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Model X Front Suspension Failure

Discussion in 'Model X' started by sreddy642, Sep 19, 2016.

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  1. sreddy642

    sreddy642 Member

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    This has been previously posted on Model X front suspension failure | Tesla Motors

    Yesterday, I was parking my Model X90D in the parking garage at work, I was making a sharp turn as I was backing into a parking spot (in manual mode, not autopark), when I heard a bang and my steering became stiff. When I tried moving the car, it felt like it wouldn't want to move. When I moved forward, the car front part felt like it was lifted up an inch or so. I stopped, got out, got onto my knees and crawled under the front suspension to see what was going on. It was obvious to me that there was a front suspension failure (I used to design suspension systems for cars in Detroit 20 years ago). The wheel appeared to contact the wheel well. I refrained from making any further movement as the wheel well was acting as a giant brake on the tire.

    I called Tesla roadside service. They were extremely responsive. They immediately dispatched a tow truck. Since it was in a low height parking garage, they actually had to send two trucks - a flatbed truck for transportation to the shop and a pickup truck with a tow hook to pull the car on dollies out of the garage into the open to be loaded onto the flatbed truck. Since I lived close to the shop, they requested the tow truck driver to even drop me at home. It was after hours so there was no one in the shop when we reached.

    This morning, got a call from the service center, they confirmed that the driver side control arm had cracked and was broken. They had the parts in the shop and were immediately replacing it. As a precaution they are replacing the control arm on the passenger side too. They said they will deliver the repaired car at my home later this afternoon. The wheel well was deformed a bit and will also be replaced at a later date when those parts arrive.

    Tesla service was very responsive and I am delighted by them. My concern is however about the part design. My Model X was delivered only 4 months ago and I have driven it along only city streets and expressways in Texas and never ran over any road debris or was involved in any collisions. Not a scratch on my car. I have not drag raced or off-roaded. It has never been driven off cement/asphalt pavement. It has never been in a flood and has not experienced road salt as the car hasnt lived a winter besides there is no snow in Houston.

    I am surprised that the control arm cracked as the fatigue cycles on the part would have been low. I think when one is making an extreme turn, the control arm will be most stressed and it appears the stress analysis done may not have fully captured the loads during the extreme turn. I was driving at less than 5 mph while reverse parking when it failed. I shudder to think what could have happened if this failure occurred as I was on an expressway at speed, taking a turn/on a curved exit ramp, possibly made worse if I was on autopilot.

    I hope Tesla gets to the bottom of this issue and comes up with a fix. The fixes could be simply restricting the wheel turn radius (that would be a bummer as I enjoy the tight turn radius), deploying a redesigned control arm that could handle greater loads, etc. (better), or other modifications.

    The Model X is a delight to drive. A very high tech car that makes driving and parking easy. I am counting on Tesla to come up with a good solution before anyone gets hurt - owners or the company.

    Posted after repair was done in less than 24 hours by Tesla Service Center:

    Tesla delivered the vehicle to my home. Test drove it. Drives like new.

    The control arm broke completely at the joint with the spindle. The control arm wraps around a central cylindrical feature and bushing at this joint. I suspect one of the following issues could have happened. 1) an air bubble/flaw/defect in the casting at the spindle hinge may have lead to crack growth and failure. 2) poor loads/stress analysis.

    Either way, I hope they conduct a detailed investigation. They did take the passenger side control arm part also and replaced it with a new one. I hope this would help in their forensic investigation - comparing the driver side (broken) and the passenger side (unbroken) parts should reveal some good information. This should lead to detailed inspections on other vehicles having control arms from the same batch and a possible redesign/recall.

    I took delivery of this vehicle in May 2016. Had 9947 miles on it at failure. VIN 40xx.
    LFront.jpg
     

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  2. sreddy642

    sreddy642 Member

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    If you contrast the above picture of the driver side front suspension with the one below (the passenger side which is not broken), you should be able to identify the part that was broken. Later when I spoke to the service center, they assured me that they think it is a one of a kind defect in the casting. I hope it is.
    RFront.jpg
     
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  3. vjason

    vjason Member

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    My grandfather in law used to work at the Ford plant near the Cleveland, Ohio airport. He told me an interesting story about how for a brief time your engine got an unexpected bonus (?) if your car was built in the colder parts of winter, at least until they modified their procedures.

    Basically what would happen is that the engine blocks would be cast and stored outside before the precision machining was done. During the winter this meant being dumped outside when it was well below freezing, which had the unintended effect of case hardening the engine blocks. No one really gave it much thought until the machinists kept complaining that their tools (well, the tool bits/etc) were wearing down much faster than usual. Case hardening isn't something you want done to all parts, although in this case it is something commonly done to engine cylinder walls.

    Long story short, it is certainly possible it was a casting error. I worked a brief stint at a machine shop and the one of the castings we finished (brackets that held railroad car wheels on the side) was actually cast in China and shipped to Ohio. It was cheaper to cast 80 pounds of iron in China and ship it to the US for final machining. Same thing with tie-rods that we would manufacture; we'd cut the part off that surrounded the ball end and press on new (cast) ends we got from China. Parts like those didn't require any testing done beyond checking tolerances, and who knows what if any issues may have existed with those iron castings.
     
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  4. eddiemoy

    eddiemoy Member

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    I can't tell which one it is they replace. Which letter is it? LOL


    [​IMG]
     
  5. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    B. If you look at the other picture, it should be sitting on the second ball joint on C, right next to the end of D. Instead, it is sitting behind that, with a galled up section of C next to the open hooked end.
     
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  6. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    Who used the term "casting'? Suspension parts should always be forgings or else made up from pressed sheet metal. Forgings may begin life as a casting but then are severely pounded at high temperatures before finishing to size.

    I've always tried to avoid going anywhere near the turning limits for all kinds of reasons, FWIW.
    --
     
  7. vandacca

    vandacca Active Member

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    While this may be due to a failed part, these types of failures can also occur if things are not tightened to proper specifications. I've seen suspension arms snap because of loose parts and the arms being subjected to loads/angles it wasn't designed to handle.
     
  8. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Active Member

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    Does seem legit. Does highlight the issue of vendettas, though.

    Crying wolf, and all that.
     
  9. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Active Member

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    FWIW, Keef, already posted an NHTSA report on this a few hours after the first post on the other forum.

    I do think this is a legitimate poster. Parts do fail...it happens.
     
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  10. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Seriously?

    You can see the battery pack in the pictures, and those control arms look exactly like the ones on my X (well, the passenger side picture does.) The liquid looks to be placed right near where the air conditioning tends to drip.

    I presume the pictures are from when he got under the car in the garage where it happened.

    I don't know any of the details, but that's clearly pictures of a Tesla, probably an X, with a failed control arm. Given that, I have no reason to doubt the rest of the narrative.
     
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  11. cmt489

    cmt489 Member

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    I agree and have had a hardware part fail as well. In my case, it was the hinge in the passenger side falcon wing door. It misaligned and popped out, causing internal damage to the inside of the door mechanism. Happened within my first couple of weeks of ownership. It is being dealt with and I am beyond happy with my car. Could happen to any car, especially a new body design.
     
  12. jsollender

    jsollender Member

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  13. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Active Member

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    Oh, you missed my context. I think the OP is legit, not a scammer. I was only responding to the prior post claiming BS and how easy it would be to prove or disprove (by posting a photo of a X undercarriage)
     
  14. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Active Member

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    A bit OT, but I've always wondered how this would work? I'm not giving up personal information and VINs and "My Tesla" screenshots would be easy to spoof/copy for the motivated.
     
  15. electricity

    electricity Member

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    Assign a random user ID at a Tesla SC. It should be easy, not even Tesla employees would know who u are , but those ID's should be assigned at a SC. You can have the other unverified accounts in the forum aswell if u dont chose to do so, but u will not be taken as seriously when u post a headline "suspension failure"
     
  16. jsollender

    jsollender Member

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    So let's get this straight. We can agree that the OP has a legit photo of a broken control arm of a Model X.
    So who cares who Keef is or what his play on this is. A broken control arm is a point of concern for any owner, but an isolated broken one seems to be just that, so what? Or am I missing something about what the issues are?
     
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  17. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Active Member

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    Maybe if this was the official Tesla forum that would work, but it's not. I doubt Tesla wants to get that deeply involved here. (And maybe it is good to be independent of them - fewer censorship worries)
     
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  18. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    For anyone who is feeling especially skeptical... I'm pretty sure the image is legit, and google didn't turn it up being used anywhere else.
    Walter
    IMG_0110.JPG IMG_0108.JPG IMG_0107.JPG IMG_0106.JPG
     
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  19. JohnSnowNW

    JohnSnowNW Active Member

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    His play is that he's making it appear that suspension failures are common. So, when you ask whether it's an isolated incident, or if you're missing something. It's because Keef is making it difficult to make this determination.
     
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  20. jsollender

    jsollender Member

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    So @sreddy642 hasn't posted anything till this broken arm. Some people don't post much at all but sit back and enjoy the ride. I guess we all chill and congrat TM on repairing things that broke on a newish car. Thanks Elon, and don't worry about the shorts, they look fine on you!
     
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