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10-Way Adjustable Bilstein Suspension Failure

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by GeorgeK, Oct 3, 2015.

  1. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Member

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    Hi all,

    I own an early 2.5 Roadster Sport with just under 10k miles. Recently, I noticed a 'knocking' noise from the front passenger-side wheel whenever that wheel encountered the slightest bump or inconsistency in the road. The noise was faint at first, but quickly worsened after only a few miles of normal driving. I checked lug nuts first, then tried braking to rule out a loose brake pad, and steering to rule out a loose linkage. Was not able to reproduce the noise except when rolling over bumps. Took a video: Dropbox - 10-way suspension noise.MOV

    Didn't want to continue driving like this so went to Tesla, and they isolated the issue to the shock absorber on that wheel, and said that it needs to be replaced. Apparently shock absorbers are not covered by an Extended Service Agreement, because they're considered wear items that need to be replaced periodically. But <10k miles seems premature for something like this to happen...

    Has anyone with the 10-way Bilstein asjustable suspension on a Sport or as a retrofit had similar issues? If so, how was your individual case handled?
     
  2. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    Sorry I just have the standard shocks which still seem good after 34,000 miles.
     
  3. MikeInFL

    MikeInFL Member

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    10k miles is a complete unacceptable time for these to fail. Unless you're going off road or a heavy driver on a track (both seem unlikely since the car only has 10k miles)
     
  4. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #4 wiztecy, Oct 3, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
    Failure at 10k due to Bilstein's faulty install of a shock seal is unacceptable to me. What happened is the shock lost its charge due to a breach in the seal, so there's nothing there to dampen the energy and the suspension is pulling the shock to is limit and clanking it. Either the seal didn't installed correctly, it dried out prematurely, or debris got into the shock and wore away at the seal. But nomatter what, a well engineered shock should be able to handle those conditions. I've installed many shocks that were not the price of your Bilsteins that outlived them by many many miles. Personally I'm not a fan of any Bilstein shock.

    Thing is these shocks should't need to be replaced, they should be totally rebuildable. They're race shocks made to endure abuse and to be rebuilt when they run out of tolerance or have a worn out seal from extreme use. Race shocks typically are rebuildable.

    I'd keep pushing Tesla if you feel it is indeed a defect. But it shouldn't cost much to have it rebuilt, but if you do one you might want to do them all so they're all up to par. Just investigate the cost at least. Only downside is that your Roadster will be down for some time.
     
  5. rdstr

    rdstr Member

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    Last time I talked to someone about Bilsteins I was left with the impression you can send it in to Bilstein and they will rebuild for a nominal fee... I think I heard somewhere around $50/ shock (seems low tho). Let us know how you do with the rebuild, I'd like to know..
    good luck.
    rdstr 521
     
  6. 7racer

    7racer Member

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    There are a couple places in Dallas that will rebuild coil overs. I would search to see if Bilstein had a local dealer and go from there.
     
  7. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Member

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    Nope...car hasn't seen off-road or track use (and I'm a light-weight). Really normal driving, and I'm careful to avoid bumps/potholes. I agree this seems unusual...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks wiz and rdstr for the rebuild advice, and insight as to what might be going in internally. Unless there's some issue with the core components of the shock hopefully they should be rebuidable. Question is...what caused the failure in the first place and is it something that can be solved with a rebuild?

    7racer...I'll check into rebuild shops for these shocks and share if I find anything. I assume at some point all owners with Bilsteins will be in this situation...just hopefully not at 10k miles.
     
  8. 7racer

    7racer Member

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    I race cars and coilovers sometimes need re-vavled or tested to make sure they meet the settings that were intended. There are a couple shops here in Dallas that can do them for any car.
    Just hunt around, there should be something.

    Biggest problem with this kind of service is the down time for the car while they do the repair.
     
  9. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Member

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    Yeah...the downtime is the biggest antagonist to trying to handle this myself. Tesla has the parts in stock but we are talking about $1300 per shock plus labor. And I'd probably want to replace the fronts as a pair, and there's no guarantee the same thing won't happen to the rears. Hopefully this is an isolated issue but now I'm worried about the whole system.
     
  10. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    Bite the bullet and rebuild all four of them.
     
  11. MLAUTO

    MLAUTO Member

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    One of mine does the same with only 1500 miles. It is not the loss of pressure or fluid, but something loose internally. You can buy a whole set of four used lotus (track pack) ones for around $1000 and just swap the springs. Then you will have some spares for next time.
     
  12. TOBASH

    TOBASH Member

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    Agree whole heartedly.

    I suggest that you not only get them rebuilt, but you use a local center that can then properly set up your car and tune the suspension once you re-install.

    The car will be balanced and ready for many more miles.

    Please let us know who you use.

    Best of luck.

    T
     
  13. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #13 wiztecy, Oct 4, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2015
    Rob Dietsch at Dietsch Werks can do or set you up with a rebuilder. He also can do the labor if you don't want to do it yourself. Only thing is, which I just found out from looking online, is that he moved from San Jose up to Vacaville :(

    Dietsch Werks - 33 Photos - Auto Repair - 1051 Aldridge Rd - Vacaville, CA - Reviews - Menu - Yelp

    Bay Area

    I'll have to contact him to see if he still has a presence locally, but it appears not.

    Another idea for shock rebuilders, this one is up in Sonoma, CA:

    Performance Shock, Inc

    Pricing of a rebuild roughly speaking should be around $120 / shock.

    Also contact Bilstein to see if they have a lifetime warranty. I know some have mentioned some of their shocks do.

    Warranty
     
  14. Andrew Wolfe

    Andrew Wolfe Roadster 472 - S 440

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    He moved - but he will come down and get your car and bring it back. Takes a couple of days though.
     
  15. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Member

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    Thanks everyone for the suggestions & advice. I'll explore my options and update. If anyone else has datapoints on these particular shocks and their lifespan I'd be interested.
     
  16. Mark77a

    Mark77a Member

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    As a data point, / info, my car developed an annoying (rather than worrying) rattle over small ridges in the road, between 9 & 12,000.
    I thought it was undershield or bodywork or something rattling against the chassis.
    I isolated, fixed, used foam rubber to cover every bit of potentially rattling, rubbing bodywork, loose pipes, wire etc. ... at the front, under the bonnet(hood), behind the dash, footwell etc.

    But the annoying rattle remained :cursing: .. I tried other's roadsters and whilst they had other noises :) and thumps from rear, none had the same front metallic rattle !
    So I reported it at next service, and Tesla Diagnosed the rattle as the front shocks (on 10 way adjust sports suspension).

    I have a UK ESA , which doesn't mention shocks as excluded items.
    Tesla (west Drayton, London) were brilliant and ordered 2 new parts, complete, shox, springs etc
    FWIW part numbers:
    Left: Assy-Spring & Damper Front LH,Adj (6003361)
    Right: Assy-Spring & Damper Front,Adj RH (6002775)

    The only snag is they took ages to come - like 2-3 months (or 4000 rattley miles) ...
    Shox.JPG

    The new shocks/ springs are awsome, very Slightly better damping, now set to favoured Rear 7 front 5, (rear anti rollbar middle hole, front outer hole) .. to minimise understeer.
    Mainly tho, I now have an almost silent front end ! - all the other rattle isolation must have paid off too :)
    The rears are different construction - they dont have remote 'Gas cylinders'. They dont rattle and Tesla say they are OK. I only wish the rear Thumped less over pot holes .. but all Roadsters I've tried do that.
     
  17. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Member

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    Matt, thanks for all of the details! Glad to hear you've finally got a silent front end. Based on what you're saying...was the issue somehow related to the remote gas cylinders of the front shocks? I'd be interested in narrowing down the cause of failure (assuming it's the same as mine) in event that I end up rebuilding my current front shocks.
     
  18. Mark77a

    Mark77a Member

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    Hi George, I dont know is the short answer.
    I it didn't have an ESA warrantee, i'd definitely have bilstein /fix rebuild the shox - the noise came from INSIDE the shock - guessing I'd say a valve, in the main body, not the remote cylinder, at one stage I suspected the mounting bolts, but no - it was something inside the shox.
     
  19. n2mb_racing

    n2mb_racing Member

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    I just had the same thing happen on my 2010 Roadster. Were you able to get the shock rebuilt by Bilstein?
     
  20. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Member

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    I didn't thoroughly pursue a rebuild with Bilstein as I would have had to remove my front struts and have my car up on blocks for some period of time. I eventually went in for service and had Tesla replace the front struts at my expense.

    How many miles are you at when symptoms occurred?
     

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