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R&R air suspension, now light knocking/rattle from front on P85

Last year I replaced all suspension components, everything, along with brakes and wheel hubs, and numerous other things I found along the way that are unrelated. After alignments kept letting me down, I bought the Suncore Air Suspension replacement kit made for my car. I inspected them side by side with the removed oem air struts before installing and everything looked identical. Seems like a nice setup.
However, on my first test drive I heard this light knock and rattle sound coming from the front while going over the slightest road imperfections yet not making noticeable sound over larger imperfections or reflective road markers. It’s subtle imperfections ONLY that make the sound, but even then it’s vague enough I can’t identify where it’s coming from or envision it. I have checked everything over and over daily since last Wednesday, to the point that I removed the front trunk interior and panels entirely until I get this figured out. Torqued everything (and broke one of the Suncore strut studs in process).
I bought another set of sway bar end links since everyone said that was likely the issue even without the links giving signs of wear. Another miss.
I tediously went through the under hood upper and lower area with foam tape and Velcro zip ties to fasten loose large cable plugs, AC compressor, on and on. I simply cannot get results.
My son has a GoPro with a wired mic and I tried clipping the mic to sway bar, bar end links, upper strut mount from underneath, upper control arm, air compressor mount r/L. It was very time consuming, but a waste of time. It sucks at picking up the sound. No matter where I placed the mic it always sounded equally faint.
For good measure I swapped out different wheel spacers and lug nuts. Tried with no wheel spacers.

Any ideas? Is there some internal air coil problem I’m not considering?
 
Some pics from a few alignment efforts and my current under hood.
One of the fuse boxes broke away from the frame, so I spent all of 3 minutes adhering the hell out of it while epoxy dried. Eventually went with strong Velcro as well. It was not the source of the sound, though.

I guess my final option is to remove the new front air struts and replace with the old ones and go for a test drive. It’s not that hard but one way or another it’ll consume another 4 hours.
 

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This is going to sound crazy, but did you lubricate the brake pad slides when you replaced the brakes?

See if the noise quiets down while going over a known-noisy-spot, but while holding down the brake pedal.
I actually did the brakes and components last May, but after installing yes I did need to go back and do a proper job of it. Brakes are tight and rattle free.
The issue is simply unknown, but the rattles are equal on both sides, sometimes simultaneously but usually independent of each other. I bought new sway links and unfortunately the obvious issue wasn’t the case. My old ones are just a year old anyhow. I’ll save them. I feel like it could be the lower strut mount, too loose and too thick to tighten down like a clamp bc it’s heavy duty.
Gonna try filming with my gopro setup in the wheel well today, and if nothing, I’m removing both new air struts and putting my 217k mile setup back in. If the rattle is gone, it was the struts all along and I need to pay more for the quiet quality I’m pursuing. Wow what a headache working on the model S can be, even when I swear it’s easy, there’s always something. Forgive spelling errors as I can’t see the words as I type them on my iPhone. Kinda weird.
 
Quick update: when I installed all new suspension last year I didn’t install new inner tie rods bc I didn’t want to mess with renting the tool, etc.
I wish I had, though, bc my inner tie rods have 218k miles and everything else is new and stiff, so when I changed to the new struts and stood on the hub to lower it enough for strut removal it exacerbated the already worn ball joints of the inner tie rods.

I ordered a set which arrived Tuesday, and then hopefully I’ll get an alignment soon after and report back.
 
Out of curiosity, did you do all the work yourself? Where did you acquire the other suspension parts other than the Suncore Air Suspension? OEM?
I have a P85 also, and I’m exploring options.
Thanks!
Yano I posted about it when I did it approximately may 2021, but I can’t find it.
I mainly used suspensia brand from CarID, and I’m happy with what I got for the price.
A brand floating around slightly cheaper is called A-Premium, and the bushings were squishy within a matter of months on those parts. Very generic. They gave me a refund.
I ordered stuff from ev parts on two separate occasions and absolutely no communication. Finally, I canceled when I learned the items were on back order, even though the site said “In Stock”.

The work itself was enjoyable bc Covid lockdown, I haven’t been working for a while, and I had the time and funds to do some necessary maintenance on the car. All of it was worth while. The car just felt like 2012 again. But like I said, soon after o got used to the good life that cheap brand’s parts were in a state of disrepair. After the inner tie rods I hope for the rattle to stop and steering precision to return. Also, during this time my brakes were swapped out and that was a breeze, but I battled noise for a while and basically re-did everything. They were the high end power stop set, very good street brakes for the price. Then my rear subframe broke a third time. I had a shop do that but if I had it to do again I’d actually pay Tesla. Seriously.
The latest, new air suspension, was a nice and easy install, maybe 4 hours in all, but if I did it again maybe 3 hours. You get good at certain things. My first time around I spent too much time trying to get the front air struts out without removing the upper control arm, allowing everything attached to the hub to relax and maneuver. If you use a breaker bar and socket on the lowest lug nut, you can set your weight on the breaker bar little by little until allowing the bottom portion of the strut to have the freedom to be pulled over to the side and drop down to floor, which is how I did it. My second try it took just 25 minutes, but there’s some stuff to torque at ride height and I saved that until the end.

The biggest pain of the suspension work in general: torque wrench under the car to torque bolts holding bushings with the weight of the car on. After doing that I simply measured the hub to fender height at normal ride height, and used a scissor jack under the hub to raise it to that height before torque. Took forever to find all the torque values as well.

Hope that all helps.
 
Yano I posted about it when I did it approximately may 2021, but I can’t find it.
I mainly used suspensia brand from CarID, and I’m happy with what I got for the price.
A brand floating around slightly cheaper is called A-Premium, and the bushings were squishy within a matter of months on those parts. Very generic. They gave me a refund.
I ordered stuff from ev parts on two separate occasions and absolutely no communication. Finally, I canceled when I learned the items were on back order, even though the site said “In Stock”.

The work itself was enjoyable bc Covid lockdown, I haven’t been working for a while, and I had the time and funds to do some necessary maintenance on the car. All of it was worth while. The car just felt like 2012 again. But like I said, soon after o got used to the good life that cheap brand’s parts were in a state of disrepair. After the inner tie rods I hope for the rattle to stop and steering precision to return. Also, during this time my brakes were swapped out and that was a breeze, but I battled noise for a while and basically re-did everything. They were the high end power stop set, very good street brakes for the price. Then my rear subframe broke a third time. I had a shop do that but if I had it to do again I’d actually pay Tesla. Seriously.
The latest, new air suspension, was a nice and easy install, maybe 4 hours in all, but if I did it again maybe 3 hours. You get good at certain things. My first time around I spent too much time trying to get the front air struts out without removing the upper control arm, allowing everything attached to the hub to relax and maneuver. If you use a breaker bar and socket on the lowest lug nut, you can set your weight on the breaker bar little by little until allowing the bottom portion of the strut to have the freedom to be pulled over to the side and drop down to floor, which is how I did it. My second try it took just 25 minutes, but there’s some stuff to torque at ride height and I saved that until the end.

The biggest pain of the suspension work in general: torque wrench under the car to torque bolts holding bushings with the weight of the car on. After doing that I simply measured the hub to fender height at normal ride height, and used a scissor jack under the hub to raise it to that height before torque. Took forever to find all the torque values as well.

Hope that all helps.
I appreciate you being forthcoming with the parts sources and the process. I’ll be checking out Suspensia parts. I’m getting a prominent rubber squeak sound when going over speed bumps/humps when it’s mildly cold out. I took the front wheels off and had a peak at all the rubber bushings. Nothing immediately looks like it’s failing and I didn’t see any dry rot. I’m assuming it’s only a matter of time before something does become visible or fails. The air suspension works fine. However, I’ve got +100K miles and I’m wondering how much longer they will stay that way.

I’m gathering data and preparing for when the time comes. Always nice to know what others find that work and does not work. Thanks again for sharing.
 
Quick update: when I installed all new suspension last year I didn’t install new inner tie rods bc I didn’t want to mess with renting the tool, etc.
I wish I had, though, bc my inner tie rods have 218k miles and everything else is new and stiff, so when I changed to the new struts and stood on the hub to lower it enough for strut removal it exacerbated the already worn ball joints of the inner tie rods.

I ordered a set which arrived Tuesday, and then hopefully I’ll get an alignment soon after and report back.
Installed inner tie rods and the noise is still prevalent. I haven’t been able to source it and I’m unable to pay someone to figure it out at the moment. Don’t know what else to do. R&R new front air struts with old oem struts? It still there, go back again? Christ.
 
Did you try this? If not I recommend that you do. May be the new air suspension components are faulty somehow. Sorry you're going through all this but if they are faulty, you should get a refund on the new ones.
I did this just yesterday, and broke a new sway link in the process. I only did one side but it wasn’t the struts. Ended up putting the new one back in and replacing the broken sway link with my best condition used link for now.

I broke down and bought Steelman 06600 Chassis Ears set on Amazon just a minute ago. I’ve tried the old fashioned way for weeks on end, and I hate spending at a place like Tesla when out of warranty, bc they’ll just throw parts at it at my expense. The chassis ears are capable of leading me to the exact source.
 
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The chassis ears came in and after a few test drives it seems the strut mounts at the bottom are making the rattle, or the main rattle anyway. The internal width of oem strut mounts is 64.5, while the internal width of Suncore front lower strut mounts is 67.5mm. 3mm is a lot of ground to make up when you have 1/8” thick steel. I think I was hitting torque specs just from the bolt clamping on the strut mounts, allowing the entire strut to rattle over slight imperfections.

Buying some washers at Ace and going to install whatever it takes to tighten things up, and I’ll put the chassis ear back on for a test drive. Fingers crisscrossed.
 
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Wow that was a lot of work, and I broke another strut stud up top. Now I have 1/3 holding it together. Eek.
It wasn’t the strut bottom rattling. Something else. When time allows I’ll dive in. I was ASE certified in wheel/tire/brake in 2002, wish I moved on to suspension as well. It just doesn’t make sense. I wouldn’t be surprised if a chassis weld has cracked somewhere ala rear subframe failure. Similar issue. I can see why Tesla throws parts at these sounds that are hard to source.

To be fair, part of the sound may be my front inward brake pads. Part may be the strut studs up top not keeping a firm hold. And part may be a wheel bearing or ball joint or broken mount. Or something else really cool that no one has ever even heard of.
 
I drilled out the other 3 unused holes on top of the strut mount, worked okay. Looks hideous. I then noticed how much wider my Suncore lower strut mount is compared to oem. Notice in the picture how the rebuilt oem strut pictured has a strut that protrudes slightly wider than the mount. That’s because the back of the sway bar end link needs clearance to rotate as the the strut itself rotates. I think the sound has been rubbing and tapping of the sway bar end link on the lower strut mount. The noise began on both sides simultaneously after I installed Suncore air struts, so I knew it was the struts, but we couldn’t find a fault and so I moved on to suspension components and steering rack, and three alignments along the way.
My lower control arms are new but around the lower strut mount there’s like a chalky black powder, on both sides. I think it’s from the continual rubbing and knocking of the lower joint sway link.
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It was the underside of the front Suncore strut mount (left) that was rattling against the lower control arm it was mounted to. The OEM (right) has over 1” more vertical clearance, and a 1/2” narrower mount. Suncore said “oh” and I sent them the front units for a refund. Fingers crossed that a check comes, but they didn’t want the rear units back, so now I have oem front and Suncore rear. Oh well. These units are still available on their store and eBay store, so they only took it as seriously as the situation deemed.
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dougols

New Member
Supporting Member
May 16, 2022
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3
Los Angeles
I had this rattle issue too. I replaced sway bar links, lubed Axle shafts with special Loctite paste and Tesla replaced the rack and pinion. Still rattling. Then I found this Tesla service bulletin. When I disconnected the shock tower diagonal braces and put a towel under it, (per the bulletin) the noise was gone. They say to replace the struts at $2500 but I found a cheaper way. I bought 8 Toilet tank to bowl rubber washers for $10 and put then below and above the diagonal bracing isolating them. Problem solved! You might want to add a flat washer on top the the top rubber washer so the bolt through it doesn't tear the washer.
 

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I had this rattle issue too. I replaced sway bar links, lubed Axle shafts with special Loctite paste and Tesla replaced the rack and pinion. Still rattling. Then I found this Tesla service bulletin. When I disconnected the shock tower diagonal braces and put a towel under it, (per the bulletin) the noise was gone. They say to replace the struts at $2500 but I found a cheaper way. I bought 8 Toilet tank to bowl rubber washers for $10 and put then below and above the diagonal bracing isolating them. Problem solved! You might want to add a flat washer on top the the top rubber washer so the bolt through it doesn't tear the washer.
Bulletin loads in a 100 pages of code if you can just tell me which bulletin number? I’m not entirely sure what you’re talking about, but I do remember years back when rack and pinion bolts bottom out before torqued, so they added a gritty washer /wafer between the mounting point and the power steering rack, and it cured the most annoying clicking sound for basically everyone. I love isolating knocks and rattles but the big ticket issues lately have left my car with lots and lots of little things that need attention.
 

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