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Time to replace upper-control arm ball joints

N54TT

Active Member
Aug 14, 2018
1,068
927
NY
The pic is deceiving. I think it looks like alot cause its just spread all over. If it was enough nobody would be having noise issues, aside from the possible water intrusion causing problems.

I bought 2 arms used with less than 5k miles and bought another new set from Tesla parts at the SC. Yes, I had to wait for them.

Its just a spiral clip, I used a small hook tool to grab the end and spiral it off. Goes back on the same way. Kind of like installing piston rings if you've ever done those.

Technically these are non-serviceable joints that I am attempting to make serviceable by adding a zerk fitting.

IMO, just filling the boot and moving the ball around will help, but does it really get grease all the way to the top and around the ball? Maybe.

These joints are tight, it takes 2 people to get the grease by the ball. One person to move the ball around while the second person is pumping the grease gun. Also the reason I use flush zerts. You have to push down on the zerk to install the grease. These are going into plastic. If you just clamp on a grease gun to the other style zerks and start pumping you'll blow the zerk right out.

That’s why I’m curious to see what the inside looks like of a joint that’s squeaking.

Nice thanks for the info! If the squeak comes back I’ll remove the clip, clean (if needed) and re-grease. And if that doesn’t work I’ll just change the arms myself since you also answered my question whether Tesla parts at SC will sell the control arms lol.
 
My front passenger control arm started squeaking again after being replaced ~2 years ago. I'm out of warranty so was contemplating just greasing it up but made a service appointment anyway. Incredibly pleasantly surprised. They replaced both sides for only the cost of parts and completed the work within a couple hours of me dropping the car off! Final invoice:

1654880270751.png


1654880308140.png
 

N54TT

Active Member
Aug 14, 2018
1,068
927
NY
iCloud
Is this the squeaky sound we’re talking about?

Could be something else….but sounds like it might be the upper control arm ball joint we’re all talking about. Definitely the first place I would look. If under warranty bring it to Tesla. If you’re out of warranty and have basic skills…Jack it up, remove the wheel, remove the pin from the control arm, drop the joint, work the ball joint around, reinstall everything. If it is the ball joint you’ll hear it creak as you start moving the joint around and will hear it disappear as you work the grease around inside the joint.
 
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Reactions: Rmchrger
I was able to make a video of the sound my FUCA was making to share with the service center. My car only made this sound twice for a day each, but I didn't get any push back when I said the car was not making the sound at the present time. They replaced both arms. They do not align the car as part of this service. My Model 3 is a 4/19 build with only 19k miles. I had G version arms.

 
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Reactions: Rmchrger and tm1v2
I had an appointment the last day of my basic 4 year warranty asking for an inspection of the control arms because I thought I heard a little bit of squeaking when reversing depending on how I was turning the steering wheel. I was told that the control arms are covered under warranty but the suspension links were not - I’m assuming that’s because I lowered the car on springs.

So I’m out $205 for the diagnostic fee (seems like that keeps going up eh?), cost of parts, alignment, and labor ($200+ an hour in NorCal); over half my total cost was in labor alone 😢.

So for anyone with a modified suspension, even if the control arms are under warranty, there might be other parts and labor that won’t be included.
 
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Reactions: tm1v2
Weird coincidence. I had an appointment for tomorrow, which I cancelled fearing something like that would happen. Stopped at the SC and asked if UCA would be covered even though I had modified the suspension (Redwood coilovers). He said it is kind of a gray area and would be decided upon inspection.
I’m pretty sure this is my issue. So I purchased the control arm while I was there, will install it myself and hope this fixes the problem. For $100, definitely worth taking a chance. Worst case, I have a refreshed UCA.
 
Seems the quality and honesty of the Tesla service shops vary just like any other shop. I’m 68k they want to charge me $600 for the two control arms not willing to do anything for me and i already paid them $600 for the lower control assembly. I’m going to try and grease it as suggested. It’s just the noise that’s a problem. If not I’ll try the other shop as luckily I have two close. Someone else said it, the primary thing keeping me from another Tesla is the service experience after the warranty expires. You’re just held hostage by what your local service center wants to do to you and they have a captured audience.
 

N54TT

Active Member
Aug 14, 2018
1,068
927
NY
Seems the quality and honesty of the Tesla service shops vary just like any other shop. I’m 68k they want to charge me $600 for the two control arms not willing to do anything for me and i already paid them $600 for the lower control assembly. I’m going to try and grease it as suggested. It’s just the noise that’s a problem. If not I’ll try the other shop as luckily I have two close. Someone else said it, the primary thing keeping me from another Tesla is the service experience after the warranty expires. You’re just held hostage by what your local service center wants to do to you and they have a captured audience.

If you’re out of warranty….until a class action or something like that happens I wouldn’t expect it to be covered. Maybe I’m missing something but isn’t the lower control arm separate from the upper control arm?
I didn’t add grease to mine. I just removed the bolt to free the pivot and rotated it around to redistribute whatever grease was inside. It’s been whisper silent for months and thousands of miles so far. If the squeak ever comes back I’ll do the same but inject some fresh grease.
 

ECTO-1

Member
Supporting Member
Jun 4, 2019
39
43
AZ --> VA --> MD
Trifecta for the win! Upper Control Arm/Lower Lateral Link/Lower Comp Link plus associated hardware replaced on both sides to the tune of $1000 at 64500 miles, June 2019 M3LR.

For the past several months ECTO-1 has had some barely audible squeaks going over speed bumps, nothing related to turning. I didn’t think much of it after reviewing several YouTube videos developing the opinion that it wasn’t serious, and the upper control arm (right side) would need replacing once the noise became continuous. Of course I am well last 50K miles, so why rush to fix.

Fast forward to three weeks ago with no squeaks. Had to make an emergent trip to Chicago (from the Baltimore area) for a family emergency. For 750 miles over two days ECTO-1 was flawless. We hammered down 580 miles the first day, with the final 170 miles the next with no noises coming from anywhere, much less the front end. The third day in Chicago a squeak developed on the right front side during initial turns. By the end of the day, it was continuous and included whenever I hit uneven pavement. This was at 63500 miles. It was like a light switch….

From the hotel room a quick review of more YouTube videos confirmed similar sounds isolated the upper control arm as the faulty part. Several of those Youtube “experts” claimed there would be no additional damage if we continued to drive on it like that. After all, the grease was just displaced or gone from a bad seal or design, right?

My better half and I thought we could hear it coming from the left front as well. So, here we are in Chicago for another week. The mobile app to the rescue to schedule service! Nothing in the Chicago area was available for the remainder of the trip, so I made the appointment at Owings Mills Service Center for my return with a goal to replace both sides (precautionary). Our Tesla was no longer silent, that was the weirdest part. It received strange looks as we drove around Chicago. The bill was going to be about $200 for the two upper control arms and hardware. Break to the appointment today (8/19): 1000 miles later after the squeak fest began (750 of that was driving home from Chicago). Once they got the car on the rack, all three components listed above needed to be replaced on the front right. I had them do the left front as well. The bill jumped to over $800 in parts alone, labor wasn’t bad at $200.

Super happy with the end result of the repair (take note the upper control arm is now on REV J, my old parts were REV B. Obviously back to being quiet, but also has a better feel in turns now, almost more responsive (or tighter?). Checked settings in preferences and was all the same. Maybe the additional parts replaced developed slop/play in them as well due to poor design. Props to Owings Mills for the service. I know they get beat up a lot in the Maryland Tesla forums, but they did me right today, on time with no surprises. There was no loss in efficiency when the parts failed from what I can tell.

ECTO-1 (Low Budget BETA Tester) will be back making videos in no time! Hopefully 10.69 is better than what we have now (10.12.2).
 

Perscitus

Active Member
Jan 29, 2019
1,214
912
New York
My upper control arms were replaced again last week, only 2 years and 12K miles after the first time. Fortunately still under warranty - they claim that the new version should last longer.
Did yoau get the new silver or still the old black FUCAs this time around? Quick visual inspection and if you have the silver parts try and get us some photos and/or part numbers off the invoice.
 

Perscitus

Active Member
Jan 29, 2019
1,214
912
New York
Been using all these resources for years, pre-dating their public free access.

Not sure what the service and parts sites provide vs real-world photos of recently replaced FUCAs, especially if they are the cast iron silver parts. Seeing what they look like vs. a generic CAD/CAM drawing and an slow-to-update parts database.
 

Perscitus

Active Member
Jan 29, 2019
1,214
912
New York
Newest silver cast iron FUCA part numbers are now up on the service/parts sites.These depricate all previous old part numbers up to J/K revisions.

1288321-00-A = LH
1288326-00-A = RH

Also sharing a photo of one (these are different from the silver FUCAs sold across Alibaba/Aliexpress, eBay Motors, Amazon, etc since sometimes in 2019/2020.

draagarm_model_3.png
 

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