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Old 12-20-2009, 12:36 AM   #1
StickForLife
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Snow + empty parking lot + no DSC = win

First the obligatory disclaimer: I take no responsibility for anyone trying out anything in this post. If you do something like this, do it in an empty parking lot away from people, cars and houses, and anything else!

Today was my area's first real snow of the season. I was coming home and slipped on a patch of black ice, DSC and ABS barely stopped me in time. Ok, so drive slower then. I'm taking a left hander from side to main street at a LOW speed (10 MPH), the car fishtails as soon as I give it throttle and I'm wondering what the hell have I gotten myself into? This is my first BMW, and it's even an xi, can I live with a whole winter of this?? (I am currently running All Seasons, but I think I'll be investing in snows soon.)

So I decided to leave my house round 12:30 AM and hit up the local high school's parking lot. I spent half an hour learning the limits of my car, and in the process I found out

- the limits of DSC/ABS
- the uses of DSC/ABS

and last but not least

- just how much fun the Ultimate Driving Machine is with DSC OFF!

I've never drifted/powerslid any car before and man is it fun! It's also hard hard work, I was amazed at just how much work constant counter steering is!

Now that being said of course, I can clearly see that with DSC on, the car will correct itself from a slide fairly well, with just a bit of extra input from the driver. However I was surprised to note that in a few cases, I was actually able to control the slide just a bit better with DSC off, it seemed that the extra throttle helped somehow. I also noticed that adding a jab of throttle towards the end of the countersteering seemed to straighten out the car a bit more.

To aid in stopping, I tried the old engine braking technique, but I found I couldn't row through the gears fast enough. This also led me to see that anytime I hit 3000 RPMs there was a pretty good chance I would lose traction at some point. I limited myself to 2000 RPMs in third gear and it working pretty good as long as the steering angle wasn't too sharp. This seemed to give me decent engine braking without running the risk of stalling the car with too low RPMs.

Finally I noticed that for some reason, when the back swung out to the left while turning right, it was easier to "catch" the slide then when I turned left and the back swung out to the right, any thoughts on that?

This experience has definitely made me want to learn more about car control and trying this thing out on a track! It also made me see that DSC is really, really nice when in a traction loss scenario.

Anyone else have some good DSC on/off stories/tips?
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Old 12-20-2009, 02:15 AM   #2
Nicker
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TIP: If you just got your car, you are old enough to drive, and dumb enough to take DSC off and try and fly around turns with no experience, PLEASE LEAVE DSC ON. (or just do a search to see how many threads there are with people saying, oh I just wanted to see what it would be like around this turn with DSC off, or I wanted to see what the rain and no DSC is like, ect...)
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Old 12-20-2009, 02:54 AM   #3
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Going into town tonight. Downhill corscrew, kinda foggy.... add cow elk in the road... me, oversteer, going sideways...6ft. trench on one side, 40ft. ravine on the other, countersteer, squeeze brakes steady, slide slows, DSC snaps me straight.....F...Me! Big smile and love the fact I was driving the BMW!!!

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Old 12-20-2009, 03:21 AM   #4
Acarder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicker View Post
TIP: If you just got your car, you are old enough to drive, and dumb enough to take DSC off and try and fly around turns with no experience, PLEASE LEAVE DSC ON. (or just do a search to see how many threads there are with people saying, oh I just wanted to see what it would be like around this turn with DSC off, or I wanted to see what the rain and no DSC is like, ect...)
DSC cannot correct stupidity in any situation, let alone in the snow... I can already see this ending badly as per normal, you already seem overconfident and you haven't even spent a full day in the snow.. you can't become a pro driver after 1 session at 12.30am, hell you can't even be competent.

People really overestimate the effectiveness of DSC. You are NOT safe with it on. If you take a corner wrong, it will NOT correct your stupid driving. It will do its best to but it can only modulate the brakes. You are going to slide and it will not be able to catch you in the snow. If you don't know how to drive, don't.

Last edited by Acarder; 12-20-2009 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:33 AM   #5
StickForLife
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicker View Post
TIP: If you just got your car, you are old enough to drive, and dumb enough to take DSC off and try and fly around turns with no experience, PLEASE LEAVE DSC ON. (or just do a search to see how many threads there are with people saying, oh I just wanted to see what it would be like around this turn with DSC off, or I wanted to see what the rain and no DSC is like, ect...)
Oh believe me, there is NO WAY I will be turning DSC off in anything less than a controlled situation, such as an empty parking lot in the wee hours. That being said, I definitely plan on doing this a couple more times as the snow gets heavier to really see what I can and can't get away with, always in the safety of an empty parking lot.
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:40 AM   #6
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It is always better to learn in a controlled situation. The best way would be to get pro instruction if possible, goto a car control clinic BMWCCA offers them. I recommend it.
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:40 AM   #7
StickForLife
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Originally Posted by Acarder View Post
DSC cannot correct stupidity in any situation, let alone in the snow... I can already see this ending badly as per normal, you already seem overconfident and you haven't even spent a full day in the snow.. you can't become a pro driver after 1 session at 12.30am, hell you can't even be competent.

People really overestimate the effectiveness of DSC. You are NOT safe with it on. If you take a corner wrong, it will NOT correct your stupid driving. It will do its best to but it can only modulate the brakes. You are going to slide and it will not be able to catch you in the snow. If you don't know how to drive, don't.
And I definitely saw that! I am not in ANY WAY saying that DSC will fix anything and everything that happens from poor decisions, just that having it helps more than not having it. I saw from my experience that it is always far better to avoid getting in a situation (traction loss in this case) then to recover from it. I knew that part before hand, but as this was the first AWD/RWD biased vehicle I've ever had in snow I felt that it was a worthwhile learning experience.
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Old 12-20-2009, 10:45 AM   #8
StickForLife
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Originally Posted by Rene325ci View Post
It is always better to learn in a controlled situation. The best way would be to get pro instruction if possible, goto a car control clinic BMWCCA offers them. I recommend it.
Thanks, yes I will definitely be joining BMWCCA after this experience.

I think some people got the wrong idea from my post, which is understandable. I was a bit excited from my experience and may not have been as clear as I needed to be. Bottom line is, DSC is there to provide assistance, not to fix issues that the driver caused themselves through applying too much throttle, braking or steering. It is always the driver's responsibility to maintain complete control of their vehicle on public roads and DSC cannot be used as an excuse for this.
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:31 AM   #9
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I can't even get my car to move 10ft hahah so no donuts or drifts for me
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:37 AM   #10
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I tested the "levels" of DSC in the snow yesterday. Push it once, and it's still there, just not as quickly. Push it and hold it (until the yellow "brake" light comes on), and you're really all on your own. Fun!

DSC in full-on mode seems to be programmed to fix what most drivers do: go into a slide then hit the brakes. This is the natural but WRONG reaction, and DSC seems to know it and plan accordingly. This is why DSC is frustrating for people who can control the car without slamming on the brakes as soon as something goes haywire.

That said, I'm not looking for fun on major roads with other people driving, so DSC stays on at all times except in empty parking lots and on tracks.

mb
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:49 PM   #11
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DSC doesn't beat the laws of pyhsics. That said, if you have a big car park to learn how your car reacts in snow, do it.
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Old 12-20-2009, 01:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StickForLife View Post
...
Finally I noticed that for some reason, when the back swung out to the left while turning right, it was easier to "catch" the slide then when I turned left and the back swung out to the right, any thoughts on that?
Likely because you have a one legged "peg leg" driving wheel. There's just one side where the one wheel is providing traction.
You think this is fun..get a Limited Slip Diff and then you'll know fun.
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Old 12-20-2009, 02:36 PM   #13
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I've been to the track plenty of times and it has been very very detrimental to how I drive today and how I handle situations that go past the abilities of most cars and drivers. But I do have to say if you are level minded about playing with your car in the snow in an area which you deem safe by your common sense, I say do it. The track taught me how to control the car when it has traction. A parking lot taught me how to control a car when it has lost traction.

Losing control at a track is usually safe but it can still cause damage if you decided to lose control in an area without proper runoff. Losing control in a parking lot using your common sense with speeds and how far you'd slide to a stop is somewhat safe too. The only thing with a track is if I lose control, I must learn how to deal with the loss of traction at a much higher rate of speed than playing in a parking lot.

Even with the car control sessions that I have been a part of, being on a large skidpad and learning how to control understeer and oversteer I just didn't feel I got enough time to play on my own. I had an instructor tell me what to do and how to do it but I never really felt I got the experience from "playing". Kind of like watching a 3D version of Hawaii, versus being there in person. Half an hour in an empty snowy/icy parking lot taught me so much more experience wise, than any skidpad I have put my car on. What a parking won't teach you is how to handle your car when it gets into a slide that lasts much longer at a much higher rate of speed...that's when a controlled track is in need.
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Old 12-20-2009, 03:58 PM   #14
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i was doin this lastnight but i couldnt get my ****en dtc to go off also....... but yeah whip a corner n double clutch n youll slide nice
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Old 12-20-2009, 04:57 PM   #15
ZZen330
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Originally Posted by mbcoops View Post
I tested the "levels" of DSC in the snow yesterday. Push it once, and it's still there, just not as quickly. Push it and hold it (until the yellow "brake" light comes on), and you're really all on your own. Fun!
Pressing DSC once turns off traction control (AST??), DSC remains active, while holding it down turns them both off.

Behaviour is different on Xi's I think.
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Old 12-20-2009, 05:27 PM   #16
xlash
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Gotta live dangerously. I drive with any sort of electronics off on black ice in heavy snow and traffic.
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Old 12-20-2009, 05:40 PM   #17
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what a dumb!!!
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Old 12-20-2009, 05:46 PM   #18
djnekkon
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I took my DSC off once and it was to get home from college. I rather keep myself home and don't drive at all if it is more than 5" of snow. That is not funny at all.
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Old 12-20-2009, 06:00 PM   #19
MysticBlau330Ci
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OP, keep learning car control in a safe environment and enjoy the fun. Leave DSC on when on public roads and drive within the limits of the circumstances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex323Ci View Post
Likely because you have a one legged "peg leg" driving wheel. There's just one side where the one wheel is providing traction.
You think this is fun..get a Limited Slip Diff and then you'll know fun.
Alex, your posts continue to tempt me. It's a daily dream "what if I got a custom 3.1 or 3.15 LSD with an AA SC".........what if? Stop pushing me man
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Old 12-20-2009, 06:52 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by StickForLife View Post
Finally I noticed that for some reason, when the back swung out to the left while turning right, it was easier to "catch" the slide then when I turned left and the back swung out to the right, any thoughts on that?
It's always easier one way than the other , wheather it's personal preference or RHD/LHD i don't know
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