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Old 01-27-2009, 09:20 PM
joewcob3's Avatar
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Default why does turning off stabilitrak/tc improve deep snow performance??

Maybe someone can answer a confusing question for me: "why does turning off the stabilitrak and TC improve driving thru deep snow (over 10" - 12")???"

I was playing around with different tire pressures to see what would give me the best traction in a snow covered parking lot by my house. The snow in the parking lot is btwn 10 and 12 inches deep (some areas measured 14"). I tried 25 psi, then 30psi, then 35psi and kind of liked 35 psi which seemed to have the best traction for the stock 'good-for-a-year' wrangler RTS tires.

I read here about turning off the Stabilitrak for better performance in deep snow and keeping it on for just a couple of inches of snow. When I turned it off, my H3 seemed to "pull" itself thru the snow whereas with it on it seemed to "push" itself thru the snow (with the stabilitrak icon flashing from time to time). With the stabilitrak/tc off, my H3 performed like I would expect a 4wd to perform in deep snow.

Why did the performance improve?? Doesn't turning off stabilitrak also disable traction control (according to owner's manual)???? You would think that traction control would be a good thing for deep snow....or am I just missing it????? I am clueless when it comes to powertrain and power management!!!!!!!! Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [:-]
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Old 01-27-2009, 10:33 PM
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Default RE: why does turning off stabilitrak/tc improve deep snow performance??

You ARE missing it. [8D] StabiliTrack is an on road safety system that uses youe anti-lock brak system to apply brake to a sliding spining tire.

Example: You are going 55 mph on an ice road, you enter a left turn and your right front tire begins to slip, StabiliTrack senses it, and applies brake to the rear left tire to compensate and stabilize the vehicle to help prevent loss of control. This all happens very quickly and can move front to back, side to side to keep the vehicle traveling in a constant direction under control.

Traction control is easier, if a tire begins to slip while accelerating on say ice, the anti-lock brake is applied to that/those slipping tire(s) to STOP them from slipping.

Deep snow is very often handled similar to deep sand (and it is entirely different from ice and hard pack covered roads).... you WANT tire spin to dig to traction and clean out the treads of the tire.... fling that snow man!!! You WANT to control how much tire spin with the long pedal, not some goofy idiot helping anti-lock brake system. In deep snow you are not going to be going 55mph and have to hang a left turn. If you are in deep snow and you need more throttle to get you moving and keep momentum... just like sand, you do NOT want TC or StabiliTrack applying brake to the wheels, requiring more throttle, and more brake.... see the vicious cycle you are avoiding by turning it off??

On a road with a couple inches of snow, you might need the StabiliTrack to help you stay on the road and around those corners.

Your push and pull observation are right on. We want our trucks to pull us through the deepsnow.
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:04 PM
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Thanks for the clarification --- squeeks and rattles I can find, but I am no powertrain guru!!!!!

That may explain why after playing in the unplowed parking lot, with stabilitrak and traction control on, my tires were full of snow when I came out of the deep snow and parked my H3. When I turned off my stabilitrak (and T/C as a result) and came out of the deep snow, my tires were clean and NOT packed with snow. You are right about the digging in --- it felt better with everything off; and like I said before, the vehicle "pulled" me thru the snow.

One other question doc: is the light/quick clicking sound I hear when there is wheel spin the Traction Control working....it's a very fast relay sound....not loud.....just a real fast light clicking. I don't think that it's the stabilitrak making this noise because I have heard it activate a wheel once to snap me back in line and it groaned like the ABS kicking in. When I turn off the Stabilitrak, I still hear it if I goose the gas pedal.....maybe my T/C is not off when Stabilitrak is off????? I know owner's manual says it should be off when stabilitrak is off. 2 of my buddies new 2008 H3's and my bosses 2009 H3 do it too.....we are puzzled.

AND --- (I know....I ask too many questions).... I notice the stabilitrak on my wife's 2008 AWD Saturn Vue is much more sensitive than in my H3. Hers kicks in very quickly whenever you try to slide around a corner......the H3 -- not so much.

I have only felt the stabilitrak snap me back on line twice this winter. In the snow filled parking lot (with Stabilitrak on and no cars/people around) I tried turning hard and gassing it hard (in the deep snow) and couldn't get the Stabilitrak to snap me back.....couldn't feel it even try..........is the H3 Stabilitrak system not very sensitive??????? Do you really need to start losing control before it kicks in??????

Anyway, doc, I really appreciate your detailed explaination on your response to my initial post here......thanks again for sharing what you know.
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control, deep, hummer, mud, repair, saturn, slidding, snow, stabilitrack, stabilitrak, stabilizer, system, traction, turn, vue

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