Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Can model s smart air suspension be swapped for coils?

I’ve been searching for an answer to this question without much luck. I have a 2014 model s with smart air suspension that is now having some repeating issues with the car getting “slammed” or lowered related to the air compressor and air shocks. Instead of sinking more money in to fixing these air suspension issues (and I’m sure there will be more) is it possible to just revert to coils/springs? Is that possible? Seems like it would just be way more reliable.
 
I’ve been searching for an answer to this question without much luck. I have a 2014 model s with smart air suspension that is now having some repeating issues with the car getting “slammed” or lowered related to the air compressor and air shocks. Instead of sinking more money in to fixing these air suspension issues (and I’m sure there will be more) is it possible to just revert to coils/springs? Is that possible? Seems like it would just be way more reliable.
Funny, I would trade my S with coils for one with air suspension without any hesitation.

The airsuspension isn't that complicated, best thing to do is take it to a proper shop that are able to help you or give us a more detailed description of all the issues you have with the airsuspension.
 
That's funny. I would trade my S with coils for one with half-air suspension and half-coils. I like the firmness of coils but need the comfort of air only in certain conditions. I wouldn't split them front and back though. I'd arrange them diagonally with air suspension only on the front passenger side and the driver rear side. This is where my wife and mother-in-law sit respectively and apparently where all of the bumps in the road are.
 
Here are a few more details about the issues I’m having I just posted to another thread. Basically the air suspension has failed twice in 6 weeks. Was repaired the first time with new solenoid and air compressor but failed the same way 6 weeks later. I’m stranded without being able to get in to my driveway the car is so low. Anyways here are the details I posted in the other thread:

2013 model S 60 with tech pkg and air suspension.

I recently had the 12v battery service performed by a mobile tech, on the same visit they replaced the washer fluid nozzles and a tpms sensor. After the service was performed it was a few days later that the air suspension started warning us about a problem and it sounded like the air compressor was running non stop. I immediately noticed a small puddle of dark brown oil/fluid where the car was parked in the garage near the front driver wheel midway. Anyway It rides like crap and is only a few inches off the ground with the tops of the tires tucked way up under the fender, it is sitting at the lowest possible setting and scrapes the driveway and bottoms out hard even at creep so basically it is not drivable. I called Tesla and they said they would get service to call for an appointment but it’s been over a week since. I opened the frunk and removed the tub and liners to get a view of everything and saw no trace of oil or fluid anywhere. I checked under the strut cover area also and found the same. So anyway I am unable to use the car and don’t know how to proceed with diagnosis. I read the fixed air hose for a dollar thread but not sure how to find that leak if that’s what it is. If anyone could offer some help it would be much appreciated.
This exact same thing has happened to me, however I didn’t notice any liquid under the car like you did. Mine also happened after a tech came out to replace the 12 volt battery. The car was slammed at the lowest position and the pump ran constantly until it failed. I took it in to the service center for repairs and they replaced a solenoid and air compressor for ~$1200. Now one month later the exact same thing has happened again. This time I removed the tub to pull the plug on the air compressor so it doesn’t continue running and burn out. I’ve used a tire gauge to measure the psi of air in the compressor holding tank and can’t detect or hear any leak. I hope I don’t have to keep paying ~$1200 a month to have the air system fixed repeatedly. One additional interesting thing is that on both occasions that this happened there was a significant vibration that shook the steering wheel and then the you could hear the pump (or maybe another pump) rev up loudly. It’s crazy how similar the 2 cases I’ve had are. I did have about 6 weeks of no issue driving in between though.

Anyways, can you share what was done to resolve you issue since it sounds like it may be similar to mine?
Also, anyone else experience this? Currently I have to wait 3 weeks until my service center appointment and my car is pretty much un drivable as is. May have to take it to a regular suspension shop. Thanks for any feedback anyone may have. Really bummed…
 
  • Like
Reactions: Slowboogie

Brando

Active Member
Sep 27, 2016
3,049
2,269
Bainbridge Island, WA
Here are a few more details about the issues I’m having I just posted to another thread. Basically the air suspension has failed twice in 6 weeks. Was repaired the first time with new solenoid and air compressor but failed the same way 6 weeks later. I’m stranded without being able to get in to my driveway the car is so low. Anyways here are the details I posted in the other thread:


This exact same thing has happened to me, however I didn’t notice any liquid under the car like you did. Mine also happened after a tech came out to replace the 12 volt battery. The car was slammed at the lowest position and the pump ran constantly until it failed. I took it in to the service center for repairs and they replaced a solenoid and air compressor for ~$1200. Now one month later the exact same thing has happened again. This time I removed the tub to pull the plug on the air compressor so it doesn’t continue running and burn out. I’ve used a tire gauge to measure the psi of air in the compressor holding tank and can’t detect or hear any leak. I hope I don’t have to keep paying ~$1200 a month to have the air system fixed repeatedly. One additional interesting thing is that on both occasions that this happened there was a significant vibration that shook the steering wheel and then the you could hear the pump (or maybe another pump) rev up loudly. It’s crazy how similar the 2 cases I’ve had are. I did have about 6 weeks of no issue driving in between though.

Anyways, can you share what was done to resolve you issue since it sounds like it may be similar to mine?
Also, anyone else experience this? Currently I have to wait 3 weeks until my service center appointment and my car is pretty much un drivable as is. May have to take it to a regular suspension shop. Thanks for any feedback anyone may have. Really bummed…
take it back - such a repair $1200 - it isn't fixed and you already paid.
perhaps something else broke? hole in air bag?
or are you just a troll making s* up?
 
Here are a few more details about the issues I’m having I just posted to another thread. Basically the air suspension has failed twice in 6 weeks. Was repaired the first time with new solenoid and air compressor but failed the same way 6 weeks later. I’m stranded without being able to get in to my driveway the car is so low. Anyways here are the details I posted in the other thread:


This exact same thing has happened to me, however I didn’t notice any liquid under the car like you did. Mine also happened after a tech came out to replace the 12 volt battery. The car was slammed at the lowest position and the pump ran constantly until it failed. I took it in to the service center for repairs and they replaced a solenoid and air compressor for ~$1200. Now one month later the exact same thing has happened again. This time I removed the tub to pull the plug on the air compressor so it doesn’t continue running and burn out. I’ve used a tire gauge to measure the psi of air in the compressor holding tank and can’t detect or hear any leak. I hope I don’t have to keep paying ~$1200 a month to have the air system fixed repeatedly. One additional interesting thing is that on both occasions that this happened there was a significant vibration that shook the steering wheel and then the you could hear the pump (or maybe another pump) rev up loudly. It’s crazy how similar the 2 cases I’ve had are. I did have about 6 weeks of no issue driving in between though.

Anyways, can you share what was done to resolve you issue since it sounds like it may be similar to mine?
Also, anyone else experience this? Currently I have to wait 3 weeks until my service center appointment and my car is pretty much un drivable as is. May have to take it to a regular suspension shop. Thanks for any feedback anyone may have. Really bummed…
Did you ever find the answer to your question? “ swapping from air to coils” and have you continued having issues with the struts if you still have air . TIA
 
Dec 26, 2018
744
657
TX
Funny, I would trade my S with coils for one with air suspension without any hesitation.

The airsuspension isn't that complicated, best thing to do is take it to a proper shop that are able to help you or give us a more detailed description of all the issues you have with the airsuspension.

It isn't complicated at all. It's just four air bags, four ride height sensors, a tank, and a compressor.

But to answer OP's question, yes - you can just replace the air struts with a coil-over-spring strut. You could also buy OEM coil struts and install those. It's a direct replacement.

The main reason you don't want to do that, though, is that you'll get some unfriendly messages on your dashboard about air suspension system failure, and you can't easily get rid of that.

OP, I read your message about your failure - a few clarifying questions:

1) All four corners of the car drop to the ground overnight?
2) When the car drops down to the ground, there's still ~150 psi in the reserve tank? Or is that empty too?
 
Last edited:
It isn't complicated at all. It's just four air bags, four ride height sensors, a tank, and a compressor.

But to answer OP's question, yes - you can just replace the air struts with a coil-over-spring strut. You could also buy OEM coil struts and install those. It's a direct replacement.

The main reason you don't want to do that, though, is that you'll get some unfriendly messages on your dashboard about air suspension system failure, and you can't easily get rid of that.

OP, I read your message about your failure - a few clarifying questions:

1) All four corners of the car drop to the ground overnight?
2) When the car drops down to the ground, there's still ~150 psi in the reserve tank? Or is that empty too?
How are these cars having issues so early? My 2017 model S 75d with 20k miles has a leaking LR strut , which I’m paying 1200$ to fix at tesla! This is some bull honestly! Might be selling soon!!
 
Dec 26, 2018
744
657
TX
How are these cars having issues so early? My 2017 model S 75d with 20k miles has a leaking LR strut , which I’m paying 1200$ to fix at tesla! This is some bull honestly! Might be selling soon!!
If you havent taken it in yet, don’t. Used or NOS struts are like $250 on eBay, and it takes about 30 minutes and basic tools to swap them out. Save your money!
 
Dec 26, 2018
744
657
TX
Can you share a link for those struts? If you don’t mind ? Car is already there but I’ll have them bring that mf back lol

Left and Right rear struts are identical:


And attached is the page from the service manual on how to do it.

Here's a video so you can get some more visuals, but watch it in full first......the guy made a few mistakes that he corrects, and you don't want to follow it by the second or you'll follow his mistakes.


Question though....isn't your car under warranty?? Why are you paying?
 

Attachments

  • Air Spring Module - Rear - LH (Remove and Replace).pdf
    541.5 KB · Views: 5
Last edited:
Left and Right rear struts are identical:


And attached is the page from the service manual on how to do it.

Here's a video so you can get some more visuals, but watch it in full first......the guy made a few mistakes that he corrects, and you don't want to follow it by the second or you'll follow his mistakes.


Question though....isn't your car under warranty?? Why are you paying?
Thanks man, and the 4year 50k miles has expired! I hit 4 years In September. Unless I’m covered under the powertrain?
 
Left and Right rear struts are identical:


And attached is the page from the service manual on how to do it.

Here's a video so you can get some more visuals, but watch it in full first......the guy made a few mistakes that he corrects, and you don't want to follow it by the second or you'll follow his mistakes.


Question though....isn't your car under warranty?? Why are you paying?
On the airline part of the installation, do I just push the line in into the fitting ? 🤔
 
Dec 26, 2018
744
657
TX
Thanks man, and the 4year 50k miles has expired! I hit 4 years In September. Unless I’m covered under the powertrain?

Dang. No, it's not powertrain.

On the airline part of the installation, do I just push the line in into the fitting ? 🤔

Airline is a pipe thread fitting, it just unscrews with a 10mm box end wrench. To depressurize the strut, just crack the line, slowly back it out until you hear a hiss, then keep going after the hiss stops. When you take the car out of jack mode, it will re-pressurize it back to normal.

Before you dive into this, are you sure it's the strut that's leaking and not the air supply line?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Slowboogie
Dang. No, it's not powertrain.



Airline is a pipe thread fitting, it just unscrews with a 10mm box end wrench. To depressurize the strut, just crack the line, slowly back it out until you hear a hiss, then keep going after the hiss stops. When you take the car out of jack mode, it will re-pressurize it back to normal.

Before you dive into this, are you sure it's the strut that's leaking and not the air supply line?
Ok thank you and Tesla SC says it’s leaking from the top of the strut on the rubber piece.
 

tm1v2

Member
Oct 18, 2021
569
400
USA
How are these cars having issues so early? My 2017 model S 75d with 20k miles has a leaking LR strut , which I’m paying 1200$ to fix at tesla! This is some bull honestly! Might be selling soon!!
128k+ miles on my original air suspension, no problems yet besides a shop knocked a hose loose once. When I bought the car I expected the air suspension to die well before 100k miles and be one of the first big repairs. Turns out for my car I had that backwards, pretty much everything but the air suspension has needed replacement. :)

@Orbis05 Have you driven a coil spring Model S? I test drove coil spring and air spring models back-to-back before I bought my S, 2012-2013 models, and honestly the coil suspension felt like an economy car. Ride quality and handling were both worse than the air suspension. Even the sound of the car rolling down the road at low speeds was louder and more annoying. The coil springs weren't intolerable by any means but they air suspension really made the car feel like a premium product to some extent, which was totally missing with the coil springs. Also with coil springs I would scrape that long front overhang of an S every day on my driveway, not an issue with the air springs on Very High.

Coil spring suspensions don't have to be bad, some cars have sublime ride/handling balance without air springs or active damping. Maybe the aftermarket has better options for the S. Or maybe Tesla improved the S coil setup later before they abandoned it...but I kind of doubt it, their latest coil spring efforts feel like junk too (the 3 and especially the Y). The only good OE Tesla suspensions I've experienced all used air springs. I would get the air setup repaired.

I realize this thread is slightly old and got bumped recently. I'd be interested to know how this turned out for you!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Slowboogie

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top