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Smart Air Suspension: Teach me about the settings...

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by arijaycomet, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. arijaycomet

    arijaycomet Member

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    Since I'll have air suspension in 24-hours (trading in 85 RWD for 85D), and I have plans to install aftermarket links to lower the car... I want to be sure I fully understand the 4 settings available on the Smart Air Suspension.

    From what I recall, they read:
    Very High
    High
    Normal
    Low

    Now I am aware of the slide where you can set speed that it goes into low (and with that same slider you can set it to never go low, or always stay in low). My questions however pertain more to the High and Very High settings. From what I've read on various forum posts, it sounds like you cannot drive in the High or Very High setting for any great amount of time/distance/speed. Is that correct?

    Beyond the GPS-based recollection that will bring the car back up to those settings (does anyone know radius?)-- is there any way to drive the car at any setting OTHER than Normal or Low? I'm just thinking about here in Cleveland, Ohio (snow belt) where it would be great to have Low for freeway, Normal for summer, and High for winter/snow clearance. But it sounds more like that isn't the case?

    Any explanation or feedback on these settings would be great. Since I plan to lower the car I could always reset it for winter, but then I'd need an extra alignment every time. Hmmmm...
     
  2. Chris TX

    Chris TX Active Member

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    I use Very High when at my lake property (used to scrape the bottom of my MB all the time)
    Normal is just around town and under 70
    Low is used when driving slow, or if you go above a pre-set speed. Mine is set to 70+ MPH to gain range efficiency.

    The GPS range for location-based auto-raising is about 100ft in my experience. It's really cool to get close to that super bumpy driveway and have it raised to Very High. It stays like that until you leave. Just be warned the ground will be a bit lower when you get out ;)

    As for lowering, if you're using lowering links, you shouldn't need an alignment every time. You will get more wear on the inside, though.
     
  3. roblab

    roblab Active Member

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    I can't tell you anything about links to lower your car. Smart Air does that for you, pretty much, and I guess I'm too old to understand why you'd want it permanently lower, but to each his own.

    As to the settings, yes, those are the four heights, roughly 4, 5 (standard), 6, and less than 7 inches. You set the speed you want, to go lower for aerodynamics, usually around 55. Keeping it low around pot holes and speed bumps is asking for scrapes.

    The extra high setting automatically drops to high at around 15 mph, and again drops to standard at around 30 mph. If you are driving on roads that require high settings, you probably won't be going faster than that.

    GPS geofencing works well. I park at a lot near the road, and after raising the suspension to get above the high curb, I notice the car remembers whenever I get near that lot. When I drive by the lot, on the road, it tries to raise, and warns me that I am going too fast for that selection.

    Simply by telling it to go back to standard height as I drive by makes another geo location, and the parking location area does not affect the street, but still works when I pull into the lot.

    The radius of the geofence seems to be around 50 feet. As it is GPS based, and GPS is not too accurate, it can wander.
     
  4. arijaycomet

    arijaycomet Member

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    Thanks for the replies. And Chris TX- my point was that if I adjust the links by season yes I would need a new alignment because camber will change. This is also what causes tire wear for many people, driving in low all the time adds camber an causes tire wear.

    I'm going to have to see how it looks with only a modest lowering. Perhaps then I can just do low all summer and normal all winter. As it is Tesla aligns the car in normal mode so that might work just fine. Thanks again !!
     
  5. Chris TX

    Chris TX Active Member

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    I've thought about the lowering links as well. If you put them on, I wonder if running in "High" is the same as "Normal" without them. Here in Texas, I do like the non-lowered Very High for unpaved treks, though.
     
  6. billarnett

    billarnett Member

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    Doesnt that also mean less energy efficiency driving in low with improper camber? Does that mean for a long trip mostly at freeway speed one should get the alignment done in low?
     
  7. jerry33

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

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    Camber only exacerbates any problems with other settings (mainly rear toe in the case of the Model S). If the toe is spot on, the camber won't mean a lot. Using either the camber bolts or the adjustable links allows a lower camber setting (1 to 1.5 degrees) which makes the car less sensitive to toe. Any toe-out in the rear is a particular tire killer.
     
  8. arijaycomet

    arijaycomet Member

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    So I've only put about 3 miles on my 85D since picking it up earlier tonight. (that is how close to the local Tesla store/service center I live, lucky me!). In that time I had a lot of traffic lights so I played around with the suspension settings. I also learned that you can't lower the car with the driver's door open. FYI ... :)

    Based on what roblab posted above (which I verified) -- you can't drive the car in High or Very High. This means that Low and Normal are the only two driving options. I've been trolling THIS THREAD because I ordered the same links that artsci has there. And it was just determined that they cause a minimum of 35mm drop or more. So I was asking these questions with regards to that setup.

    What I think I am going to do is install the links, and see how the 35mm drop works in NORMAL mode. I really think the car, in Normal, set to NEVER go to Low, would be perfect. I might be able to run low on the freeway, but that would be it. At a 35mm drop, Low would actually work great for parking at spots where I want the car to look aggressive. We'll see...

    It is worth noting that I ordered a set of Open EVSE rear upper control arms. When I dropped my steel coil suspension car 1.50" (approx 38mm) and ran those arms, the car was able to be aligned to almost perfect factory specifications -- except camber was -1.2 degrees front which I actually didn't mind at all. I'm in hopes of getting a similar setup. I will have a proper alignment done with the arms and links installed, so the car should be pretty spot-on after the works is done. Yes it will probably still have more camber than Tesla specifies, but I don't think the amount will cause excessively greater tire wear otherwise.
     
  9. Barry

    Barry Member

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    Awaiting delivery of my 85D... Is it necessary to raise the car for speed bumps?
     
  10. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I suppose it depends on how fast you want to take them and their shape. I don't have the air suspension. But I know that it takes several seconds to raise the car, and I doubt you would want to wait for that to happen as you are driving towards a speed bump. Better to just slow down a bit and then drive over the bump.
     
  11. arijaycomet

    arijaycomet Member

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    What ecarfan said.... you shouldn't NEED to raise the car for speed bumps, but your travel speed and the height of them will matter. You can always approach them at a certain angle too, which may help avoid bottom out on them. My suggestion is slow down, assess the situation and go from there. Most of the people who NEED air ride do so because of a steep parking garage or driveway, that they would otherwise have issues. And even then its usually the front skirt/bumper of the car that scrapes, not the frame/underside.
     
  12. LVSP85D

    LVSP85D Member

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    I find my P85D automatically adjust to NORMAL during driving, even though I set it to LOW from the beginning. Anyone know why this is?

    To avoid it adjusting by itself, I've set it to stay LOW all the time.
     
  13. Chris TX

    Chris TX Active Member

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    This is by design. It will only go back to Low when you reach the set speed (70+ is good)

    If you want it to stay on Low while cruising around (for looks) you could set the lowering speed to maybe 10mph.
     
  14. Blu Zap

    Blu Zap Grinning member

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    All good info here. A couple of points to add. I use very high to enter my driveway. Great that the GPS knows that. I also have speed bumps on the road leading to my house, so it is set to high for those. As mentioned it is a factor of bump height and speed you usually take it.
    The other thing I learned (the hard way) is to raise to at least high whenever entering a parking lot. Inevitably there will be the tire stops and curbs that are negotiated best on high or even very high. Today I nosed in to a parking spot on Very high. Thank goodness since it easily cleared the curb, but would not have in the lower settings. I did have it happen where I nosed in and the bottom front was resting on the curb. When I pulled out it scraped. The SC said that it would settle to the set height if it was lifted by a curb. So the scraping in reverse.
     
  15. Barry

    Barry Member

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    Good info. Thanks.
    One question - IIRC, I read that if you park in High or Very High, the car will drop down to Normal when you turn it off. So you still need to be careful of curbs. Can anyone verify that?
     
  16. arijaycomet

    arijaycomet Member

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    My car is at the tint/vinyl shop so I can't verify it right now (new 85D)... but I'd like to know. Seems bad, because what if you clear something with your bumper but then it lowered down onto that something when you turn the car off? that could be bad!
     
  17. Cyclone

    Cyclone Active Member

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    I don't know about dropping to Normal, and I do not yet have an MS to tell you definitively, but elsewhere on this forum there have been people talking about it "settling" when parked and if you do not wait for it to raise, scraping as you pull out of a parking space.
     
  18. Blu Zap

    Blu Zap Grinning member

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    No, when I park the MS at very high in the garage, it stays at that level. Same with any other height, it stays at that height. Where there was an issue about dropping is where the curb actually lifted the vehicle as I nosed in. Didn't notice at the time since the plastic underside did not have a scraping sound. That is the circumstance where the car lowered to its set height, in this case standard. So it will only "settle" when the MS is lifted physically above the set height by the curb or other situation.
     
  19. Cyclone

    Cyclone Active Member

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    Glad to hear that Blu! I though maybe something like that could be possible because otherwise, tow mode could cause problems when the flatbed gets to its destination. But I had thought maybe tow mode was different than the others. Glad you were able to figure that out! :)
     

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