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Further (beyond the UI) way to adjust the Model S Suspension to make it stiffer?

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by DrTaras, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. DrTaras

    DrTaras R254->R725->S1364-->X769

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    I know the guys who frequented the Roadster Performance Discussion knew a thing or two about DIY tweaking of cars in general and I'm hoping that people here have a similar knowledge base. I know next to nothing! I have a Model S-Performance (with the air suspension) and know that through the user interface you can push a button for suspension to be soft, standard or performance. "Problem" is that on performance, I'd consider the suspension "soft" which, I know, is the intent of Tesla because those who want a car that insulates them from the road far out number those who want to feel it. BUT there are different strokes for different folks so I'll get to my question...
    is there a Tesla-approved or non Tesla-considered (that would not invalidate the warranty) way to adjust the suspension to make it stiffer for the twisties? :confused:
     
  2. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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  3. DrTaras

    DrTaras R254->R725->S1364-->X769

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    #3 DrTaras, Jan 3, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
  4. Zextraterrestrial

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    I think the suspension is rather firm for a 'stock' car. I don't remember the suspension being as stiff on my test drive in June. It probably was similar but they may have dome some suspension tweaks since I think they were still changing the acceleration profile near the time of those test drives. I feel every bump in the S compared to the 'rough' road test of the test drive and the car feels more 'in touch' with everything (but the test drive was sooo long ago).
     
  5. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    I guess it also might depend on the types of cars you're used to. Do you have the 21s Z? Those will send more feedback due to the low profile tires. I guess what I'm more interested in is firmness when cornering or maneuvering.
     
  6. Zextraterrestrial

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    yes, and I like the 21's. My test drive was in the 'exact' same car but I had more passengers than I normally do (which may be the difference I notice)
    I think it feels pretty stiff while cornering (to the pt of TC/ sideways sliding....may be laying off of all that with my ticket though!)
    The only 'good' handling car I've owned was a '73 914 2.0 that had adjustable gas shocks and 205mm wheels. The S kills it!
     
  7. CarlE_P439

    CarlE_P439 Member

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    I have 19" tires and the ride is LESS smooth than my Get Amped test drive with 21" tires. Different suspension???
     
  8. nrcooled

    nrcooled P#8946 VIN 03225

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    #8 nrcooled, Jan 3, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
    I don't have my car yet but I would say the Tesla approved way to do it is take it back in when the handling package is released and upgrade your car.

    Update: I neglected to ask the question "What specific characteristic would you like to change on the car?"

    If you are looking for less body roll then I would say change the swaybars to something that is thicker by about 2-3mm. This will translate to less body roll. Of course you will need to wait for the aftermarket to support Tesla or commision a company like whiteline or cusco to make one for you.

    If you would like a more firm ride then you are fresh out of luck with air suspension. It would require higher air pressure in the air springs to accomplish that which would require a new air compressor and struts.

    If you would like more feedback in the steering maybe you could change out the bushings in the steering rack, lower/upper A-arms, etc. to get more feedback.

    All of these, in my experience, will have a negative effect on the NVH of the car though.
     
  9. DrTaras

    DrTaras R254->R725->S1364-->X769

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    AnOUtsider- Thanx for the link. It sounds like we both are having the same issue whereas the guy who started that thread was having the opposite issue. I do like your post noted below & hope to soon hear from someone who has done it! PS- I already have over 2500 miles on her
    - - - Updated - - -

    1) Agree
    2) 21s (though I know you were asking Z)
    3) Big time agree!

    - - - Updated - - -

    1) Yes - I'll have to wait
    2) Nope
    3) Maybe - Not as important
    Thanx :wink:
     
  10. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    I've driven two different MS and been in a third. Although not as bad as the EClass, I am not a big fan of the MB air suspension for a lack of damping. I would prefer just a bit more compression and rebound to remove some of the float. I will be interested to see which side my car falls on (soft or stiff) in comparison to those that I have been in.
     
  11. gtimbers

    gtimbers Member

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    It is my understanding that the Model S uses Bilstein shocks. It is possible to have them revalved for more damping (up to 20%). I have heard from friends who are into this sort of thing that the shocks can be sent to the Bilstein office in San Diego where they can be reworked. I have no idea how much it costs or how long it takes, but this would be an option for those who want a more controlled ride. The shock valving is far and away the easiest and most effective way to stiffen/loosen the ride assuming the initial spring rate and sway bar settings are respectable. I have screwed with many of my cars over te years by doing this. Of course, there were aftermarket Bilsteins for those cars. The Tesla is so new and such low volume as there won't be after market parts for it, at least for a long time.
     
  12. rick325

    rick325 Member

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    Does anybody know one way or the other whether there will be a "handling package" for the S and if there is, whether it can be retrofit on a car. I got my finalize email today, and now am wondering whether I just want to wait. One thing that I don't like about the S is the damping and floatiness of the suspension, noticeable while cornering or coming up/down hills.
     
  13. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    I'm facing the same concern on finalizing a car and may go with standard suspension. This should be easier to swap out with aftermarket suspension without upsetting the electronics. In addition, I have a good amount of experience with the MB active air suspension. It is not as reliable as something like the BMW passive air and is bloody expensive to replace a corner when it fails. My other option is the 8 year warranty which is probably how I will go on the first car.
     
  14. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    I received this from Tesla today-
    "Hi Bill,
    I have never heard of any customers complaining about wallow associated with the active air suspension, however I understand your concerns.* At this point though, there are no plans to add any type of sport suspension to the Model S.*"

    Please do post if anyone heads down the revalving path. I'm going to see if I can locate a failed MB active air strut. I know there are a lot of them around as they do fail.
     
  15. William3

    William3 Member

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    The "wallow" is terrible on my Model S with active air suspension. Most noticeable during hard acceleration. There, now they've heard of a customer complaining about it. Also, when the car lowers the ride height at freeway speeds the ride gets really bumpy and makes me and my passenger a bit seasick. I've got the 19" wheels and firmware 4.1 if that makes any difference. All the tires are at exactly 45 PSI as Tesla suggests.
     
  16. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Add another customer. I passed someone today, and just the motion of changing lanes quickly had the car rocking. Definitely not a stable-feeling car at speed (especially with the pulling).
     
  17. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    It is not so much that I am complaining but that I prefer more of an Audi RS6 ride then a MB E Class. MB sells a lot of cars with active air suspension (same stuff Tesla is using) and they have a lot of customers that are very happy with the ride quality. There is nothing wrong with it per se, it's just not my preferred ride.
     
  18. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

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    I agree the Model S is a little 'soft' for my liking. Not as go-karty stiff as my GTI. But it is a big heavy sedan, and so I find it acceptable. I don't think there is anything unsafe, or wrong with my car though.

    I do think it picks up cross winds more than most cars. I had some going to work today and I was getting pulled to the right a lot, and the 'soft' suspension was noticeable more than usual. The suspension doesn't really bother me except >70mph. And again just softer than I want, not too soft.
     
  19. rick325

    rick325 Member

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    I learned this from Tesla today, still debating if I want to finalize or wait:

    Tesla Motors is considering a handling package for Model S. However, this has not been finalized or confirmed. Tesla Motors is still working out the details of making this an option and will announce to the general public if we decide to move forward with this design.
     
  20. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    I just picked up my Model S P85. Someone at Tesla made the hair brained decision ( :) ) to put Michelin Pilots on the car and they should GET A RAISE. The car feels fantastic and strikes a perfect balance between stability and comfort. Sure, you hear a lot of tire noise but that is only because there is nothing else to cover it up. Very nice work Tesla.
     

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