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S3 4WD/Traction issue

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by Kinger, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. Kinger
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    Kinger New Member

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    [Oct 18, 2013]
    Good Morning

    I recently upgraded my clutch for my 2010 S3 Sportback to a Sachs with DMF, as the standard clutch was slipping after upgrading to REVO Stage1. Everything seemed to be going fine with the new clutch but last couple days, when putting the power down in 2nd and 3rd coming off the roundabouts on my way home from work, the car struggles to get traction and the ESP symbol flashes up obviously.

    Has anyone had any similar issues to this ? Ever since upgrading to Stage 1 it seems to be problem after problem!

    Ta
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  3. S3Alex
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    S3Alex Rarely neutral

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    [Oct 18, 2013]
    I don't think you should be surprised by this,as you've increased the power and torque,and what's happening is that the torque is overcoming grip when accelerating and cornering.

    The S3's front diff isn't great at getting power down on difficult surfaces or on cornering.

    There are a good number of things you can do to get around this,but it depends on what else you've done to the car....

    The solutions are:

    Better tyres(not knowing what you have at the moment)
    Improving the suspension with uprated ARBs and coilovers

    You shouldn't need to uprate the Haldex controller with the sort of power/torque you currently have,but changing to an ATB diff such as the Quaife would definitely gain you a lot more front end traction,but it is a very costly option.

    I'd look at the tyres and suspension first.
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  4. Kinger
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    Kinger New Member

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    [Oct 18, 2013]
    Thanks for the quick reply;

    I am aware of the power gains but thought maybe the 4WD could have coped with the stage 1 a bit more comfortably.

    I am running Michelin Pilot Sports so don't think the tyres are an issue, but I have looked into ARB's.

    Is there any common faults at all with power distribution ?
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  5. veeeight
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    veeeight I am a very pretty girl

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    [Oct 18, 2013]
    If your ESP light flashes, Traction Control activates, the Haldex dis-engages the rear wheels, effectively switching back into FWD.

    Try the same roundabouts again, but this time switch ESP off (at your own risk) - this will help you determine if the full 4WD system is working correctly, as TC won't cut in, and the Haldex remains engaged.
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  6. Kinger
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    Kinger New Member

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    [Oct 18, 2013]
    Thanks for that, I will give it a go!
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  7. DJ-S3
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    DJ-S3 Member

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    [Oct 18, 2013]
    As veeeight said. I'm assuming with the weather we've had it was wet on the round about (pissed it down all week where I live)? In which case I'm not surprised the TC kicked in. I don't have mine on most of the time.
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  8. S3Alex
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    S3Alex Rarely neutral

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    [Oct 18, 2013]
    OK....as you say,those are decent tyres,and have worked well on my car,with considerably more load placed on them,so I'd be happy with those.

    As others have already said,the Haldex system isn't quite like a lot of other 4WD systems,and may be described best as part time.

    Disabling TC is one way around it,but as veeight says,at your own risk,and a bit of money spent on the suspension will certainly aid traction.

    The system itself works well enough,but you have to look deeper to see the shortcomings....the stock suspension is a bit soft,and geared to understeer quite strongly,and the front diff is a simple open diff,that will not bias torque to the wheel with the best grip.
    This,coupled with TC that disables the Haldex when it is triggered,is a recipe for losing traction under cornering etc.

    My own car is a good example of one which really does need decent traction and suspension control,but some of the solutions to a relatively heavy car,with a pronounced understeer,and so on are not exactly cheap.

    Faults though,are pretty uncommon.
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  9. MrLapou
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    MrLapou Well-Known Member

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    [Oct 18, 2013]
    umm interesting.. I'm trying to get my heads around this.....

    So if, a or both front wheels lose grip will the TC disengage power, or will the Haldex kick in to power rear wheels and then only disengage power if all wheels keep slipping? At what speed / wheel slip does haldex kick in?


    With ESP switched off, what dangers are there?

    Does ESP switch on again at a pre-set speed?
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  10. turbonutz
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    turbonutz Active Member

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    [Oct 18, 2013]
    yeh this seems interesting, so alex is what your telling us that haldex traction control is near useless if front wheels lose traction?
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  11. JJ.Foulds
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    JJ.Foulds Well-Known Member

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    [Oct 18, 2013]
    i thought when the TC light flashes, the quattro has kicked in, to help with grip?

    so when does quattro activate when using TC on?

    jj.
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  12. S3Alex
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    S3Alex Rarely neutral

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    [Oct 18, 2013]
    The Haldex is an electro-hydraulic clutch that allows torque to be sent to the rear wheels under certain conditions,such as under acceleration but it is also over-ruled by certain things such as the TC and speeds above 100mph as far as I can remember.

    It's a very useful addition to the car but should not be seen as something like a full time 4WD system.

    Devices like the Haldex sport controller allow torque to be shifted quicker and more aggressively to the rear but will not permit more than a 50% rear torque bias.

    So it's good but it has drawbacks.

    ESP can only be partially disabled in that you cannot switch off the ABS.
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  13. DJ-S3
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    DJ-S3 Member

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    [Oct 18, 2013]
    As far as I can tell, ESP doesn't turn back on at any speed, until you've either pushed the button again or turned the engine off. Dangers with the ESP switched off is that there won't be any traction control. So 4wheel drifting will likely happen if the roads wide enough for the under steering to have happened. Other than that you won't have any power loss
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  14. veeeight
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    veeeight I am a very pretty girl

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    [Oct 18, 2013]
    Guys - Don't confuse ESP - which is primarily a safety stability control (Electronic Stability Program) - with Traction and Grip.

    The intention/purpose of ESP is not necessarily to give you max amount of traction or grip (two different things), but to ensure that the car remains stable, and still with the ability to control the direction in which you want to go, under most circumstances.

    So if you overcook a corner, or lift off abruptly at high speed round a bend, or want to accelerate away on different surfaces wth different mu values and maintain steering input control, or have to do an emergency avoidance or lane change (see videos below), ESP will save your bacon.

    However, in keeping the car stable in these extreme situations, it will sacrifice certain other things, like outright power (eg; it will retard ignition, electronically close or limit the throttle) to limit wheelspin, and also disengage the Haldex Clutches so 4WD is lost. It will also brake individual wheels to get the car back on the intended course.

    The Haldex is also disengaged when you brake, and when ABS is activated, and when you yank on the handbrake (very useful for getting the rear around in the snow) :)

    The electronic diff (front) (EDL) will remain active up to a certain speed on the 8P's, even when ESP is disabled. After that speed EDL is not available (I can't remember what speed it is off the top of my head). But if you switch ESP off, it will remain off until you switch it back on, or reset ignition. However, as said previously, Disabling ESP will not disable ABS, nor EDL, nor EBD.


    edit: Found it. EDL remains active in Quattro cars up to approx 50mph, and in FWD cars up to approx 25mph.

    some ESC demonstration videos:

    Fifth gear - Seat Leon - YouTube

    Volkswagen's Electronic Stability Program ESP Revealed - YouTube


    Fifth Gear ABS, TC, ESP Full version - YouTube
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2013
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  15. S3Alex
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    S3Alex Rarely neutral

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    [Oct 19, 2013]
    From what I can remember,and what I've seen of mine,EDL on our cars is not an electronic diff as such.

    When wheelspin occurs,the car simply applies the brake to the spinning wheel,thus limiting wheelspin rather than having a proper diff lock,or LSD.

    The diff itself is a simple open type.
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  16. veeeight
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    veeeight I am a very pretty girl

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    [Oct 19, 2013]
    Agreed Alex, it's just a simple braking of the excessively spinning wheel. Useful in snow, but not really for performance driving purposes.

    eg: In a snowy car park, if one front wheel and one back wheel spins, you go nowhere (no cross-axle diff locks). But with EDL stopping one or more of the spinning wheels, you've got a good chance of moving.

    It's just using the ABS electronics to simulate a LSD, with limited results.

    Nothing like the Quaife monster that you have ;)
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2013
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  17. DJ-S3
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    DJ-S3 Member

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    [Oct 19, 2013]
    Funny you should say pulling the handbrake up will disengage the haldex because in my s3 (when it was snowing of course) I pulled the handbrake up to get the back end out and it stalled the car. Tried it 4times. I came to the conclusion that it was because it was stopping my back wheels thus stopping the engine. Admittedly I didn't engage the clutch whilst pulling the handbrake which could of caused it but of what your saying is true I wonder what's happening to mine then...
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  18. veeeight
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    veeeight I am a very pretty girl

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    [Oct 19, 2013]
    Did you give it enough right foot at the same time as pulling on the handbrake to overcome the stall?

    Either that, or you have a faulty handbrake switch/signal.
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  19. S3Alex
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    S3Alex Rarely neutral

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    [Oct 19, 2013]
    It's kind of a shame that Audi produce cars like the S3/RS3/TTRS,and don't go that little bit further.

    I mean,if Ford can fit Quaife diffs,surely Audi could as well.

    That thing though is worth every penny so far.....it gets the power down,doesn't snatch like earlier Quaife ATBs and just does the job.
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  20. whitex8p
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    whitex8p Member

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    [Oct 22, 2013]
    i have always have esp off its rubbish!
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  21. pablo
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    pablo Member

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    [Oct 22, 2013]
    I find it odd that even on budget tyres and 300bhp I cant really break traction when flooring the S3 even in the wet. In a FWD car the TCS would be going mad but no bother just digs in and goes.

    so it must be bringing the rears in to increase grip but this doesnt flash the esp light. Must be only when the 4 wheels cant cut it that esp kicks in and flashes the light.
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  22. veeeight
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    veeeight I am a very pretty girl

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    [Oct 22, 2013]
    To be pedantic, it's only when the intended direction of travel (detected by steering angle sensor) and the actual vector of travel (detected by yaw sensor) is different by a certain amount, the stability program kicks in.

    And yes, the rears will drive up to the point above.

    it is possible to drive fast and tight within the confines of the stability program, but that takes feel and skill.

    Much easier to be flamboyant (but not tidier nor faster) around corners, until you run out of road.

    At the end of the day, ESP or no ESP, you cannot overcome grip and physics. One will let you use the run-off (if any) and the other will keep you in lane.
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  23. Staz
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    Staz is a retronaut Staff Member Moderator VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 22, 2013]
    I have to concur, apart from the budget tyres bit, my S3 has rarely lost traction.
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  24. S3Alex
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    S3Alex Rarely neutral

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    [Oct 22, 2013]

    Likewise,I think traction is generally pretty good,and even mine doesn't do badly.
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  25. pablo
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    pablo Member

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    [Oct 22, 2013]
    temp measure while my wheels are being refurbed! Trust me!
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