Thank you for ordering our front lower control arm sealed spherical bearings for the Tesla Model 3! There was a lot of effort into the design of this part, and installation is straight forward but there are specific steps that must be followed to avoid any issues. Please read these notes carefully and make sure your installation shop sees them. Here are the main 3 things to pay attention to:
1) The side of the bearing you press the bearing into the arm
MATTERS as one side of the bearing is very thin.
2)The bearing should not be centered in the arm. The thick aluminum side will be FLUSH with the arm, and the other side will have a gap.
3) Do NOT insert the dowel pins if they are too tight – you might have a very bad day. More about that below.
Time Required: 1.5 hours
Tools Required: Press, Press Tools (suitable or the ones provided with the kit), Metric Socket Set, Metric Wrench Set, Jack
Difficulty Level: 6/10
Step 1 – Jack Up Car + Remove Undertray
Jack the car up and put it on stands (or put it on a hoist), take the wheels off, and remove the under-tray ahead of the battery (all 10mm bolt heads, two 15mm nuts)
Step 2 – Remove Front Lower Control Arm
- Using masking tape or a sharpie, mark the REAR side of each lower control arm. You’ll need this for pressing below.
- Remove sway bar endlink from damper
- Remove inboard 2 bolts holding front lower control arm to the subframe
- Remove damper bolt in lower control arm
- Remove outboard front lower control arm nut
NOTE: Be sure not to lose the conical seat on the front lower control arm balljoint. Re-install the nut with the cone in place to prevent it from growing legs and running away.
Step 3 – Check Dowel & Bearing Pin Fitment
Our front lower control arm bearing kit is supplied with a dowel that helps prevent the common issue of the OEM bolts backing out in two different ways. Firstly, it locates the arm on dowels to relieve sliding stress from the bolted parts. Secondly, it works as a stiffening member and will compress along with the subframe which adds stiffness and prevents the bolts from losing tension due to subframe flex.
These dowels are a great feature, but keep in mind we are trying to add precision to a fairly loosely manufactured part of the car. For that reason, fitment needs to be checked. It is possible the dowels may not be able to be used or would need to be modified – read the paragraphs below carefully.
We expect that all Model 3’s are not built equal, and it is possible the dowel pins we supply are too tight of a fit to insert into the subframe. This needs to be checked because if a dowel gets stuck inside the chassis it is very difficult to remove.
To compound that issue, we have seen that in some cars Telsa didn’t do a good job of welding the nut to the subframe and it is off-center. This means that it is possible you could install the dowel and then not be able to insert the bolt, because the tighter fit of the bolt in the dowel doesn’t allow it to move over to line up with the nut. If the dowel is stuck at this point you’re going to be very upset. This is why the dowel pin must be able to slide in and out easily.
If the dowel pin is too tight, you can sand the outside of the dowel pin down to get it small enough where it slides in and out. The dowel pins are also not required. However if you are not using them you will absolutely want to use Loctite on the bolts.
Once you have verified if the dowel pins slide in nicely, the next step is to hold the bearing assembly in place (with the dowels installed) and ensure the OEM bolts will grab the nuts.
Tighten the bolts and ensure that the bearing fits and there is no rubbing. The only potential issue here would be welding slag or some serious subframe misalignment.
Please report to us if any dowel pins are too tight (or too loose). As of writing all of the vehicles we have tested do fit, and the part the pin slides into appears to be a machined part – so we are hoping this is a non-issue. But we wanted to give everyone a heads-up as we could see it being a possibility.
Step 4 – Pressing Time
Now that you know everything fits, its time to remove the OEM bushing and press in the MPP bearing. Please read these steps carefully.
- Using our supplied press tools or your own, press out the OEM bushings.
- Note the orientation of the bearing for pressing in the pictures below.
- The thick end of the anodized shell is the end that should be against the arm.
- The thin side of the anodized shell is what should be against the press tool (the press tool will actually be pressing on the bearings’s steel step and not the aluminum shell)
- Press the new bearing into the lower control arm with the bearing being pressed into the rear of the lower control arm.
- Press the bearing until the thick aluminum housing is flush with the front lower control arm bushing.
- This centers the bearing with respect to the arm.
Step 5 – Installation Time
Installation from this point is very easy and is the reverse order of removal.
- When installing the inboard bolts, be sure to start both bolts and spin them up evenly to prevent binding
- Ensure the bearing engages the dowels properly
- Obviously the grooves in the pin need to be facing up so that the dowels can seat in them.
- Use blue Loctite and torque the in-board bolts to 95-100 lb-ft. This is higher than Tesla’s specification but helps to prevent the bolts from backing out. If you’re scared or inexperienced stop at 95!
- Install and torque outer balljoint nut to 132.7 lb-ft
- Jack the front knuckle up with a second jack and torque the damper to 78ft-lb at close to ride height to prevent twisting of the damper bushing.
- For dedicated track applications, drilling and safety wiring these bolts is a good idea.
Enjoy! This is one of our favorite products because it has so many different technical aspects, and the improvement on the front turning response and front steering feel at the limit is incredible.
Please let us know how your installation was so that we can tweak the product if required to make it suitable for all applications.