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Suspension mellows with age? (Ride seems smoother after 2100 miles of driving)

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Blurry_Eyed, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. Blurry_Eyed

    Blurry_Eyed MS Sig #267, MX Sig # 761

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    We've had our car for about 2 months now (VIN #532). When we first received it, I was a bit disappointed with how firm the ride felt compared with the amazing ride I remembered in the Get Amped and store test drive cars. Don't get me wrong, our car rode great, but it just didn't seem to soak up the road imperfections and bumps as well as I remembered the test drive cars doing. I don't want to sound negative here as the car was incredible, but it just didn't seem as amazing as I remembered.

    But it seems to my wife and I, after 2100 miles, the suspension seems to have broken in and the more and more miles we put on our car, the smoother and smoother it has become in handling the bumps and road imperfections. It now seems to be on par, if not better, than what I remembered the ride was like in the other beta cars we had been in. That is to say it is super smooth and amazing!

    The handling of the car is just as good, if not better, than we first received the car as well, so the breaking in of the suspension seems to be all benefit and no downside. It could also be the tires breaking in as well. We have the 21" performance tires, air suspension and a Performance Signature car. When you get your car and if you think the ride seems to be a bit harsh, give it some time and see how it mellows out.

    Now this is all relative. The ride with 21" ultra low profile tires beats anything in it's class when the car is brand new, but it just didn't wow me when we first received the car. Now it is just amazing! I don't think we are remembering things wrong, but we don't have any objective measurements to be totally sure about this.

    Anyone else have a similar experience with the ride of their car getting better with age?
     
  2. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    I sort have seen a bit of the opposite. The car felt really "wallowy" to us when we first got it. Accelerate and change lanes? Expect to wobble left and right a bit as if the car isn't in control. It felt like the air suspension was frantically trying to keep the car straight. I prefer a stiffer suspension for maneuvering, even if it means we feel more bumps. Lately, the suspension has felt a bit stiffer, but still no where near where I'd like.

    I wonder if the air suspension is capable of different modes? Tesla could program in options for sporty vs comfort suspension.
     
  3. jerry33

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

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    That sounds like there is an alignment issue. It's really easy for a car to be knocked out of alignment during transport and my guess is that the Model S is the kind of car that needs to be spot-on.
     
  4. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    Sounds to me like the stability control is trying to intercede!
     
  5. alset

    alset Member

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    Blurry_Eyed, have you checked your tire pressures? I can't imagine that this is suspension related (though technically tires are part of the suspension). The TPMS will not come on for a few PSI drop but your tires will drop about 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures in most parts of the country are 20-40 degrees lower than a couple of months ago.

    Your butt might notice the softness of a 3 PSI drop, it's calibrated better than the TPMS. Possible? :)
     
  6. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    There's no doubt my car likely needs an alignment (still nothing back from service on that front), but this feeling is definitely suspension. It feels like a squishy suspension.. Like taking a corner and leaning hard in an old caddy... Except you'd lean left and right as it tried to "right" itself.
     
  7. jerry33

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

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    That kind of feeling happened in my Prius when I first got it. Turned out that camber on one side was way out (several degrees). Had it aligned at 600 miles and no more weird feeling.
     
  8. DrComputer

    DrComputer Member

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    Unfortunately the Model S only has the ability to change its height as it is NOT an adjustable shock system. I'm sure Model S 2.0 will add adjustable magnetic shocks so we can change both height and stiffness of the suspension.
     
  9. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Which should be an easy retrofit, so that's a plus.
     
  10. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    Not sure if you were joking but probably not :(
     
  11. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Did you mean me? If so, no, I'm not joking. I've changed the suspension on many of my cars. Hopefully Tesla will offer the option from the factory, but if not, if the OEM part exists, someone will retrofit.
     
  12. Blurry_Eyed

    Blurry_Eyed MS Sig #267, MX Sig # 761

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    I did check my tire pressure a couple of weeks ago and set them to 42psi with the temperatures in the high 30's here in the Seattle area. Temps have stayed in that range since then. The tires were actually a bit low when I first checked them. I'll check them again and see if they have dropped significantly from the 42psi they were at.

    All I can say is that the ride of the car now is just great and I'm throughly happy with how the car handles road imperfections and bumps. I couldn't say that when I first received the car in November. What ever happened between then and now with our car, I'm very pleased!
     
  13. William3

    William3 Member

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    That is exactly what is happening in my car too. People have commented on it to me when they test drive it. It feels unsafe. I've got about 400 miles on my car, 19" rims, 45psi.
     
  14. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Perhaps it's considered normal with air suspensions. Me no likey.
     
  15. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    I don't think that's normal -- it certainly doesn't describe my experience with my Model S, which manuevers crisply and holds a line perfectly.
     
  16. CarlE_P439

    CarlE_P439 Member

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    Thanks for the post Blurry_Eyed. I hope you are right! Took delivery Dec 30 and the lack of a smooth ride (as compared with Get Amped test drive) is the ONLY thing that has disappointed me about this amazing car.
     
  17. Blurry_Eyed

    Blurry_Eyed MS Sig #267, MX Sig # 761

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    I think I recently experienced what you described. I usually don't throw the car around too much, but I had some friends in for a test drive, so I took a freeway on-ramp curve at a very spirited speed and what I noticed when I came off the ramp onto the merge lane was a bit of a wallowing in the car as the forces unloaded from the side of the car that was taking the outside of the turn.

    I'm don't know much about cars, so this is just a total guess, but my theory is the air suspension sensor noticed that the car was not level during the turn (I probably held the turn for about 8 to 12 seconds, so the car was leaning heavily into the outside wheels), so the air suspension sensor detected the car being unlevel and adjusted the pressure in the air suspension to compensate as best it could.

    Then when I quickly straightened out, I unloaded that sided of the car, but the air suspension was under heavy pressure, so the car popped up beyond level. At that point the car was tilted heavily to the other side and the air suspension quickly sensed that and worked as quickly as it could to fix the problem so it dumped the pressure on the formerly loaded side and increased the pressure on the other side of the car.

    It took about 2 or 3 seconds for the car to settle down a bit. I haven't tried aggressive quick back and forth lane changes, but I suspect the air suspension might react like the above in those situations if the lane changes last long enough.

    A potential fix for this would be to program the air suspension computers to know when a car is in a heavy G turn and adjust the leveling program to be less aggressive and to be less aggressive when the loaded side of the car unloads.
     
  18. tcunning

    tcunning Member

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    @Blurry_Eyed Something very similar happend to me on an onramp that had a good curve in it. I hit the accelerator pretty good and felt that same kind of wobble you described. Very interesting. It also scared my passengers and me a little bit. I haven't felt it sense, but I also take it a bit easier on that onramp. :smile:
     
  19. Blurry_Eyed

    Blurry_Eyed MS Sig #267, MX Sig # 761

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    I had a Performance + field upgrade done to my car and I seem to have experienced a similar thing with the suspension at around 3,500 - 4,000 miles into the Performance + suspension as I did with my original car.

    First, what I'm describing is not what I would perceive as a decrease in the performance of the suspension. The car still tracks great, handles corners and changes in directions amazingly and inspires great confidence in me, but what I perceive has changed is how the car handles road imperfections, especially on the freeway and roads that are generally in good shape, but have the typical small imperfections in them. My first impression when I drove my original suspension and the Performance + retrofit was that the car seemed to transmit a fair amount of high frequency road information. In other words, the pebbling in the road and small bumps and other small road imperfections were being presented to me quite prominently.

    Now the car seems to be soaking up those things much more than when the suspension was new. Now, I have never had a car in the class of the Model S before, so I don't know if this behavior is typical for higher end suspensions over time. I'm not complaining about what's happening to the car, I actually feel like it still has the same level of performance as it did when new, but that it has become more refined in how it handles the road imperfections and I enjoy driving in a car that seems to glide across the road. I think I've seen some posts here say that the Model S feels like riding on a magic carpet. That's the feeling the car has now.

    There could be other factors besides the suspension mellowing over time that explain what I'm feeling. It might be tires breaking in, it could be the tire pressure (but I believe I have been good about keeping the tires inflated at a consistent pressure as temperatures have changed), it could be the recent change in air suspension heights (But I also experienced this same effect with my original Signature car suspension at around 4,000 miles), maybe it's some other behind the scenes software update that I'm not aware of or maybe some other factor I'm not considering. I generally drive the same stretches of road all the time and believe that variable has remained relatively constant as well. But it's my belief that it is related to the suspension breaking in over time.

    I asked my wife last night while we were driving what her impressions were and she also feels as if the suspension feels 'smoother'. She's the primary driver of our Model S and has the most seat time in both versions we've owned and also experienced a similar progression with our original Sig suspension as well (Just to be clear, we have the air suspension). Just curious what others might be experiencing and also thought newer owners might want to know so they can monitor their initial impressions of the high frequency handling of the suspension and try to do a subjective comparison of it over time.

    If the suspension feels a bit harsh to you newer owners, give it some time and see if it mellows a bit around 3,000 - 4,000 miles.
     
  20. jerry33

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

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    You might want to check the tire pressure to make sure it's correct.
     

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