Lowering your Model 3. experiences, feedback, satisfaction

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#1
Hi everyone.

Been lurking on this forum since November but this is my first time posting. I just got done lowering my Model 3 using unplugged performance Moderate springs. I just wanted to see what everyone else experienced as far as expectations, ride quality, hiccups during installation, tips, and issues.

My installation experience:

Using the Unplugged Performance installation PDF, I did the installation myself. Overall, it was not too difficult for someone who has moderate wrenching experience. If you have never worked on suspension I would not recommend this as a DIY. The only part I had to get professional help was the decompression, removal, and installation of the spring onto the front strut. One helpful tip, on #10 of the removal process, the Unplugged Performance PDF simply states to remove the nut and bolt that clamps the upper control arm. I did that with the suspension fully extended(decompressed) and had a difficult time removing the bolt out of the clamp position. Even with the nut off, I had to turn the bolt counter clockwise until it came out. However, because there was tension on the bolt from the suspension being decompressed, I stripped the threads on the bolt. So here's the actual tip. Using a jack, put compression under the front suspension until the bolt simply pulls out using your hand's strength, jiggle it if you have to. The compression will release any tension on the bolt. with the bolt removed, the ball joint and clamp should separate with little to no force. I'm warning you now because I am in need of this bolt and Tesla does not have it in their parts catalog so my case has been escalated up to the Regional Parts Manager. Its been over a week and they have not been able to source this bolt. You Have Been Warned haha.

I would also suggest removing enough of the inner fender liner to have enough space to pull out the entire strut assembly. Trust me, you will thank me for it.


The rears springs were very easy and took me 20 minutes for the first rear spring and 3 minutes for the second rear spring after figuring how it worked. With the 2 bolts removed, literally just use your feet to press down on the control arm and yank out the spring. I pulled out the rubber pads and swapped them onto the new spring before I installed the spring/pads as a unit.
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The look:
Badass. The stance is perfect for my taste especially with the stock 18" wheels.

How does it drive and ride:
hrmmmmm....So take this with a grain of salt. After completing my installation, I didn't drive my Model 3 for over a week while waiting for that bolt(see above). However, I just drove my car tonight and I did notice some things different, but then again it could be all in my head...which is why I made this thread so I can get others' reaction and feedback.

I drove my car mildly for 45 minutes over various roads around my neighborhood including smooth roads, crap roads, small speed bumps and large bumps. The ride quality doesn't seem any softer than stock. If anything, i feel like the ride has slightly deteriorated. The oem ride was very firm, but damped bumps well whereas the lowering springs has a slight harshness upon initial impact of the bump that jitters the car around. I noticed my interior seems less tight in terms of creaks and rattles. Also, I believe there is more tire noise and my theory is because the lowering caused the camber to be negative, there is more force on the inner tread wall causing more tire roar from the tread blocks.

And I guess my biggest issue/concern is the rear end makes a tapping sound coinciding with small bumps in the road at low speed. This is weird to me because the front is much more complicated to work on than the rear yet the front end suspension is completely silent free from creaks or rattles. The tap sound is not there at high speeds, only low speed and low compression of the suspension. It is possible with the lowering springs, the coils themselves are coming in contact resulting in the sound. I'll have to investigate more.

Steering
The steering seems to react with sharper turn in almost as if the ration became tighter. Surprisingly, my alignment doesn't feel very off. The steering wheel stays straight with only a very minuscule pull to the left.

I'll give the suspension a few more days and miles to settle in before committing. I will say the car feels a bit like a tuner car in terms of new interior noise which I'm not sure I want. Is anyone else experiencing the same thing with their "Moderate" springs?










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Update 8/12 after several thousand miles
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Hi everyone! Life took over and i got super busy so I haven't been following the threads and wow! there have been a lot of new developments. I wanted to give my updated feedback on my Unplugged Moderate Springs impressions after having them for a few months and few road trips now. This is purely my observation and since OEM and aftermarket tweaks have been made since my original post, some facts may be incorrect and your results may differ.

Quick Refresher:
1. I have an early Model 3 taken delivery in late Decemeber 2017. Its VIN 1531. I presume I have the 1.0 factory springs.
2. I have an early batch Moderate UP lowering springs.

The Look:
Still looks awesome but I do agree that the reverse rake seems a bit off. The appearance doesn't bother me as much as the functionality.

The Functionality:
Being lowered, the egress and ingress is definitely more difficult. I feel like I fall into the seat and then climb out like I'm climbing out of a collapsed lawn chair (humor).

I also scrap even despite owning lowered cars in the past and an acura NSX. Oddly, its my rear end that scraps over california speed bumps even at idle speeds. The little air deflector just in front of the rear wheels scrap all the time.

I'm not a super heavy individual at 189lbs (on a good day lol) @ 6' and with my significant other in the car, I sometime bottom out the suspension travel when the battery pack right underneath my drivers seat touches the sped bump even at low speeds. Its annoying.

The Ride Quality:
Well.....spoiler alert, I'd like to go back to stock, maybe. (hopefully OEM 2.0)

The first several miles felt decent. I honestly didn't notice a huge improvement in ride quality over larger bumps. I actually felt like the lowering springs made the ride more twitchy. Let me elaborate. Right outside my neighborhood there is a long piece of rural undulating road where I often do full acceleration up to 70mph. (its not dangerous). The road surface isn't full of crack or potholes but more wavy. With the OEM 1.0, I can confidently accelerate up to 70 with firm but controlled body movement. It never once felt unsettling. With the UP Moderate springs, the rear end felt loose and unstable and a bit bouncy. On several other instances, the bypass between Sacramento and Davis on I-80 (locals should know exactly what I'm referring too) the ride becomes very bounce like a tuner car(rice bounce). Like someone on this thread said, there simply is not enough travel for the suspension to articulate the real world imperfections. Again, I have the early batch everything so your impressions may vary.

While the bounce was annoying, I could deal with it. I do feel the 1.0 dampers are under damped for lowering application. Over time and miles, i sense the ride quality has diminished as the dampers are wearing in a lowered position for which they were not designed for. During hard freeway impacts such as expansion joints with elevation differences, the suspension compression gives a harsh, crashing like sensation that was absent with the OEM suspension. At times it's almost spine shattering and feels like my old school modified BMW with firm polyurethane bushings. I would say this is the biggest turn off. I can deal with the slow speed bumps and occasional scraps but the defeats the purpose. How are the revised UP Moderate springs?

The Ride Noise:
It seems like there is more road noise coming into the cabin. Also, the rear end makes tapping noises over certain smaller, minimum compression bumps as if the car had a failed ball joint or failed strut mount(same kind of sound) I've had the rear springs removed and installed twice but the noise still persists.

Support from Unplugged Performance:
This part is interesting. So remember the picture UP posted showing a properly installed spring versus an improperly installed spring? The proper one had the lower coils separated with even spacing which the improper springs had coil bind where the coils would touch effectively making the dual rate design irrelevant. I voiced this concern and they said mine didn't look so bad and that it doesn't effect the functionality of the spring. In a nutshell, they seemed to have turned back on their original description. Check out the pictures I uploaded labeled "AUG UPDATE" It clearly shows the 1, the strut is off center relative to the springs, and 2, the spring is bowed, and 3, I believe the cause is because the top of the UP coil ends at a different spot on the strut mount when compared to OEM springs which probably resulted in the bow and uneven spring compression...leading to noises and mediocre spring performance.

So i'm kinda stuck, I want a slightly lowered look but the side effects of modification doesn't justify the loss of driving pleasure. I'm thinking I'll go back to stock but with the 2.0 OEM suspenion update. Hopefully, I can source a mild, single rate lowering kit that will compliment the revised 2.0 dampers better.

What have you guys been experiencing? any new aftermarket developments? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers,



AUG UPDATE 1.jpg IMG_0708.JPG IMG_0760.JPG IMG_0761.JPG IMG_0765.JPG IMG_0766.JPG IMG_0768.JPG IMG_0334.jpg AUG UPDATE 1.jpg AUG UPDATE 2.jpg IMG_0708.JPG IMG_0760.JPG IMG_0761.JPG IMG_0765.JPG IMG_0766.JPG IMG_0768.JPG IMG_0334.jpg
 
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SoFlaModel3

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#2
Welcome to the Forum. Great first post, that looks awesome!!
 

Skione65

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@jackson hui,

Excellent write up! Especially for those looking to undertake this project whether it be themselves or having someone do the exchange. Wish I could say more alas I don’t have my 3 yet! Awaiting AWD in the fall. As you mentioned maybe others who have made the mod (and there are quite afew) can chime in relating their thoughts and opinions.

Ski
 

bobbymo

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#4
Great thread, I'm curious about these same things. I wonder if anyone had installed the coilovers from unplugged? Though much more expensive, they may achieve the ride quality and lowering desired?
 
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teslarob

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#5
Great write up! I've got the same springs on my vehicle, and also notice a funny noise from the rear. Still haven't looked into it yet though. As far as ride is concerned, mine rides at least as good as stock in the front. Mine is a very early build, so had the stiffer OE suspension. The rear I can't get a handle on - seems to be a bit bouncy or underdamped. Which is frustrating, because the stock setup felt way overdamped in the rear! Overall I'm happy with them, but guess I'm getting old, as I'm having second thoughts as to whether I should have just gotten the mild setup, or swapped for the stock softer setup. It sure does handle well and feel great in the curves though, and looks great (also on 18" Aeros).

20180506-IMG_3141.jpg
 
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#6
Great write up! I've got the same springs on my vehicle, and also notice a funny noise from the rear. Still haven't looked into it yet though. As far as ride is concerned, mine rides at least as good as stock in the front. Mine is a very early build, so had the stiffer OE suspension. The rear I can't get a handle on - seems to be a bit bouncy or underdamped. Which is frustrating, because the stock setup felt way overdamped in the rear! Overall I'm happy with them, but guess I'm getting old, as I'm having second thoughts as to whether I should have just gotten the mild setup, or swapped for the stock softer setup. It sure does handle well and feel great in the curves though, and looks great (also on 18" Aeros).

View attachment 8836
Interesting, how early is your build? Mine is #1531. Does that mean I have the stiffer stock springs?

BTW, if you're ever in the sacramento area i'd love to test out each others cars for comparison.

Cheers
 
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#7
Just wanted to jump in with my observations after driving about two months with the moderate unplugged performance. I do like the looks, the way it rides. The only concern that I have is the ground clearance which at the rear wheel you can measure it to about 3 inches. You will have to adjust how you will deal with the speed bumps (drive very slow) or any steep roads.
 

teslarob

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#9
Interesting, how early is your build? Mine is #1531. Does that mean I have the stiffer stock springs?

BTW, if you're ever in the sacramento area i'd love to test out each others cars for comparison.

Cheers
Mine is #735. Vehicles built before some date in late December will have the stiffer setup, not sure the exact day though. I don't usually head up that way, but maybe you can come down for the June meet in Concord? https://model3ownersclub.com/threads/bay-area-meetup-concord-supercharger-june-17.6698/
 
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#10
@oneshortguy I'll have to check it out. I called Unplugged and they suggested the same thing. I can see where the binding issue could occur on the front units but the rears are so straight forward. Nonetheless, I'll report back after this weekend.

@teslarob awesome I'm interested in meeting up
 
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#11
Thanks for the write up! I have ordered Moderate springs too. But they have not arrived yet. I plan to do the install myself and have spring compressors. But perhaps it would be safer if I paid a shop to decompress and install the new springs. May I ask how much you paid to decompress the old springs and install the new springs for the fronts?
 

Ken Voss

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#12
Anyone thinking about this as a DIY project, the rear may be OK but I would caution you about the front, not that you will screw it up as much as your safety. If you don't have the right tools and if you haven't done this before you should think twice. ....... take a look at this video

 

ghoticov

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#13
A buddy told me the Unplugged Springs in their 3 tend to bind at the bottom (where the stiffer rate is at) and UP blamed it on incorrect installation. He told me it's a known issue among owners who have the springs, too. Is it possible you have this problem?
How would you know if the springs are binding?

I just installed the UP moderate springs this week and I really like them. I do not feel I can tell any difference in the ride. My VIN is #89 so I know I have the first version of the stock springs and again, I cannot feel much of a difference in the ride overall. The only thing I do feel is maybe it feels tighter in corners and that could be because of the dual rate springs and/or it being lowered.

I don't feel or hear any noises so I am curious as to what you guys mean by binding and so forth.
 

oneshortguy

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#14
How would you know if the springs are binding?

I just installed the UP moderate springs this week and I really like them. I do not feel I can tell any difference in the ride. My VIN is #89 so I know I have the first version of the stock springs and again, I cannot feel much of a difference in the ride overall. The only thing I do feel is maybe it feels tighter in corners and that could be because of the dual rate springs and/or it being lowered.

I don't feel or hear any noises so I am curious as to what you guys mean by binding and so forth.
Did you order their 'Low' Springs?

Binding in the springs happens when the springs have no space to move. In other words, the coil is sticking/touching the coil above or below it. See the image provided by Unplugged on their website:

 

ghoticov

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Did you order their 'Low' Springs?

Binding in the springs happens when the springs have no space to move. In other words, the coil is sticking/touching the coil above or below it. See the image provided by Unplugged on their website:

I have a few pics of mine (I have the moderate springs). Its hard to tell because I did not look close when we installed them but there does look like there is space (a small amount) in the bottom coils if you zoom in. From the looks of it when we installed them, they can only go on one way so I am not sure how the bottom coils would get installed "wrong". What would make the left pic compress more than the right.... or what constitutes "incorrect installation"?

Here are a couple of pics of mine:
 

Attachments

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#16
IWhat would make the left pic compress more than the right.... or what constitutes "incorrect installation"?

Here are a couple of pics of mine:
I'm wondering the same thing. On a couple of ICE cars I have lowered myself, the springs just sit on the lower isolator of the strut without needing to be compressed for reassembly. So how can the UP coils compress like that? Is it because of what the OP experienced in that the spring does not quite match the top isolator and the spring needs to wound up/rotated to fit properly? Thereby causing the coils to be closer to each other?
 

ghoticov

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I'm wondering the same thing. On a couple of ICE cars I have lowered myself, the springs just sit on the lower isolator of the strut without needing to be compressed for reassembly. So how can the UP coils compress like that? Is it because of what the OP experienced in that the spring does not quite match the top isolator and the spring needs to wound up/rotated to fit properly? Thereby causing the coils to be closer to each other?
We had to compress the UP springs in order to bolt the top plate to the shock (I think thats what it bolts to). But there is a bolt that is in the center where you have to compress the spring in order to reattach that bolt. We also had to compress the springs to undo the bolt, then let decompress the spring to get the compression tools off so we could then compress the new spring to attach the top bolt.

I do remember commenting that the bottom part of the springs were already pretty close together before we even installed them on the car.
 
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Is it because of what the OP experienced in that the spring does not quite match the top isolator and the spring needs to wound up/rotated to fit properly?
Ghoticov,

My mistake. It was another forum where a member experienced an installation problem with the coil not matching/seating properly with the top seat/isolator of the assembly. As a result, he decided to put the original springs back on. Did you by any chance run into the same problem with the UP coil not matching with your installation? If not, I might try the installation myself.
 

ghoticov

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Ghoticov,

My mistake. It was another forum where a member experienced an installation problem with the coil not matching/seating properly with the top seat/isolator of the assembly. As a result, he decided to put the original springs back on. Did you by any chance run into the same problem with the UP coil not matching with your installation? If not, I might try the installation myself.
Everything lined up great with mine. Not a hard job but you definitely need a spring compressor to do the job.