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Which Model 3 springs for a more comfortable ride?

Discussion in 'Model 3: Driving Dynamics' started by Andrew, Nov 23, 2018.

  1. dfwatt

    dfwatt Active Member

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    Your post raises some interesting issues. it's a bit amazing that people complain about ride with 18s - we have the 20s with a heavier wheel, almost no sidewall, and the car seems to ride really well, all things considered, except over really sharp impacts. However, we did improve all that by dropping some unsprung weight by going to aftermarket 20X9 wheels that were at least a bit better over really rough roads. However, I wonder if your experience raises the possibility that the early models had a different suspension bushing formulation or less isolation, or some other parameter that they changed out early on.

    Have you ridden in a more recent M3 with 20s? If that cars rides better than your car, I would have to wonder if they did something unannounced with tuning of bushing firmness? Some early road tests also commented on the harsh ride as well, again, quite at odds with how our two cars behave. Also, the Pilot Sport 4S on the DMP+ rides amazingly well considering how well it handles. What tire came on the 18 inch aero wheels? Probably one of the MXM variants?

    Did you have a Telsa service person ride with you or drive to get their feedback?
     
  2. dfwatt

    dfwatt Active Member

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    It's TA - Tesla Addiction. :p:p:p:p I have it too. It's spreading like crazy. 12 step program requires that you give up surfing net for more products for M3, including turning in the neat dragy ap I just got to measure 0-60 times on DMP+. ARGGHH!! Perhaps some addictions are worth keeping! :D:D
     
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  3. Ervic

    Ervic Member

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    #23 Ervic, Nov 27, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
    I've had a Civic, Miata, and WRX all lowered with springs and adjustable shocks. I've been pretty happy with the setup on all of them. So when I got my 3, I figured it was time to lower that as well.

    I had the UP moderate springs installed 2 weeks ago on my RWD w/ sport 19's. I've put about 700 miles on them so far. Curves are incredible. I love going through mountain roads with these on.

    Unfortunately in my case, the ride gets jarring when I hit rough roads. Much worse than stock. As a daily driver and one that takes the family on long road trips, it isn't going to work for us. It really gets bad when you load up the car with passengers. Funny thing is that I was concerned with it scraping, but it doesn't scrape even with speed bumps. I think they are actually pretty good springs, but using the stock shocks and bump stops are really preventing it from being comfortable. It sounds like the mild springs are more suited for using the stock bump stops rather than the moderates.

    I just ordered a set of the Mountain Pass Comfort Coilovers. It doesn't have the adjustable dampers like other coilovers but since it's tuned for comfort, then it should be perfect. When I had my adjustable shocks in my last car, once I set it, I never really changed it again. I do like that I will be able to adjust the ride height with the coilovers.

    I've got a road trip planned next month, hopefully the comfort coilovers will be a keeper. I'd hate to switch it all back to stock.
     
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  4. MoreAgain

    MoreAgain Member

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    @Ervic I'd be interested to hear your experience with the Comfort Coilovers from MPP vs. the UP Moderate springs. I'm happy with the UP Mild springs, especially for the price, but would have gone with the Coilovers if I wan't already so over budget with accessories.
     
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  5. cab

    cab Active Member

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    Actually - it would be worth poking your head into the front and maybe rear wheel wells to check out the part numbers on your strut assembles. I see at least 4 different part numbers on the Tesla parts website for the RWD cars for the front strut assemblies (note: one of those could be for the new Mid-range car) and 2 different numbers for the rear strut assemblies. We saw some of this with the Model S - particularly around the time the P85D was first introduced.

    See here for model 3: https://epc.teslamotors.com/#/systemGroups/47401
     
  6. Andrew

    Andrew Model S #6151, Model 3 #1576

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    @dfwatt - I've driven with a service tech, yep. I've asked several times at the Centinela Service Center about any further suspension improvements, and each time they tell me that the "fix" they did back in March was the only thing on the books.

    I don't have the car today, but I'm pretty sure the tires are indeed an MXM variant. I can check later today or tomorrow and confirm.

    @cab - I just pulled up the service receipt from when we had the "suspension fix" done - here are the parts listed... it does indeed look like some have changed! Wonder what the differences are...

    1 - DAMPER ASSY FR LH RWD, COIL E3 (1044364-01-E)
    (the website lists -F)

    1 - DAMPER ASSY FR RH RWD, COIL E3 (1044369-01-E)
    (the website lists -F)

    2 - RR SPRING, COIL 74.7-7250 E3 RWD, E3 DM (1044472-01-D)
    (the website lists -C)

    2 - RR DAMPER ASSY - COIL RWD (1044461-02-C)
    (the website lists -D and -B)

    2 - RR LWR FORE LINK ASSY (1044444-00-A)
    (matches the website, -A)
     
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  7. dfwatt

    dfwatt Active Member

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    #27 dfwatt, Nov 29, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
    Thanks for getting back to me Andrew. I'm still not sure whether you had a chance to ride in or drive one of the newer performance AWD versions. The performance version with the 20 inch wheels w/ Michelin Pilot Sport 4S should not ride as well as a car with 18 inch Aero wheels, and with a lot more sidewall, and less unsprung weight. If a test drive suggests that the AWD with 20s rides better, it's safe to assume they've made some serious changes. At the very least they seem to have done a better job balancing ride and handling in the all-wheel-drive performance versions compared to the first rearwheel drive cars out the door in the beginning of the year.

    It's worth keeping in mind that there are quite a few things that are interacting to produce what we consider a "smooth ride": 1) suspension bushings of various sorts (both within the suspension itself and between the suspension components and the frame/body) – hugely underrated as a factor; 2) spring rates; 3) sidewall and tread characteristics (where identical size tires with identical aspect ratios can have hugely different ride characteristics); 4) Shock absorbers, particularly compression valve characteristics (rebound valving much less so); 5) last but not least unsprung weight – and here's where forged or other more lightweight alloy wheels can pay real benefits. Suspension bushings and side walls are actually most of the time functioning as the true 'shock absorbers', whereas shock absorbers are more functioning as 'oscillation dampeners' and 'load shift resistors'. However if compression valving is set really hard, shock absorbers actually become 'shock transmitters'– particularly if they're interacting with stiff springs, short sidewalls, and hard bushings. As cars age and their suspension and strut bushings become more oxidized, and less flexible, an originally firm riding car now seems to require a kidney belt.

    It's a lot of variables, and of course they're all interactive. In any new car, It's safe to assume that they may not have yet hit optimal tuning, particularly in terms of bushings and their interaction with sidewalls, spring rates, and shock valving. Of course when you consider that you're not simply tuning for the smoothest ride but for the best ride/handling balance, it's obvious there's a boatload of trade-offs and potential optimizations of one variable over another.

    It's very doubtful that you're going to get Tesla to spring (no pun intended) and pay to retrofit whatever changes they might've made to springs or bushings, so what you're left with in terms of tunable variables is unsprung weight (an expensive pathway when you're talking about buying forged wheels to drop a few pounds), shock valving (also not cheap), sidewall and tire characteristics (a tire swap in other words), and changing spring rates. I would definitely consider the 'comfort' springs as people seem to feel these make a difference (but only after you've actually ridden in a car similar to yours with those springs), but I would not neglect the option to go to something like the continental summer tire (Extreme contact or extreme contact DW), which is very comfortable but also really good handling. It probably does not quite have the handling of the new Michelin pilot sport 4S, but it probably rides a little bit better. The Michelin 4S might be overall the best tire in terms of optimizing a balance of performance, handling, ride, and even fuel efficiency (although obviously not as good as the super low rolling resistance MXM tires that come standard on the RWD model). But I think it's an amazing tire that optimizes an awful lot. It is on the other hand not cheap. But good set of those with lightweight alloy wheels is your best way of optimizing both ride and handling without sacrificing too much range.
     
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  8. Trips

    Trips "Boring bonehead questions are not cool. Next?"

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    My August AWD build (VIN 75000) with the 18's is bouncy enough that it almost makes you sick on some roads. If I don't find a fix by May I will be getting something new.
     
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  9. cab

    cab Active Member

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    You would really need a test drive in a car with the later dampers to see if there is a material difference in the current gen dampers relative to yours. Heck, given the rate of change here, I'd practically recommend waiting a bit longer to see if there are even more revisions.

    Back in 2012 we purchased a new Volvo XC60 SUV. It was the R-Design version with the "Sport" suspension. We knew almost immediately the sport suspension was too firm (Volvo, IMO, just got the dampening wrong - compression was way off relative to teh minir gain). Over the first 90 days I paid attention at an excruciating level trying to determine if it was the tires (20" rims on a car which had options all the way down to 17"), front or rear suspension or bushings. I even had the luxury of having a loaner with the base suspension and 17" rims at one point. Ultimately, I determined the majority of the harshness was in the rear suspension. Indeed, I think manufacturers often firm up the rear to address squat and to allow the car to rotate a bit better. The difference between the 17" and 20" rims was surprisingly little in terms of small road imperfections (where a taller sidewall would absorb more). Around 90 days in, I purchased new rear shocks and springs from the base model's touring suspension, and climbed underneath and swapped them out - zero regrets.

    My sensitivity (OK, obsession) to ride/handling BALANCE was one of the things that pushed me toward the sir suspension option on our Model S. I test drove both coil and air cars back to back on the same bumpy stretch of road...I could feel the difference before I ever pulled out of the parking lot.

    I was actually bummed when Elon indicated the dual motor 3s would not get air this year. I do think the dual motor P3 cars ride pretty well, but so much of that comes down to the roads YOU drive on.
     
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  10. gilscales

    gilscales Active Member

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    I Have the LR RWD in the mid 18,000 vin delivered in late april, my brother in law has the P3D+ vin in the 75,000 and his car rides much rougher than mine, you definitely feel the difference, he commented on that as well.
     
  11. MountainPass

    MountainPass Vendor

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    Do you think if you swapped wheels with him, your car would ride the same?
     
  12. Michel3

    Michel3 Love those Aero's

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    We just got confirmation (again) that Smart Air Suspension will come on Model 3 in 2019.
    There are a few test vehicles in The Netherlands now, which will be retrofitted with SAS.

    For me there is no doubt that SAS is more comfortable and also gives better road handling.
    I certainly want to have SAS - if I can afford it.
     
  13. gilscales

    gilscales Active Member

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    I doubt it but we will never know for sure as that is not an option on his end, he treats his car like a display in a museum so I know for a fact he would not be willing to try that!
     
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  14. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

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    If a person not interested in DIY who were to order the springs from, say, Unplugged Performance and this person was nowhere near UP, how would one have the springs installed? Would Tesla do it?
     
  15. kbecks13

    kbecks13 Active Member

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    I highly doubt Tesla would do it, BUT pretty much any other suspension shop or mechanic can do this. It's pretty straightforward and nothing about the Tesla is special compared to other cars in this regard (just make sure they know how to properly lift a Tesla and don't puncture the battery!). This would only take a few hours and probably cost less than $400 to have installed.
     
  16. Jigawatt

    Jigawatt Member

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    I just took delivery Monday of my LR RWD with standard 18" aero wheels vin 122xxx came off the assembly line 10/18 and I have to say, the first thing I noticed when I hit the street out of the lot was how rough the ride was AND road noise. Also, almost seems like the front suspension is flopping around at low speeds but not on highway speeds. Seems. It tight.

    It's going in next week for some finish repairs and this is on the list of things I need them to look at.

    Any advice on how to get this addressed would be appreciated. I am not really familiar with how to approach this type of thing and am concerned I'll be brushed off like 'it is what it' type of situation. I'm really not interested personally in aftermarket suspension mods at this stage and would just like it to ride the the one I test drove which was a LR RWD but may have had different wheels, can't recall.

    And of course I love it anyways lol.
     
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  17. Andrew

    Andrew Model S #6151, Model 3 #1576

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    I think the most important thing is to be nice, and not demanding. Explain what the car feels like, tell them you're disappointed and it seems like something is wrong, and definitely mention that it's very different than the car you test drove. I'm sure they'll at least be happy to look at it and make sure nothing is actually wrong with the car... and then you can go from there.
     
  18. Jigawatt

    Jigawatt Member

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    I agree 100% and am working to get the info added to the appointment. Thank you!

    -
     
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  19. cab

    cab Active Member

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    I don’t know if they transport Tesla’s with shipping blocks in the springs, but you might just poke your head into the wheel wells to see if there are any rubber shipping blocks between the coils of the springs. If they do ship with them, they sometimes forget to remove them. link below has a pic of what they can look like (note: they are usually black vs. the red in the picture below).

    Google Image Result for http://i.imgur.com/YoTbUOA.jpg
     
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  20. SciFriGuy

    SciFriGuy Member

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    I have the same problem with my AWD i got two weeks ago. VIN 103xxx. Please point me to the change in seats, springs that Tesla did as I haven't followed that solution. Thanks.
     

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