Increasing suspension travel and/or lifting (was: Model 3 Offroaders!)

c2c

Active Member
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
189
Location
Seattle, WA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
I finally got around to getting my lift kit installed on Dec 4. Before hand, I did an 78.5 mile out and back trip, at between 70 and 80 mph, depending on if the speed limit was 60 or 70 respectively. I used enhanced autopilot to make my speeds repeatable.

Then early Wednesday I did the same trip, but after the car was 1.5 inches taller.
The average was 345 Whr/mile not lifted, and about 375 Whr/mile when lifted.
So, almost a 10% hit in performance.
This is Acceptable in my mind. I work from home. Most miles are urban/suburban.
The kWh on Dec 4 was 27, and on Dec 5 was 30. 2 significant digits should not impress you.

While increased ground clearance is swell, and maybe more room for bigger tires is possible, my primary desire was easier entry into the cabin.
I found the 1.5 inches very worthwhile. I am 6'4" and getting old, so a low car is noticable.
Other adults in my family, who rode before and after the lift, noticed the improved entry and exit.

I am in my 60’s and not quite as capable as in my 20s and 30s. Plus, my good friend Michele (a racing enthusiast ) pointed out that my cornering technique was on par with early drivers ed candidates. And the world is a better place when I keep my Model 3 in Chill mode about 97% of the time. Thus, there will be no high speed cornering, or performance starting or stopping. I must say, I notice no difference in the handling.

Bottom line: I'm not going back.
Happy knees offset any concerns of range.
Be good to your knees. You will miss them when they go.
I recommend other owners consider making the change.
At least until air shocks or the model Y is out.

More details:

I had seen Mountain Pass Performance run a Model 3 after lowering the suspension. So I reached out to MPP if they could lift the car. In the name of science. They worked things out, fabricated the parts, and I got my kit. I waited until my tires needed their first rotation at 6500 miles

Bob at Clark’s Wheel Alignment, in Kirkland (ancestral home of Costco) made the change. Wonderful experience. But a few days before the lift, Bob rotated my tires. He also measured my 19” tires tread depth. Three were 7 mm, one was 8 mm. Not bad. And Bob evenly inflated my tires to 42 psi as read on the dash.

The out and back circuit ran from exit 195 to exit 232 on Interstate 5, in Washington State. I ran this path starting at 4am on calm dry nights. I set Auto pilot to 70 mph in the 60, and 80 in the 70 speed zones. Traffic was very light. There were a couple of momentary situations where traffic slowed down. But it was about the same on each night. Both nights I stopped at the Shell station near the supercharger for a beverage. I did not charge on either night. It was just a landmark.

Tire tread temperature measured at about 54 deg F, using an infrared thermometer purchased at a hardware store. Interesting thing is that the temp on the top of the tire was about 5 degrees more than the tread at the front and back of the tire. I can’t explain it, I just recorded it.
20181204
Left Rear Left Front Right Front Right Rear
Front 47.8 50.5 53.9 55.9
Top 54.5 54.1 54.1 59.1
Back 50.1 52.3 52.3 51.6

The numbers for the 12/5 run were very similar. The temp accounts for tire rolling resistance performance. So I say no difference.

I should add that after the Lift installation, Bob did top up the tires so they accually read 44 psi for the lifted run. But since the Lifted run consumed about 375 Whr/mile vs. 345 Whr/mile unlifted, the higher pressure does not seem to exaggerate the performance difference.

Barometric Pressure was 29.91 on Dec 4 and 30.37 on Dec 5 as read from my weather station carried in the car.

The run on Dec was actually 78.7 miles, 0.2 further. The gas station where I recorded ending values on Dec 4 was very full of cars on Dec 5 at 5:30 am. Who knew?

When I get time I will do some coasting tests in the Lifted configuration. I did the tests in the unlifted configuration on Dec 1. But these take more preparation, and other priorities grew with the season. (“Yes, Dear”) But I will do them when conditions are similar. In this, I start at about 600 MSL stopped on a slope. Put it into neutral and coast. I typically exceed 70 mph at the bottom of the hill. Then I note the location where the car stops. Also, I have an HD camera video recording at 25 frames per second the entire run. I hope to be able to do some “dx/dt” measurements, frame by frame, of location, speed and deceleration, so I can calculate the change in the coefficient of drag with more wheel well exposed.

In theory, the line stripes are 10 feet long with 30 foot gaps, but I suspect our public servants are not very precise.

I also tried to a coast-down by traveling at 70 and then shift into neutral (up on the stalk for 2 seconds) but I found it very difficult to predict where Neutral made its appearance. So I am skeptical of this method.

If you want to know what the lift feels like when entering or exiting, pull the front wheels onto a curb cut of a driveway. With the rear wheels still on the road, the road next to the curb is about the right distance.

Photos are of my front drivers wheel before and after, showing 28.5 inches and 30.0 inches.
My neighbor’s Midnight Silver is All Wheel Drive, while my Blue is Rear Wheel Drive. Both have 19” wheels. Unless right next to each other, I hardly notice.
20181204_160156-jpg.19607
20181218_102358-jpg.19608
20181204_090814-jpg.19606
 

Oyster Bait

Active Member
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2018
Messages
78
Location
Florida
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
@c2c, mind telling us what components the lift kit from Mountain Pass consisted of?

Thanks for the thorough, well written review!
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2018
Messages
20
Location
Sisters, Oregon
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
My Mountain Pass Performance lift kit has been installed by Suspension Specialties in Bend, Oregon! I love it! More pictures and comments below:


Here is a picture (more available on Suspension Specialties' website: http://www.suspension-specialties.com/ after and before:

ss-front-jpg.20296



The lift provides 7 inches of clearance under the Model 3, with the exception of some points that drop down below that such as the sway bars.

side-jpg.20297



The yellow box below was able to slide in under the front with 1/2 inches of clearance. The box is 6 1/2 inches high. As you can see the front sway bars drop below that a bit and the box wasn't able to slip under it, so I think 6 inches of clearance can be expected under the sway bars.


box-jpg.20298


More measurements:


front-tire-full-jpg.20299


front-tire-jpg.20300



In terms of handling, it seemed just as good as before. The ride height is so much better. I can see more of the road. It is way easier getting in and out of the vehicle. I'm used to driving a subaru, and this feels more like that, but better because I'm driving a Tesla!

Thank you Mountain Pass Performance!
 
Last edited:

c2c

Active Member
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
189
Location
Seattle, WA
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
I’m a little confused. My max wheel well height is an even 30 inches off the ground, with the MPP kit.
Yours looks like it is 29.5 inches. You have the 18 stock wheels. I have the 19 inch wheels.
I have not concerned myself with the ground clearance.

I do wonder how much larger a tire I can run, since I don’t have to worry about the tire going up into the fender. I think the rear tire could have a couple more inches of diameter. Maybe some room for the front tire, too, but steering might raise new issues.
 

MountainPass

Top-Contributor
Joined
May 15, 2018
Messages
463
Location
Toronto, Ontario
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
I’m a little confused. My max wheel well height is an even 30 inches off the ground, with the MPP kit.
Yours looks like it is 29.5 inches. You have the 18 stock wheels. I have the 19 inch wheels.
I have not concerned myself with the ground clearance.

I do wonder how much larger a tire I can run, since I don’t have to worry about the tire going up into the fender. I think the rear tire could have a couple more inches of diameter. Maybe some room for the front tire, too, but steering might raise new issues.
Your kits are identical, so it is likely the difference in overall tire diameter! To let everyone know we are having another 5 kits made, and 3 are spoken for. Let us know if you want one!
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2018
Messages
20
Location
Sisters, Oregon
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
@c2c thanks for pointing that out! I removed all my cold weather recovery gear from the frunk and removal of the extra weight brought it up to 29 3/4. Now I did check a tire size calculator and your 19 inch wheels are ever so slightly bigger, but not enough to account for 1/4 inch. But I do notice that your picture of the yardstick shows it is not flat up against the vehicle and is also tilted slightly to one side. That might account for the extra 1/4 inch. In any case, they're close.

You could probably put a tire with an extra inch easily on the back, although the front tire is limited by the control arm. It would be nice to know if anyone out there has put on any larger tires on the front wheel, just to see how they fit. I am not sure you could put a tire with an extra inch on the front, as it would be very close tolerance there. But maybe. That would make for 8 inches of clearance with the lift.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2018
Messages
20
Location
Sisters, Oregon
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
Just finished a trip with my lift over the Santiam Pass from Central Oregon to Portland and back, over 300 miles. Average Wh/mi was 289. That took me from 3200 feet to 4,800 feet in the pass down to 50 feet in Portland, through windy roads with few passing lanes requiring some acceleration to pass slow moving cars. Seems pretty decent to me. I think that generally keeps with my recollection on past trips over to Portland and back. So I think that unless you're going 70 or 80 miles an hour and therefore will lose some significant economy from a higher stance, most driving won't result in any lower economy with this Mountain Pass Performance lift.
 

MountainPass

Top-Contributor
Joined
May 15, 2018
Messages
463
Location
Toronto, Ontario
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
Just finished a trip with my lift over the Santiam Pass from Central Oregon to Portland and back, over 300 miles. Average Wh/mi was 289. That took me from 3200 feet to 4,800 feet in the pass down to 50 feet in Portland, through windy roads with few passing lanes requiring some acceleration to pass slow moving cars. Seems pretty decent to me. I think that generally keeps with my recollection on past trips over to Portland and back. So I think that unless you're going 70 or 80 miles an hour and therefore will lose some significant economy from a higher stance, most driving won't result in any lower economy with this Mountain Pass Performance lift.
Thank you for your detailed post, it is very interesting to know the impact of ride height on efficiency. We haven't heard much as far as improving the efficiency when lowered, since most people run aftermarket wheels too.
 

MichelT3

Love those Aero's!
Moderator
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2016
Messages
1,372
Location
Netherlands
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
@KarenRei I'm reading this thread with interest. Although I've just gotten to page 5. So maybe what I want to say is nothing new to you. Yet I'm very impressed by the Rivian T1 and S1. They are costly but seem to offer exactly what you want.
In this Fully Charged show they are covered very nice.
 

MichelT3

Love those Aero's!
Moderator
TOO Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2016
Messages
1,372
Location
Netherlands
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
No. We want a Model 3. Period. And there is nothing at all wrong with modifying a car aftermarket to make it suit your needs better. A large percentage of Model 3 owners are doing so to varying degrees. Yet people who want to raise the car seem to be the only ones who ever get any hate about it.

I don't want a non-Tesla.
I don't want a giant vehicle.
I don't want a vehicle with inferior or older tech.
I don't want an inefficient, high-drag vehicle.

I want a Model 3. Period. I just want to raise it, in the same manner that many want to lower it.
Okay of course if that's what you want.
I understand going for a BEV. That's why I suggested the Rivian BEV's. They are very promising. But no Tesla, and no Model 3.
 

porschen

New Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2018
Messages
1
Location
Bay Area
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
Most people are looking for the option to "lower" the Model 3 but I am looking for the opposite to provide more ground clearance. Tesla's "air suspension" option is for "performance model" only. Any suggestion from experts here?
 

Major Victory

Active Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
41
Location
Florida
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
Most people are looking for the option to "lower" the Model 3 but I am looking for the opposite to provide more ground clearance. Tesla's "air suspension" option is for "performance model" only. Any suggestion from experts here?
Start at the top of this page and read about a 1.5" suspension lift kit available.
 

orekart

Active Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
87
Location
Reno
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
Winter storms hit near my area and sent quite a lot of water through the valley where I live, saturating the ground and washing out sections of road. Video from this morning leaving home:


Thankfully the 20-in deep washed out sections of road have been graded sometime in the weeks since the last big storm cycle. There is yet one smaller washout in the road which I have tried a few times on the stock 18-in Aero rims and tires, however I think that is just not wise to keep trying.
 

MountainPass

Top-Contributor
Joined
May 15, 2018
Messages
463
Location
Toronto, Ontario
Tesla Owner
Model 3
Country
Country
Winter storms hit near my area and sent quite a lot of water through the valley where I live, saturating the ground and washing out sections of road. Video from this morning leaving home:


Thankfully the 20-in deep washed out sections of road have been graded sometime in the weeks since the last big storm cycle. There is yet one smaller washout in the road which I have tried a few times on the stock 18-in Aero rims and tires, however I think that is just not wise to keep trying.
Your driveway is not sports car friendly!