Traction Control - On vs Off when off-roading

MeanMrWolf

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Does turning off the Traction Control also turn off the Brake Lock Differential? or are those two things independent of each other?
They are independent of each other. While they use the same sensors, etc. It’s different programming. BLD does not retard the engine output, as an example.





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four low

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Could the Traction Control be permanently disabled by a jumper wire at the switch, or something ? A non Tazer approach ? After reading this, and the rolled over Jeep thread, I include Traction Control in my finger stab with ESS at each startup
 

Bran

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Good video and advice! I learned this a few years ago when my wife called and was stuck in snow, at the bottom of a hill in a parking lot. Here 2wd Escape was pretty useless, and I was getting out the strap when I thought about the TC. Went down, turned it off, and backed the front drive right up the hill, different machine once I turned off TC!!
 

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Trac Control is best used for driving on packed snow/ice when highway driving.
I reduces engine power as well as uses braking as needed. Designed to keep you from spinning out into a ditch. Driving in deep snow, sand, or mud you do not want it to cut power when you need to keep momentum/keep the wheels churning. With it off the BLD will still do its thing.

With TC on it compares the speed of all 4 wheels with the forward speed. If one wheel hits a patch of ice and starts spinning faster than the others the power is reduced/limited, brakes and BLD activated as needed.

With TC off........The system, does not care if a front wheel is spinning faster than a back wheel or vice versa, will not cut power and only compares wheel speed of the rear and front axles independently so that BLD still does its thing but wheel spin is only compared with the wheels on the same axle. BLD works in all modes. 2wd, 4H, 4L with or without TC on.

4L deactivates TC, 4H or 2H you have to turn it off yourself but BLD still works.

(I had a Honda Civic with ESC that cuts power and uses braking..........I started sliding sideways @ 35-40 mph and counter steered and got to a point of no return and the car miraculously straightened out and came out of it!. It was amazing that it pulled me out of it!)
 

zrickety

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Traction control is for inexperienced drivers or ice, end of story.
Took the Jeep to the beach and on the sand it kicked in right away...very sluggish, almost like it was stuck. Turn off the traction control, magically had power and was moving again.
 

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I learned that when wheeling in the Tillamook sand dunes. If you don't turn traction control off, you're in for a bad day.
 

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I made this video today for anyone interested (first video, so don't laugh).

In 2012 when the 3.6 came out I bought one and first time getting stuck in the snow I blamed the "new" engine. I had no power, my posi rear end wasn't working, needless to say I was pissed. After getting un-stuck and a few hours of Google Research, I learned the hard way about turning this off when off-roading.

My Dad had a similar issue last month while playing in the snow and couldn't figure out why his new Dodge Truck was acting so gutless while out playing in the snow.

I decided to make this video for all folks new to Jeeping.

Enjoy.

I see this all the times on the dunes where new Jeep owners / those who don't know better can't figure out why other Jeeps can get around and up hills so easily. The best way to get around on the sand is to turn it off completely, you need that wheelspin.
 

1quick1

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Good vid. I learned traction control off was best on my old JK on some dirt/gravel grated roads going camping. For some reason that road type just sent the traction control into a panic attack.
 

jeepoch

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I made this video today for anyone interested (first video, so don't laugh).

In 2012 when the 3.6 came out I bought one and first time getting stuck in the snow I blamed the "new" engine. I had no power, my posi rear end wasn't working, needless to say I was pissed. After getting un-stuck and a few hours of Google Research, I learned the hard way about turning this off when off-roading.

My Dad had a similar issue last month while playing in the snow and couldn't figure out why his new Dodge Truck was acting so gutless while out playing in the snow.

I decided to make this video for all folks new to Jeeping.

Enjoy.
Chris, et., al.,

You're video while helpful can also be a little misleading. Not everyone has a Willy's Edition Jeep with the rear Limited Slip Differential (LSD).

You are entirely correct in every way for your vehicle but not all. Everyone must first better understand exactly what they have and how it's operating. No one big brush here to cover everything.

First of all, on Jeeps with open diffs the behavior you demonstrate would be a lot different, especially in 2WD. I would be amazed if a base Sport could move around at all in that condition (period) with Traction Control (TC) turned off.

Second, driving in those conditions would almost always lend itself to using a 4WD mode. Even then, a purely open diff vehicle would still likely struggle without any form of traction control at all. All four wheels could potentially still all slip resulting in poor traction with very little motive effort. Again, I'm describing purely open diffs (no lockers of any type including LSD).

Thankfully, TC is available especially on the base Sports. With it, the computer senses the slip and allows more torque to be applied to the non-slipping wheels. This then better emulates the experience in your video. However, by turning TC off, this potentially worsens, rather than improves the open diffs ability to achieve motion.

Fortunately, there are two distinct types of functions provided by the JL's Traction Control system. The first is the one controlled by the pushbutton. This one is really 'Stability' more than just 'Traction' control. It measures and senses all four wheels for slip. But it also applies braking and reduces torque based on steering angle and vehicle speed in order to manage 'yaw' (keeping the vehicle pointed in the driver's intended direction). This is almost always advantageous in 2WD and is why it's enabled 'on' by default.

The second Traction Control function which is always enabled on the JL (every trim and package including the Rubicon) is something called Brake Lock Differential (BLD). However, it works just on the two wheels specifically on each axle. This is the magic in getting the open diffs to behave somewhat like LSD or even full lockers. This system just applies braking action, not torque, in attempting to maintain the same rotational wheel speed (independent of vehicle speed) between both wheels on a specific axle. This effectively allows locking to occur on the purely open diffs.

So for drivers of base Sports (not Willy's), it's better (likely required) to use Traction Control in 2WD but consider turning TC off only in 4Hi. TC will be automatically disabled in 4Lo. In 4Hi with TC disabled, only then will you get the same general benefit and behavior from Chris's video.

Here is a more detailed explanation from a Jeep Active Chassis Control Engineer, Loren Trotten:

https://blog.stellantisnorthamerica.com/2008/02/11/jeep-brake-traction-control-explained/

Furthermore, while disabling Traction Control in 2WD in a LSD equipped Jeep may seem like the proper thing to do always when off-road, us Sport drivers have a few more dynamics to consider. For us, attempting to do what Chris did is folly. I'd naturally be in 4WD (probably 4Hi) on that same road in that amount of snow, with TC enabled 'on'.

However, I'll further claim that the computer is likely way better than me at trying to maintain traction. Regardless of how 'gutless' the engine may feel, traction (and effective motion) is by far the most important factor. I could care less if my throttle request is at 100% (on the floor), as long as my Jeep is finding traction and is trudging forward, this is, and always will be, my primary objective [even while seeking new life forms]. Traction (not slipping) is always a good thing.

I'll tend to leave my TC enabled. Only disabling it to achieve spin explicitly. Which should be rarely. However, I can appreciate those that want to spin their way out of trouble. Where's the fun in not throwing the snow, mud or sand into the air?

Jay
 
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basinite

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Chris, et., al.,

You're video while helpful can also be a little misleading. Not everyone has a Willy's Edition Jeep with the rear Limited Slip Differential (LSD).

You are entirely correct in every way for your vehicle but not all. Everyone must first better understand exactly what they have and how it's operating. No one big brush here to cover everything.

First of all, on Jeeps with open diffs the behavior you demonstrate would be a lot different, especially in 2WD. I would be amazed if a base Sport could move around at all in that condition (period) with Traction Control (TC) turned off.

Second, driving in those conditions would almost always lend itself to using a 4WD mode. Even then, a purely open diff vehicle would still likely struggle without any form of traction control at all. All four wheels could potentially still all slip resulting in poor traction with very little motive effort. Again, I'm describing purely open diffs (no lockers of any type including LSD).

Thankfully, TC is available especially on the base Sports. With it, the computer senses the slip and allows more torque to be applied to the non-slipping wheels. This then better emulates the experience in your video. However, by turning TC off, this potentially worsens, rather than improves the open diffs ability to achieve motion.

Fortunately, there are two distinct types of functions provided by the JL's Traction Control system. The first is the one controlled by the pushbutton. This one is really 'Stability' more than just 'Traction' control. It measures and senses all four wheels for slip. But it also applies braking and reduces torque based on steering angle and vehicle speed in order to manage 'yaw' (keeping the vehicle pointed in the driver's intended direction). This is almost always advantageous in 2WD and is why it's enabled 'on' by default.

The second Traction Control function which is always enabled on the JL (every trim and package including the Rubicon) is something called Brake Lock Differential (BLD). However, it works just on the two wheels specifically on each axle. This is the magic in getting the open diffs to behave somewhat like LSD or even full lockers. This system just applies braking action, not torque, in attempting to maintain the same rotational wheel speed (independent of vehicle speed) between both wheels on a specific axle. This effectively allows locking to occur on the purely open diffs.

So for drivers of base Sports (not Willy's), it's better (likely required) to use Traction Control in 2WD but consider turning TC off only in 4Hi. TC will be automatically disabled in 4Lo. In 4Hi with TC disabled, only then will you get the same general benefit and behavior from Chris's video.

Here is a more detailed explanation from a Jeep Active Chassis Control Engineer, Loren Trotten:

https://blog.stellantisnorthamerica.com/2008/02/11/jeep-brake-traction-control-explained/

Furthermore, while disabling Traction Control in 2WD in a LSD equipped Jeep may seem like the proper thing to do always when off-road, us Sport drivers have a few more dynamics to consider. For us, attempting to do what Chris did is folly. I'd naturally be in 4WD (probably 4Hi) on that same road in that amount of snow, with TC enabled 'on'.

However, I'll further claim that the computer is likely way better than me at trying to maintain traction. Regardless of how 'gutless' the engine may feel, traction (and effective motion) is by far the most important factor. I could care less if my throttle request is at 100% (on the floor), as long as my Jeep is finding traction and is trudging forward, this is, and always will be, my primary objective [even while seeking new life forms]. Traction (not slipping) is always a good thing.

I'll tend to leave my TC enabled. Only disabling it to achieve spin explicitly. Which should be rarely. However, I can appreciate those that want to spin their way out of trouble. Where's the fun in not throwing the snow, mud or sand into the air?

Jay
I hear what your saying and you make some very compelling and well thought out points. However, I have to disagree a bit regarding the Sport based on my own "Redneck" experiences.

My wife had a 2016 2 door Sport (open diff, non LSD), but it did have Rubicon take off wheels (not axles). I "borrowed" it a couple years ago and took it deer hunting. During the hunt we had a snow storm hit overnight and it dropped a few inches inches of snow.
The next morning my dad needed me to move the Jeep, so he could fill up his side by side with gas. While moving the Jeep, it started to get stuck in the snow after the traction control garbage kicked in.

Keep in mind, I have my dad and uncles standing around starting to stare and I could see the smiles starting to quickly form on their faces. These guys are straight up oil field rednecks and take their trucks very seriously.

Getting stuck in a few inches of snow and having to shift to 4 wheel to get out, would have resulted in a minimum of 2 days ridicule and some massive sh*t talking. After very quickly turning off the Traction Control, the Jeep instantly came back to life and I was able to pull thru the snow with ease and my dignity in tact.

I stand by what I said in the video. Sport, Willy's, Rubicon, it doesn't matter. A million engineers can write whatever justification they want and sing their praises. I'd gladly take them out playing around in snow, sand, mud, whatever and watch them all get stuck.
 

jeepoch

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Chris,

The really way cool thing about these Jeeps is that they have lots of options in regards to either getting into or out of difficult conditions. It's up to the skill of each driver to understand what's available and how and when to use those options in any scenario.

For your specific situation, you discovered what worked in that case. However, traction control algorithms in general are particularly designed more for a 'moving' vehicle (most predominantly while in 2WD) looking for tire slip between all four wheels. Admittedly, it probably isn't well suited for tricky situations when stopped and trying to start on slippery terrain. But then again in some situations it very well may.

For your situation, some amount of tire slip was necessary in order to burn down through the snow into the dirt before gripping enough to move. The point is that you discovered what worked based on your knowledge of knowing how to deliver more torque.

I have absolutely no argument (or defense) of your statements and especially the demonstration with your very cool video.

My point is that we all have potentially different equipment. It is up to each one of us to learn, understand and apply what works best when we find ourselves in tight spots. No 'one size fits all'.

For me, I find that I rely more on traction control in my rig than you do. LSDs are a pretty wonderful upgrade. You have that Ace in your sleeve. I don't.

I also believe that I personally have a much 'lighter' touch on tricky conditions. I tend to use the least amount of torque rather than just wanting the most immediately available. I tend to appreciate and use the functionality that these Engineers have developed.

Your video kind of gave me the impression that Traction Control is silly and should never be used, especially when off-road in the snow while in 2WD. That by itself is a situation I'd have probably always selected 4WD naturally.

TC is a tool in your toolbox. Use it when appropriate, don't otherwise. You're video highlights exactly just how integrated TC is into these JLs and that you do have at least some amount of control over it.

That's my point. Nothing more, nothing less.

Again, thanks a bunch for taking the time and effort for sharing your experiences. Really well done and good job in your presentation.
Thank you.

Jay
 

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