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Steering suddenly feels loose and fishy.

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by ACDriveMotor, Nov 7, 2014.

  1. ACDriveMotor

    ACDriveMotor Member

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    I am at about 1 year of ownership on my P85. Just starting a day ago my car steers a little loose and fishy. Like driving a big boat of a car. I thought it was tire pressure so double-checked and topped up the tires. Still feels the same. It is much more noticeable at highway speeds where there is delayed reaction to steering input and then it feels like it over steers. It is a little scary to drive at high speed. I thought I had a flat tire at first.

    Any thoughts on what could be causing? Does this sound like an alignment issue or something else?
     
  2. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    Yes, it probably is the alignment.
    Or possibly tire wear issues.
    Or... (PM me for my real world experience.)

    PLEASE immediately call your local service dept. and have them review and resolve the issue.
    It is worrisome to drive a car in that condition.
     
  3. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    might be a silly question but did you flip your steering mode away from sport to normal or comfort?
     
  4. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    ...and even if you didn't alter the steering mode, you might consider performing a hard reboot (both thumb wheels down) and, of course, with the steering mode in sport afterwards. The sudden aspect of your post is what suggests it might be as yobigd wonders.
     
  5. ACDriveMotor

    ACDriveMotor Member

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    Always a good thing to check, but no that wasn't it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    That is a thought. I didn't try that. But it feels more like a loose rear end than steering issue, turn the wheel, delay then sway and float. Like driving an old Cadillac with bad springs.
     
  6. JPP

    JPP Active Member

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    Check lug nut torque...any recent tire/wheel service?
     
  7. ACDriveMotor

    ACDriveMotor Member

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    No new service. Only thing I can possibly think of is potentially a manhole cover recessed a little more than usual while accelerating. That was why I thought maybe alignment. I just don't know how an off alignment feels on this car. If that is all it is so be it and I can have that serviced. I just don't want to overlook/neglect something more serious.
     
  8. jerry33

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

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    There's one other thing. Check that the lug nuts are torqued correctly. Some owners have experienced poor handling with loose lug nuts. Spec is 129 ft.lb. 175 Nm.
     
  9. ACDriveMotor

    ACDriveMotor Member

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    Thanks Jerry. The SC checked torque and inspected suspension for the usual culprits. Current belief is alignment issue. Will have that checked/corrected next and will be glad if that is it.
     
  10. kennybobby

    kennybobby Member

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    It sounds like rear wheel toe-out, check the inner shoulder of the rear tires for extreme wear pattern.
     
  11. ACDriveMotor

    ACDriveMotor Member

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    This is what I thought as well. But since this is only 2 days old tire wear is likely to be minimal. I did think I smelled a burnt rubber smell when it first started and that had me thinking about toe. I have an alignment scheduled for Monday. If that is it and fixes this up I will be pleased. Being the only car I drive I am pretty in tune with the feel and this was a very noticeable change.
     
  12. kennybobby

    kennybobby Member

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    You may be surprised at how quickly toe-out can destroy a tire...
     
  13. ACDriveMotor

    ACDriveMotor Member

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    Yes, that's why I am in for alignment today. I didn't want to leave this for long.
     
  14. Ed Chan

    Ed Chan Member

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    I'm guessing you already checked for bent rim(s)? You'd notice this as a vibration too, though...
     
  15. ACDriveMotor

    ACDriveMotor Member

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    Yes, I was also looking for steering pull and rim damage. The alignment came back with toe and camber issues in the rear and left front, all back in the green now. Handling feels very much improved! I will get out on the highway today and that will tell me for sure.
     
  16. randompersonx

    randompersonx Member

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    Any ideas how it got so far out of alignment on 3 wheels all of a sudden?

    I've never experienced that kind of a failure on any other car.
     
  17. ACDriveMotor

    ACDriveMotor Member

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    Yes I have one theory. I recently hit a pot-hole (actually recessed manhole cover) while accelerating pretty hard. When I entered the highway after that is when I first noticed the difference in handling/feeling. Do I think this was reasonably enough to change alignment? Maybe, really hard to say. It could just as easily be the parking garage speed bumps I have to navigate twice each day. Since I am due for annual service which includes alignment this is not that big of a deal to me. If it happens more than 1/year or results in tire wear issues that would be much more of a cause for concern.
     
  18. simonog

    simonog Member

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    I was just about to say if you hit a pothole or a kerb it could cause exactly this by clobbering the alignment. It could either have bent something or just forced a change against the tension of securing bolts. Monday will answer it with the alignment.
     
  19. ACDriveMotor

    ACDriveMotor Member

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    It was definitely out of alignment. Both rears toed out. Left front toe and camber off. Seems to be all great now.
     
  20. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

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    Great to know your car's issue is resolved and you are driving with confidence again.

    The unsettled sensation of the steering when a car is out of alignment is worrisome.
     

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