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Wow, Roadster very rough - got shocks?

Discussion in 'Roadster: Technical' started by jerry505, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. jerry505

    jerry505 Member

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    Want (ed?) a Roadster, still do I guess, but first test drive, wow, roll over a crease in road and suspension bangs up through thin seat into body with sort of a clank like there are no shocks. Is this something drivers get used to, that they want, or what?
     
  2. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #2 wiztecy, Apr 26, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
    The Roadster is a true sports car with racing roots. It has an aluminum aluminum frame which makes it ride rigid, the car is very low to the ground and has minimal spring travel (especially the rear). With that, that's where the feel comes from with this car. I wouldn't trade it for anything.... you learn how to drive it, to avoid bumps/imperfections in the road, and then it becomes second nature (if you actually use and drive the car like I do). Something as simple as a 1" imperfection or rise a bridge from a road transition can slam the car and actually throw off your alignment (rear toe), these cars are very sensitive to having the alignment correct/true and the majority of the weight is rear focused. I've learned to know where all the bumps are on my commute and very aware to avoid each and every one of them the best I can so I can have the smoothest ride.

    I also replaced my stock non-adjustable shocks with Nitron 1-Way adjustable shocks, the car didn't slam as hard as with the stock shocks, offered tighter / stiffer cornering. Never fails, however, when I take a girl out in the Roadster that they always say that the shocks are broken in my car :)
     
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  3. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    Yeah, like he said. It's built that way on purpose and you get some benefits. But it really is rough and you do adjust your driving to avoid bumps.

    Some cars have an adjustable suspension. I don't have one so I can't say how much it helps.
     
  4. gregd

    gregd Member

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    I don't think that the ride is really all that harsh. Sports car normal, I think. Similar to the Datsun 240Z that I had years ago (including the lack of power steering!). My Integra GS-R is a sporty car, by comparison, not a sports car.

    I do notice that hitting those little lane-separation dots on the road can really make a bang, which I think is more in the noise department (lack of insulation) than the suspension bottoming out.

    The only thing I might be embarrassed about are the creaks and rattles, which sound like the sides are going to fall off. That may just be my car's personality...
     
  5. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    That's more than just noise, that's wheel you're feeling coming up through the car! Those bumps are definitely making a connection with the suspension, it may not be bottoming out, but in my case since my suspension is setup stiff/tight, bumps like those just comes right through the car. I avoid those things like mines, its hard on the car as well as me. Every lane change is calculated with those things.

    If you have the adjustable suspension, you can set it to be softer and have a higher ride height which would help dampen some of these bumps and make the ride more comfy, but you're trading off your handling performance if you do so.

    My car was creak free until this past winter, now the front dash is creaking. I'll have to pull that off one of these days to remedy it, gets to be annoying for sure. But I also have a boat, so I guess I feel at home ...
     
  6. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Most of us like a stiff suspension because the handling is better. In the winter I set the adjustable suspension on the soft side and tighten it up in the summer. Most Lotus variants are even stiffer. The Roadster is a perfect compromise IMO. Stiff enough for good handling while still comfortable for long trips.
     
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  7. Habious

    Habious Member

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    @jerry505, so we can get some comparison...what are you used to driving?

    I know that, coming from like the Lexus SC430, Infiniti G37, Acura, etc...I was surprised as the difference. I always thought that those kinds of cars were "sports cars", but they're "Sports Sedans" or, like @gregd, mentioned, "sporty"...which isn't the same thing.

    The Roadster is based on the Lotus Elise (especially the chassis and suspension), which is a hard-core, bare-bones SPORTS CAR. Handling is their #1 priority in the design. Driver comfort was a distant second (maybe even third).

    Also, which Roadster did you drive? The 1.5s were, I think, a bit "truer"..with less sound deadening. So, they tend to sound louder, and "rattlier" than the 2.0/2/5 variants. But, even the 2.5s (which I have) aren't Lexus smooth and quiet. Also, the seats changed from the 1.5 to the 2.0/2.5 (some say for the better, others disagree)...and that's a factor in the seat-of-your-pants feeling over the bumpy bits.

    However, that direct connection to the road is G-L-O-R-I-O-U-S when you push the car, hard, into the twisty bits. The steering is very direct, and extremely communicative.

    You CAN use the Roadster as your daily-driver, commuter car, highway cruiser, but it's not really made for that. It'll do that, but other cars do that much better. It's a sports car and, as such, is most in its element when you "ride it hard and put it away wet".
     
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  8. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Although I have no fixed commute, on the freeways I travel regularly there a certain spots where I take care to select particular lanes. On the w80 / 280 southbound 2-lane connecter the inner lane has a significant vertical discontinuity that I barely feel in my S but in my Roadster it sounds like a gunshot! So in the Roadster I take the outer lane of that connector and then move inside. It's a great way to pass slowpokes on the inside at the beginning of the curve. :)
     
  9. jerry505

    jerry505 Member

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    I regularly drive a P85D Tesla, but also drive a 1991 Porsche 911 Turbo. I also drove a real 289 Cobra for 27 years.

    Did Tesla purposely engineer a bone-jarring suspension into the chassis to imitate a race car, or does a Lotus Elise drive similar? My understanding is the Roadster is far from a copy of the Elise, especially in rear suspension. I test drove a 2.5 Sport.
     
  10. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    It is very similar to the Elise. It is designed as a sports car. That said the Sports have an adjustable suspension and it may have been set for the track rather than comfort.
     
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  11. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #11 wiztecy, Apr 27, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
    I disagree with part of that since I use mine as my daily 80 mile round trip commuter (and the reason I bought mine). The Roadster was actually created to be that daily commuter really, a sports car commuter. Tesla went after the sports car market since they knew people would pay a premium for a quick car, however, Tesla wanted to make a change in the auto industry, to move people off fossil fuels and show that EVs can be fun, quick, and the perfect commuter vehicle. And I do feel its the best commuting vehicle out there, in part, half of my commute is through crazy windy turns going up and down the Santa Cruz Mountains, the other half is highway. Both of which the Roadster does excellent at. With that, since its a true sports car, one that I've tuned for the roads I drive on (mainly the twisty turns of my commute), I find that its agile handling and performance keeps me safe and away from the daily idiotic drivers we see on the road. Also I enjoy long highway drives in this car, its comfy, can be very smooth if you find the right highway and incredibly enjoyable.

    As for running out to grab milk or something like that and errands around town, well that's where I use my Zero FX Electric motorcycle.

    Its the same control arms/a-arms as the Elise. Almost the same shocks/springs but setup to handle the extra 900lbs the car has gained from the batteries. Tesla didn't imitate a race car. Lotus created the Elise that was based upon race car design/engineering hence the double wishbone suspension and coil-overs to mention a few. Tesla then leveraged off Lotus Engineering to have them build a tub / pilot built to Tesla specs that the Roadster body could be designed/installed on so that they can hit the ground running to build an electric vehicle. Tesla didn't do anything different functionality or really design-wise to the suspension except to beef it up where it needed to be beefed up to handle the additional weight, such as the rear toe links.
     
  12. jerry505

    jerry505 Member

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    @wiztecy
    Good explanation and what I thought, but was not finding what you wrote. A Tesla Roadster, then, is more of a Lotus Elise than I am reading, as I suspected. So, what did Tesla actually engineer? Mostly electrification? Is the Roadster sort of a hybrid in terms of a Lotus Elise with a different motor - motor being electric? I have read where Tesla now believes designing a Roadster from the ground up would have been easier. What Lotus Elise traits - styling and mechanical - compromised this car? I like the idea of a Roadster. I like the look. I want a Roadster, but I want a good and useful EV sports car to drive. With my 289 Shelby Cobra I never could quite distance myself from the AC heritage upon which the Cobra was based even though a version of the Cobra was a winner on the track.
     
  13. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    The Tesla Roadster is approx. 6-8% pure Lotus Elise parts, the rest is Tesla or some modification by Tesla from the Lotus design, for example the wider wheelbase, longer length of the car and lower sills to make it easier to get in / out of the car. When they lowered the sills for comfort and ease, the Roadster lost some of its rigidity and shows some cowling over the Elise when pushing it through turns, the taller the sills the more stable overall the frame will be. There's lots of info on TMC here to discover more about the Roadster, its components, etc. The pure dedicated technology Tesla invested most of its engineering was in the battery technology and ensuring they had that done write and that the overall drive/feel of the EV experience was smooth and exhilarating. I don't think Tesla would be around today if they didn't leverage off of Lotus's already proven design, it was a match made in heaven at that time. Yes, in hindsight anything can be said to be better if certain aspects were changed, but Tesla would not have survived financially if they didn't take this path. One example, the airbag certification. If Tesla had to redo those tests from scratch, that task alone would have pushed out their delivery schedule and the design and testing involved would have amplified the development costs.
     
  14. jerry505

    jerry505 Member

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    The 6-8% pure Lotus Elise parts is deceiving, don't you think, owing to Tesla's use of overall Lotus design and work, like airbag certification to save developmental costs and put Roadster into production? Could be a mute point, I probably need to test drive another Roadster. Maybe the last one had too much air in tires or I need to set expectations at a new level - certainly nothing like an old 240Z, which I've been in, and certainly not, in my opinion "sports car normal." Thanks for all your input.
     
  15. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Jerry, while it certainly wouldn't be a bad idea to test drive a different Roadster, don't expect it to feel much different.

    I owned a 1972 240Z for several years. My memory is that it had a very firm ride, roughly similar to a Roadster but it was a lot quieter going over rough roads and potholes.
     
  16. supersnoop

    supersnoop Tesla Roadster #334

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    There were multiple suspension options for the 2.5. It might be good to check the settings if the car you drove has the adjustable suspension.

    Tesla certainly leveraged Lotus's manufacturing infrastructure, but they re-engineered most of the parts. Where do you draw the line between Tesla and Lotus? Is it only a Tesla part if Tesla did the engineering from zero? If they used Lotus parts as a basis to get started, does that make it a Lotus part? The simple fact that it's a different part seems to make sense to me.
     
  17. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #17 wiztecy, Apr 27, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
    No. Why would you come up with a word like deceiving? They didn't hide anything from anyone, also Tesla documented the Roadster build process as they were moving along in a blog, so there was no deceit I can think of.

    Mythbusters Part 2: The Tesla Roadster is not a Converted Lotus Elise

    Other car companies do the same thing that Tesla did!

    "For comparison, Lamborghini cars share upwards of ten percent of their parts content with Audi cars. I can only guess what the number is between Ford cars and their high end Aston Martin and Jaguar brands."

    Other companies have leveraged off of Lotus's engineering and infrastructure such as Opel.

    "The reason we carried over these parts of the car was to avoid the onerous development and safety costs associated with passenger safety and airbag testing of a new design. Lotus had already successfully designed and tested the interior passenger compartment with the Elise and carrying it over made financial sense.

    Lotus is also an "Engineering" for hire company. They sell their knowledge and expertise to anyone who wants to purchase it."

    Note that Tesla had taught Lotus many things about making cars and how to improve upon what they already had, so the relationship worked well both ways.

    Also keep in mind that the Tesla Roadster is basically skating the edge of a prototype vehicle for EVs.

    I've always found Tesla to be an astonishing engineering company and pulling off something like the Roadster, quite an engineering feat.
     
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  18. jerry505

    jerry505 Member

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    Sorry, didn't mean deceiving by Tesla, I mean the statement of 6-8% are pure Lotus parts, as re-designed parts initially were Lotus. As you wrote, "Its the same control arms/a-arms as the Elise. Almost the same shocks/springs" seems to add up to more Lotus than 6-8%, plus the airbags and more.
     
  19. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    #19 dhrivnak, Apr 27, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
    You are both right as Elon wanted the car a little wider 1" and the sill plates a little lower so much of the Elise frame and body panels are slightly different. So few of the parts are truly interchange able but they look very similar and most were redesigned by Lotus. But the battery and drivetrain are pure Tesla.
     
  20. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #20 wiztecy, Apr 27, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
    @jerry505 - Ohhh, gotcha :) Understood and thanks for clarifying.

    In that blog link Tesla discusses about the percentages:
    "In fact, we recently counted how many parts the two cars shared and the total number was under 7% by parts count. If you were to analyze it by parts value, the number would be even smaller."

    But its hard to grasp or gauge how they're measuring that. I'm sure the modified Lotus parts by Tesla are counted as a Tesla part. Honestly to me it seems like the percentage is higher, but its just on the surface it looks that way. Once you start breaking things down part by part I can see the 7%.

    Also looks like the wheelbase of the Elise is 90.6" whereas the Tesla Roadster is 92.6", so 2" wider overall and 1" wider per side.

    Here's another (tesla blog) history link on the Tesla/Lotus relationship as well as who's parts are where/what they are:
    Lotus Position

    To bring the thread back to the original thread issue of a harsh ride, the Roadster is still considered a light car even though its 900lbs heavier than the Elise. With that bumps I feel become pronounced. Heavier cars tend to dampen the noise and bumps quite a bit, but as we know extra weight greatly reduces your handling performance.
     

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