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MountainPass

Vendor
Mar 2, 2018
1,434
2,822
Toronto, Canada
Hi Everyone, Sasha here from Mountain Pass Performance. If you're thinking - WHO IS THIS GUY? Please know that this is a new account that we created! You may remember us from that Tesla powered Lotus Evora that has been around the internet. This post is a little bit of an introduction to Mountain Pass Performance - including our history, followed by some components we've already developed for the Model 3, and are in the process of developing!

One of the reasons we built the Lotus Evora was to get our foot in the door of the electric car community, and to learn more about them. We've been building, tuning and racing gasoline powered vehicles for over 10 years and wanted to show how capable, enjoyable and thrilling electric cars can be. Our Evora conversion "Blue Lightning" was a good example of how exciting electric cars are!

We had to decide what the next step would be - whether we would focus on high end EV conversions, or work on creating performance components for the mass market. We've decided that catering to the mass market is a much better fit - and will allow us to have more impact than making a few wild EV conversions per year. That's not to say that we wouldn't offer ANY conversions - but it won't be our core focus.

I encourage any of you that aren't familiar with Blue Lightning to check it out online, the YouTube channel Speed Academy did a great job of covering the build and there is some great tech bits throughout the videos. Here's a link to the playlist of the 6 videos: LINK

We're excited to share that we already have suspension components available for the Model 3, so let me share the details of those parts with you all:

Model 3 Rear Suspension Arms:

Model-3-Rear-Arms.jpg


The Model 3 uses rubber bushings in most links throughout the rear suspension. These rubber bushings are in place because they are cheaper than sealed bearings, and that do well enough for normal road driving. Once you start turning up the G's, the compliance in these bushings stack up, and the flex in the rear suspension you feel tricks your mind into thinking you are at the limit of the tire. Every bit of flex or movement between you and the tire is something that detracts from your connection to the road.

Expensive performance vehicles come factory equipped with sealed bearings, because these links offer a direct connection between the tire and the driver. We have designed our arms using these same sealed bearings, while also making the arms adjustable.

Normally, aftermarket suspension arms use a spherical rod end, because these are cheaper and easier to implement as there are already threads - all you need to do is build an adjuster sleeve and you have an adjustable arm.

Model-3-Arm-Adjuster-Detail.jpg


We felt having a sealed bearing was critical to producing a part that had both the longevity and durability of the OEM components. Exposed spherical bearings accumulate dirt/moisture/salt and tend to squeak, clunk and deteriorate over time (we tend to replace all exposed spherical bearings every couple of seasons on our racecars, sometimes more frequently). Using sealed OE bearings on aftermarket performance suspension arms isn't something I've seen done before, but we're sure this will become a trend as it is such a big improvement over exposed spherical bearings for road cars!

Now, aside from better connection to the road while cornering, why do you need aftermarket suspension arms for your Model 3? The answer: to correct the camber and toe when you lower the car.

The Model 3 has limited rear alignment adjustment range, and in order to correct the camber and toe from lowering, aftermarket arms are required (unless you hardly lower the car, or you want a very aggressive alignment).

For most road cars that are lowered more than 0.75" or so, you'll want to be able to take out some rear camber to extend tire life and improve rolling resistance (all of our reading suggests that while additional negative camber decreases the tire contact patch with the road - the extra deflection and load on the inside sidewall actually makes rolling resistance worse).

Our arms allow a ton of adjustment, and also feature lessons learned from Motorsport that your alignment shop is surely going to love. Using clamps rather than jam nuts, the alignment won't change when you lock down the suspension arms. Any professional race mechanic or alignment expert will know that locking down a jam-nut will extend the arm that little bit that will affect the toe slightly (it's less of an issue on a camber arm, admittedly).

We've also used offset thread pitches rather than LH/RH threads, to offer very precise adjustment. Rather than 1/6 of a turn being 0.5mm of adjustment, an entire rotation of our adjuster will be 0.5mm of adjustment. This might not mean anything to you right now, but your alignment will be significantly more precise as the technician will be able to dial in the camber and toe exactly, and lock it down without anything changing.

These are features that I designed personally into the arms because I was frustrated with how difficult aftermarket suspension arms were to adjust precisely.

The arms are also designed to be as lightweight as possible. A number of iterations through FEA led us to this design, and the center is drilled almost entirely through - well beyond the threads. The OE bearing is by far the heaviest part!

The photos are of our prototype set, so we didn't have them anodized. Production arms will be anodized - color yet to be determined. They will either be Blue or Black, we're open to your input on that!

Our rear camber and toe arms are available for order now and we have an introductory sale on our website for them. The arms are covered by a lifetime warranty. The arms come preset to the factory length, so if you are a garage warrior you can install them yourself and drive to the alignment shop. Our first run of arms will be shipping April 15th, and the pre-order pricing is available until April 1st.


UPDATE: JUNE 2 2018 Our arms are in stock and shipping now!

MODEL 3 | REAR UPPER CONTROL ARMS (CAMBER) - $395
MODEL 3 | REAR TOE ARMS - $385

Model 3 Coilovers:

This is what we are most excited about. We all know the Model 3 is a good bit too high, and unfortunately due to very limited compression travel available from the factory ride height, a complete spring and shock solution is required to get a quality ride from the car, and adequate compression travel.

We've been working with KW Automotive on a set of prototype dampers and we will be in California testing these dampers in mid March.

As I mentioned, we have been building and tuning performance and racing cars for over 10 years. Anyone who has been in this industry knows how much misinformation there is when it comes to coilovers. Some ride like they are welded solid, and some ride like you're on a cloud, despite having the same spring rates.

Spring rates are only a small part of the equation. Even dampers that have similar looking force / velocity graphs (called shock dynos) can ride very differently. KW dampers are known for having the best riding aftermarket coilovers available, and they were the dampers we would recommend to all of our customers for road use. So naturally, when we decided to design a custom damper for the Model 3, we reached out to KW to see if they would work with us on this project.

We have prepared a Motec M150 (the same controller that powers Blue Lightning, actually!) with 4 shock potentiometers, as well as custom firmware that calculates the damper forces, spring forces, and wheel loads in real time. We have a huge assortment of springs, bump stops and packers ready to be tested, and are ready to re-valve the dampers as required to end up with the best riding sports coilovers available. The ride will be firmer than factory, but the "harshness" or how well the vehicle deals with bumps, and ruts, will be the same or even improved from factory. This is only possible by having a custom damper with increased travel. The factory car gets into the bump stop very quickly!

Once our testing is complete and we've finalized the valving, spring rates and bump rubber configuration - we will be taking anyone in the area for rides (mark your calendar for Wednesday March 21st - that's our tentative date). You'll get the rare opportunity to feel exactly how coilovers will ride before ordering, and you'll even get a discount for coming out to see us! We will be in the south Bay Area, and anyone that attends the ride along will receive an additional 5% discount on top of our initial early adopter pricing.


We have not yet finalized the configuration of our coilovers, which includes what kind of adjustment they will have, what material they will be made of, or obviously the valving or spring rates. We are currently trying to determine what price point we need to be at, and will base the options we can fit in for that price accordingly. Your comments on this are much appreciated!

UPDATE (JUNE 2 2018):

Our coilovers will be shipping Mid-July. The final pricing has been confirmed and the coilovers are in production. We have two models - sports and comfort coilovers.

The comfort coilovers are a simpler, non adjustable damper designed for those that just want to get the ride height down, without sacrificing ride quality - and having the ability to fine tune the ride height to their liking.

The sports coilovers are recommended for those looking to improve the performance of their Model 3 - for those who carve canyon roads or attend track days and want a ride similar to a sports sedan.


These dampers offer a huge range of adjustment allowing individuals to fine tune the dampers to their preference. We of course offer recommended settings for a variety of driving types.

Model 3 | Sports Coilover Suspesnion - $2350 (Currently On Sale For $2200)
Model 3 | Comfort Coilover Suspension - $1630 (Currently On Sale For $1530)
 
Last edited:

MountainPass

Vendor
Mar 2, 2018
1,434
2,822
Toronto, Canada
Thanks for the replies. Sorry for my lack of clarity - my knowledge of California geography is clearly lacking. Yes we will be in the south San Francisco Bay Area. So far we have 5 people coming, and we can likely accommodate about 15. I think it would be great to make a Model 3 meet out of the event, so if anyone has any ideas on a location we are all ears!

As far as brake upgrades, we will be measuring and that is certainly our next component. We have heard how small the Model 3 brake system is, and Matt's experience at Laguna clearly proves that this needs to be addressed straight away.

Our plan right now is a pad and rotor upgrade with a bracket to fit a larger rotor. Because the rotors are so small on the Model 3, there isn't much you can do to fix the fluid boiling and caliper overheating issue without installing a larger rotor.

I believe (but we will have to test this theory) that once a larger rotor is installed the factory caliper will prove adequate for lapping days with the right pad. The factory caliper also has a lot of work into it to help reduce pad drag, so it would be nice to keep it!

@eSpiritIV if you'd like to subscribe to our blog (there is a subscribe link on the right sidebar here: Mountain Pass Performance

And if you'd like to just send us an email we can inform you of any new products we've released. We will absolutely be shipping to the states, and we'll also be taking care of all of the customs and duties from our end, so it will be just like purchasing something stateside.
 

MountainPass

Vendor
Mar 2, 2018
1,434
2,822
Toronto, Canada
  • Informative
Reactions: Pkmmte

MountainPass

Vendor
Mar 2, 2018
1,434
2,822
Toronto, Canada
Here's a quick photo of our Model 3 test car with our coilovers and suspension arms installed. What an incredible car to drive (stock, and especially now!).

We are instrumenting damper travel directly with a Motec M150 ECU/Logger, and it has really allowed us to get the spring rates and damper valving matched for incredible ride quality even at very low ride heights. This thing is ridiculous through the mountain roads around here...

We'll be posting some specific details on the data analysis and instrumentation that we're doing

DSC01265.jpg


fullsizeoutput_1861.jpeg
 

MountainPass

Vendor
Mar 2, 2018
1,434
2,822
Toronto, Canada
@Cheburashka you most likely did! That's the area we are staying in.

@oneshortguy - Tesla is most likely offering different length camber links as the camber is non adjustable in the rear. Not sure if Tesla is adding or removing camber, as at factory ride height there isn't much negative rear camber in them.

In any case, you wouldn't need those arms with our adjustable camber arms!

My suggestion would be to purchase 9" wide wheels, not 8.5. You could also fit 245 or 255 tires all around. The PS4S is an incredible tire. We just had some mounted up on Blue Lightning actually. Haven't been able to drive it yet as it's still snowing in Canada though :)

Our meetup at Alice's last night was a great time. It was a pleasure to meet Model 3 owners that were passionate about performance and excited to see upgrades developed to enhance the performance nature that is bred into these cars. We took almost everyone out for a ride and the reactions were better than we could have hoped for! We shot a quick video as well so that will be posted up in the near future.

You can read all about it here: California Trip 2 – Tesla Meetup At Alice’s Restaurant

Here are a few more photos of our development trip so far:

Alices-Model-3-Meetup-2.jpeg

Mountain02.jpeg

Mountain_03.jpeg

WhatsApp-Image-2018-03-17-at-9.58.31-PM.jpeg
 

MountainPass

Vendor
Mar 2, 2018
1,434
2,822
Toronto, Canada
Hi Gil,

Just want to give you a heads up that our coilovers are intended to be a sporty ride. We are considering also doing a "comfort" coilover - this would be the same design but with lower rate springs and softer valving primarily for street and city / broken road driving.

If there proves to be demand for that it is certainly something that would fit your needs perfectly!
 

vernontwg

Member
Aug 26, 2016
26
9
SF Bay Area/Sacramento
Hi Gil,

Just want to give you a heads up that our coilovers are intended to be a sporty ride. We are considering also doing a "comfort" coilover - this would be the same design but with lower rate springs and softer valving primarily for street and city / broken road driving.

If there proves to be demand for that it is certainly something that would fit your needs perfectly!

Have you guys had a chance to test out the ride/handling tradeoff on 18" wheels with more sidewall? I was thinking of going with 18x9".
 

ELECTRIC4ME

Member
Nov 18, 2017
34
31
SF Bay Area
anyone who went for a ride in this vehicle care to comment on the difference in ride quality vs. stock and do you have the updated or original spring/damper combo?
I really appreciated the ride quality in the prototype car. Not harsh at all (on the roads we were on) and really flat, controlled handling. I did not get the chance to compare to stock back-to-back though. (and almost put my LEAF into the guardrail afterwards thinking it handled like a 3!) I will definitely be considering this package in the future.
 

gilscales

Active Member
Jul 16, 2016
1,684
1,904
Long Beach, CA
put me down for "very interested" in this "comfort" version coilover, I like the idea of increasing travel and softening up the harder hits while smoothing out the smaller irregularities in the roads, I believe you can even improve the handling as well or at least not detract from what is already a good handling car.
 

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