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S3 traction control question...

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by KentKid, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. KentKid
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    KentKid Active Member

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    [Mar 25, 2013]
    Afternoon everyone, I hope you all had nice weekends.

    I’m about to do my 1[SUP]st[/SUP] track day (weather permitting!), and I have a quick question about traction control.

    As far as I can tell, I have these three options:

    • Leave traction control fully enabled.
    • Disable ASR (by one quick push of the ‘ESP OFF’ button).
    • Disable ESP (by pushing and holding the ‘ESP OFF’ button for 5 or 6 seconds).

    Being my first track day, and seeing how the weather is pretty horrendous at the moment, I’m leaning towards leaving traction control fully enabled – but I’m not sure of this is the best option to be honest?

    Should I base my decision on the weather – as in ESP off on a dry track, and traction control left enabled on a wet and slippery track?

    Finally, will disabling ASR or ESP stop the rear wheels from kicking in if the fronts lose traction, or should the rear wheels still get involved with either ASR or ESP disabled?

    Sorry for the rookie questions, but I really don’t want to write-off my S3!

    Thanks in advance for any advice,

    Dan
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  3. MB RS3
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    MB RS3 Member

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    [Mar 25, 2013]
    Not tracked mine yet mate, so can't really comment on ESP... BUT hope you enjoy it!! Where you thinking of tracking it?!
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  4. Ben S3 8P3
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    Ben S3 8P3 Member

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    [Mar 25, 2013]
    Where you doing your track day?

    What driving experience do you have? I would advise always having ESP switched off, it can be extremely dangerous by cutting power just when you need it, and applying brakes where you really don't need them to be applied.

    The S3 is my first car that has ESP and I have found it to be nothing but trouble! I have it off any time that I push the car. I would much rather have full control of the car myself rather than having to predict what a computer is doing. It can make the car jerk into overcorrections.

    Turn them both off and have fun!

    Few tips for driving with them off in the wet/cold and on a track

    - always brake in a straight line
    - every input you make to the car controls, be as gradual as you can, don't surprise the car into doing something unexpected
    - balance the throttle through corners, if you feel it understeering wide, don't apply anymore power, slightly ease off, you can left foot brake to bright the nose back in if you feel confident
    - if you turn in and the back come loose, DO NOT brake or lift of, FULL POWER and you can make the transition to understeer and you will not spin
    - if you have a very bad moment and the back really steps out, again you need ESP switched off to apply power with an opposite lock correction
    - don't leave your brakes on in the pit lane
    - warm the tyres and brakes up for a couple of laps before you thrash it
    - same again with cooling down before you bring it in

    and enjoy!
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  5. KentKid
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    KentKid Active Member

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    [Mar 25, 2013]
    I was going to be doing the track day at Silverstone, but the event has now been cancelled due to snow and ice...
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  6. KentKid
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    KentKid Active Member

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    [Mar 25, 2013]
    Hi Ben, thanks for the great advice and tips – much appreciated.

    Well, I was going to be doing the track day at Silverstone – ‘was’ being the significant word, as the event has now been cancelled due to snow and ice!

    I can’t say that I’m too upset about it though, as it was bound to be pretty treacherous and definitely not the ideal weather for a newbies 1[SUP]st[/SUP] track day.

    My driving experience is road only, so I’m definitely leaning more towards caution for my 1[SUP]st[/SUP] track day.

    The only time I’ve found traction control a real problem is with pulling away fast from a standstill, or when attempting to pull away quickly at a junction or a roundabout. Those are not ideal times to have the traction control system bog you down.

    A couple of things:

    You mention about remembering to not leave my brakes on in the pit lane – as in the hand-brake?
    Also, I’m assuming the Haldex system still send power to the rear wheels with either ASR or ESP disabled?

    Cheers mate…
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  7. S.
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    S. Well-Known Member

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    [Mar 25, 2013]
    haldex cuts power to the rear axle only when you apply brakes. simple as that.
    and the gen IV is pretty good, and it's able to send almost 50/50 power to front and back.

    ben s3 gave you really good tips.

    i would also recommend esp/asr off.

    edit: won't post 1000 post :p

    but all facelift s3's have gen IV haldex.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
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  8. KentKid
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    KentKid Active Member

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    [Mar 25, 2013]
    Thanks Sami, it sounds like I should probably just switch ESP off everytime I start the car up!

    I know the majority of people on here aren't huge fans of the traction control system.

    I have a 59-plate S3, so hopefully I have the gen IV haldex system on my car...

    So do you have anything special planned for your 1000th post? ;-)
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  9. veeeight
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    veeeight Well-Known Member

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    [Mar 25, 2013]
    Continental Teves MK60 ABS/ESP

    You cannot completely switch off all of the features (by conventional means) of the ESP.

    Even if you hold down the button, hold your breath, count to 12, lift your left toe, waggle your tongue around your lips, wink your left eye at 3 Hz and cross your right toes, - you cannot disable all of the ESP features. This is a much propogated myth.

    Think of ESP as an Umbrella - under it you've got all the various safety features such as:

    ABS Anti Lock Braking System
    EDL Electronic Differential Lock (using ABS) - up to 80km/h in Quattro cars
    TCS/ASR Traction Control System/Anti Slip Regulation (using throttle regulation and ignition retard)
    EBA Emergency Brake Assist
    ESC Electronic Stability Control (using wheel speed sensors, yaw sensor, lateral acceleration sensor)
    ESA Emergency Steer Assist (not featured at the moment)

    In a post-facelift post 2008 S3 with Gen 4 Haldex, pressing the ESP button until the message appears in the DIS, will only disable TCS/ASR and ESC. Everything else remains enabled. So when you are in the snow scrabbling for grip around a corner, and a wheel starts spinning, EDL will intervene and you will feel the ABS unit pulsate and work.

    Caveat - In some situations, even with ESP Off, if you hit the brakes, and the system detects an instability (using steering angle sensor, yaw sensor, lateral acceleration sensor) - it will bring ESC back into play to a certain extent to try and sort out the situation.


    As for drivers who promote turning off ESP for normal daily driving, there is a mis-match in understanding as to its function. Quattro/Haldex is for traction, ESP is safety and stability. Quattro/Haldex will not recover you from an instability situation, ESP will.

    But yes, for track use only, turn off ESP (or at least the features that it will allow you to turn off) :)

    Watch: Fifth Gear ABS, TC, ESP Full version - YouTube



    More info on the Interaction of Haldex and ESP:
    http://www.audi-sport.net/vb/a3-s3-sportback-8p-chassis/182388-my-quattro-working.html
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  10. KentKid
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    KentKid Active Member

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    [Mar 27, 2013]
    ^^ That's good news! ^^
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  11. KentKid
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    KentKid Active Member

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    [Mar 27, 2013]
    Hi Veeeight, thanks for the great info and links – much appreciated.

    I have a 59-plate S3, so it sounds like I’ll have the generation 4 Haldex.

    It sounds like the sensible play is to leave ASR and ESP enabled for everyday use, and to disable ESP for track days (or at least, the components of ESP that are able to be disabled!).

    It’s a shame that the track day got cancelled, but in this weather it’s probably a blessing in disguise.

    I’m hoping for a dry track for my 1[SUP]st[/SUP] track day.

    ESP off, foot down…
    #10
  12. S3Alex
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    S3Alex Rarely neutral

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    [Mar 27, 2013]
    You'll love it.

    I must get one booked soon as the weather improves.

    I enjoyed last years one with AMD so much it made me do more to get the car sorted out!

    Have a great time and enjoy it.
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  13. Ben S3 8P3
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    Ben S3 8P3 Member

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    [Mar 27, 2013]
    A simple way to explain the dangerous aspects of ESC is for example,

    I was in Leeds in the early hours of the morning having driven from manchester, and I obviously had ESC turned (ASR was off because I always have it off just incase) on because I had just been travelling on the motorway.

    I put my foot down to get through an amber light on a roundabout and straight away the ESC decided to slam on the inside wheel, de-stabalising the car, as it thought that I had swerved in avoiding action etc. A similar situation has occurred on a curved motorway slip road too in the wet

    The system is mainly implemented to avoid losing control when swerving round a slower/stationary car on a motorway. It isnt developed like systems in super cars to make you faster or work with you. So it is always advisable to have the system turned off when driving enthusiastically.

    Yes it will save an inexperienced driver and bring them back straight/slow them down when they make a mistake, but it can really hinder you if you are pushing the car intentionally, especially in the wet.

    As for snow, it has to be off, or it will just bring you to an understeering painfully slow stop with lots of ABS, as I found out when I experimented with how much the system would kick in if you get the back out with some power on a snowy road!

    I would personally prefer the car without the ESC at all! :)
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  14. veeeight
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    veeeight Well-Known Member

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    [Mar 28, 2013]
    I have no interest in getting into a flame war on this thread, but your post above is riddled with paradoxes, and demonstrates a lack of understanding of the system. You appear to have taken some of your on road experiences and made it fit to some much propagated myths of ESP.

    I apologise for my form of words in this post, but advising drivers to switch off a safety system on a public road is downright irresponsible. I have no wish to meet you coming the other way in an uncontrolled spin.
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  15. Ben S3 8P3
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    Ben S3 8P3 Member

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    [Mar 28, 2013]
    Im not interested in any kind of know it all battle either...

    And I am not 'advertising' people should drive around daily with their ESC turned off...

    The OP question was track related. And I was trying to give a very simplified explanation of why turning it off is a sensible and more enjoyable idea on the track.

    My point was that when ESC cuts power and apples braking when it thinks you are out of control but in fact are under full control, it can surprise the driver and can lead to a snap over correction. More so, it just gets in the way of having fun on a track or a country road if you so wish to drive that way. Obviously this only applies when you are driving near/on/over the limit of grip. I completely understand the systems effectiveness, and that it has saved countless lives by preventing high speed spins, and it is an essential feature on any car for your average driver and people with no track experience or driver training.
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  16. gen.heinz guderian
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    gen.heinz guderian Well-Known Member Regional Rep VCDS Map User

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    [Mar 28, 2013]
    However did we used to cope/ be able to drive all those years ago when traction control ABS etc were not available.
    I used to own an 80`s 911 no abs no traction and a history of disappearing into hedges backwards. I never crashed . lol
    Modern cars may have more power but at least on older ones you could drive without all the nannying electronics getting in the way.
    If you are relying on these driving aids in a daily situation I suggest you look at your own driving first off.
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