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Discussion Starter #1
We just had our first snow here in PA and I took my 2002 EX out to see how it handles in the snow... we had about 3 inches of new snow at the time and I started up the driveway... bottom line: I have NEVER driven a vehicle worse in the snow the my new Odyssey!! I feel like disableing the traction control for good.. I understand it doesn't allow tires to spin, but if you're on slippery roads, the vehicles just stops!!

Is this supposed to happen??? I went and got swow tires on the vehicle and of course the traction improved considerably, but (and here's where I think there may be a mechanicle problem)if the tires keep on spinning, the traction control light STAYS on and apperars to disable itself.. the only way I could get the T/C enabled is to turn off the engine and restart...

Anybody else with snow experience... and PS: I live in the Poconos and I've been driving in the snow for 30 years...
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by peterparker:
I understand it doesn't allow tires to spin, but if you're on slippery roads, the vehicles just stops!!
Is this supposed to happen???
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I don't think so. My experience in snow was very positive. The TCS worked exactly as I expected, not allowing the excessive wheelspin, but keeping the van on course and running. I tried different maneuvers on an empty snowy parking lot, with TCS on and off, and was quite satisfied with the results.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I went and got swow tires on the vehicle and of course the traction improved considerably, but (and here's where I think there may be a mechanicle problem)if the tires keep on spinning, the traction control light STAYS on and apperars to disable itself.. the only way I could get the T/C enabled is to turn off the engine and restart...
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Definitely something should be wrong here.
I have factory-installed all-season Michelins, and all works at least very good, if not great.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
these stories sound very contrary to my experience... so please verify this statement:

When I start the van, the TCS is automatically turned on... if the TCS is needed and becomes active, the TCS light will intermittently come on while it is being engaged... BUT! if I hit the TCS button on the dash, the TCS light comes on and this means the TCS system is disengaged, until I hit the button again or restart the engine...

Is the above statement true?

Also.. and this might be and indication that I'm having technical problems, if my wheels start spinning with the TCS system engaged, it appears the TCS system turns off and the light remains on, even after the vehicle is at a complete stop.. have to reset it myself...

Are there any good sights with honda tech people who could answer questions like this.. I need my van and it would be a major inconvenience to take it into the shop.. thanks again... PP
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by peterparker:
I live in the Poconos and I've been driving in the snow for 30 years...</font>
peterparker,

I defer to your driving experience. You seem to know what to do in snow. My 2¢...

My experience with my new 2002 LX is limited seeing as we only had our first dusting of snow here on LongIsland yesterday. But I have had wheel spin on turns in the rain. Sometimes the system worked and sometimes not. I thought the system was AWOL.

However, I later learned, the owners manual says the system only functions at speeds below 18 mph. I feel that the times the system "failed" to operate is when I was moving and above 18 mph and I would let a wheel spin while accelerating around a corner, for example. The TDS system can't operate at speeds above 18 mph, I imagine, because the brakes would wear prematurely or overheat.

I don't know if this has anything to do with your situation. We both know that we have to start off on snow using a gradual touch on the gas. I hope to get more driving experience with the Ody in the snow later today.

Bryan
 

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I also had my first experience with the TCS on my '01 LX over the weekend. While creeping up a snow covered hill traffic came to a stop (the Ody was doing good up to that point). Once the car in front of me started going (with major wheel spin) I attempted to resume my steady pace up the hill. Sure enough, as soon as I touched the gas the TCS system engaged, wheel spin was very severe (no surprise considering the state of the road). The TCS light was on solid as I preceded up the hill at a snail's pace, close to the crest of the hill the tires finally caught. When I next looked at the dash, the TCS, ABS, and Brake light were on steady. After driving for a mile or so I found a place to pull off (I was concerned about the three lights on steady). I turned the van off and back on again, the lights reset themselves and we continued on home with no further problems.

After all that a few questions:

1) When the TCS system engages does anyone feel/here anything? I can feel a vibration thru the gas pedal along with a noise I can best describe as a grinding type noise. I assume it's from the TCS engaging/disengaging.

I was planning to post on this Issue yesterday but ran out of time in the day so todays discussion was timely.

Rakmann
'01 GG LX

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Rakmann
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I currently have a '01 EX, the only time I had the TCS activate was when I forced it to activate on a gravel road. There was a slight vibration thru the gas pedal with the TCS flashing on and off, don't recall seeing the ABS nor brake light turn on. Afterwards, the TCS light goes off. Very little wheel spin IMO.

My understanding is that the TCS is on stand-by mode (button NOT depressed) until you hit 18mph. Depressing the button will turn off the TCS, the light should be on and steady. Again, when TCS is being used, the light should be flashing.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rakman:
1) When the TCS system engages does anyone feel/here anything? I can feel a vibration thru the gas pedal along with a noise I can best describe as a grinding type noise. I assume it's from the TCS engaging/disengaging.
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Yes, this type of feel AND TCS light flashing indicate that the TCS is working.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by peterparker:

When I start the van, the TCS is automatically turned on... if the TCS is needed and becomes active, the TCS light will intermittently come on while it is being engaged... BUT! if I hit the TCS button on the dash, the TCS light comes on and this means the TCS system is disengaged, until I hit the button again or restart the engine...

Is the above statement true?

Also.. and this might be and indication that I'm having technical problems, if my wheels start spinning with the TCS system engaged, it appears the TCS system turns off and the light remains on, even after the vehicle is at a complete stop.. have to reset it myself...
PP
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The manual indicates (page 259) that "If the system's diagnostics senses a problem with the TCS, the indicator will come on and stay on" and "If the brakes overheat, the indicator will come on" until they cool off.

I hope your situation is the latter, but if it continues, you might have to take it to a dealer.

Bryan
 

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Discussion Starter #10
If the brakes overheat, the indicator will come on" until they cool off.


Hmmmm.. If I'm spinning the wheels at high speed the brakes are being applied at a high speed and probably overheating.... since the TCS light does reset, I'm guessing that that is my situation... I'll go with that assumption, as long as the light gets reset..

Thanks guys... PP
 

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This is my first car with traction control. I didn't know what to expect and when it first activated,I wasn't that impressed. Then I noticed all of the cars around me that could hardly move and realized that it was slippery than I had thought. If you are used to driving in icy conditions, you probably won't activate it that often. I can usually "feel" the wheels spin before it activates. When I feel the wheels spin I ease off the gas. If the system does activate the noise/vibrations are very mild. When the system activates, ease off the gas, otherwise you're just wasting gas and wearing out your brakes. If one front wheel loses traction it can transfer power to the other wheel to aid acceleration. If neither front wheel has good traction the system can't perform miracles and give you car normal acceleration.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I've come to the conclusion from reading this thread and from my experiences the last several days that:

T/C is not meant to give you better hill climbing traction, but to keep you in control of your vehicle on slippery conditions... therefor, if you live in a snow driven mountainous environment, like me, it will be to you advantage to get snow tires... I am very happy with my Ody's winter driving now that I have them.

I am perplexed by the testimonials of good snow traction of Ody's w/o snow tires... I can only assume that they were made in relatively FLAT terrain.. as I've mentioned, I reside in the Poconos in NE PA and my neighborhood consists of a series of hills with 10-20% grades.. Generally, I would not consider driving in the snow on flat roads to be any trouble at all with any vehicle/tire combination except in extremely high snow.. my $.02, PP
 

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The TCS system can't overcome the laws of physics; all it does is keep the wheels for spinning. In most low speed situations, that means that you can make the most of the traction you have. Spinning tires aren’t very effective at moving your vehicle forward, ask any drag racer. Your traction is determined by the friction between the tires and the road surface. If the road surface is ice or your tires are poor, there’s little traction.

Here’s a situation I found my self in that the TCS would have saved me a bit of worry. On our honeymoon, my wife and I awoke in the morning we were to leave the mountains of northern Georgia to 3-4 inches of wet snow. On the way to the freeway, there was little snow in the mountains but there was one more pass to get to the highway. On the way over the mountains, I couldn’t get my Nissan Pulsar to go more than 5 MPH because of the slick roads and the grade. Because the roads were banked too, every time I tried to give it more gas, the front tires would break loose and the car would slide sideways toward the ditch. I managed to get through, but it was a bit unnerving. With TCS, the tires wouldn’t have slipped and I could have made it over the mountains with a lot more peace of mind.


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I am very disappointed with our Ody in the snow and ice. It seems to "wheel spin" a lot, and that's with studded snow tires. I have tried leaving the TCS on, Our accord never spun as much as this Ody does.
 

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Hi ya folks,

Came home yesterday afternoon. As I approached the driveway (12deg slope), I noticed wheelspin tracks from the bottom to the top of the hill.

Asked my wife when I got inside. She said that the driveway was covered with a layer of ice and when she tried to drive into the garage, the TCS was coming off and on until she made it up into the garage.

I guess it worked? since she made it up the hill without losing control or traction.

Thanks,
Errol

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Traction Control is a "poor mans" positraction (limited slip differential). When one wheel is spinning faster than the other, the brakes pulse the faster-spinning wheel to slow it.

An open differential like that in front-wheel drive vehicles will transfer power to the wheel spinning the fastest. That is why you can get stuck if only one of your front wheels loses traction and spins freely. By pulsing the brakes on that spinning wheel, traction control can allow some power to go to the other front wheel. Of course, if both front wheels have no traction, you still get stuck.

Mechanical limited slip differentials tend to react faster, allow a greater power transfer and operate at higher speeds.

Combined with an AWD system, a limited-slip differential or traction control system can make it such that 3 or 4 wheels must slip for the vehicle to be stuck.

Our Odyssey does reasonably well in the snow compared to other vehicles we've had with traction control. I suspect the weight of the Odyssey helps a lot. It also does as well or better than most other front wheel cars I pass in snowy conditions.

Still, it doesn't do nearly as well as our Subaru Outback which has AWD and a limited slip in the rear (3 wheels must slip to be stuck).

None of our vehicles have snow tires, but quality snow tires are the best way to improve your traction. Combined with traction control, they should prove sufficient in all but the most severe conditions.
 

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by errol:
Hi ya folks,

the driveway was covered with a layer of ice and when she tried to drive into the garage, the TCS was coming off and on until she made it up into the garage.
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Hhmphf...I tried to do more or less the same thing and got absolutely nowhere. (my grade is up to the street) I've got Artic-Alpins and all I did was slide around. Turns out there was a lot more ice under the 2" of snow than I realized and there's only so much you can do w/out any friction. I was slippin' and slidin' around in my heavy-duty snow boots trying to scrape and (pseudo)salt myself a path out to the street. I doubt a AWD would have helped.

I was was really bummed though to have my first winter adventure be a bust - even if it wasn't the Ody's fault.
 

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I agree completely with Caviller. I have a 2001 EX and a 2001 Pathfinder LE w/auto 4wd and LSD. I live in Calgary so we get some snow which usually melts and refreezes and turns to ice (like right now). This results in mixed traction surfaces everywhere, including my steep driveway and the hill on my street.

Of course, my Pathfinder is at the top of the heap in terms of traction, but the TC on the Ody (with the stock Michelins)is very impressive. At least it keeps you moving in many situations that would stop a lesser fwd vehicle. Of course, using a dedicated ice/snow tire will increase the number of situations that it can get out of (or increase the speed/confidence with which you do it), but in the 1 1/2 winters that I have driven this vehicle, it has NEVER stranded me in the ice or snow (and it gets a real workout).
 

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After reading all the posts and opinions on TC and our Ody's, I guess I'll throw a couple of bags of kitty litter in the back and also plan to back up my driveway when it ices over. Backing up icy inclines has gotten me by in the past with FWD since the weight shifts over the drive wheels instead of away from them. The TC may not work in reverse though.
If the Symmetry's do prove to suck, I guess it'll be time for another Blzzak package from Tire Rack.

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'02 Ody EX-L(Mods: still considering options).
'96 Maxima SE(Mods: FSTB, RSTB, RSB, Winter Blizzaks on GXE rims).
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I have 3 vehicles with Traction control.

It seems to work best in the RAIN though, it helps in the snow too to a reasonable degree!

Snow tires or errr, chains would be awesome with TCS (Traction Control System).

If your TCS light STAYS on FOR NO REASON and you are quite sure that you aren't overheating your brakes, TAKE IT back to the DEALER, it's under Warranty on a 2002 Odyssey.
 
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