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Paul's right about the spin - re: snow-- (archive)

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Posted by MicahO on October 19, 2001 at 08:23:25:

In Reply to: Umm, If your rear tires spin in opposite posted by Paul Shovestul on October 19, 2001 at 06:18:14:

I agree that the traction control (ASC) can be better when you are already moving in the snow, as it can help to moderate the behavior of the driver if the driver doesn't feel tire slippage.

For my money, an LSD is a MUST in the snow - I would much rather get the power down evenly and then manage my own slippage. Getting started in snow without an LSD can be an exercise in futility. ASC+T takes care of that issue by clamping down on the spinning wheel, forcing power to the gripping wheel, though the cost is extracted from your brakes.

Admittedly, I am an old-timer when it comes to these types of systems and I would much rather have capable mechanical systems modulated well by an experienced driver. I spent my first few years driving in snowbound upstate NY with (first) a 240 class RWD Volvo 4speed (EOD, no LSD) and then a Mustang GT (4 speed, Traction Lock/Posi rear). With the Volvo I learned the fine art of parking brake modulation for traction control in those slushy starts. That Mustang (with 50-100lbs of sand in the back) could go anywhere that the underbody could clear the snow. Today's systems are great and can be quite helpful in low-traction situations, but to me they are yet another way to make cars "safer" by allowing the drivers to be "numb-er" or "dumber" about what the car is actually doing.

Finally, and on a semi-related note, what the hell was BMW thinking with the Hill Descent Control in the X5? A system that slows vehicle progress ONLY by engaging the brakes, thereby massively overheating them on a longer slope??? If I can't figure out how to downshift and do it my-damn-self, I'll take what GM/Allison have done on their new intelligent transmissions.

Micah O'C
'92 525iT, LSD and seat-of-the-pants

directions then you do NOT have LSD.

In '93 LSD was part of a Winter Package that included heated seats.

Most BMW's did not get Traction control and LSD. The M3 is the principal exception which has both.

Paul Shovestul
'93 525iM LSD

>>>To check whether you have LSD, jack up the rear axle, put the car in 3rd (?) and spin one of the (rear) wheels. If you have LSD, the other should spin in the opposite direction.


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