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Vulnerable to crosswinds on highway? NOT!

Duckjybe

Member
Mar 29, 2012
815
189
Ontario, Canada
Ok more good news. I took off my winter tires and put on the factory 21" rims with Continentals and had an alignment done. The car is much better in the wind. Not perfect but much better. It was all over the road before in high winds with the Hakkapalita R's. Now I can feel the wind push the car but it tracks pretty straight instead of wandering.
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,867
Toronto, ON
Ok more good news. I took off my winter tires and put on the factory 21" rims with Continentals and had an alignment done. The car is much better in the wind. Not perfect but much better. It was all over the road before in high winds with the Hakkapalita R's. Now I can feel the wind push the car but it tracks pretty straight instead of wandering.

Do you attribute that to the tires or the alignment? Asking because I have the 19's with the Goodyear All-Seasons (will get winters next season) but find the car is very susceptible to crosswinds and is generally "wobbly" on the freeway even without winds.
 

Duckjybe

Member
Mar 29, 2012
815
189
Ontario, Canada
Do you attribute that to the tires or the alignment? Asking because I have the 19's with the Goodyear All-Seasons (will get winters next season) but find the car is very susceptible to crosswinds and is generally "wobbly" on the freeway even without winds.

Its probably the difference in summer tires over snow tires but I don't know for sure. The tech said the camber alignment was off quite a bit, although it wasn't pulling much. The steering wheel was slightly off centre, although it is now slightly off centre in the other direction so I may take it back.
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,867
Toronto, ON
The tech said the camber alignment was off quite a bit, although it wasn't pulling much. The steering wheel was slightly off centre, although it is now slightly off centre in the other direction so I may take it back.

Did Tesla do the alignment at the SC or farm it out? I have mentioned the wobbliness in another thread, and it was suggested that I find an alignment shop that caters to high end cars and have it checked out. My car doesn't pull at all, and the wheel is perfectly centered, but others have said it still could be an alignment issue.

It's not horrible or anything, but most definitely worse than my 4-year old Cadillac (that had never had an alignment) was. I'm debating taking it in now or just waiting for my first maintenance appointment to bring it up.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,631
22,276
Texas
Did Tesla do the alignment at the SC or farm it out? I have mentioned the wobbliness in another thread, and it was suggested that I find an alignment shop that caters to high end cars and have it checked out. My car doesn't pull at all, and the wheel is perfectly centered, but others have said it still could be an alignment issue.

A car can track straight, have the steering wheel centered and still have very poor alignment. Unfortunately, many shops that do alignment don't really know anything about alignment other than to read the machine (which may not be calibrated properly). If the shop asks "which way does it pull", run--don't walk--away. There are five alignment angles:

1. Toe. The inward or outward angle of the tire when looking down on the car. This is generally considered the most important angle because tire wear, range, and pulling to one side can all be caused by poor toe. DIY: Check for feathering by running the palm of your hand across the tread (both inwards and outwards) and feeling if both ways feel the same or if one way is smooth and the other rough.

2. Camber. The inward or outward angle of the tire when looking from the front or rear of the car. This is generally considered a non-wearing angle but incorrect camber will accentuate problems with the other angles. It can also cause instability in cross winds if it's uneven from side to side.

3. SAI (aka KPI). Steering axis inclination. The inward or outward angle of the ball joints when looking from the front or rear of the car. This angle provides low speed stability. Generally not adjustable. Damage or wear on the bushings can cause this angle to be incorrect.

4. Caster. The forward or backward tilt of the ball joints when looking from the side of the car. This angle provides stability at high speeds. Too much and there can be vibration, too little and the car won't track well. The faster you travel the more this angle takes affect.

5. Toe out on turns. The additional amount that the inner wheel turns as compared to the outer wheel. This angle reduces wear when turning. It is adjusted by changing the length of the steering arms.

Other terms you may hear:

Included angle: The sum of the camber and SAI.

Thrust angle: How straight the back axle is relative to the front axle.

FWIW, I took my 2004 Prius in at 600 miles because it was wandering in high crosswinds. The camber was out and correcting it fixed the stability (at least in cross winds up to 50 mph--never drove under higher conditions). I don't understand why alignment isn't part of the pre-delivery service as alignment often gets out of adjustment during transport, but it's not.
 

JRP3

Hyperactive Member
Aug 20, 2007
19,788
44,416
Central New York
I don't understand why alignment isn't part of the pre-delivery service as alignment often gets out of adjustment during transport, but it's not.
What would cause alignment to be off from riding on a transport? Other new cars don't usually need alignment when arriving at the dealer, do they?
 

GSP

Member
Dec 28, 2007
2,566
797
In addition to Jerry's comprehensive list of things to check, don't forget to do the same checks for the rear wheels. Also, have the suspension checked for defective parts by a expert.

GSP
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,631
22,276
Texas
What would cause alignment to be off from riding on a transport? Other new cars don't usually need alignment when arriving at the dealer, do they?

Yes, they do. Cars get knocked out of alignment and tires get damaged during transport. Also a certain percentage of cars leave the factory with poor alignment. I don't know of any make of car where 100% of the cars arrive with good alignment. Sure, it's likely a small percentage (although it was 100% of the last three cars I've purchased), but it's not zero and alignment should really be verified before delivery.

The mechanism for getting out of alignment during transport is usually hitting the stops and or rails too hard and improper tie downs. The transport folks get paid by how fast they do things. In some cases the car carriers just have a poor design or are designed for a different kind of vehicle.
 

Duckjybe

Member
Mar 29, 2012
815
189
Ontario, Canada
Did Tesla do the alignment at the SC or farm it out? .

The Toronto SC does not have an alignment machine so they farm it out to a local place called Right Tech. They said they have done a whole bunch of Roadsters and Model S.

Should I take my car back because the steering wheel is still slightly offset? Jerry33?
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,631
22,276
Texas
The Toronto SC does not have an alignment machine so they farm it out to a local place called Right Tech. They said they have done a whole bunch of Roadsters and Model S.

Should I take my car back because the steering wheel is still slightly offset? Jerry33?

There is no reason to accept a steering wheel that's not straight. However, it might mean that you got a junior when your last alignment was done.
 

AudubonB

One can NOT induce accuracy with precision!
Mar 24, 2013
8,096
27,010
Spectacularly high-quality information throughout this entire thread. Thank you all for your inputs.

I'd be all ears to hear perceptions of handling during high crosswinds - you I-80 Wyoming types, for example :crying: - where you altered driving mode from sport to comfort to standard.

/Signed,
/still​Tesla-less in AK......
 

lolachampcar

Well-Known Member
Nov 26, 2012
5,158
2,434
WPB Florida
If not already posted, Dania Beach has an alignment rack (so I am told but have an appointment to be on it on Thursday so I can confirm).

MS uses near zero toe front and rear (amount both tires point in from dead straight) to reduce rolling resistance. This will tend to increase a car's willingness to follow things like rain grooves in highway pavement.
 

Elshout

Member
Feb 3, 2013
123
1
Novato
No crosswind stability problems, in fact, in a crosswind, the Model S is better than my Mercedes S550. I have noted, however, that crosswind stability seems to improve when the steering is set to sport​ rather than the two other options.
 

Duckjybe

Member
Mar 29, 2012
815
189
Ontario, Canada
2. Camber. The inward or outward angle of the tire when looking from the front or rear of the car. This is generally considered a non-wearing angle but incorrect camber will accentuate problems with the other angles. It can also cause instability in cross winds if it's uneven from side to side.

The tech said front camber on one side was plus and one was minus (cant remember how much) so could very well have caused my very unstable ride in the wind. That coupled with the snows. Now I won't know what role the winters had until next winter since I am on the summers now.

Since the alignment I am also now getting a loud clicking sound from the steering rack when turning at very low speed in parking lots (there is another thread devoted to this). Apparently a couple others are also having this issue and it is supposedly a matter of resetting bolts. Coincidence?

Thanks Jerry for the info.
 

lolachampcar

Well-Known Member
Nov 26, 2012
5,158
2,434
WPB Florida
Duckjybe,
Is there any chance you can post a screen shot or print out from the alignment machine? I have a camber spread across the car where both rights have higher negative camber than both lefts (-0.8 compared to -1.3) and by the same amount front and back. Having positive camber ANYWHERE on the car would be a huge no no so perhaps your alignment tech was just talking about the spread and not actually having positive camber.
 

JohnQ

Active Member
Jan 1, 2012
1,612
75
Redding, CT
...MS uses near zero toe front and rear (amount both tires point in from dead straight) to reduce rolling resistance. This will tend to increase a car's willingness to follow things like rain grooves in highway pavement.

I can attest to this after driving across a few metal roadways on bridges. I've never had a car dance quite so much.
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,867
Toronto, ON
The Toronto SC does not have an alignment machine so they farm it out to a local place called Right Tech. They said they have done a whole bunch of Roadsters and Model S.

Thanks. I think I'll make an appointment. My Paint Armor is peeling off the lower fascia, so two birds...
 

Duckjybe

Member
Mar 29, 2012
815
189
Ontario, Canada
Duckjybe,
Is there any chance you can post a screen shot or print out from the alignment machine? I have a camber spread across the car where both rights have higher negative camber than both lefts (-0.8 compared to -1.3) and by the same amount front and back. Having positive camber ANYWHERE on the car would be a huge no no so perhaps your alignment tech was just talking about the spread and not actually having positive camber.

I am taking it back so I will ask if they have a record of the last service. I did ask for the standard alignment specs last time but they didnt want to give them to me without Teslas approval, this was a third party garage.
 

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