Tesla X Front Left - Air Strut Replacement 2015-2019/20 Models

06/22/2022

Do you have questions or tips? Just give us a word at post@teslasuspension.com 


INTRODUCTION

This blog post is mainly based on procedures for replacement of air struts in Tesla Service Manual for Model X. It covers the Standard front air strut (not the adaptive air suspension module), in year models from 2015 to 2019/20. It's a slightly different procedure on the right side. Large parts of the manual are followed, except for the procedures to depressurize the air strut. 

DISCLAIMER

Be cautious not to start any work of this sort without having the necessary skills and knowledge. Teslasuspension.com is not responsible in any way for your action in this regard. If you still go ahead, remember to put the air suspension in Service mode (or activate "Jack" mode) on the screen menu, with the air suspension in normal/standard height. Secure the car from free rolling. Always follow standard safety instructions for raising and working on a car.

TESLA PARTS CATALOG NUMBERS

The Tesla Parts Catalog numbers for this item is:

1027361 as main number, followed by variants of 25E, 00G. It fits both left and right side, year models from 2015 to 2019/20, with standard air suspension type (not adaptive or active).

We also recommend you to take a look at the Facebook group 'Tesla Model X Norge'. Note that you must be a member. Just use the search word "demperne " in the group, and some nice videos will show up:

You can also take a look at this Norwegian DIY video, which shows the installation of the same type of air strut on a facelift Tesla S model (English subtitles). Although the access to the shock tower is different on S than X, the video is particularly useful with regard to (1) how to attach the new air nipple to the hose and (2) how to mount the fork and the air strut on the car separately. Now, feedback from X owners suggests that they don't have the same problem installing fork/air strut as the S guys. There is some better space. But still, good to know about the possibility. Turn on subtitles via the settings icon at the bottom.


REMOVAL

  • Tesla Service Manuals first point is to depressurize the air strut. It's done by a laptop with toolbox connected to the car. Obviously, except for Tesla itself, and a few private workshops, we must instead do this manually, or let it be. 

  • Remove the rear center apron. If you want better accessibility, loosen and remove the frunk trunk (x20 screws, as illustrated in the photo series above).

  • Dismantle the wheel arch liner as required. It is entirely possible to remove the air strut without loosening the inner screen, but there will of course be better space if it is removed.

  • To get access to the top of the air spring, release first the clips that secure the 12V harness to the rear of the fusebox bracket.
  • Release the screws that secure the fusebox bracket to the body (torque 7Nm).

  • Now, gently pull the fusebox forward to gain access to the shock tower.
  • Use a crowfoot extension, or approriate tool, to release the fitting (i.e. mounting nut/collet) attached to the top of the shock tower (10mm, torque 2Nm).
  • Let all the air flow out.
  • Release the nuts that secure the air suspension module to the shock tower (torque 39Nm).

  • Picture 1: Remove the screw that secures the brake line bracket to the air strut (torque 7Nm). Picture 2: Easy done with bits and ratchet.

  • Release the wheel speed sensor harness from the bracket on the control arm.

  • Remove the bolt that secures the bottom of the air strut to the lower control arm (picture 1, 21mm, torque 140 Nm).
  • Be aware that tension in the strut may still excerts pressure onto the bolt.
  • Use a hammer/mandrel or appropriate tool to get it out.
  • Carefully compress the air suspension module with some force, and release it from the lower arm.
  • Remove the air strut.

  • Many will encounter problems on this last point. Especially, if you are standing in the garage, only jacked up on one side. The lower fork leg will not come over the arm (see picture 2 above). It will help a bit to have both sides jacked up. Having air suspension on 'low', with the least possible pressure in the shock absorber, may also be a good thing.
  • Feedback from Tesla owner, however, suggests that it still can be challenging with too much air/pressure in the bellows, which pushes the shock absorber downwards. You may then, for example, put such a type of jack stand under the thick hub part of the brake disc (other type of stands under the lower control arm should also work/use protection). Lower the jack very carefully, to decompress the air bellows. At this point, you may attach the new valve with the plastic plug, to the old intakte at the top. This prevents air from getting back into the bellows. Then, raise the jack again. Now the air strut becomes properly compressed, and the distance between the shock mount at the top and the suspension is large enough, so that you should be able to relatively easily release the lower fork leg from the arm.
  • Generally, if you are too heavy-handed with the suspension to pull out the air strut, this can cause height sensors out of calibration . This also applies, if you jack down carelessly, to decompress the bellows as mentioned above. In that case, you may have to go to Tesla for adjustment.
  • An alternative that some people prefer, is to loosen the control arm itself, but only on the wheel side (thereby avoiding wheel position control afterwards). The lower fork leg should come out easily when the arm is open at one end. Another tip is to use a jack strap to push the damper together. In general, the stabilizer bar can also be loosened to get more room. But anyway, all this is a lot of extra work. Which you largely get away with, if you get the old air strut properly compressed from the start.

  • Tesla Service Manual recommends also to remove the bolt (torque 60Nm) that secures the upper control arm ball joint to the knuckle (image below). From our experience, this should not be necessary. Besides of extra work, it may also distort the height adjustment mechanism/sensor. But if you still go ahead and loose this arm, remember is often best to take a a wheel position check afterwards.

Installation

  • If you have bought air suspension without the lower fork strut (or received a loose one), you must first have this installed. Commonly, you get it in place and twisted into correct position, with simple hand power: see video 1 below (from Vigor® manufacturer).
  • But in some cases, you must help more out. Extra corrosion paint down at the air strut, can make the fork leg to meet resistance. We do not recommend using a hammer to knuck it into place, as this scratches up the anti-corrosion paintwork.
  • Instead, use a large screwdriver and extend the span of the fork strut (video 2). Or apply a chisel (video 3).
  • The method shown in these videos, is also good to use if you're going to disassemble a fork strut from the old air suspension (can often be reused).
  • Supplementary subtitle in English, you turn on via the settings wheel icon at the bottom.

Video 1 Hand power

Video 2 Screwdriver

Video 3 Chisel


  • Installation procedure is otherwise the reverse of the removal, except for the following: 
  • First, use a flat blade screwdriver to snap off the old collet. You can discard the collet and nut. But good to keep them as spare parts until you have installed the new fittings, and you are sure everything work as it should. In that case, do not destroy the old collet when removing it with the screwdriver.
  • HAND-tighten the new mounting nut, collet and plastic plug into the nipple. Note that the plastic plug holds the fitting together before and during installation.
  • Remove the plastic plug from the new fitting.
  • REMEMBER. Tighten the new fitting with an appropriate tool (10mm, torque 2Nm).
  • Remove a bit of the air pressure line if there is a lot of wear. Use a hose cutter to get a square and clean cut.
  • Pry carefully the air pressure line a little bit inside the fitting, so it's ready to go. Then, use a little force (not too much, of course) and quickly push the line all the way in.
  • Lightly pull on the line to make sure that it is fully secured to the collet inside the mounting nut.
  • If it gives in (it should sit tight!) you have done something wrong, and the process must be repeated. 
  • If you can't make it, there are alternatives. NOTE. We recommend this method for Tesla X air struts. First, open the collet slightly with a screwdriver. Easiest to do when the collet is still on the plastic plug. Place the nut itself onto the hose. Then, thread the collet with the conical end first, after the nut, until it reaches approx. 2-3mm into the hose (or as far as the old one went). Squeeze the collet very carefully and lighly together with pliers. Insert the nut into the conical end of the collet, so that they sit well and tightly together. Screw the whole thing into the air strut. Be aware that the fitting may slide apart a little when you screw it in. Therefore, very easily pull the hose back a little after you have attached it, so you are sure that the conical end is firmly in the nut. Be careful, the collet does not withstand much stress.
  • Make sure that all air pressure lines are securely reconnected before continuing.

  • Reinstall panels, wheel arch liner (if dismantled) and wheels.
  • Lower the car. NOTE. When you are installing an unpressurized air strut, be careful not to jack the car all the way down to the floor, but low enough that it has good clearance to normal/standard height (or where you put the height adjustment). Then, start the car, turn off service mode, and wait for the car to lift from the jack. The compressor will run until the operating driving pressure in the bellows are reached, i.e. between 7-9 bar. NOTE. Never inflate an air strut by starting the car/compressor before the wheels are safely on the ground.
  • Turn off - as mentioned - the service mode of the air suspension system on the screen menu.
  • Remember that all doors must be closed.
  • Let the compressor work to pump air and adjust the system.
  • Do a test drive and try the height adjustments, and you're ready to go.