Tesla X Rear Right - Air Strut Replacement 2015-19 Models

05/10/2022

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 rear air suspension, right side (not the adaptive air strut module), in cars produced between September 2015 and April 2019. It's a slightly different procedure on the left side. 

It is best to be flexible about following each step of the manual below. If you have a 5-seater Tesla X, it is not many points you need to follow. You only have to loosen 3-4 panels to get to the nuts on top of the air strut.

If you have a 6-7 seater Tesla X, it has been a bit unclear how much actually needs to come out. But after feedback from owners, much suggests that it is in most cases as easy as on the 5-seater. The third row of seats does not need to be dismantled. Picture 1 is from a 6-seater 2016 model. Picture 2-3 is from a 7-seater 2018 model.

Other feedback has nevertheless suggested that more points from the Tesla manual must be followed. It is especially to remove the HVAC/air duct that the innermost cover under the panel is unscrewed and the 3-seater row has been removed. So some owners come in just fine, while others have dismantled the cushions on the 3rd row of seats and removed several panels, as shown in this clip from another owner.

A look at the YouTube video below is anyway a good starting point. Is a 5-seater, and the premise here was that Tesla's manual should be followed to the letter. But the owner understood relatively quickly that there was a lot of excess points in that overview. The video therefore gives a good impression of what awaits. Don't forget to 👍 the video and subscribe to the channel. There will probably be more instructional videos from these guys on other Tesla X parts very soon. 

TESLA SERVICE MANUAL

Many have been surprised in their first encounter with Tesla's manual for changing the rear air struts. They have spent more time reading it, than doing the actual work. It is shown in its entirety below. There is still a lot to learn from taking a good look at it. Now, we unfortunately did not got everything in the correct order (it is not much better in the original Tesla version). Most people will probably get the most benefit - regardless of car model - from following the manual for '2. Generation'. But be aware that, for example, procedures for removing the 3rd row of seats are under '1. Generation' (section 6). For the most complete picture possible, it is therefore probably wise to skim both variants

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 find the steps below difficult, we recommend that you do not start. Of course, you can still buy our VigorÂź air struts, make an appointment with a workshop, and have them do the installation.

If, after considering this, you still go ahead, remember to put the air suspension in Service mode on the screen menu before you start the work. Secure the car from free rolling. Always follow standard safety instructions for raising and working on a car

QUICK CHECK

You can carry out a quick check of the air strut yourself, before installation. This is only for checking the valve, that the sealing rings are tight and the air strut ready for installation. See video. 

TESLA PARTS CATALOG NUMBERS 

The Tesla Parts Catalog numbers for this item is:

1027461 as main number, followed by variants of 00E, 00G. It fits both left and right side, on vehicles produced between Sep 2015 and April 2019, with standard air suspension type  (not adaptive or active).


Part 1 REMOVAL

Tesla Service Manuals first point is to depressurize the air strut. It's done by a laptop with a 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.

Getting access to the top of the rear air strut on Tesla X is, according to Tesla's manual, a lot of work. It is only after an endless series of points, that you get to the end result: removing the upper window-panel to get to the nuts (photo is from the right side). 

Now, for both the 5-6-7 seats, this should be a rather simple. But, we still cannot rule out that a few more steps must be followed, than what is mentioned above. You probably get the most benefit from reading the 'Generation 2' manual - but its wise to deal with both below. We start with cars built up to and including October 2016.


FOR VEHICLES BUILT THROUGH OCTOBER 18, 2016 (1st GENERATION)


1. Remove the upper C-Pillar trim panel. This implies several operations, including dismantling the rear trunk side trim. Start the process with removing the trunk floor carpet. Open the liftgate and remove the carpet from the vehicle.


2. Remove the mid C-pillar trim panel and the lower C-pillar trim panel. To start, open the rear door and move the 2nd row seat to the 'easy entry' position. Carefully, release the clips (x8) that secure the welcome plate and remove it from the vehicle.


3. Remove the bolt that secures the lower C-pillar trim panel to the body (torque 2.5Nm). Starting at the bottom of the C-pillar trim panel, pull the panel up to release the clips that secure it to the body, and remove it.


4. Remove the rear trunk side garnish. Open the liftgate, release the clips (x3) that secure the rear trunk side garnish, and remove it.


5. Release the fasteners that secure the trim panel (torque 3Nm) and the 4 trim clips that secure the panel and remove it.

NOTE: TO REMOVE EVEN MORE PANELS. JUMP DOWN TO 2ND GENERATION. SECTION E. 


6. Remove the 3rd row seat assembly. Open the rear doors, move the 2nd row seats to the 'easy entry' position, and lift the front of the 3rd row seat bottom cushion, to release the clips that secure it to the vehicle body.


7. Disconnect the electrical connectors (x2).


8. Use a Torx plus T45 bit (the plus facilitates higher torque transmission), to remove the bolts (x4) and washers (x4), that secure the front of the 3rd row seat to the body of the vehicle (torque 34Nm).

Note that in graphics below, components have been removed to aid clarity. 


9. Use a Torx plus T45 bit (the plus facilitates higher torque transmission), to remove the bolts (x4) and washers (x4), that secure the rear of the 3rd row seat to the body of the vehicle (torque 34Nm).

Note that adhesive patch material, can prevent removing the bolts. So be careful not to use too much force. It can damage the threads.

Also, in the picture below, graphics have been simplified to aid clarity. Get help of an assistant and remove the 3rd row seat from the vehicle.


10. Hold the plastic trim panel in the location shown. Pull the panel inboard to release the 3 trim clips, but do not fully remove the panel at this time 

Disconnect the low voltage harness connector. Be careful not to damage the low voltage harness connection, on the inside of the trim panel. Likewise, do not pull on the carpet portion of the panel. The plastic and carpet are removed together as an assembly 


11. Remove the screws that secure the bottom of the C-pillar upper trim panel to the body (torque 3Nm), and release the clips that secure the C-pillar upper trim panel to the body, Remove it.


12. Release the push clips and nut that secure the parcel shelf support to the body (torque 1.25Nm). Remove it.

Note. See below for the continuation (1st and 2nd generation together). 


FOR VEHICLES BUILT AFTER OCTOBER 18, 2016 (2nd GENERATION)


A. Remove the trunk load floor(s) from the vehicle. By the 2nd row bench seat, remove the gap hider assembly from the vehicle.


B. Open the rear door and move the 2nd row seat to the easy entry position. Carefully, release the clips (x8) that secure the welcome plate and remove it.


C. Remove the mid C-pillar trim panel. Start with removing the rear trunk garnish, by open the liftgate. Release the clips (x3) that secure the rear trunk side garnish. Remove it.


D. Release the fastener that secures the C-pillar mid trim panel (torque 2Nm), release the clips, and remove the trim panel.

NOTE. FOR 3RD ROW SEAT REMOVAL, JUMP UP TO 1ST GENERATION, SECTION 6. 


E. With 2nd row bench seat: Apply tape to the area of the lower C-pillar trim panel, that is near the 2nd row seat side trim, to protect when it is removed in a later step.

Use a trim tool to remove the front load floor support from the trim panel.


F. Remove the fasteners that secure the lower C-pillar trim panel to the body (torque 2.5Nm), release the clips that secure trim panel to the body, and remove it.


G. Remove the rear trunk rear wall trim, by first removing the rear trunk trim sill panel.

Start the process by removing ALSO the left-hand rear trunk side garnishes: open the liftgate, release the clips (x3) that secure the rear trunk side garnish, and remove it.


H. On each side of the vehicle, remove the screw that secures the rear trunk sill trim to the body (torque 2.5 Nm), release the clips that secure the rear trunk sill trim to the body, and remove it.


I. Release the 4 push clips that secure the rear wall trim panel. Pull the trim panel towards the front of the vehicle, to release the trim clips. And, if necessary, partially lift the rear of the trunk floor carpet for access. Remove the trim panel.


J. Use a trim tool to remove the rear load floor support from the trunk side trim.


K. Use a trim tool to remove the air vent from the trunk side trim, see graphic below. Note that removing the air vent, makes it easier to remove the trunk side trim in the next step.

Next, release the clips that secure the trunk side trim to the body. Disconnect both the electrical connectors from the 12V outlet and puddle lamp, and the emergency release cable from the trunk side trim, which you then can remove.

Caution: Handle the emergency release cable carefully, to avoid breaking the retaining clip.


L. Remove the screws that secure the bottom of the C-pillar upper trim panel to the body (torque 3Nm). Release the clips that secure the C-pillar upper trim panel to the body. Remove it.


M. Remove the fasteners that secure the bracket to the vehicle (torque 2.5Nm).


N. Remove the clips that secure the bracket to the vehicle, and then remove the bracket from the vehicle.


FOR VEHICLES OF BOTH 1st and 2nd GENERATION


I. If equipped, remove the subwoofer. Release the bolts (x2) that secure the rear HVAC duct bracket to the body (torque 9 Nm). Remove it.


II. Disconnect the electrical connector from the subwoofer. Release the nut (x1) and bolts (x2) that secure the subwoofer (torque 5 Nm). Remove it. 


III. If equipped, remove the rear duct.


IV. Remove any insulation that covers the nuts that secure the air strut module.

V. You should now have access to the nuts (13mm, torque 39 Nm), that fasten the top of the air strut. Do not loosen them quite yet.


VI. Jack up the car, remove the wheel(s) and the rear left hand arch liner. Remove the push clips (x12 and X2), that secure the wheel arch liner at the base and at the top.

Base of wheel arch liner

Top of wheel arch liner


VII. Remove the nuts (x4) that secure the wheel arch liner to the studs on the chassis (torque 6Nm). Be careful, these breaks easily. Remove the wheel arch liner.


VIII. Release the air nipple for the pressure line (green), from the air strut module (10mm, torque 2Nm), and secure it.

IX. Use a stand to partially support the rear suspension. Alternatively, run a hydraulic jack or equivalent up under the strut itself on the damper, in order to reduce the pressure on the bolt (also applies during installation, as it is difficult by hand to press the air strut together so that it fits the bolt hole). Remove the bolt that secures the air strut module to the knuckle (21mm, torque 140Nm).

X. Remove the nuts (13mm, torque 39 Nm), that fasten the top of the air strut.

XI. Carefully, remove the air strut module from the vehicle.


PART 2 INSTALLATION

Installation procedure is the reverse of removal, except for the following, which is important to follow carefully to avoid leakage.

  • Use a flat blade screwdriver to snap off the old collet (arrow 1 in picture 2) from the air suspension line. 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.

  • There is just a little pressure in the air strut when it comes from factory. Still, if you unscrew the air nipple at the top, the strut is easier to work with/can be pressed together. However, don't be too harsh. The bellows can be damaged if it is pressed all the way together. The small pressure in the air struts also helps to push the rod/piston down, and keeps the cover under the cuff in place. Just below the cover at the bottom, is an o-ring in a metal groove. It is therefore important to ensure that the cover does not come out of position during work. You can find some tips on how to do this in the video (English subtitles).

  • Reinstall panels, wheel arch liner 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.