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Has your Model S suspension lost its new-car crispness?

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by ToddRLockwood, May 1, 2013.

  1. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    #1 ToddRLockwood, May 1, 2013
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
    I took delivery of a Model S Performance in early March. I immediately switched over the to 19" wheels and snow tires because winter was not over in Vermont yet. Five weeks later I remounted the 21" wheels in my own garage, using the factory recommended torque spec of 140N.m. (103 lb/ft). (See important update below.)

    After the 21" wheels had been on the car for about a week, I began to noticed a subtle deterioration in crispness of the handling. There seemed to be more lateral slop. I started to wonder if the dampers were "settling in" or something. My car has about 3K miles on it. This turn of events inspired me to start thinking about a Performance Plus upgrade.

    Then today I tried something: I pulled out the torque wrench and checked the lug nuts again. To my surprise and horror, every single one of them needed tightening. Some took nearly a quarter of a turn. When I took the car out afterward, the suspension felt crisp and new again.

    Word to the wise... re-torque your wheels often! Even if you don't change your own wheels, a torque wrench is a good thing to have around.
     
  2. NEWDL

    NEWDL R#350 R#1323 Sig23 8136

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    I believe it to require 175 Nm or 129 lb/ft
     
  3. pimp-boy

    pimp-boy Member

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    You are correct. The service center torques it down to 175 Nm for the 21" rims.

     
  4. mhpr262

    mhpr262 Member

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    And, no matter with what torque you tighten them initially with, ALWAYS retighten them after 50 miles or so.
     
  5. NEWDL

    NEWDL R#350 R#1323 Sig23 8136

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    Agreed!

    Maybe this is a two pronged issue:

    Not enough torque applied

    Not checked after initial torque
     
  6. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    #6 ToddRLockwood, May 2, 2013
    Last edited: May 3, 2013
    The 140 N.m. spec was supplied by my Tesla service center in mid-March, BUT I just learned that the factory spec has since been updated to 175 N.m.

    Good to know!

    - - - Updated - - -

    This is a good point, and it illustrates the importance of owning your own torque wrench. How many Model S owners would actually take the time to go back and get their wheels re-torqued after a few days of driving?

    It is particularly important in a car this heavy with this kind of power.
     
  7. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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    None.

    Oh good another toy I can buy for my MS.

    Link to the state of the art, absolute best torque wrench I can buy for my MS?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  8. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    Al, this is nearly identical to the one I use. Very nice quality...

    Proxxon 23353 Torque Wrench Micro Click 200 S, 1/2-Inch - Amazon.com


    You might also want to purchase some of these protective sockets that won't leave marks on your wheels...

    NEIKO Neiko 1/2 Dr. Thin Wall Torque Socket Set with Magnetic and Protective Sleeves - Metric - Tools - Ratchets & Sockets - Sockets & Socket Sets



    And lastly, I suggest buying a 4 to 6 inch extension for your 1/2-inch torque wrench. (At any auto parts store.) This will keep the torque wrench from getting too close to the wheels.
     
  9. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    $300 for a wrench? Sooo how does a noob about about checking/fixing this....go to my local auto shop and have them do it? (Tesla S.C. is like 80 miles away).

    Another noob question - what exactly would happen if they are "too loose" (if that is even the right terminology??) Are the nuts going to pop off and my tire fling off into oncoming traffic or something? Or wear down the tires (treads) faster?
     
  10. shokunin

    shokunin P85 & S40

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    I have this model from CDI http://www.amazon.com/Torque. Seems to perform fine. I think I need to buy the thinwall sleeved socket heads Todd linked to. I've nicked my rims from using my impact wrench already. I wouldn't use those sockets on the impact wrench, but would help prevent me carelessly banging the socket into the rim with the torque wrench.
     
  11. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    Anyone know the correct value for 19" rims for the model S?
     
  12. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    Yes, that can happen. Actually, in my case (on a full-sized van about 20 years ago) the nuts didn't pop off - but because they were loose, the wheel pulled itself off OVER the nuts when I made a turn, and went rolling across the intersection, hit a curb, bounced several feet in the air and over a fence, landed in a parking lot and continued bouncing towards the plate glass windows on the front of a Discount Tire store, screaming "Momma, I'm coming home!"

    So, yeah. Make sure they're tight.
     
    • Funny x 1
  13. Al Sherman

    Al Sherman It's about THIS car.

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  14. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    Straight arming bathroom scale yields about 75 to 80 pounds of force, consistently (for me). Apply this same force to an 18 inch radius breaker bar yields 120 ft lbs of torque. There ya go. If you prefer 60 lbs then use a 24 inch breaker bar. After rotating wheels a few times it becomes second nature.
    --
     
  15. Jeeps17

    Jeeps17 Cath Jockey in a P85

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    LOL !

    :biggrin:
     
  16. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    Yes, any tire shop should be able to re-torque them in five minutes. Just give them this spec: (175N.m. or 129 lb/ft)

    The most obvious symptom I noticed was that the Model S would wander under full acceleration. After re-torquing them, the car is dead-on. If left unchecked, you could loose a lug nut or two, and possibly a wheel.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Same spec as the 21"... (175N.m. or 129 lb/ft)
     
  17. montgom626

    montgom626 Active Member

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    That is an amazing story!!! Very good detective work. Thank yo for the post.
     
  18. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    My car has had a noticeable "wobble" on the highway, and I believe (with the help and advice on these forums) that I need an alignment. I did get my torque wrench out last night and checked the wheels. They were already torqued fairly close to spec and needed barely any noticeable amount of turn to get them cinched up. My "wobble" is still there. (not horrible or anything, but something I will ask about by my first service appt. at the latest).
     
  19. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    Ok I should have them checked then. I've always felt that the car "glides" around the road (dry road), similar to hydroplaning on wet roads. It scares me when I actually *do* drive in rainy weather. I should probably have the goodyears (19") rotated too while I'm at it , as I'm nearing 5k miles already. Question for taking it to a local shop: is there anything in particular with "lifting" the car? I thought I saw in the manual that said the Model S on needs a special hydraulic lift so as not to lift from the battery or something like that? How is that possible when the bottom of the car is flat? Wouldn't you always have to lift from the battery pack it's the entire bottom? (want to make sure to tell my local shop any special lift requirements)
     
  20. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    In your packet of information that came with the car, there is a diagram showing where the 4 lifting points are on the underside of the car.
     

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