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High frequency steering wheel vibration (not lane departure)

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by controller, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. controller

    controller Model S 90D 2016 facelift AP1

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    I have an issue on my 2016 facelift MS 90D 19" Michelin PS3. As soon as wheels start turning, I'm starting to feel vibration on the steering wheel, pedals, parts of interior firmly attached to the car body (like central armrest). It can be compared with a mobile phone vibration. The amplitude of vibration is pretty much constant on a given stretch of road but the frequency is proportional to the speed.

    The problem is much less pronounced on really smooth roads. It looks like steering rack/column and suspension lack any vibration dampers and transmit every tiniest road imperfection to the car body.

    I wonder has anyone experienced something similar?

    The case has been reported to Tesla. They tried to balance the wheels. They changed the set of wheels. So far no results. There are two options left:
    1. All Teslas are like this and I have to live with this.
    2. It is my car specific and Tesla need to get their hands dirty and figure out what's wrong with suspension/steering.
     
  2. boaterva

    boaterva Supporting Member

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    Does 'wheels start turning' mean any speed at all or do you mean any time you turn the steering wheel from straight ahead?

    I know the X I had for a demo overnight didn't exhibit anything like this at all.
     
  3. controller

    controller Model S 90D 2016 facelift AP1

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    Meaning at any speed from 5 mph to 80 mph. Frequency of vibration is increasing with the speed. Amplitude is constant. This is independent on the wheels balance and particular set of the wheels. It looks like suspension doesn't damp small imperfections of the road surface and transmits everything to the car body. Driving on perfectly smooth roads generate virtually no vibration.

    One of valves of a shock absorbers is locked? One of suspension rubber bushing doesn't work as designed?
     
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  4. boaterva

    boaterva Supporting Member

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    Yeah, that is weird. You'd suspect tire balance, of course, but you checked all that. If you can't tie it down to one wheel's suspension parts, it would be even less likely that more than one 'corner' would have issues at the same time.

    Unless someone comes up with a cure, I'd think it's time for the Service Center to dig deeper. Perhaps take a technician for a ride in your car and a similar one they have?
     
  5. controller

    controller Model S 90D 2016 facelift AP1

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    My gut feeling is that one of the front shock absorbers developed stronger resistance due to some internal issues (some sources say that there is a thing called stiction). Another suspect can be one of numerous rubber bushings but it is less likely because the car is new <5k miles.
     
  6. Svandevo

    Svandevo New Member

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    I had a vibration problem that turned out to be a problem with the front fascia. Tesla replaced a wheel and two tires, but it was no better. Eventually, from this forum, I discovered several other people with the same problem. Once I passed it on to the SC they were able to fix the problem. It got worse with speed and cold weather, but was not noticeable below 30-40 mph. The solution was a foam stiffener behind the fascia. Clearly your problem is not aero if it's noticeable at 5 mph, but perhaps this could be a contributing factor.
     
  7. controller

    controller Model S 90D 2016 facelift AP1

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    Apparently, Model S as a model doesn't like Finnish rough roads. Tried couple of loaners (19 inch and 21 inch wheels) - similar picture even though the vibration in my car seems a bit stronger.

    My version is that the tire resonates when vibrations from rough asphalt combine with own vibrations of the tire when load applied. This resonate frequency comes to the steering wheel which is rather annoying. Imagine holding in your hand a vibrating mobile phone, imagine doing this for three hours while driving long distance.

    I still plan to check wheel alignment (on my new car). Then I'm thinking that stiffer tires can help. Something like run-on-flat low profile tires have less rubber to resonate - the vibration frequency should be higher which is less annoying.
     
  8. controller

    controller Model S 90D 2016 facelift AP1

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    Final update, it is clearly an unlucky combination of Tesla suspension setup, tires, wheels and very rough tarmac. The solution has been found in reducing tire pressure to the level of 'normal' cars. I used tire pressure recommended for BMW X5 which similarly heavy vehicle and tire sizes not that far away from Tesla's. I went to 2,5 bars cold pressure at approx 20C - goes up to 2,8-2,9 when driving.

    Strangely, I didn't get any noticeable increase in energy consumption. What is even more strange is that the handling is even better than it was when the pressure was set to the recommended level. When tires pumped to recommended 3.1 bar cold they easily reach 3.5 bar when driving and become like pieces of wood - the feedback on the steering wheel becomes rather odd.

    When I asked technicians at the Tesla service about the reasons of such high pressure I was told that it is mostly about tire wear.... Well, I don't fully buy it because the mentioned above BMW X5 lives quite well with 2.5 bars.....
     
  9. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Banned

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    I think it's more about range than tire wear. The more you inflate, the less rubber is in contact with the road and that reduces friction. At least that explanation makes more sense to me.
     
  10. controller

    controller Model S 90D 2016 facelift AP1

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    Probably, that is the case but, as I mentioned, no noticable changes in consumption.
     
  11. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Banned

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    I wonder if there is something about the suspension geometry that requires this higher pressure? Or perhaps the higher pressure relates to the maximum top speed of the vehicle? Just grasping at straws now lol...
     
  12. cab

    cab Member

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    controller -beyond "feeling" this vibration could you actually "hear" it as well (sort of a low frequency "rubmble") of sorts?
     

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