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How I fixed my air suspension leak for $1.00

johnr

Member
Apr 14, 2009
359
321
Central California
A while back, I noticed that the air suspension compressor in my Model S was running quite often while driving. Then the air suspension warning light started coming on frequently. I started noticing a hissing sound from the front of the vehicle after parking. These symptoms were gradually getting worse and worse, week after week. My first thought was that an expensive air suspension system repair was in order, or maybe an air bag had sprung a leak and would need to be replaced.

Finally I decided I'd better dig in and see if I could find where the leak was coming from. So I removed the frunk so I could inspect the air suspension components in case there might be something obvious. Well, it took no time at all to find the cause of the problem - there was a lot of air leaking from near the air compressor hose fitting!

airsusp1.jpg


At first I thought the fitting itself was leaking, but when I removed the hose from the compressor it became obvious what had happened. The air was leaking from a hole in the hose itself. As it turns out, the air compressor hose was rubbing against an electrical cable and over time this caused a hole to develop in the air hose!

airsusp2.jpg

airsusp3.jpg


Now the fun part - fixing it! First I put the car in jack mode (to make sure the air compressor won't come on and ruin the fun). Then I mixed up a little epoxy and spread it over the hole in the air hose. Then I reattached the air hose to the compressor. To make sure the problem won't happen again, I used a cable tie I had laying around to tie the electrical cable out of the way. I let it sit for a couple hours before driving. So that was over a month ago - and the problem has not returned since.

airsusp4.jpg


So that's my story of how a potentially expensive repair was solved with a few drops of epoxy and a cable tie :D

Takeaway points:

As a preventative measure, you could check if the electrical cord and air compressor hose are rubbing in your vehicle. It would require removing the frunk and having a look (you can find instructions for how to remove the frunk elsewhere on this forum and on youtube). If they are rubbing, simply tie the electrical cord out of the way to prevent damage to the hose. Note that my car is a 2013 Model S - depending on the date of production, yours might or might not have this issue.

Also, if you are noticing increased run-time of the air suspension compressor, a hissing sound from the front of the car, or the air suspension warning light, you might first check if the hose has simply sprung a leak - it may be repairable with just a little epoxy and a cable tie!
 

dark cloud

Active Member
Apr 14, 2018
1,981
2,239
BC
Wait, so a polymer insulation jacket rubbed a hole through a metallic rigid tube? o_O

Its probably more the dirt/sand in between the wires behaving like sandpaper. And everytime the compressor comes on; which is many times a day, it wiggles the hose back and forth like a saw. Yeah, I could see this happening. Good pictures there prove that it did; sure doesn't look like a mouse bite.

I know I've put a few zipties on a few wires or hoses hanging in precarious and vulnerable areas in the front end. Don't think I put one there though; will have to inspect next time I do a spring cleaning. Good catch.
 
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elreydetodo

Member
Dec 1, 2012
42
22
Stow, MA
I've got a leak in my 2016 Model S suspension and I'm going to be checking to see if this is the problem. What sort of epoxy did you use to fix it? Do you think something like this would be strong enough? It says 3300 PSI on the package, which is easily greater than 87 PSI. Is that really all the pressure in the system?

How difficult was it to detach the hose from the system? Was there anything special you needed to do ahead of time to depressurize the cable, or disable the air pump so it didn't try to re-pressurize?

If I have to replace that part is there anywhere I can order a new one aside from direct from Tesla? For that matter, is there any place online that folks like to order OEM replacement parts?
 

johnr

Member
Apr 14, 2009
359
321
Central California
I've got a leak in my 2016 Model S suspension and I'm going to be checking to see if this is the problem. What sort of epoxy did you use to fix it? Do you think something like this would be strong enough? It says 3300 PSI on the package, which is easily greater than 87 PSI. Is that really all the pressure in the system?

How difficult was it to detach the hose from the system? Was there anything special you needed to do ahead of time to depressurize the cable, or disable the air pump so it didn't try to re-pressurize?

If I have to replace that part is there anywhere I can order a new one aside from direct from Tesla? For that matter, is there any place online that folks like to order OEM replacement parts?
Yes, that epoxy should work well for this. First roughen the area around the hole with sandpaper to ensure the epoxy can stick well. I just put the car into jack mode which should disable the compressor, and then unscrewed the hose from the compressor. It was quite easy to detach, and no need to depressurize the system. You only need a wrench of the right size to unscrew the fitting. If you find you need to order a replacement hose, Tesla is probably the best option. If you need a new compressor though, it makes sense to shop around. There are compatible compressors available from various auto parts stores online.
 

Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,401
3,408
Colorado, USA
Yes, that epoxy should work well for this. First roughen the area around the hole with sandpaper to ensure the epoxy can stick well. I just put the car into jack mode which should disable the compressor, and then unscrewed the hose from the compressor. It was quite easy to detach, and no need to depressurize the system. You only need a wrench of the right size to unscrew the fitting. If you find you need to order a replacement hose, Tesla is probably the best option. If you need a new compressor though, it makes sense to shop around. There are compatible compressors available from various auto parts stores online.
Did you check with Tesla on how much the replacement part would cost? I've been surprised a few times by how cheap some replacement parts are. It may have been pretty inexpensive to just replace it with a new one for a permanent fix.
 

Mdennick

Member
Dec 28, 2011
11
2
Yorba Linda, CA
Great post JohnR! Good details and pictures, it all looked very familiar. ;) I had this exact thing happen to my early 2013 Model S, in Nov 2015.

Putting a couple zip ties on the brake booster pump power cable was an easy way to stop the cause...but in my case my air tube repair didn't last. I ended up having Tesla replace it under warranty. However, note that their replacement air tube routed differently and required that the air reservoir (the aluminum tank under the wipers) be replaced too, to match the new tube. For reference, below are those parts. Of course they may be very different today.

Replaced air line from compressor to reservoir to remedy air leak.

AIR SUSP AIR LINE ASY VALVE TO COMP 1 (USE W/O IN-LINE FILL VALVE) (6006522- 00-D)

Corrections: Reservoir - Air Suspension
Replaced reservoir to updated part so that new air line would fit properly.

AIR SUSP RESERVOIR W/ FILL VALVE 1 (6006408-00-B)

AIR SUSP RESERVOIR MOUNT ASY W/ 1 FILL VALVE (1013834-00-D)
 
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exborg

Member
Apr 14, 2015
15
5
Toronto, Canada
A while back, I noticed that the air suspension compressor in my Model S was running quite often while driving. Then the air suspension warning light started coming on frequently. ..
My suspension light came on in my 2013 for the first time early this week, just for a half hour or so and not since. I'm going to check under my frunk this weekend. Thanks for the great DIY tutorial!
 

random155

Member
Mar 18, 2019
876
450
NJ
i would contact tesla about doing permanent repair,
I disagree. Why spend probably upward towards $1000 (many SC visits aren't less - outside of warranty). Its an air hose with a pinhole, not something that would cause a catastrophic failure if it reoccurs. I 100% support the DIY fixer, thats the only way we will all learn how to fix these cars.
 
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elreydetodo

Member
Dec 1, 2012
42
22
Stow, MA
My car was manufactured in February 2016 and seems to have a very different configuration inside. All my air lines are colored by their destination. The thing mounted immediately next to the air line in the original photo is almost a foot away. All the air lines have spacers on them to keep them from rubbing on nearby components. There’s an outer plastic sheath on the lines to make it easier to feel if a hole is forming. Some segments have rubber grommets around them to prevent chafing as they pass by other component or around corners.

They seem to have done some reconfiguring once they realized there was a design problem. I wasn’t able to find any holes in my air lines in the frunk area.

413AF8F1-EA66-4209-AF94-D0FA7A04D41C.jpeg
00B84927-F181-43F0-8341-06230DE3D5B3.jpeg
533917CD-3D3F-44DA-89B3-B4330ADE77A5.jpeg
 

Muffinman

Member
Jun 19, 2017
40
104
Norway
Also had this on our 2013 P85. Fixed by Tesla, paid by me since the car was out of warranty. Read about several cases like these så it is probably be a good idea to check it out before you get a leak burning out the compressor. On our car the compressor relay was burnt and had to be replaced, but luckily the compressor itself seems to be OK.
 

mrjedistud

Member
Aug 3, 2015
245
47
New York
Also had this on our 2013 P85. Fixed by Tesla, paid by me since the car was out of warranty. Read about several cases like these så it is probably be a good idea to check it out before you get a leak burning out the compressor. On our car the compressor relay was burnt and had to be replaced, but luckily the compressor itself seems to be OK.
Hi, can I ask how much the repair cost? My 2013 P85 MS is also out of warranty. Have not had this problem but wanted to get a reference for the future.
 

johnr

Member
Apr 14, 2009
359
321
Central California
A little update: The repair I made started to leak again, so I went back and did a little plastic welding to fix it this time (using a hot knife to carefully melt some of the plastic over the hole). That was just a few days ago and so far it's holding up fine, but time well tell whether this technique will be successful.

For reference, the entire hose could easily be replaced, except for two factors - 1) as others have pointed out here, Tesla seems to have changed the shape or length of the hose, so a direct replacement isn't really possible now; and 2) I'm unclear on whether a replacement hose would come with the fittings so they might be needed also. For these reasons, I opted to try repairing it. Hopefully I did a good enough job with the plastic welding to fix it for good - we'll see!
 

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