Rear Bumper Clips and Alignment

zztops

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#1
Hello,

I’ve recently noticed that in hot weather, the top clips that hold in the tabs on the top center of my rear bumper do not hold very well and come undone. Requiring me to pop them back in almost every time I pop the trunk. I think it is due to thermal expansion and being held on REALLY well and ridged on the side near the tail lights.

I was wondering if anyone has previously had this happen to them, and if so:

1) what was the fix?
2) were you able to save yourself a trip to the SC?
3) do you just temporarily push it back in and live with it, until the hot weather has subsided?

Thank you!
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GDN

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#2
This doesn't look good. Is there any chance you've backed in to something or had someone lightly rear end the car?

This should not pop like this from heat and I've not heard of it or seen it on any other 3, I believe you have more damage. There are tabs on the top part that slide into the slots on the bumper for alignment. Fairly common in auto construction these days.

It might easily be fixed by taking the bumper off and realigning or "reassembling" it, but I think there might be more damage under there.

There is a thread or two here about taking the bumper off if you want to first tackle it yourself. Look at this post and see the instructions included about removing the bumper - https://teslaownersonline.com/threads/automatic-model-3-trunk-open-close.12593/post-230102
 

zztops

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#3
Thanks for the reply! I’m positive I haven’t backed or bumped into anything. And yes I can see where the the tabs slide over the slot on the bumper and in between those 2 tabs there is a hook like construction on the bottom. I’ll set an appointment, before attempting to remove myself
 

zztops

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#4
So I did some digging around and pulled back the trunk weather strip the latch trim to get a better look. Doesn’t seem like any of the pieces are broken. It’s seems like the teeth the bumper spits slide into are just a tad bit low and designed to be a tad bit too shallow. Everything is seated nicely everywhere else with no alignment issues. So thinking I’ll just remove the bumper and try to install the one long bracket that the bumper slides into just a tad higher. Even one mm of adjustment could make a world of difference. Here are some pics.
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zztops

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#6
Sooooo finally got around to having mobile service come by and look at the bumper.

They confirmed that it was unclipping do to thermal expansion, but not for the reason I thought. The tech looked at and in 5 seconds said that it was because my seal was installed incorrectly and was applying pressure on that area already and as the heat flexes the bumper that it pops right out. My seal was tucked behind the bumper instead of the over it and since my bumper was aligned “so well” that it was creating more pressure on where the seal was touching the bumper. He said 99% of cars have this wrong and has lead to all sorts of problems.

Apparently this is how it’s supposed to look:

9BBE7F5B-1516-4CCA-8ACC-E2A7F32A77D7.jpeg
*not my photo. Too lazy to go back out in the heat*

Literally took 5 minutes to fix and they were happy since this 2 man job turned into a 1 man thing with an early lunch haha
 

Magnets!

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#7
Interesting. I think my seal is on incorrectly as well, but it hasn't created any issues with the bumper clips. I seem to recall on another thread that you simply pull the seal up and reseat it with the rubber over the bumper interface...does that sound like what the mobile tech did on yours?
 

zztops

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#8
Interesting. I think my seal is on incorrectly as well, but it hasn't created any issues with the bumper clips. I seem to recall on another thread that you simply pull the seal up and reseat it with the rubber over the bumper interface...does that sound like what the mobile tech did on yours?
That’s exactly what the tech did and the bumper has been seated well ever since.
 

Sandy

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#9
I just checked my seal was not correctly installed as well. From a bumper repaint a year ago. There is actually a flap on each side of the main attachment groove. The outside one covers the bumper to body gap and the inside one covers the seal to inside trim gap. Looks much better now. Thanks!
 

Magnets!

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#10
Just fixed my seal and looks much better. As Sandy mentioned above you can fix the inside of the seal to cover the interior trim piece too.