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Steering alignment

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by metafor, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. metafor

    metafor Member

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    Portland, OR
    So I'm at mile 1200 (after a week :)

    I took delivery and immediately went on a road trip to San Diego. One thing I've recently noticed is that the steering wheel no longer "rests" at the center. I've had this happen with just about every car I've owned but never in the first 1200 miles. It makes sense in that I take tighter right turns than left turns so that eventually, the car will bear slightly right when I'm not holding onto the steering wheel.

    However, 1200 miles is a bit early for this behavior to start....has anyone else experienced this? Can I get this serviced?
     
  2. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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  3. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    Ours was pulling a bit, took it in for rotate/balance at 6500 miles, now it drives straight and true. If the steering wheel is not centered and used to be; I'd make a service appointment, take the service manager out for a drive and ensure it gets fixed.
     
  4. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I've mentioned this a couple of times (and admittedly haven't done anything about it yet) but my car seems to be "wobbly" on the freeway. It doesn't pull left or right, and the steering wheel is perfectly centered, but the car seems to weave slightly back and forth requiring a lot of little steering inputs to keep is straight. I've been told this could be an alignment issue as well, but since I'm rapidly getting to my first service mileage interval, I may just wait until then.
     
  5. FredTMC

    FredTMC Model S VIN #4925

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    I've found that this is really only happening for me when I leave the steering in 'sport mode' on the freeway. I don't have any wobble if I use "standard" steering mode on the freeway.
     
  6. UMD86

    UMD86 Member

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    The same thing happened to me and I had the service center do wheel alignment. I believe it's the adjustable steering system - it's very sensitive and can get thrown out of alignment very easily. I had the same option and problem with my 650i. Had to get a WA once a year and it was not cheap - $500 each time. Right now Tesla will do it for free if you contact them soon.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I'm getting that also. I had a wheel alignment performed and the car was great and then I blew out both left tires at the same time and with the new tires I'm getting that wobbly feel. I have to let the SC know.
     
  7. Blurry_Eyed

    Blurry_Eyed MS Sig #267, MX Sig # 761

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    I wonder if the front suspension is able to handle the torque that the car is capable of outputting. I had my car aligned and it was driving perfectly, then I entered a sweeping freeway on-ramp at a high rate of speed and really pushed the car hard and during the course of the turn I actually felt like the front suspension shifted just slightly. I took it back to the shop and the front alignment was off and both tires were turned slightly in the direction of the turn I took. During the turn I took, I really pushed the car hard (I have the 21" Conti's on a P85, so the car was under-steering a bit during the maneuver) and there was a point in the turn where subjectively I had the feeling the car was going to lose grip on the front, but objectively I knew that I wasn't that close to the limit. It was an interesting experience. I don't know if other cars that can produce prodigious amounts of torque can push the suspension out of alignment as well. Maybe it's not that uncommon?
     
  8. metafor

    metafor Member

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    Thanks all. I'll contact Tesla. It does seem like this is an issue with all adjustable steering systems. I guess I'll stop taking such sharp right turns at high acceleration but it's so much damn fun :)
     
  9. JohnQ

    JohnQ Active Member

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    Does it happen primarily on grooved pavement? That's what I experience. It's a function of either the camber or toe in. Can't remember which though I'm sure someone with complete knowledge will chime in.
     
  10. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Nope, although the freeway I frequent is heavy with large transport trucks, and there could be very small "ruts". My last few cars were rock solid on this route and that's why the wobbliness was very apparent to me.
     
  11. JPP

    JPP Active Member

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    FWIW, my steering wheel points about 5 degrees to the right when the car is going straight. Not pulling, but seems to me like it's just misaligned. Been that way pretty much from delivery. I have an appointment next week @ Fremont to attend to a few minor items, and they have me down for an alignment.
     
  12. spaghetti

    spaghetti Member

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    I have exactly the same situation from the time I took delivery. Curious whether they will be able to resolve easily.
     
  13. B-Chicago

    B-Chicago Member

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    Me too. 5 degrees from delivery and noticed it on the drive home. No pull though, so hopefully a quick fix on the wheel as it doesnt seem like an alignment issue. SC appt tomorrow so will let you know what happens.
     
  14. jerry33

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

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    Alignment can be out without pulling. Many modern cars have the alignment angles such that some can be way out and there is no pull. Run away quickly from any alignment shop that asks "Which way does it pull?" as they obviously don't understand alignment.
     
  15. Blurry_Eyed

    Blurry_Eyed MS Sig #267, MX Sig # 761

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    I thought I'd post a picture of my recent alignment numbers. I posted earlier in the thread that I suspect I may have done this while entering a freeway on a sweeping right hand cloverleaf entrance. Prior to this incident, the car drove true and felt rock solid, but after it, I could tell there was something off. The car felt looser and the steering didn't seem as responsive. But I didn't have any noticeable pull to any side - the car still tracked straight. I think most people driving the car would have thought it was great, but I felt it was slightly off and when I took it in to the shop, the picture shows where the car was.

    I think that the torque I applied while accelerating in the turn pushed the front wheels out of alignment. I'll leave it to the alignment nerds here to look at my numbers to see if that theory might explain some of what happened. Prior to this I had the car aligned by the same shop and everything was set to factory spec almost perfectly by them.

    photo (5).JPG
     
  16. kilpatds

    kilpatds Member

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    Isn't the Model S rear wheel drive? (as per the burn-out videos) Since your Front wheels were the ones that got messed up (specifically, it looks like front right toe was the most relevant change) it's more likely something else. (since the engine is only putting torque to the rear wheels. Torque is a rotational force... )

    Given your description of when it hit, I'd be guessing that the lateral forces in the corner caused the suspension pieces to slip slightly. Which typically suggests the bolts weren't cranked down quite tight enough.

    Edit: Camber settings are interesting. A fair amount of negative rear camber, and rear toe out, from the diagram. Yeah, that'll keep it pretty easy to catch in oversteer. Minimal front camber and toe.
     
  17. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

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    My car was also delivered with a similar out of alignment issue -- car held true, but the steering wheel was off center (by as much as 10 degrees). Service fixed it a week later -- and its fine now. Before it was fixed, I could hold the wheel straight on a long left sweeping portion of the freeway and the car would follow the curve perfectly.
     
  18. Blurry_Eyed

    Blurry_Eyed MS Sig #267, MX Sig # 761

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    Yes, the Model S is rear wheel drive. I think I misused the term torque in this situation. I was thinking that the forward push from the rear wheels had so much torque that they pushed the front suspension out of alignment, so the lateral forces in the corner pushed the suspension out of alignment in combination with the prodigious amount of forward directional movement the rear wheels were providing while I had my foot on the accelerator. I was accelerating pretty aggressively through the turn until I started to get understeer, then I just held steady at the point of feeling the understeer and I trusted that the front wheels wouldn't lose grip (which they didn't) but I did feel something give slightly. Your description of the bolts not being cranked down quite tight enough seem to fit what I experienced.
     
  19. B-Chicago

    B-Chicago Member

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    One day at SC and alignment issue solved. They said they did an alignment and rotated the tires. Only 250 miles but whatever they did it worked. 5 degree steering wheel offset is now cured.
     

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