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Air vs Springs Suspension

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Hezi, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. Hezi

    Hezi Member

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    I read a bunch of posts about the topic, and frankly, I'm confused.
    I am getting delivery of my 85KW in 5 weeks. If I can change the way I spec my car, it would be by a small margin. This doubt about the right choice about suspensions is creeping and I need an opinion from owners in my neck of the wood. I live in Northern NJ and travel to Brooklyn a minimum of 4 times a week. The commute at some parts if like driving off road. If you drove around NYC, you know how the roads are.

    I am aware of the complexity and cost of air and the benefits and disadvantages of both. After reading, educating myself, and taking in the advise of the sale rep, I ordered springs. My car is nicely equipped (tech, pano, audio, leather, dual charger), so if this would make a difference, I would have opt to air.

    What do you think? have I made the right choice?
     
  2. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I posted in another thread that when I ordered my car, coil springs were not available and I got the air suspension. I recently had a fully loaded P85 loaner with coil springs, and in some respects I actually preferred the ride. You do sacrifice the ability to control ride height, but I do not think you'll be disappointed with your choice.
     
  3. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Wow, not another coils vs. air thread. It never ends. Moderators, merge?
     
  4. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    Hehe. 31,500 miles on air before an unfortunate accident totalled my S. My P85 comes in October. If it's any consolation, I ordered coils :).
     
  5. linkster

    linkster Member

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    Almost identical situation here.

    Air only available (jan '13) at the time of delivery on P85. Recently received a coil S85 loaner and I immediately enjoyed a superior (IMHO) connected driving experience to the road.
     
  6. jcaspar

    jcaspar Member

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    Got coils. I think it holds the road better than the air but I think it has more road noise. You will love them. I sometimes miss the ability to show off the tech of the air suspension but suspect that thrill would have worn off quickly.
     
  7. karmamule

    karmamule Member

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    I started w/coils but changed my mind a week or so after confirming and they let me change to air. I decided to change because I wanted the adjustability for getting through deep snow and wanted a smoother/quieter ride more than a sporty/connected one.
     
  8. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    If you're getting delivery in 5 weeks you can't change it anyway.
     
  9. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    In my one day observation with a coil-equipped car, I found the coils to be smoother/quieter than my own car with air.
     
  10. tliving

    tliving Member

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    I got coils, mostly because I didn't think i'd really feel the difference (or know) and didn't want the initial upfront expense (less important) or the ongoing maintenance expense (more important). All my prior experiences with active suspension have been ok but maintenance has been a bear. I did get to try air suspension in a loaner but really couldnt tell the difference:
    S60 Loaner Impressions | Tesla Living
    Like others have said this is really personal preference. I will say that you don't need air suspension for height. I've never bottomed out my Model S on coils and i've gone over and down some crazy things in 10K miles.
     
  11. Kbsilver

    Kbsilver Member

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    I have an air rear suspension in our BMW wagon. It's very handy when you load up the car with cargo and it stays level. That to me would be the primary reason to get it. As others have said the difference in ride compared to coils is likely very minor. As far as raising the height for clearing something, most will not remember or bother. With that said I did have to replace the air springs (at 120K miles) on the wagon, although it was pretty easy to DIY and not that expensive.
     
  12. tezco

    tezco Sig P85

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    Based on what I've read, air vs coil isn't a make-or-break thing for anyone.

    I'd like to see a blind test using average drivers to see how many can actually tell which is which.
     
  13. jerry33

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

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    I'll practice my Zen driving :)
     
  14. tezco

    tezco Sig P85

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    Guess we'll have to develop a double blind test, just for you...:biggrin:
     
  15. Blathering1

    Blathering1 Remember

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    FWIW, I use the air every day to get in my driveway. On standard the car scrapes... and that is after I got the driveway 'fixed' with an improved angle of arrival at the roadway.

    Since I am in the habit of using it, I have boosted the height from time-to-time when on roads about to be resurfaced (manholes elevated), dirt roads, severely crowned driveways, and so forth.

    I was driving a borrowed Prius down a tiny, single lane dirt town road in Rhode Island, and it ground into the rocky crown while I reached for the height adjustment that wasn't there.

    Air suspension can be very useful.
     
  16. Vitaman

    Vitaman Member

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    How easy is it to adjust the air suspension?
    How much do you have to think ahead to have it take effect?
     
  17. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    A few things:

    The coil suspension rides a bit higher than the air suspension on normal. Therefore, you typically don't run into ride height issues with the coils unless you're going over something really high.

    It takes a few seconds to raise the suspension, so it's not like it can be done on the fly right as you approach your driveway. You need about 10 seconds of advance notice to get to the suspension screen and raise it. (Possibly something that will not be an issue later on if Tesla introduces geofenced ride heights).
     
  18. jerry33

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

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    It's at most two clicks away (not counting clicking on the suspension height). If you make a habit of keeping the controls in the "driving" position, then it's one click away.

    And yes, it takes about ten seconds.
     
  19. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    I had a loaner and thought "man, the suspension feels stiff" so I went into the screen to see what it was set at. It took me a minute to realize there was no configuration because it didn't have the air suspension.

    I personally much prefer the smoother ride from the air-suspension. I suppose a "feel the road" person might prefer the opposite.
     
  20. jamieb

    jamieb Member

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    As an ophthalmologist who does a lot of clinical research, we prefer the term 'masked' studies. For some reason patients don't like the term 'blinded studies' when it comes to their eyes.
     

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