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Swaying / Fishtailing / Handling Fix

sgblank

Member
May 18, 2013
50
124
pescadero, ca
I brought my P85 in to Menlo Park service for a couple of issues, one of which was the car swaying from side to side while driving / accelerating.

This was the second service appointment I had asked for this to be looked at, and this time it seems someone in service:
  1. drove and verified the problem
  2. fixed it.

The Cause on the work order says, "Checked suspension components and hardware, found rear upper toe link bolts at steering knuckle are not torqued to specifications"
The Correction says, "Torqued rear toe link bolts to specifications"

It seemed to fix the problem, and perhaps I'm imagining it, but also made cornering at high speeds feel more stable.
 

AnOutsider

S532 # XS27
Apr 3, 2009
11,957
207
Hmmmm... They may hate me for it, but I'll ask the service guys to check next time I'm in


Thanks for passing this along
 

hoopty_yo

Member
Jun 19, 2013
36
2
Washington State
It seemed to fix the problem, and perhaps I'm imagining it, but also made cornering at high speeds feel more stable.

If it is a sliding adjustment (basically a slot in the sheet metal that gets compressed between the cam and toe link), then it would cause a constant toe change while driving, making it very unstable. So if that is the case, it would in fact, be more stable. You are not imagining things.:smile:
 

sgblank

Member
May 18, 2013
50
124
pescadero, ca
@ dreamin
I'd say the problem was subtle on straight normal freeway driving, but moderate to severe on rapid acceleration.
Also the Model S P85 has a ton of "slop" in handling corners on mountain roads I drive making it unstable at high cornering speeds.

A few data points - I moved from a Porsche Panamera to a P85 Model S, before that I owned a Jaguar XJR.
I don't regret getting the Model S for a second, but the handling on tight curves at high speeds is nowhere near a Porsche. Not even close.
It even feels a bit worse than the Jaguar XJR I had before the Panamera.

This time I was given a P85+ as a loaner and got to drive it for four days. It's too bad the plus+ version wasn't available when I bought my Model S.
My conclusion is the P85+ was the car I thought I was buying when the Model S first came out. It's stability and handling feel way different than the P85 Model S.

Still felt a bit worse than the Panamera on tight mountain curves but really, really good.

Bottom line:
If you're moving up from any standard sedan you're not going to know the difference.
If you're moving from a performance sports sedan the standard or even the Performance Model S may not match your expectations. Get the P85+ Plus version.
 
Last edited:

brianman

Burrito Founder
Nov 10, 2011
17,613
3,210
@ dreamin
I'd say the problem was subtle on straight normal freeway driving, but moderate to severe on rapid acceleration.
Also the Model S has a ton of "slop" in handling corners on mountain roads which I drive making it unstable at high cornering speeds.

A few data points - I moved from a Porsche Panamera to a P85 Model S, the car I owned before that was a Jaguar XJR.
I don't regret getting the Model S for a second, but the handling on tight curves at high speeds is nowhere near a Porsche. Not even close.
It even feels a bit worse than the Jaguar XJR I had before the Panamera.

This time I was given a P85+ as a loaner and got to drive it for four days. It's too bad the performance version wasn't available when I bought my Model S.
My conclusion is the P85+ was the car I thought I was buying when the Model S first came out. It's stability and handling feel way different than the standard Model S.

Still felt a bit worse than the Panamera on tight mountain curves but really, really good.

Bottom line:
If you're moving up from any standard sedan you're not going to know the difference.
If you're moving from a performance sports sedan the standard Model S may not match your expectations. Get the P85+ Performance version.
Point of clarification: For the underlined, I think you mean "Plus" not "Performance". The performance was available from the beginning. In fact it was present on the first two (founders) cars:

  • 5YJSA1DP8CFF00001 Founders' #1, Performance version, 85 kWh battery, Signature Red
  • 5YJSA1DPXCFF00002 Founders' #2, Performance version, 85 kWh battery, Black

Some might argue that #2 actually had the Plus package in prototype form as well, but that wasn't available to "normal" people (Signature and General Production) until a few months ago.


All that said, I agree with on one key point: I thought I was buying the P85+ experience when I bought my sig P85. I'm not crying foul, just saying there's a little dissatisfaction there.
 

rdrcrmatt

Member
Jun 27, 2013
608
38
Milwaukee
I've noticed my P85 is a little unstable on throttle transitions while cornering hard. I've never noticed any odd / loose handing.. Should I bring this up to service? Anyone track the MS or able to comment on this for me?
 

dmunjal

Active Member
Aug 17, 2012
1,191
1,379
I brought my P85 in to Menlo Park service for a couple of issues, one of which was the car swaying from side to side while driving / accelerating.

This was the second service appointment I had asked for this to be looked at, and this time it seems someone in service:
  1. drove and verified the problem
  2. fixed it.

The Cause on the work order says, "Checked suspension components and hardware, found rear upper toe link bolts at steering knuckle are not torqued to specifications"
The Correction says, "Torqued rear toe link bolts to specifications"

It seemed to fix the problem, and perhaps I'm imagining it, but also made cornering at high speeds feel more stable.

I have the exact same problem on my 60 kWh with 9000 miles. I've made a service appointment but it's a month out.
Is it safe to drive when it's exhibiting this behavior? I drive a thousand miles a month but am trying to keep speeds low since it does feel unstable at high speeds.
 

Dreamin

Member
Aug 7, 2013
166
0
SoCal
It sounds like this is exactly what my P85 needs. Do you know what the proper torque specs were?
If those bolts are not torqued properly, the Toe is likely way out of spec (that's what you're feeling). You need to take it to Tesla or an alignment shop and get an alignment and the bolts tightened.
 

Fonzie

Member
Sep 13, 2013
56
4
South FL
I texted my buddy tech at the Tesla service center and he said 140nm or 103 ft lbs.

My toe link bolts were at freakin 50 nm. Barely even on there. I torqued them down to 135nm, they wouldn't go any tighter. Excited to see what kind of impact this has on my issues. Pretty unnerving to think they were so loose.
 

[email protected]

Family, Racing, Karting, MTBing
Sep 25, 2013
919
226
Enschede, NL
Anyone who is torqueing them down: have your alignment checked. You are driving around with a random rear toe setting and you will complain about abnormal tire wear in a few thousand miles.
 

SeminoleFSU

Voluntaryist
Apr 5, 2013
1,472
439
Atlanta, GA
This discussion has really cooled me off on the P85 I was looking to buy... I'm nervous that this is a problem indicative of all Model S's, but exacerbated by the extra torque of the performance package upgrades. Could it be that this is actually a flaw in the design of the S and will slowly get loose on you over time and require constant retightening and realignments? I've read on other threads that there may be a "kit" coming to help with this, has anyone seen anything in that regard?
 

texex91

Banned
Aug 21, 2013
1,581
5
hell
This discussion has really cooled me off on the P85 I was looking to buy... I'm nervous that this is a problem indicative of all Model S's, but exacerbated by the extra torque of the performance package upgrades. Could it be that this is actually a flaw in the design of the S and will slowly get loose on you over time and require constant retightening and realignments? I've read on other threads that there may be a "kit" coming to help with this, has anyone seen anything in that regard?

There is nothing to be concerned about. When you rotate tires (like you would on any car--just have it checked).

If you really think it's an issue (which it's not), get the P+ and the upgraded suspension and handling plant that car to the ground--period.
 

Lawsteve

MCATDT
Aug 12, 2013
741
478
Tampa, FL
Took my P85 in last week with the same issue. They found the alignment to be way out of whack ( and I have less than 500 miles on my car). They ended up doing a full 4 wheel alignment at no charge. Car feels incredibly more stable now.
 

Chipper

Active Member
Sep 23, 2013
1,183
23
Chattanooga, TN
"If you really think it's an issue (which it's not), get the P+ and the upgraded suspension and handling plant that car to the ground--period."

We could probably reduce TEX's posts by a considerable margin if someone would sneak in and remove the + key from his keyboard!!!
:tongue:
 

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