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Model 3 Rear Door Window Removal Fail / Warning

Long story short:

I broke the "regulator isolator clamp" (part number 1101952-00) on my Model 3 while trying to remove the bolt that holds the window inside the rear passenger door. So I wanted to post about this (A) as a warning to others who might make the same mistake and (B) see if anyone has any bright ideas about why this happened or how to remedy the situation.

Background + long story:

I got a small door ding dent on the upper crease of my Model 3's rear passenger door awhile back. I looked into various repair options:
  • The local PDR (paintless dent repair) guy said he couldn't fix the dent since it was located behind a double-paneled part of the door, so he couldn't reach it with his tools.
  • A local autobody shop proposed using filler to fix it and then repainting/blending in the new paint. (No thanks.)
  • A Tesla certified repair shop quoted me $970 to take apart the door to access the dent from the inside and then attempt PDR.
The $970 quote was higher than I wanted to pay for a small dent (or, more accurately, my $500 insurance deductible), so I thought I might try to take the door apart myself and then have the PDR guy fix the dent for cheaper. I watched some youtube videos (here and here) that showed how to take off the interior door trim, regulator assembly, and window, and it looked manageable enough.

All went smoothly until I got to the step of removing the bolts that clamp the window to the regulator. The bolt didn't seem to want to budge, so I (foolishly) forced it, and instead of threading out of the isolator clamp, the torque ended up breaking the clamp. The plastic piece that wraps around both sides of the glass (see reference photos below) broke in two pieces, leaving the threaded metal plate (which is seized/stuck to the bolt) to spin freely on the backside of the glass when rotating the bolt. After this, I tried the other bolt, and it seemed stuck too, so I didn't force that one.

So now I'm stuck. I don’t see any way to extract the bolt now without taking apart the regulator assembly, which I’m not eager to do. Fortunately, the window is still being held firmly in place, so I think I'll just cut my losses and put the door back together and forget about the dent for awhile longer. I suppose I could still take it to the Tesla-certified body shop. They'll get an unwelcome surprise when they find they can't get the bolt out, but they would be much better equipped to deal with it than I would be.

And I’m left scratching my head wondering if there was anything I could've done differently to get the bolt out without breaking the clamp. I suppose rust in the threads is the most likely explanation for why it got stuck. (I checked a service manual that I downloaded, and it doesn't call out any thread locker on this bolt, and the installation torque on the bolts is only 12Nm.) If it is rust, I’d expect this to be a widespread issue. So I wonder if this is fundamentally a design flaw, or what.

For reference, here's...

(1) photos of the isolator clamp (which I found online):
1642969541891.png
1642987775748.png


(2) a part diagram of the window, clamps, and regulator assembly:
1642969679656.png


(3) a photo of the bolt in question that attaches the clamp+window to the regulator:
1642969803286.png


(4) a photo showing the location of the dent:
1642987509341.png


Thanks in advance for any insight/wisdom!
 
Long story short:

I broke the "regulator isolator clamp" (part number 1101952-00) on my Model 3 while trying to remove the bolt that holds the window inside the rear passenger door. So I wanted to post about this (A) as a warning to others who might make the same mistake and (B) see if anyone has any bright ideas about why this happened or how to remedy the situation.

Background + long story:

I got a small door ding dent on the upper crease of my Model 3's rear passenger door awhile back. I looked into various repair options:
  • The local PDR (paintless dent repair) guy said he couldn't fix the dent since it was located behind a double-paneled part of the door, so he couldn't reach it with his tools.
  • A local autobody shop proposed using filler to fix it and then repainting/blending in the new paint. (No thanks.)
  • A Tesla certified repair shop quoted me $970 to take apart the door to access the dent from the inside and then attempt PDR.
The $970 quote was higher than I wanted to pay for a small dent (or, more accurately, my $500 insurance deductible), so I thought I might try to take the door apart myself and then have the PDR guy fix the dent for cheaper. I watched some youtube videos (here and here) that showed how to take off the interior door trim, regulator assembly, and window, and it looked manageable enough.

All went smoothly until I got to the step of removing the bolts that clamp the window to the regulator. The bolt didn't seem to want to budge, so I (foolishly) forced it, and instead of threading out of the isolator clamp, the torque ended up breaking the clamp. The plastic piece that wraps around both sides of the glass (see reference photos below) broke in two pieces, leaving the threaded metal plate (which is seized/stuck to the bolt) to spin freely on the backside of the glass when rotating the bolt. After this, I tried the other bolt, and it seemed stuck too, so I didn't force that one.

So now I'm stuck. I don’t see any way to extract the bolt now without taking apart the regulator assembly, which I’m not eager to do. Fortunately, the window is still being held firmly in place, so I think I'll just cut my losses and put the door back together and forget about the dent for awhile longer. I suppose I could still take it to the Tesla-certified body shop. They'll get an unwelcome surprise when they find they can't get the bolt out, but they would be much better equipped to deal with it than I would be.

And I’m left scratching my head wondering if there was anything I could've done differently to get the bolt out without breaking the clamp. I suppose rust in the threads is the most likely explanation for why it got stuck. (I checked a service manual that I downloaded, and it doesn't call out any thread locker on this bolt, and the installation torque on the bolts is only 12Nm.) If it is rust, I’d expect this to be a widespread issue. So I wonder if this is fundamentally a design flaw, or what.

For reference, here's...

(1) photos of the isolator clamp (which I found online):
View attachment 759256 View attachment 759351

(2) a part diagram of the window, clamps, and regulator assembly:
View attachment 759261

(3) a photo of the bolt in question that attaches the clamp+window to the regulator:
View attachment 759267

(4) a photo showing the location of the dent:
View attachment 759350

Thanks in advance for any insight/wisdom!
I got pretty much the exact same dent in the same area. I'm just going to leave it as it's purely aesthetic. It bothered me for a few days but I figured it doesn't effect the structural integrity of the car and there wasn't any breaks in the paint to potentially cause rusting down the road. Also, even if I do somehow fix it through pdr or tesla service centre there's most likely going to be other dents happening throughout the years from random people hitting your car in parking lots, personal error, rocks on highway etc etc. Cost are going to pile up if you fix them every time.
 
I got pretty much the exact same dent in the same area. I'm just going to leave it as it's purely aesthetic. It bothered me for a few days but I figured it doesn't effect the structural integrity of the car and there wasn't any breaks in the paint to potentially cause rusting down the road. Also, even if I do somehow fix it through pdr or tesla service centre there's most likely going to be other dents happening throughout the years from random people hitting your car in parking lots, personal error, rocks on highway etc etc. Cost are going to pile up if you fix them every time.

I don’t disagree. I’ve lived with / ignored the dent for a long time. But I was thinking about possibly getting a new Tesla soon and didn’t want the dent to drag down my cars resale / trade-in value, so that’s why I was taking a stab at repairing it now.
 

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