Traction control



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Thread: Traction control

  1. #1
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    Traction control

    My 08 Silverado has traction control. This past weekend, we had 1" of ice covered with 1" of snow. My driveway is an up-hill event, so while leaving my house, the rear tires of the truck began to spin. When I got to the top of the hill, I had the pedal to the floor and the tach sat at idle speed. The truck had stopped and was starting to slide back down hill.

    I am not impressed. This could be a safety factor. Needless to say, I put the truck in 4 wheel drive and backed right out. I know, I should have put it in 4xmode first, but I wanted to give it a shot.

    Any other complaints with traction control?
    IAFarmer

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  3. #2
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    If there isn't any traction to be had, what can you expect the computer to do about it?

    A heavy front engined truck in RWD reversing up an iced incline from a standstill on all season tires - it don't get much worse than that.

    -Jim

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    I agree with Jim. Traction control is a great thing, but if there is only ice, and no way for any tire to get traction, you will slide.

    Kind of like anti-lock brakes. If you are going too fast, even if you have ABS, you are going to slam into something. As Scotty would say, "You cannot change the laws of physics."

    Try it in the snow with nobody around. Floor it while turning, and marvel as the vehicle gradually pulls out in a controlled manner. It's a beautiful thing.

    I had traction control in a 2000 BMW and we have it now in a 2002 Lexus. In both it worked great, and truly if you just drive and let the car do the thinking about how to manage traction (and don't go too fast), it works great.
    Michael
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  5. #4
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    Both of my Cadillacs have had pretty sophisticated traction control systems. The ones on our vans only work up to 25 MPH I believe. The GM systems are all speed. They apply the brake to the wheel that is spinning, which effectively turns your axle into a posi-traction type axle. Even then, as others have said, with only ice, you're not going anywhere.

    We took my old '97 Cadillac to my dad's parents' house for Christmas years ago -- back when mom owned the car. I had to drive it to town one day to get some plumbing parts for the kitchen sink. The dirt road was about a mile long and snow-covered. Lots of hills. With the traction control working, and about 1/2 throttle, it slogged through and would even accelerate up long hills. Combined with FWD, it was a beautiful thing. We also had traction control on mom's '92 Crown Vic (RWD). It wasn't all that great in the snow. Anything RWD without snow tires (and especially backing up a driveway) is going to be mediocre at best.

    Your engine RPM may have been at idle because the brakes may have overheated, depending on how long you were using it. On the FWD Cadillacs with mechanical throttle linkages, the PCM will begin dropping cylinders when the brakes overheat. If your Silverado has an electronic throttle control, it may have simply "overrode" your right foot if the brakes started to cook. Hard to tell.

    I would follow mmahamm's advice to go out into an empty parking lot and throw the thing around, and see how it does. If it has StabiliTrak, that'd be great practice to see how the truck handles. I plan to do the same with my 2001 if we ever do get snow or ice this season. It's too bad Chrysler only uses a 3-channel ABS on the 4th gen vans -- it eliminates electronic stability control as even a possibility. That's a big improvement with the 5th generation vans -- 4-channel ABS with stability control.

    Does anyone have any experience with the traction control on these vans? I haven't really seen ours engage yet. The 2003 never had it. But the 2007 does, and I can peel a pretty good wheel (dry or wet) with no electronic intervention. Methinks the brakes should have applied to the spinning wheel. I'd like to try it in the snow and see what it does. Can anyone describe how the TCS works on these vans?
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  6. #5
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    I agree that it is a great think when sliding around while driving forward. I could not get it to slide sideways or do a donut with the control on. My problem was that I wasn't expecting to not be able to get out of my driveway. It was due to the traction control not allowing enough slippage to continue my momentum.
    IAFarmer

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    Quote Originally Posted by IAfarmer View Post
    It was due to the traction control not allowing enough slippage to continue my momentum.
    There is typically a factor built in that allows for enough slippage to be useful, but not so much to be wasteful. Just like ABS systems. If you watch carefully, the wheels DO become stationary sometimes when the system is activated. It allows enough "lock" to be useful, but not so much to be wasteful.

    Bottom line, if there was enough wheelspin to trip the traction control, then the wheelspin wasn't doing you any good. In other words, if you pulled the traction control fuse and tried the exact same thing under the exact same circumstances, I believe you'd still be at the bottom of your driveway.
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  8. #7
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    The traction control is so so on our vans. I had a hard time driving my van around town after playing with my Buick that had the snow tires on it.
    Grant
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  9. #8
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    So, in the full interest of research, my sons and I did some playing.

    Needless to say, the tires on my truck are useless without traction control. The truck is an absolute blast to drive on pure ice with no traction control.

    Now, turn it on, and the darn thing is true and straight. Kind of nice, I guess.

    Wish my wife wasn't so mad at me for "teaching" my kids how to conduct research. She says it will be my fault when they total a car and I best not be mad at them when they do. How do I teach them what to tell mom and what not to......
    IAFarmer

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  10. #9
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    Back in the day I used to be a complete menace in snow-covered parking lots (without too many curbed islands/parking blocks). P-brake slides and turns; endless donuts; huge 4wheel power drifts @ full opposite lock, heaping snow sideways over the hood and roof... How far and long can you hang it out - and still get it back....? Whoops! Over correct into a snap-spin, backward skid. Used to set up trashcans and try to baseball bat them with just the rear bumper clip (and not the body sheetmetal...)

    RWD = too much fun, steering with both ends. FWD reverse donuts just doesn't do it for me.

    -Jim

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamasto View Post
    RWD = too much fun, steering with both ends. FWD reverse donuts just doesn't do it for me.
    A couple of years ago we had a "perfect" situation where we'd had a fairly significant ice store immediately followed by about a foot of snow. We live at the end of a cul-de-sac, and so once home that evening I switched off the traction control on my snow tire shod car and circled the end of our street a half a dozen times completely sideways, slinging snow everywhere. The kids (seven and ten years old) were in the back seat, whooping and hollering the whole time for me to go faster.

    When we finished the amount of snow in the air was so great that I could hardly see out of the windshield and enough snow and ice crusting the entire exterior that I practically needed an ice scraper to clear the windows.

    A couple of hours later, after kiddo bed time, one of my neighbors called and asked if I could give him the same ride. Though the concept was foreign to me, he confessed that he'd never been in a RWD car in the snow and wondered what it was like.
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