Posted on Leave a comment

Why does the Tesla S and X have too much camber?

Elon is a genius. Shouldn’t these vehicles be perfect from the factory? To answer this you must ask yourself for what situation are they perfect for. Is it everyday driving, or is it for breaking records on high speed tracks?

For the curious, the stock suspension of the Tesla S and X (and refresh 2021+) is designed to have 1.5 degrees (rear camber) in mid ride height. This is the typical setting for cars like an M3 Bmw. This sounds reasonable for a high performance vehicle, correct? The gotcha is camber is something that changes with ride height and Tesla S/X have air suspensions that allow many vertical inches of adjustment. There are 5 settings with mid height being logically in the middle. Mid height sounds normal, but it is not. Low is the new normal. On refresh vehicles it won’t even let you drive mid level above 55mph. In low, camber increases to 2+ degrees. This is quite extraordinary for a “normal” alignment. However if you want to set a record lap time with a bone stock, unmodified vehicle, this is what you do. While an awesome feat, it does not come without tradeoffs in straight line traction and tire wear.

The problem is 1.5 is itself a very aggressive setup. but that’s not where the cars normally drive. This means 2+ degrees is really the nominal everyday camber. This is well into a region of diminishing returns and is devastating to tire wear or even tire reliability. When tires fail, drivers are told they are not running enough tire pressure when they burn up a sidewall. They are told You have to run the maximum tire pressure just to prevent it. Again, higher pressures are bad for grip. Where did that sidewall heat come from anyway? (it came from your batteries, lol). This is far from ideal and your tires are begging for mercy. It’s time to stop the insanity.

So, what is the tesla “spec” for camber? If you want to call it a spec, it is anything between -0.5 and -2.5 degree. In that region the alignment machine will give you a green light. That is just like saying there is no spec. Everything from a Dodge caravan to a race setup Corvette should fit within that metric. Good thing for Tesla there is no stock adjustment, so just about any reading is ok. That’s ok, MACSBOOST is here to help.

The Hunter Tesla S/X rear alignment Specs Shown. Camber is -.5 to -2.5 degrees! Nearly anything goes for camber. Rear toe of 1/16″ out to 7/16″ total toe in all falls within specification of green. Shown toe is typical of independent suspension rear toe alignments.

Car setup is all about tradeoffs. While it would be nice to have one setup to rule them all, a magic best setup for all conditions or every corner does not exist. Every alignment setup is a compromise in some way or another.

There is no one size fits all car setup. It is all about compromise.

It is in our opinion (and those of our expert peers, championship autocrossers, racing team engineers and tire experts) that the stock setup is simply overboard when it comes to rear cambers and daily driving. Yes it is better to have high cambers for very high speed road course tracks… And maybe for best numbers through a high speed slalom course but that’s about it. A setup of this kind sacrifices straight line and even moderate turn traction and is quite awful on tires. They are making major sacrifices for this edge use case and are needlessly filling landfills with tires.

But the PLAID is the quickest production car ever? Shouldn’t it have a setup optimized for drag racing? No, it doesn’t. It can go faster. The major limit of the plaid drive train is grip. It has more power than it can use. Tire types, pressures, alignment all have a huge effect on grip or acceleration. You would think Tesla would have acceleration in mind when working on their alignments. Apparently no, when you have more horsepower than anyone else Tesla can afford to sacrifice grip to be able to brag about other superlatives. This also means.. If you add grip, it will go faster!

It does not take much imagination to look at your leaning tires to see the trapezoid shaped contact patch with uneven contact pressure. Obviously this is not ideal for maximum grip. This is not ideal for efficiency either. When rubber flexes it makes heat. Heat added to the tires comes straight from your batteries.

Don’t know what contact patch is? See what goodyear says:

Simply put, while awesome for a fast, twisty race track, stock camber is simply too excessive for anything else.

The MACSBOOST Palladium camber kit is designed to realign your camber to a more real world setting. Camber is reduced by .8 degrees. Straight line rear grip is noticeably improved. Tire life is increased dramatically. Performance is still inline with a typical camber spec of a 3 series BMW in low. As a bonus, if you go to very low, camber increases to over 1.5 degrees comparable to the spec of an M3 or an AMG GLE 63. This sounds like a win-win because it is. You still get M3 level grip on demand and most of the time you are running an optimized street setup with drastically better tire life.

Lastly you don’t want to spend a lot of money, you want high quality and you don’t want to take a lot of time to perform the fix. Good news, George, we have you covered there too. The kit components are precision cut stainless steel and should outlive all the other parts on your Tesla.

Finally, one of the biggest benefits of our kit is the ease of install. Both sides can be installed at home, with a jack on a driveway, in 30 minutes with no re-alignment equipment. Not that this is our recommended way to install, but it is that easy and you can do as good of a job as any pro. With our kit and instructions If your rear toe is good before this kit, it will be in the same place after installation.

Click on the link below to purchase our kit for the 2021+ palladium generation Tesla S/X camber kit.

If you have an older, first gen S or X, we have you covered there too. Check out our MACSBOOST adjustable S X camber arms. (These will require an alignment visit, or realignment of toe with measuring devices, unlike the palladium kit) You can purchase directly at the link below.

Mac McAlpine – President of and Lead Performance Guru
Motorsports Instrumentation/Mech Eng/FSAE Advisor/Electric Drivetrains/Asst Professor at UNC Charlotte
Former R&D Engineer for Michael Waltrip Racing (9 years)
Former Engineer for Pi Research / Cosworth Electronics

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *