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Old 09-15-2006, 07:04 AM   #1
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Stability Control - required!

Everyone catch the news recently about mandatory stability control being added to vehicles to prevent rollover and skidding. Some of the videos they showed were some pretty poor handling sedans that went into a rear wheel drift pretty easily. Nice to know that I have it in my xB already and it seems to make beeping noises when it starts to kick in - turned on some sand one time. Man the video of the SUV doing a roll over and over down the highway makes you think twice about being anywhere near one of them. I knew they had lousy suspensions but dang that was pretty bad . . . Woman driver btw and she admitted to over correcting.
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Old 09-15-2006, 11:14 PM   #2
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theclencher - word! I dispise SUV's for these reasons. People have the misconception that they are useful and economical...
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Old 09-15-2006, 11:51 PM   #3
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I don't like them either, but...

I don't like the overly-large SUVs out there rolling and skidding out of control, but like modern safety advances such as airbags, Stability Control can do what a human driver cannot: that is, brake each wheel independently (and in anti-lock fashion) to recover from an oversteer/skid or some understeer, so you don't go spinning/sliding out of control. I can see how this would save many lives -- not only those driving SC equipped vehicles, but also those around them who could be a target for a collision.

Statistics show that a large number of single-car crashes and fatalities could be avoided with the addition of SC (even in small cars). Emergency maneuvers, even with an expert driver, can yield an uncontrolled situation. Most novice/average drivers don't even know what a skid IS, let alone how to correct it. Ask them and you get, "Steer into it". OK, what does that mean. "I dunno". Exactly.

For those that have a problem with it and want to do do-nuts in the mall parking lot when it snows, it can be switched off (but with Mercedes - only marginally so). Otherwise, it's there to be prepared. The added weight and cost would be minimal. A lateral accelerometer with a circuit board, tied into an already existing ABS system is basically what it amounts to. Additional info is gathered from speed sensors in each wheel to add more feedback to the program. If you've never experienced it, then I can't really describe the sensation you get. I've driven a sedan on a gravel road with SC. To test the system, I would take a safe corner with oversteer (meaning the back-end of the car is sliding out and the car is no longer following a the intended line, and is started a sideways path). Within milliseconds, pulses from the wheels bring the vehicle back into the intended turn, with maybe a slight intrusion of traction control if throttle was applied. With the same turn and direction, I turned the SC off and performed the same maneuver. Having a front-wheel drive car, the solution was to power out of the skid, and make slight but brisk steering inputs. High-speed operation is where this would make sliding-out of control on ice/snow much less of a danger. I see countless numbers of people in the Winter who drive too fast on the highway in snowy conditions, and lose it, only to end-up in the median, a barrier, or worse.

Anyways, I'm for it, and Ford (if they're still around) will have them in all of their vehicles soon. I take comfort sending a loved-one out in a vehicle with SC, than a vehicle without, wouldn't you?

RH77
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Old 09-16-2006, 12:11 AM   #4
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ford, who knows

more dismal news about ford

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/finan.../D8K5PA700.htm
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Old 09-16-2006, 04:49 AM   #5
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Yup if people had brains and used them when buying vehicles they probably would crash them either. But cars can benefit from SC as well - a lot of fatal crashes around here in the past several years were in HONDA cars single car crashes late at night going too fast and crashing into something.

Yeah I can't turn it off SC in my xB only the traction control - was going up a steep driveway and needed to spin the tires to dig into the snow but it kicked in and almost stalled my engine - ended up rolling backwards down the driveway 16 degree incline! You are right though it is only a little electronic yaw sensor under the shifter console.

Ford - ya think Bill Ford resigned from the CEO position before that layoff happened for a reason??
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Old 09-16-2006, 05:03 AM   #6
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I'm for it so long as I can turn it off. I like that it indicate that it's going off so the driver knows to take it easy.
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Old 09-17-2006, 08:01 AM   #7
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I consider myself a pretty good driver and know the feel of my car pretty well but on two occasions in my VW Rabbit I almost lost it and the surprise when it happened is what almost caused me to crash. One time was on a back road where they had sanded the road after oiling it and the car started to doing a 4 wheel skid on a slight turn - back and forth at about 45mph - nothing but trees on either side - yikes! Another time was on an exit ramp when I got too close to the outside edge and the back wheels broke loose at 30mph in a 30mph ramp and fishtailed back and forth a few times until I managed to get back into the center of the ramp. DPW around here is crazy with using sand and gravel on the roads for some reason.

There is no way that that I as a driver could have recovered control under these conditions the way SC can - as it turned out it was just a matter of riding it out and working the steering wheel to regain control.

Funny thing is I have asked other Scion xB owners in Scion World about tipping an xB over and they all say it can't be done and yet I have gone around a rotary on three wheels already. The front wheel came off the ground enough to loose traction when I hit the gas.
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Old 09-17-2006, 09:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theclencher
Really, who "spins and slides" out of control??? I've been driving since 1974 and the only times I've spun and slid out of control is when I've gotten stupid on snow and ice- mostly on purpose.
Congrats! There are situations that I've been in, on back, rural roads where they had just completed the "Chip and Seal" -- tar and gravel. There was a ridge of loose gravel at the sides. For example, in College at age 19 in a '95 Beretta, I slowed down, took a blind curve properly only to catch the loose gravel. I over corrected twice, ended up in the both ditches, but was able to power out of the second one without any damage (thankfully). Even at low-speeds, if there was another vehicle coming, it would have been a different story. I had 2 medic friends who had LOTS of drivers training that rolled their units responding to calls. SC would have prevented both.


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Obviously the solution for that is DRIVER'S TRAINING which is practically non-existent now. I think when inept drivers expect the car to do it all and take care of them, they don't even try to improve their skills. Better cars= worse drivers?!?
I agree with this statement. But insist on Driver Training for ALL ages, including the elderly. Also, yes, people, especially SUV drivers, think all of their mass and tech will save them. I've seen many instances as such, and makes people drive faster. This could be one argument against such technology. A study would have to be done to see which saves more lives, fear or tech. I think (I never thought I'd say this) increased law enforcement would help.



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It's extra complexity that I don't want to pay for or deal with... since there are me and four other guys left on the planet that don't rely on mechanics and do our own wrenching.
I have to be frank about this one: I'd give that up. Cars are getting more and more complex whether we like it or not.

Quote:
Then they could go out in a '60 VW for example and they would have the tools to get back alive.
Tough love! We just disagree.

Regarding the single-car Hondas, no Sc would have helped, for example, a 115 mph, into a tree collision.

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Old 09-17-2006, 01:56 PM   #9
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Hard to say on a single car crash one was into a curb, flipped and stopped by a wire pole across the roof - no air bag could save them that time - crushed the car roof across the front seat.

As far as the complexity - actually it is a little bit of programming added to the antilock brakes with some input from a yaw sensor.

As far as never been out of control, then you probably have not reached the edge of the cars handling ability, which is a good thing, until you need to know where that edge is.
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Old 09-17-2006, 02:14 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JanGeo
As far as never been out of control, then you probably have not reached the edge of the cars handling ability, which is a good thing, until you need to know where that edge is.
Autocross should be mandatory driver training

Honestly, though. You would likely get to know what happens in a safe, out-of-control situation. Many parents take their new drivers out for a run through the cones, with good results.

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