl wrap?" the install comes with film to protect the paint, right? did you put the film on top of the wrap?
Sorry, don't know how I missed this.
As you might see from my pfp my car is wrapped in a "Blue Sky" vinyl (it's actually a black TM3). I added the included tape on top of it. Tesla SC said that because of the vinyl the roof cracked even though I installed to 6nm, so warranty voided.
 

640k

Member
Jul 15, 2019
929
631
Cincinnati
Sorry, don't know how I missed this.
As you might see from my pfp my car is wrapped in a "Blue Sky" vinyl (it's actually a black TM3). I added the included tape on top of it. Tesla SC said that because of the vinyl the roof cracked even though I installed to 6nm, so warranty voided.
i wonder if there's some moss-magnuson you can apply here...
 

Marius A

Member
Apr 2, 2019
612
478
NORWAY
i wonder if there's some moss-magnuson you can apply here...
Not sure. My insurance company covered 90% of the cost, so I just payed up to be done with it. The consumer protection agency in Norway is really bogged down, and I just want to be finished with all the SC repairs this car needs.

But I think it's worth noting that 6nm might be enough to crack the roof if you covered your car in vinyl.
 

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