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Has the ground clearance of the air suspension been reduced?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by djn04, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. djn04

    djn04 Member

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    I was all set to order a Model S but I needed to make sure it would make it down and up my driveway. My current car, which has no problems with the driveway, has a ground clearance of 7.1 inches, and I recall when looking into this last year that the Model S with air suspension had a ground clearance of 7.3 inches, so I thought this would be no problem.

    Wrong. The sales rep I have been working with brought over a 70D with air suspension, set it to very high, but could not get down the driveway without significant scraping to the center of the car.

    Looking at the current specs on the website, the Model S with air suspension has a ground clearance of 4.7-6.4 inches. Did the Model S lose .9 inches of ground clearance at some point? If so was this a result of a hardware change, possibly the titanium underbody shield, or a software change? If it's software, could it be reverted to gain the lost clearance? Did this loss apply to all Model Ss or just newer ones? I thought that if this applied to all Model Ss at some point someone who needed the extra clearance would complain, but I can't find anything about it.

    BTW, I've never stressed over .9 inches this much before.
     
  2. bhzmark

    bhzmark Active Member

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    its not just ground clearance but more geometry with the length of the wheelbase. longer wheelbase like tesla will straddle the high point from farther and thus lower and scrape. fix your driveway.
     
  3. djn04

    djn04 Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion, but I share the driveway with others who probably don't share the same concern about the ground clearance of the Tesla. I live in SF, and while steep, my driveway is far from extraordinary. There are others in my neighborhood that I can't even imagine how someone gets any car in the garage.
     
  4. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    If you are able to enter the driveway at an oblique angle, you can reduce the effect of the slope. But living in SF, you may not have the luxury if it is terribly narrow. I always try to enter at an angle, because I am equally as concerned. So far, I have not had a problem entering the very steep angle at my local grocery store in the mountains, where it seems all the driveways are steep.

    My max clearance is is 6.4".
     
  5. mike-415

    mike-415 Member

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    I also live in the Bay Area and feel your pain. In addition to accessing the drive at an oblique angle if possible, try backing up/down it. It may help. Overhangs and wheelbase matter as much as nominal ground clearance when it comes to scraping.

     
  6. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Can you post the wheelbase of your current car? How does that number compare to the Model S wheelbase?
     
  7. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    This probably isn't a practical suggestion but if you were willing to pay to modify the driveway to fix this would the other people mind?
     
  8. djn04

    djn04 Member

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    My current car is a newer Audi allroad. The wheelbase is listed as 110.4 inches and the ground clearance is 7.1 inches. The Model S has a wheelbase of 116.5 and the ground clearance with the air suspension is either 6.4 or 7.3 inches.

    I tried most makes of sporty sedans, S4, M cars, Ghibli, before I resigned myself to an SUV or crossover. The allroad seemed like the best compromise at the time.
     
  9. 4us2bev

    4us2bev Member

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  10. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    While those are illegal in many places enforcement is hit or miss (my parents had one installed 30 years ago and nobody has complained yet, even though technically it's illegal where they live)
    However in most places you can also pay the city to cut the curb and build a ramp in to it.
     
  11. djn04

    djn04 Member

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    Thanks. I looked into devices like this, but the problem is not with the curb cut or the sidewalk. It occurs at the transition from the sidewalk to the garage. The sidewalk is basically flat and the garage parking area is probably 15ish feet below the sidewalk, essentially in the basement of the building. The "driveway" from the sidewalk to the parking area in probably 20 or so feet in length, so the angle of the driveway is very steep. The building was built in the 30's and I'm not sure the garage is original to the building, or built to code for that matter.

    The front bumper of the Tesla has no problem with the driveway at the top or bottom. It's when the front wheels descend down the driveway, the middle of the car gets hung up on the crest/transition from sidewalk to driveway.
     
  12. green1

    green1 Active Member

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    Would the city be willing to "cut" both sides of the driveway? (as in lower the section of sidewalk?) it seems as if the process would be the same as a normal curb-cut but be more practical for you than going over a hump.
     
  13. djn04

    djn04 Member

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    Unfortunately, there is no chance city would be willing to do this, and I doubt I would be willing to pay the cost for a car. I did find this poster who had a similar problem. I wonder how difficult it would be to make something similar. I would also need to figure out how to semi-permanently attach them to the steep driveway.

    http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/34798-Prospective-Owner-Help-me-design-my-driveway%21?p=733014&viewfull=1#post733014
     
  14. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    I'm not sure that wheelbase and chassis height will matter as much as approach and departure angle. The front is quite low, the rear is a bit more forgiving. Any chance of getting a test drive that you can take to your driveway? I'd try it. Or get an Uber Black Tesla to come and pick you up!

    Originally Posted by ecarfan viewpost-right.png
    Can you post the wheelbase of your current car? How does that number compare to the Model S wheelbase?

     

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