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Air Suspension Woes

Discussion in 'Model S' started by CHG-ON, Nov 4, 2014.

  1. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    My new girl is only 35 days old and was flat-bedded tonight to the shop in Sunnyvale, CA because the air suspension went completely haywire.

    I started getting quick error messages on the second day. But they went right away and service saw nothing remotely. Last week, the messages escalated to telling me that the air suspension needed service on my drive home from work last Thursday. I pulled over, and she could not get level. Kept rocking back and forth gently, trying to find level. Nothing dramatic. I powered down, rebooted everything and when I brought her back up, she seemed fine. Drove just fine. I got home and immediately called service. They could see nothing in the logs. The next day I checked with the service supervisor and he could see nothing. She was going in on 11-6 for a few installs and minor fixes, so we agreed that I would wait. Well last night I got an error message saying the car could not raise (and it was in low when she shouldn't have been-45mph). I got home, got out, and she let off this HUGE expanse of air and dropped a couple of inches immediately...driving just fine the whole time moments before, thank goodness. Then I got worried. So I got her taken away on a stretcher. Poor girl!!

    I know that Tesla pushed super hard to get as many cars out before the end of Q3 and I have been worried that they would rush and not pay attention to quality. I certainly hope that isn't the issue. After dropping coin like this, I expect a quality car. Has anybody else seen problem with car delivered at the end of Sept? I have a few minor quality issues that should not exist on a brand new car, nothing major, except for my 4-5K suspension crapping out!

    I know it dumb and she's only a car (but a lovely lady at that), but I am not happy! Though I must say that Tesla service is completely amazing. They have stayed on top of this from day one and actually have expressed sincere concern and have been apologetic. I mean REALLY apologetic. They even called while I was loading her onto the flatbed to make sure that the towing experience was OK. Time will tell on how effective they are at getting this fixed. But so far, from an attention POV, they have been spectacular.

    Thanks!
     
  2. pgiralt

    pgiralt Active Member

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    FWIW, this is the first time I've seen an issue with Air Suspension reported, so you just might be unlucky on this one. Air suspension was one area I went back and forth on when I ordered my car because air suspension systems in general (on any brand of car) have a reputation for being unreliable. I ended up getting it and haven't had issues and this is the first report of a problem I've seen. As you said - their service is amazing and they will take care of you and get you back on the road quickly.
     
  3. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    ^^ This. I have also had air suspension problems with past cars, but so far (knock on wood) my Model S has been fine in this regard. Hope it's just a one-off.
     
  4. MassModel3

    MassModel3 Member

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    The active air suspension is the one thing that worries me on my car. I absolutely love it, but I'm paranoid that a month after my service plan ends, it's going to die. But then again, one forum complaint out of nearly 50,000 cars is pretty good odds.
     
  5. TechPreacher

    TechPreacher Member

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    Ouch! I hope you'll get a good and reliably working air suspension after this hiccup, TDial!
    One thing I have been wondering: I have a few spots on my map where I set the air suspension to "Very high" - my driveway at home which is rather steep, the garage at my office which has brutal ramps and the spot in mid town where I drop off my wife on the way to work because I have to creep up a curb that I think was made by Uruks in Mordor... So far the car is very reliably auto-raising and -lowering at the designated locations but this makes my air suspension go from Standard to Very High at least 6 times a day.
    >>> Is that an "abuse" that I should not put my car through? Or is that intended way of use? <<<
    After driving an offroader for years, I am paranoid about scraping my underbody / front assembly with the low riding "sedan".
     
  6. sitter_k

    sitter_k Member

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    2004 the only year Lexus made an Rx330 with air suspension, I had that car. I had the suspension replaced during warranty after I drove with the 2 rear tires completely jacked up about 10 inches higher then what they should have been. About 100k km later it went again only this time after over inflating the air completely popped like a balloon and ride was rock hard. The quote to fix it at an independent mechanic shop was $6k of course there were no used parts. I said good bye right there and vowed never air suspension ever again which was sad because suspension aside it was still a good car. I don't know if Tesla can get me to change my mind. Is this covered on the 8 year unlimited mile warranty?
     
  7. Stoneymonster

    Stoneymonster Active Member

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    No.
     
  8. breser

    breser AutoPilot Nostradamus

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    No. Only the 4 year/50,000 mile warranty. Only the battery and the drive unit (motor/inverter/reduction gear) is covered by the 8 year/unlimited mile warranty.
     
  9. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe so. The system is constantly adding or deleting air as you drive, so it's not like the compressor isn't running a lot anyway. FWIW, the first couple of times I set my car to "Very High" I got some very ugly creaks, snaps and groans from the system. Doesn't do that any more.
     
  10. apacheguy

    apacheguy Sig 255, VIN 320

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    Actually, what troubles me most about this story is not about the malfunction. Rather, I find it curious that TM was unable to diagnose the issue remotely. If the car is throwing errors visible to the user then these should show up on Tesla's remote diagnostics - period. I am somewhat shocked at the inability of their software to diagnose the issue before it led to failure.
     
  11. TechPreacher

    TechPreacher Member

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    Thanks for the reply! And ouch to the creaks, snaps and groans! ;) I only get these hissing sound from time to time, but they don't sound alarming. Sorry for hijacking the thread!
     
  12. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Probably just "stretching its legs" for the first time. Doesn't do it any more. (It was a little distressing, to be honest).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Good point. I wonder why? A while back I was having UMC problems where the port would just stay white and do nothing when I plugged in. Tesla was able to see how many times I inserted and removed the cable even though nothing happened (that I could see) and no warning messages were thrown.
     
  13. tom66

    tom66 Member

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    FWIW, the air suspension is manufactured by Continental for Tesla. Similar systems are used in other cars, and it's possible it's off the shelf, so perhaps an ordinary mechanic would be able to replace the parts. The power steering system is identical to that of a Jeep's, so there is precedent for Tesla sharing parts with other manufacturers.
     
  14. Blu Zap

    Blu Zap Grinning member

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    I picked up my P85+ on 9/30 also. I use the air suspension many times a day, especially with 6.0. It works great. I can't imagine not having it. Sorry to hear about your problems with it. I think it is an anomaly.
     
  15. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    This is the first forum post I've seen in over a year relating to an air suspension failure. This seems like a very rare occurrence. I wouldn't worry about it once it's fixed. It may just be a simple sensor issue. Tesla will take care of you.
     
  16. iadbound

    iadbound Member

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    I haven't had any issue with the air suspension, but I have certainly seem some quality issues. I wrote [email protected] to make sure they knew about the full list, but I haven't received any response:

    See this link for the worst item: Incredibly Loud Screech/Tone Over the Speakers

    Other issues:

    1. The car has been at the Rockville Service Center for nearly 1/3 (or maybe now 1/4) of the time I have been in possession of the car.
    2. The car was delivered with very poor preparation that required significant paint correction – this issue was handled without complaint by the service center, which I greatly appreciated.
    3. The car was delivered with misaligned trim pieces, which were fixed at pickup.
    4. The car was delivered with a misshaped plastic trim piece in the rear lift housing that caused the rear lift to be out of alignment. The piece was replaced while picking up.
    5. The third day I had the car, it indicated that it needed service. However, it turns out it didn’t need service. Instead, it was malfunctioning just because I had a USB flash drive with music on it inserted in one of the USB slots.
    6. A compressor fan was making an usually loud noise and was replaced.
    7. A windshield wiper was smearing and had to be replaced.
    8. The charge port door is not opening from time-to-time.
    9. I have a creaking sound coming from the back seats.
     
  17. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    It would be covered by the extended warranty.
     
  18. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    @ iadbound, sorry to hear about your problems, but this thread is about air suspension and not a general problems thread. You might want to post over there.
     
  19. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    Update on my girl:

    It turned out to be a bad solenoid which caused the suspension to not be able to tell it's state of height accurately, so it was constantly trying to correct itself. It does seem odd that they could not diagnose the problem remotely. They were able to access the logs. I'm not sure if I got a bit of a story, but it seemed like it took over a day in the shop to review all the logs and get to the problem. Seems to fine now. I definitely can tell that the car adjusts to a new height much more quickly than before. Now it just takes a few seconds to go from standard to very high. Before, I actually had to wait, which was really annoying.

    A note of Tesla customer service: amazing! They even let me chose the towing company I wanted to use and paid for it rather than delivering with their in-house towing. They also stayed in touch with me continually, even to the extent of calling while the car was being loaded up to be taken to the shop to make sure that everything was going OK at 9PM. And everybody i talked to immediately knew who I was and what the issue was. None of that "well, let me look that up" BS.
     
  20. paulkva

    paulkva Member

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    I can add two issues I've had with air suspension. But I'll start by saying it wasn't nearly as bad as TDial's issue and I never had to be towed/flatbedded, and I'm very glad I have the air suspension as it has saved me a number of times from bottoming out.

    First issue was late June / early July, about a week before a 600-mile trip, I noticed creaking sounds when I'd go over bumps, especially at low speeds. No alerts or warnings, and other than the creaks the car seemed to drive just fine. It started getting worse a day or two before the trip, so I called the Rockville service center and asked them to at least tell me if it was safe to drive long-distance. They agreed to take a quick look the next day even though they're normally backed up several weeks. After they took an initial look, they said it would be safe to drive but they wanted to go ahead and repair it before my trip anyway. The only problem: I was scheduled to leave that afternoon! Well, they put me in an Enterprise rental, so I took that home and packed it up for the trip. Rockville finished my car just in time, so I transferred all the luggage over and left the rental with them before heading up to NJ. Amazing service! (The issue ended up being the front control arm on the right side. I don't know more detail than that, but they told me it's a problem they'd only expect to see on much older cars.)

    Second issue was about a month ago, on a short late-evening trip. The suspension was stuck in High for the entire 10-15 minutes (but otherwise the car was driving fine), and there was an alert on the dashboard to call Tesla service. They were closed so I called roadside assistance. They were unable to connect to my car for some reason, so they left a message for Rockville. Then, no alert or any other problem when I got back into my car an hour later to go home, and no other suspension issues since then. Rockville ended up looking at it ~2 weeks ago during my annual service but couldn't find any problems.

    My car wasn't built at the very end of a quarter, and the creaking suspension is by far the most serious issue I've had with it. Generally, the way I see it, no company is perfect -- there will always be flaws with any product or service at some point -- but what distinguishes a great company from a merely good (or bad) one is how they handle things when they do go wrong. By that measure, Tesla gets an A+ from me based on my own experience.
     

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