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Ground Clearance Concern

Beasts

Member
Sep 20, 2021
69
51
NW Ohio
We will soon, and finally, be taking delivery of our 2021 Model S LR and I have a concern about the last 5 miles of our drive home. We live out in the country and while our road is well paved we have to drop the passenger side wheels off of the pavement in order to allow oncoming traffic to pass. Since the shoulder is gravel it is frequently not up to the height of the road surface and I have noticed drops of at least 4 inches. The speed limit is 55 and that hasn't concerned me in the past but with the S dropping to 4 inches of clearance at speeds above 30 mph I don't know how to make sure the underside of the car isn't damaged. I can find no way to keep the height at it's maximum for that distance in the Owner's Manual. At 200 feet the car automatically drops down to minimum height as I understand it. I have already spoken to at least 6 employees of Tesla and received no help.
Thanks for any suggestions,
Beasts
 

DerbyDave

Active Member
Jul 2, 2020
1,747
1,007
Kentucky
Unless there is a change in 2021, in 2020, you can set the suspension to manual and set it to high and the car will remain high until the speed exceeds 45MPH. If you set it to very high, it will remain there until you exceed 35MPH. It will lower to standard setting when the speed is exceeded. I believe the experts you reference were referring to GPS location based suspension settings. This will activate and revert when entering and/or leaving the location (about 200 feet). This is in the my owner's manual on page 146 of my manual. Nowhere does it say it changes the setting after 200 feet. Look up air suspension settings (p. 146), not Auto-Raising Suspension (p.147).
 

hotsoup

Is that my bestie in a tessie??
Jul 28, 2021
144
247
Seattle
In the 21 Manual the page # is different and the top speed for the high suspension is 35 mph. It would be nice to be able to travel closer to the 55 mph limit posted for those 5 miles. Once I have the car and can work with the computer hopefully I will find another option.
Thanks,
Beasts
Yeah, I think Derby's speed limit numbers are incorrect. High is 35 I believe, and Very High is 15. I could be wrong too, just going off of memory as I don't have my car handy at the moment.
 

DerbyDave

Active Member
Jul 2, 2020
1,747
1,007
Kentucky
Yeah, I think Derby's speed limit numbers are incorrect. High is 35 I believe, and Very High is 15. I could be wrong too, just going off of memory as I don't have my car handy at the moment.
My numbers are from the 2020 Manual. 2021 may be different.

" Choose from the following options to
manually change the ride height.
• VERY HIGH. When set to Very High, the
suspension automatically lowers to High
when driving speed reaches 35 mph
(56 km/h).
• HIGH. When set to High, the suspension
automatically lowers to Standard or Low
(based on the Suspension Lowering
setting described below) when driving
speed reaches 45 mph (73 km/h).
• STANDARD. The Standard setting ensures
optimum comfort and handling under all
loading conditions."
 
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Reactions: hotsoup

hotsoup

Is that my bestie in a tessie??
Jul 28, 2021
144
247
Seattle
My numbers are from the 2020 Manual. 2021 may be different.

" Choose from the following options to
manually change the ride height.
• VERY HIGH. When set to Very High, the
suspension automatically lowers to High
when driving speed reaches 35 mph
(56 km/h).
• HIGH. When set to High, the suspension
automatically lowers to Standard or Low
(based on the Suspension Lowering
setting described below) when driving
speed reaches 45 mph (73 km/h).
• STANDARD. The Standard setting ensures
optimum comfort and handling under all
loading conditions."
Ah - I keep thinking this is a 2021 MS forum. My bad on that!
 

Doanster1

Active Member
Feb 14, 2018
1,111
595
Oregon
Dropping the wheels off the side of a paved road onto gravel at 55mph would concern me regardless of the height issue. I’d be more worried about the car getting squirrelly.
Outside of that though, there’s no way to override the speed limit settings where it lowers back down. Bothers me in the winter on the off days we have major snow. The ruts get so deep/center snow gets so high that the battery would be a big scraper so I’d like to ride in high all time, but alas, it drops down at 35mph.
 

Beasts

Member
Sep 20, 2021
69
51
NW Ohio
It seems like a software change to allow higher clearances over longer distances would make good sense in circumstances such as those described above. I don't see how such a change would cause a significant safety concern as there are many vehicles out there with higher ground clearances as well as higher centers of gravity. My impression is that the lower clearance is primarily to improve the drag coefficient while also offering slight improvements in other performance parameters such as center of gravity. Avoiding damage from ice, snow, bad roads, narrow roads etc. should merit some consideration due to the possibility of easily avoidable damage. Worth thinking about anyway. It would be nice to hear from Tesla's engineers about the pros and cons.
Beasts
 

DerbyDave

Active Member
Jul 2, 2020
1,747
1,007
Kentucky
I believe the car is not designed for the increased stress from a higher driving positions and off road excursions. I have already seen on this board many suspension failures, and even a couple of times where the aluminum structural tabs formed on the massive aluminum frames have broken off where the suspension attaches, probably totaling the car. I think the structural members are of a very lightweight design to improve the economy and efficiency, and just are too lightweight to handle the added stresses. The penalty for adding the heft needed to the reinforce the structure much more for much "off road style" driving is just too prohibitive. Just my opinion.
 

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