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Possible air suspension height settings issue

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by stevezzzz, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    I got an unpleasant surprise in my S last evening when I backed out of my parking space at a local restaurant and the nose of the car literally fell off the parking bumper, leaving some unwanted (and I think undeserved) scrapes on the bottom of the front air dam. I was the sole occupant of the car the whole time; since I didn't touch anything nosing into the parking spot, I'm left to conclude that the air suspension lowered the nose of the car while I was eating dinner. [You may take any jokes about the size of my dinner entree and stuff 'em.:biggrin:]

    Since the car rides pretty low I've been trying not to run the nose over parking bumpers at all. Judging by the scrapes, in this case the overhang was perhaps three inches and the vertical drop was probably a little less than half an inch.

    Anyone else had a similar experience? Do you think that I should have been able to predict this behavior? I thought the whole idea of the air suspension was to maintain a given ride height under different load conditions, dynamically. Does the software change the suspension height setting automatically when the car comes to a complete stop and/or is put into Park? I think if anything it should go from Standard to High, not the other way around.

    I guess my takeaways are:

    1. The nose of the S is a looong way forward from the driver's position.
    2. I need to add a checklist item to raise the suspension to the highest position before before parking the car in a space with bumpers, and
    3. Verify the suspension height setting before backing out of a parking spot.

    I hope that by posting this I may save other owners from a similar 'owee' experience with their beautiful new cars.
     
  2. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I'm surprised you didn't back into the parking space. When pulling out again, it's so much safer to drive forward because visibility going forward is always better than visibility going backwards.
     
  3. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

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    Thanks for the warning, stevezzzz. I am surprised that you cannot simply program the S to go to "Very High" once the speed drops under 10MPH (or 15, or 20, etc). That would presumably give the best all-around protection for curbs, parking strips, speed bumps, and driveway angles.
     
  4. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    It works both ways: do you want better visibility going forward into the space, or backing out of the space? I often back into parking spots when other factors don't favor nosing in: circumstances dictate. In this case it was a late dinner and I parked on the shopping mall side of a barrier strip, after shopping hours; there was no one on either side of me and no reason to suspect there would be an hour later.

    But that's a different thread.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I wish I'd had the presence of mind to check the suspension height setting after I scraped; mostly, I was just pissed off. As far as I know, the suspension goes to the High setting below some threshold speed but never goes to Very High unless the driver selects that setting from the touch screen. And I have a hard time believing the software would be designed to lower the suspension while parked, so I'm betting either that it wasn't commanded by the software, or if it was it's because of a software error.
     
  5. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    You always have a better view of the parking space when you approach it (before backing in) because you're looking out the front.


    It could also be because the suspension settles when parked. No software involved. That's how the DS-21 worked. When you started the car up after being parked for a few hours you could feel it go into "hover mode". I don't know if the Model S does this or not, and it might be very gentle so it's hard to feel.
     
  6. contaygious

    contaygious Member

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    I always back into spaces simply due to having a camera. I thought the s lowers to let people out of the car when parked, maybe that's why? I'd rather it always stay in high when parked and low speeds because it should assume I'm parking or moving around hills/bumps. At the very least it should stay in high after parking in high and getting back in.

    Could someone verify what actually happens when you park in high. Does it revert when you get out and get back in?
     
  7. Jason S

    Jason S Model S Sig Perf (P85)

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    I advocated for this even last year -- have the suspension just go to a high position when parked or low speed. Advantages: easier ingress/egress of passengers and overall curb avoidance. Disadvantages: It'll make stoplights and stopsigns awkward.

    Ok, dumb idea. .... If manually adjusted it should stick until back up to speed like Stevezzzz suggested.
     
  8. ohh

    ohh Member

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    Slightly OT, and it might be covered elsewhere, but whats the delta between highest and lowest suspension settings?
     
  9. JakeP

    JakeP S P4996 / X P6028

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    And the stoplight issue wouldn't even be bad, depending on the speed it needs to achieve before lowering. I wonder if there is a power-consumption concern against this behavior?
     
  10. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    If that's the way the S works, too, then if I had waited a few seconds longer (the suspension's height adjustments are subtle and quite slow) the car might have jacked itself back up and I'd have gotten by this time without a scrape. But if the suspension may lower the car's clearance after you park it, that's definitely something owners ought to be warned about during their delivery walkthrough.
     
  11. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    • Normal height = 6”
    • High Level 1 = 0.90” taller; When the vehicle accelerates above 19 mph, the clearance adjusts back to Normal height.
    • High level 2 = 1.3” above Standard and can be used for ascending a steep driveway or fording deep snow. Clearance reverts to High Level 1 above 10 mph.
    • Low Level = 0.79” under Standard; Active Air Suspension will automatically lower the vehicle for highway driving to improve aerodynamics. Low Level is also accessible from the touchscreen for loading/unloading of passengers. When the vehicle begins driving the clearance adjusts back to Normal height.
     
  12. cinergi

    cinergi Active Member

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    Fascinating. The Model S *does* adjust its suspension for getting in and out (I've noticed it adjusting as I entered the car). Great tip! I'll keep an eye on it. In the meantime, make sure you let the ownership team know (feedback).
     
  13. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    Probably less of a power consumption issue and more of a mechanical cycling issue. You probably wouldn't want the air suspension cycling up and down every time you stop at a stoplight or slow down.
     
  14. ohh

    ohh Member

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    Thanks jerry33!
    Back on topic; I have an A6 with air suspension, and it will keepbthe suspension hight while parked. I could not see any reason for the Model S to do the same. There is a reason for you to set it to high/very high, and I would think the same reason apply after you've been parked.
    I also assume the suspensions are air-tight, hence do not need help in staying at whatever level that is chosen. Not an engineer, so I might be wrong, though..
     
  15. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    Hmmm. Maybe I was just unlucky: if I missed scraping the nose the parking bumper by a skosh on the way in, any adjustment of the suspension when I got out of the car or back in could easily have lowered the nose relative to the tail fractionally and left the nose sitting on the parking bumper. I've watched in my garage as I played with the suspension height settings: the front and rear suspensions operate independently. Actually, I think I read that all four corners operate independently so that the car can be kept closer to level under different load conditions and also dynamically, as during cornering.

    Makes me even more determined not to overrun those parking bumpers in the future.
     
  16. Thumper

    Thumper Member

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    The best solution here is proximity sensors or better yet camera view for front bumper. Parking bumpers especially with diagonal parking are killers and very hard to judge.
     
  17. doug

    doug Administrator / Head Moderator

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    Any pics of the damage?
     
  18. stevezzzz

    stevezzzz R;SigS;P85D;SigX

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    Nah. It's not bad enough to be more than an annoyance...
     
  19. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Cars I've owned with air suspension always maintained height when parked *except* when there was something wrong, like a leak in the system. I had one car that developed a small leak in a line (would settle slowly and pump ran more frequently) and another time on the same car, a massive failure of one of the bellows causing the rear end to sink almost to the ground! I hope that's not the case with the OP's car!
     
  20. Jeeps17

    Jeeps17 Cath Jockey in a P85

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    I just had my test drive last week while in florida, and was told by my co-pilot that the S automatically goes to LOW when set to park.

    I saw this in real time by looking at the car's reflection in the store window whilst in the driver's seat.

    This should be adjustable by software to prevent such curb rash.
     

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