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Suspension Problem on Model S

Discussion in 'Model S' started by gpcordaro, Apr 28, 2016.

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  1. gpcordaro

    gpcordaro Member

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    I have owned my Model S since May of 2013 and truly love the car. With that said, I must tell everyone about a recent problem I experienced this past Sunday while driving on a back road at a very low rate of speed, about 5 MPH. The road was rough so my air ride was at it max lift. As I was proceeding down a steep hill I heard a snap and felt my steering wheel pull to the left. I stopped the car for further inspection only to discover that my left front hub assembly separated from the upper control arm. Needless to say the car was inoperable due to a loss of steering. Thank goodness I was not traveling at a high rate of speed. This could of been a tragic accident causing injury or even death.
    I contacted Tesla and they towed the car to a service center. They just informed that this is not covered under warranty, stating that the cause was due to normal wear and tear. I have owned many cars in my life and have never experienced such a failure. My car has been driven 73000 miles.

    Has anyone experienced this failure on their car?
    :(
     
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  2. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    I've never heard of a control-arm-related failure being termed "normal wear and tear" before. That whole assembly is supposed to be designed to be insanely robust. To my mind, the failure options are: 1) abuse, and 2) defect.

    It might be that they really decided it was abuse and didn't want to cause a scene about it since that implies fault, but "normal wear and tear" sounds silly to me.
     
  3. zambono

    zambono Member

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    Air suspension systems cause issues on all automakers. The control arm isn't the air system per say but the failure might be related.
     
  4. santana338

    santana338 Member

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    I would escalate this up the Tesla management chain. It sounds absurd. I had the upper control arm assemblies replaced in November as part of my annual maintenance when the technician working on the car noticed they were worn. It was all covered under my annual maintenance fee.

    If you have the option of talking to another service center you might try that (since you probably can't just take the car back and drive it to another SC). Hopefully this will work out for you. The early cars like yours and mine had parts that were not quite up to standard.

    Keep a positive outlook and don't take "no" for an answer.
     
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  5. Camera-Cruiser

    Camera-Cruiser Fully Charged

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    I have to agree with all the posts above. It's absurd. You have to speak with someone else about this.

    Now I am freaked out a bit. Am I to expect my wheels to become separated from their respective control arms while driving through Topanga Canyon and flying off the road? I have been driving for 35 years and never once thought about something like this happening, and for most of those years I've had four-wheel drive vehicles that have had countless miles of dirt roads at driven at speed. My 98 Land Cruiser is still going strong.

    Sheesh, owning a Tesla, I expect the drive unit failing - maybe, but control arms failing. Uh, no.
     
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  6. rypalmer

    rypalmer Member

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    Pictures?
     
  7. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    Pictures or it didn't happen! :)
     
  8. gpcordaro

    gpcordaro Member

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    here they are.
     

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  9. travwill

    travwill Member

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    Seems like we are seeing so many post where Tesla has interior/part rust issues lately - just an observation. Not sure if it i mainly where some people live, closer to coast/ocean environment, but either way seems like a trend as the 2013+ model age. Seems to early to be seeing anything like that yet though for any make/model
     
  10. gpcordaro

    gpcordaro Member

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    My car had many issues, but I figured I was an early adaptor and that came with the territory. I has a battery replaced, a rear drive unit replaced and now this issue. I still love my car, but just have to wonder if this is the car for the extreme weather conditions of western Pennsylvania.
     
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  11. gpcordaro

    gpcordaro Member

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    If abuse is driving
    If abuse is driving down a rough road at 5MPH, I am guilty.
     
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  12. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Active Member

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    If it's truly a "wear and tear" item, I wonder what the replacement/maintenance schedule is for control arms? :rolleyes:

    I had an argument like that once with a dealer service center about a stripped oil pan. They tried to tell me the oil pan was a wear and tear item for a car with less than 100k miles. (They were the only ones who had ever touched that drain plug, so they couldn't get out of it with the usual argument that the "other guy must have done it")
     
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  13. gpcordaro

    gpcordaro Member

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    If abuse is driving
    If abuse is driving down a rough road at 5MPH, I am guilty, but I
     
  14. Edmond

    Edmond Permanon

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    Well the upper A ball joint is just worn out.

    And WTH is with that air shock? Are you doing dirt road rally racing?
     
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  15. DFibRL8R

    DFibRL8R Member

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    Was there any warning prior to your major failure? Just curious if there was any unusual clunking or other nose/vibration to warn of imminent failure.
     
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  16. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Active Member

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    #16 Az_Rael, Apr 28, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
    I think I read there was a service bulletin regarding the control arms at some point? I wonder if the OP had that bulletin performed during an annual service visit? If it hadn't been, its possible these were an old design.

    Edit: found a reference: Service Bulletin - Replace 4 Lower Control Arms | Tesla Motors
     
  17. gpcordaro

    gpcordaro Member

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    Thank you for the information. They refer to the lower control arm bolt's , my failure was the upper control arm ball joint.
     

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  18. James Anders

    James Anders Member

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    That's is atypical wear for any car. Looks like that ball joint was soaked in hot salt water for days.

    Something is not right. Either material specs or quality, or electrochemical galvanic corrosion, or something.
     
  19. gpcordaro

    gpcordaro Member

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    Really? When the ball joint failed it damaged the strut. Are you implying abuse? Do you work for Tesla?
     
  20. Edmond

    Edmond Permanon

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    I don't work for Tesla but I have some knowledge of cars. I don't think we have the whole story here.
     
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