Thinking about disconnecting traction control

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by syncmaster, Nov 22, 2005.

  1. TIN_345

    TIN_345 New Member

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    The traction control (AKA power control) is the worst part of the Prius. It will make you wet your pants when it kicks on (or rather shuts the power off).

    The entire vehicle accelerator is fly by wire. The computer is always in control of the acceleration and rpm of every part of the Hybrid system. It could just as easily been programmed to limit (without reducing to 0) the amount of wheel spin, keeping the RPMs within safe limits so as to prevent damaging any internal parts.

    Stalling the car because the right wheel is spinning 1RPM faster than the left is gonna get someone killed.

    TC should not be used to protect the engine, but to IMPROVE traction.
    Rev limiters protect the engine/MG/PSD.

    If you want to see what TC should be like test drive a Corvette.

    Above all else, I would love to see a fix for this.

    If you’ve not notice this it the one part of this car I can’t stand. I’m still trying to get the stains out of the seat.
     
  2. 200Volts

    200Volts Member

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    The problem with the Prius TC is that is stops power to BOTH wheels (at some point?) when only one wheel has lost traction.
    Any "normal" car TC would apply braking to stop a spinning, driven wheel- while the other wheel continues to drive the car (if traction is available). The braked wheel would then be released at intervals to see if traction is available.
    Why doesn't the Prius TC work like this instead of stopping ALL power because one wheel is loose?
     
  3. vt625

    vt625 New Member

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    Those of you that think just getting better tires are way off in my experience. I live in Vermont and we have snow here. Last winter I didn't bother with snow tires and it was terrible in the snow. I chalked it up to the OE tires. This winter, I bough Blizzak snow tires for it expecting it to be better. Nope. The TC won't allow any slippage and kills any momentum you have. Granted, the snow tires make for a more confident drive once finally up to speed, but getting there can be frustrating.

    Multiple times from a stop light, the TC has kicked on and only allowed a very slow crawl forward. This is a situation where a little wheel spin actually helps for those of you that don't drive in snow. Same goes for a uphill slope - you need to keep a little wheel spin to keep your momentum up.

    My driveway is a blind drive on a 50mph road. Pulling out can be a scary situation in the Prius even in the summer because of the TC. Once any slippage is noticed, all power is cut, and there is a significant delay until it tries again.

    As much as we have enjoyed the car, the behavior of the TC limits it to a secondary vehicle, and will probably cause me to not purchase another one. I would rather spend the money on fuel rather than on the hospital bills and lawyer fees when I get cleaned out because the TC kicked in and stalled the car out.
     
  4. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    My goodness, you brought this thread back from the dead. As long as it's now alive again, I'll chime in with my experiences driving in northern Michigan, which also has its share of hills and snow. Contrary to what some posters say, the traction control on the Prius will allow the tires to spin in a controlled fashion. You have to keep your foot on the gas to get it to do it, but it will walk up a hill going "vrrmph, vrrmph, vrrmph" as the tires spin, catch, and spin again. If you bury it in snow, it's a bit tricky to rock out, but careful use of the shifter lever will make it rock.

    The traction control could be better in snow and loose gravel, but it's not dangerous or even difficult. Good tires help a lot too.

    Tom
     
  5. vt625

    vt625 New Member

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    Oh yea, didn't notice the dates...

    So do you put the throttle to the floor as described previously? I haven't had a chance to try that technique out yet.

    The issues I have had are with pulling out from a stop primarily.
     
  6. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry EPA MPG #'s killer

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    I got bitten by the TC a week ago trying to get up my driveway. I had the pedal completely on the floor and I was going nowhere like a bat out of ****. According to Google Earth, my driveway is ~.05 miles long and, by the time I finally made it up(~1% grade), I had added .5 miles from backing up and trying again in snow ~5" deep. My son's Saturn had no trouble at all getting up and he doesn't have any kind of TC and the car is a manual transmission. I tried backing up as some have suggested and that didn't work as the tracks that were already there were to hard to follow and I kept getting pushed too close to the edge of the drive.

    My question about disabling the TC is this: Wouldn't the electric motors tolerate spinning up to the rated top speed of the vehicle? For example, if the vehicles top speed is governed to 106 mph(which, by the way is way over doing it anyway), would there be any damage done as long as you didn't exceed 106 mph according to the speedometer? For the record, I haven't tried disabling the TC. I'm just trying to understand whether or not the system can tolerate any level of spinning.
     
  7. jimklausner

    jimklausner Connecticut Yankee

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    I am about ready to trade my 2007 Prius for a Ford Escape Hybrid in 4-wheel drive. Reason: the traction control (mal)function on my Prius. I have a driveway with a slight up-grade, and we have some of your weather here in Connecticut. And I have experimented a few times when there has been one track of the drive in ice, while other track being dry macadam. I expected my Prius to easily negotiate the drive with the wheel on drive pavement receiving all the power in a smooth, continuous manner, and propelling the car forward/upward on the driveway. Honestly put, I am not sure what happens or not happens. Since I can't get out of the car to watch myself, I can only go on sound. The sound I hear is a spinning tire. And I do not seem to move, or when I do, it is a lurching creep. Yes, the TC/VSC light comes on.

    I am disappointed by the Prius's owner's manual having nothing to say about how the traction control is supposed to function, and how to best utilize it.

    Many years ago, I had a Camry with no TC and no snow tires. I would rather have the ice/snow ability of that old Camry than this Prius with TC. With that old Camry I could move the steering wheel a bit back-and-forth to cause differential action to direct power alternately to the front wheels whenever I had bad traction on snow or ice. I tried that strategy with my Prius, but to no avail.

    You mentioned keeping your foot on the gas pedal. How much pressing do you recommend?

    My wife calls the Prius a summer car, and I am beginning to subscribe to that description. Thank goodness her vehicle is a Toyota RAV4 with AWD. I have felt that Toyota made a mistake when it did not export the RAV4 Hybrid to the states.
     
  8. vt625

    vt625 New Member

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    I am about ready to agree with your wife!

    I called and talked to my dealer and he wasn't aware of any issues. He looked into it for me, but of course didn't come back with any answers. Maybe I'll try to get the district rep to go for a ride next time he is in town. I'll pray for snow then!
     
  9. prim2

    prim2 Junior Member

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    I live on a rural property in Ontario. My driveway is 1/8 mile long, with a fairly steep slope. We've had pleanty of snow and ice here this winter. I've done 8000 km of winter driving in my Prius with no traction difficulties at all. I chalk it up to a light foot (you can crawl this thing on the MG with the pedal just off the idle stop) and a good set of winter tires.
     
  10. Presto

    Presto Has his homepage set to PC

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    If you're foolhardy enough to disable TC, make sure to see how big of a patch of rubber you can lay down on dry pavement.
     
  11. AndyU

    AndyU Junior Member

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    I completely agree. And by the way, the ability to get the wheels spinning when you need it, although a small part, is still an important part of the winter driving repertoire and can be the difference between avoiding a collision and causing one. I'd rather be the one making those decisions, not my car. Anyone who drives in snow a lot knows that's true regardless of how much they want to smooch their prius and tell it what a good car it is.
     
  12. finman

    finman Senior Member

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    One thing I've noticed with spinning wheels: they have zero traction and move you zero distance. That's the nature of a wheel that has lost traction and is spinning without moving you forward.

    Now, a controlled wheel that is slowed down to gain traction moves me much farther than the spinning wheel with no traction.

    Maybe a 4WD Prius with no TRAC is the answer. Nope, that just means 2 more driven wheels to complain about that are spinning with no traction, moving you zero distance.

    It's not a perfect car, but it is safer than those that don't have the latest saftey devices onboard (TRAC, VSC, Anti-lock brakes, airbags, etc.)

    I would suggest selling the dangerous car if you're uncomfortable with it. Just like I did with my old 4WD Pathfinder that would spin and spin and spin, moving me zero distance, leaving me in the middle of an intersection. The Prius is so far ahead of my old vehicle.

    YMMV, as always. choose what u feel is safe. It isn't always going to be the Prius, as many opinions exist out there on what truly, to each individual, means "safe".
     
  13. AndyU

    AndyU Junior Member

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    Hmmm. And a spinning saw blade is incapable of cutting wood? But then again, like a saw blade, a spinning wheel will tend to cut through the snow underneath it down to the pavement where it can gain traction. Sometimes that's useful. Come on... spinning wheels have zero traction and move you zero distance"? Be reasonable. This is a real problem for MANY prius drivers. Just do a quick search of the internet and you'll find this being talked about all over the place. Just because it doesn't impact you doesn't mean it's not a problem for those of us who are affected.
     
  14. finman

    finman Senior Member

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    Yes. YMMV.

    It's not at all a problem for some. You yourself ultimately must decide if it's too dangerous/unsafe/whatever and choose differently.

    I think microwave ovens are dangerous, but many people use them and they've been cleared by many organizations to be safe.

    Aspartame is safe...or so some claim. I avoid that too.

    and with all the flack about the Prius TRAC, maybe, just maybe, toyota can come up with a system that more people like. thus selling more cars. I see the improvement of a car based on complaints vital to getting a better product. Maybe the next version of the Prius will suit you. ;) I for one complain that the Prius uses too much gasoline, but that may be rectified too. Maybe even the next model as a plug-in.

    anyways, it's a matter of choice and compromise. And I'm of the opinion I've chosen well and compromised nothing in the Prius.

    I hope you find a happy compromise, even if it steers you away from the Prius.
     
  15. statultra

    statultra uber-Senior Member

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    when i upgraded my 01 prius tires i noticed it would drive much differently, im not sure if this is attributed to the TRAC system, but it would have more power than before ( maybe its my mind )
     
  16. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry EPA MPG #'s killer

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  17. finman

    finman Senior Member

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    I have to ask the question: anyone compare a non-TRAC car (preferably front-wheel drive, as similar to a Prius as possible) in the exact same conditions? Any documentation? Or even a different car that has TRAC?
    I've not driven other cars that have TRAC, so I'd be interested in the findings. And as has been posted many times, the "testing" could be done with TRAC on and off in these other cars since most seem to have that ability, whereas the Prius does not.

    I mean, seriously. If there hasn't been any testing in the exact same conditions, then how do I make up my mind to sell my dangerous car? If there has been controlled testing and comparison out there, I'm curious. I'm a doubtful person with anecdotal evidence, but, again, everyone's situation/driving style/terrrain/ attitude behind the wheel, etc. is different. Maybe legitimate gripes will bring about a better TRAC system that will make more people happy...thus selling more cars, less lawsuits.

    Just wondering.
     
  18. miscrms

    miscrms Plug Envious Member

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    Not at all surprising. Search and find what else the "highly respected" publication consumeraffairs.com has to say about the Prius.

    These guys seem to take any chance they can to get a dig in on the Prius. It can't be ignored that the Prius has a pretty sensitive traction control, but to start calling these occurances system "failures" is obviously trying to sensationalize the issue. I have seen no indication from anyone that the Prius is dangerously handicapped with regards to winter driving. In every situation people have complained about, its been easy to imagine other cars doing far worse (like any rwd car), many doing similar (like most other fwd cars), and a some doing better. However, people are always quick to blame their own mistakes on their equipment.

    Rob
     
  19. SyCo

    SyCo Member

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    I totally agree with prim2. Me and my wife have done 2000km of winter driving here up north in Quebec (lots of snow here:p) with no issues at all. I have Bridgestone Blizzak studless tires. In fact it is one of the best fwd vehicle we drove in snow because it does not spin all over the place.

    Did I mention we have snow tires ?? :rolleyes::D
     
  20. MJPriusVT

    MJPriusVT New Member

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    Another unhappy Prius owner in Vermont. I've never had such a love hate relationship with a vehicle before. I bought yy 08 Prius Touring last spring to replace my Dodge Ram Truck for daily driving. Loved the Prius through the summer... Noticed the TC once in a while but never had any concerns. Now it's winter and I can honestly say the love is gone for the Prius. The TC is flawed, it's really that simple. Wether you floor it or feather it there are times when you need traction and the Prius does not deliver. I'm running the stock tires and am aware that good snows would probably help but I honestly feel like a small 4 cylinder front wheel drive should be a decent winter driver out of the box.... AND THE PRIUS IS NOT. Luckily my Dodge truck was unsellable last summer so I still have it to use on tough winter days while the Prius sits in my garage with the motorcycle waiting for better weaterh. On top of the uninspired winter driving I've also watched my mileage drop from mid 40's to low 30's so I'm asking myself "Why did I buy this car at a premium price when I could have picked up a basic Honda Civic and saved 10k?"
     
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