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My suspension decision.

Discussion in 'Model S' started by NonChaotic, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. NonChaotic

    NonChaotic Member

    Dec 14, 2013
    Frisco, Texas
    I have considered and studied this issue of suspension choice for some time now and have decided to go with the air suspension over coils. My previous experiences with air suspension systems and the obvious lack of any time tested evidence of sustainability of this model S system being available due to the relative newness of the car left me concerned about the long term viability of this option, but I worry no longer. I base my decision on the following:

    -This is a sealed nitrogen system; it is unlike other OEM manufacturer external air pump systems and at least "seems" much less susceptible to the external environmental factors that can lead to failure down stream.

    -I see Model S as basically a rolling computer. Personally, I don't believe coils offering the shock and component protection long term that the air suspension offers. I always opt for padded protection for my laptop, so I opt for the same here.

    -Ride height options. This is obvious over springs, and even though the coils seem to ride at very close to the "normal" height setting with air suspension and the ride will very likely stay at "normal" most of the time, having the option to raise height in the field to address obstacles given the potential damage and the money involved in this purchase, I opt for air.

    At the end of the day, I see it as close to a 70/30 decision, and I'm erring on the side of caution.

    Happy to entertain counter-opinion and evidence to the contrary.
  2. jive_devil

    jive_devil Member

    Jan 3, 2012
    Interesting analysis. I had not seen anyone point the nitrogren system issue out before. Not being an engineer, though, I'm not sure I can truly appreciate the difference. Another positive differentiator in comparison with other air suspension systems is that (from what I can tell), the actual air shocks are not exposed within the wheel well (only the sleeves are exposed within the well), which means they are less likely to be punctured with road debris.

    That being said . . . I have the air suspension, but if I had to do it again, would probably decline that option.

    - I don't use the height adjustment very much at all. YMMV based on your driveway.
    - I don't think the air suspension "softens" the car's ride moreso than the coil system. Some on this board have opined that the standard suspension feels "softer" than the air. The loaners I've driven with the standard suspension feel just as good as the air suspension (and why don't they put air suspension in the loaners, I wonder?).
    - Even if it's well protected, it feels like a compressor-based system would be more prone to breakdown and/or more expensive to replace.

    For $2,250? I'd rather put that towards a bigger battery or some other option that I'd be more "certain" about. Maybe I'd feel otherwise once the dynamic ride height adjustment comes back. But that's just MHO.
  3. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2012
    WPB Florida
    Nitrogen in the air bags???? That is odd. I hear the bags being bled off when lowering and, now that I have coils on mine, hear the air lines venting as the still connected control unit tries to raise the car. I would have thought the nitrogen would have run out by now :)
  4. Mnlevin

    Mnlevin Member

    Feb 4, 2013
    South Florida
    I have the standard coil and love the way the car feels. Was given a P85 with all the toys and didnt feel any real difference. Have the ability to make the car go up or down doesn't interest me at all. I figure it just could be a very expensive fix in the future, the springs should last the life of the car.
  5. 100thMonkey

    100thMonkey Member

    Jul 1, 2012
    Seattle area
    my driveway is steep so I use the air suspension adjustment every day before I enter the driveway. so far, no issues, fingers crossed. I love the P85+ on 19's and air, it's a great combo of comfort, lower noise and handling.
  6. SeminoleFSU

    SeminoleFSU Voluntaryist

    Apr 5, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    +1 I didn't care one way or the other when looking at service loaners to buy- in the end I got a P85 that was priced under the older pricing... which meant that the performance included the air suspension. Since mine came with coils, I got a $2250 credit. I'd rather have the credit. All the cars I test drove had air. When I got mine, I was pleasantly surprised at how much better it felt (more solid)... If I had to do it again, I'd choose coils again. To each his own I suppose.

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