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Upper Control Arm Sealing DIY?

zannman

Member
May 15, 2019
143
116
Ohio
Just wondering if anyone has done this sealing of the control arm ball joint area DIY.

From the pictures I've seen it's just applying a sealant around the metal seam between the wishbone and ball joint part of the upper control arm, although I'd probably slather some on the center of the ball joint mount as well - where a zerk might have been put on other cars.

I've also seen the recommendation to release the control arm and exercise the ball joint to spread the grease around. I may do that concurrently.

Just trying to do some pre-emptive planning on my car that will likely be going out of warranty on mileage this month. I've had one upper control arm replacement - Rev G to H - but the passenger side is hanging in there at the moment.
 

Skione65

Active Member
May 5, 2016
1,583
819
Kentucky
Just wondering if anyone has done this sealing of the control arm ball joint area DIY.

From the pictures I've seen it's just applying a sealant around the metal seam between the wishbone and ball joint part of the upper control arm, although I'd probably slather some on the center of the ball joint mount as well - where a zerk might have been put on other cars.

I've also seen the recommendation to release the control arm and exercise the ball joint to spread the grease around. I may do that concurrently.

Just trying to do some pre-emptive planning on my car that will likely be going out of warranty on mileage this month. I've had one upper control arm replacement - Rev G to H - but the passenger side is hanging in there at the moment.
Model Year? Mileage?

Ski
 

zannman

Member
May 15, 2019
143
116
Ohio
2019 LR AWD Model 3. Drivers side replaced around 32k miles. Passenger still okay at 49k and I'm wondering whether I should actively do something with it.

It's the only maintenance that has had to be done on this car, other than a routine tire replacement at 26k.
 
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RSpanner

Member
Sep 3, 2021
112
97
Oregon
Just wondering if anyone has done this sealing of the control arm ball joint area DIY.

From the pictures I've seen it's just applying a sealant around the metal seam between the wishbone and ball joint part of the upper control arm, although I'd probably slather some on the center of the ball joint mount as well - where a zerk might have been put on other cars.

I've also seen the recommendation to release the control arm and exercise the ball joint to spread the grease around. I may do that concurrently.

Just trying to do some pre-emptive planning on my car that will likely be going out of warranty on mileage this month. I've had one upper control arm replacement - Rev G to H - but the passenger side is hanging in there at the moment.
Also my question...I have read that Tesla started sealing that joint at the Factory...if so, it was not done on our car which was delivered Sept.4 2021. I could do it myself if it is just around the metal between the rubber (upper and lower )
 

Gauss Guzzler

Safety Score = 7
Dec 27, 2020
669
858
Thousand Oaks, California
Tesla mobile recently did the sealing service on my '21 and here's what it looks like. The tech put on a rubber glove and squeezed some thick pasty "urethane sealant" onto his finger then reached up into the wheelwell to smear it on. He didn't lift the car or even turn the wheel for access, just reached blindly right in there (maybe that's why Tesla left such a large fender gap?). Of course it's easily accessible from the frunk as well if you take out the liner.

I don't know if water intrusion at this joint is related to the ball joint noise issue or if this service is just to prevent corrosion at that edge leading to structural failure.

Annotation 2021-10-28 152952.png


And for reference here's a closer view of that seam without the sealant. Pic is from an earlier car (not mine) but joint looks the same:
Annotation 2021-10-28 153948.png
 

Dysan911

Member
Jul 7, 2021
45
9
Callahan, FL
I"m really trying to wrap my brain around how smearing anything to the external rubber boot helps fix a squeak. I assumed they would maybe inject some extra grease with a syringe or something but I guess not.
 

Gauss Guzzler

Safety Score = 7
Dec 27, 2020
669
858
Thousand Oaks, California
No one is smearing anything on a rubber boot. Tesla's service involves sealing the steel/steel seam shown above. Maybe water can wick into the ball socket from there? Or maybe the arm tends to corrode at that joint and they're concerned about it breaking.

Noise fixes typically involve wiggling the ball around to redistribute grease and/or injecting more grease.
 
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AI1337Tech

Member
Aug 11, 2019
38
21
Texas
This greasing of the internal ball itself is extremely DIY in most cases when squeaking. There is a metal coil holding the rubber boot closed and to the housing. Get a hook tool to uncoil and drop the spring a bit, get a good syringe and inject a bunch of grease in there. DO NOT USE WD-40. Sometimes just jacking the car to get the wheels into full range mitigates this squeak for a bit.

If you have to actually have to unscrew the clinch pin, you can work the ball in a rolling circular motion and re screw to the ink mark (don't grease the screw, not sure of torque settings, but re-aligning will usually be tight enough to match the mark point.)

The irritating part is that Tesla SC's are wasting $400 in uber credits, 3 days holding a car on the lot (instead of owners garages) to smear some gloop sealant that takes seconds. They are getting better, but this is stupid levels of inefficiency and time wasted. This should be a drive-up-and-leave event. Toyota used to do the same crap when I was in Prius land.
 
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