Do I really want traction control?

79TA7.6

Veteran Member
Joined
May 8, 2006
Location
Live: Wilbur/Creston; Work: Moses Lake Washington
TDI
2003 Jetta GLS 5 Speed
I have purchased the new brake controller, MK60, for my car. I did this a few years back but have never had the chance to install it. I really wanted to follow the "Traction Control(ASR)" thread. We bought my wife a newer car, 2006 Dodge Stratus. It has traction control and I cannot stand it. I hate the feeling of the brakes constantly being slammed on without me doing it. I find myself turning it off when I get into situations where it starts to kick in.

I have all of the parts to do the conversion, but I am not really sure I want to now. I grew up not having this ability on any of my rigs, the Stratus is the first ever. Maybe the Jetta behaves differently, but not sure it will. I am a very spirited driver, have been since I drove my first rig, 1961 Chevy pickup. Then my 79 Trans Am set it in stone. I am very cautious about how I drive, but when I want to play I want to play. My drive is 69 miles of mostly country back roads with zero other traffic.

Those of you who have done the conversion, how do you like it? Are you a spirited driver? Does it seem the brakes are harshly applied when it does kick in?
 

david_594

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Feb 28, 2004
Location
Cheshire, CT
TDI
2000 Jetta GLS Silver
Those of you who have done the conversion, how do you like it? Are you a spirited driver? Does it seem the brakes are harshly applied when it does kick in?
Overall I consider this a fairly inexpensive modification and have been very happy that I did it(many years ago). I'm a pretty moderate driver and I the brake application has seemed harsh at times when it comes on on dry road conditions under heavy load. I think its value is really in icy/snowy road conditions. Having the button to disable it in my mind negates any of the negatives associated with the system.
 

supton

Top Post Dawg
Joined
May 25, 2004
Location
Central NH (USA)
TDI
'04 Jetta Wagon GLS
Never had it on my Jetta, thought about putting in, but don't feel a need these days.

My Camry has it, and it lets us spin a tire reasonably easy. It chirps more often if it detects sliding, as part of the VSC. Not a bad system. My truck OTOH flips out with any wheelspin. Poorly implimented, that or it has to work overtime for a poorly handling vehicle. Need to have some wheelspin in snow.

This I will say: with a clutch I don't feel a need for TC. If you can feel wheelslip, it's easy to adjust throttle/clutch. Now with an automatic... it's automatically worse. That extra loss of control drives me bonkers. I now understand why AWD is so "required" these days.
 

RacerTodd

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2007
Location
Kirkland, WA
TDI
2001 Golf TDI
I did the full ASR/ESP upgrade on my '01.

I love, love, LOVE the traction control.

I do not find that it ever "slams the brakes on". Most of the time the only way you know the ASR activated is the flashing light on the dash. Very unobtrusive, in my opinion.

I do drive briskly from time to time, but nothing hardcore - no track days, autocrossing, etc.

In the snow, combined with proper snow tires, the car is unstoppable, even with 8 inches of snow in a city that doesn't know how to plow roads.

It helps in many ordinary situations.

You're pulling out of a driveway, see a hole in traffic and gun it to get in the lane. Unbeknownst to you, there is a spot of oil or some gravel on the road. Normally, you get one wheel spinning and the car would slow down, just as traffic is bearing down on you. With ASR, the car doesn't slow down at all - the ASR controls the spinning tire and you're on your way.

Zip around a wet corner quickly and apply a bit too much power - same thing. Light flashes and you barely know the ASR kicked in.

Driving on a freeway in pouring rain on a road with your wheels running deep ruts full of water. Normally if one tire hits a extra deep bit of water, it hydroplanes, the car slows down and the car will pull to one side. With ASR, the car doesn't slow down and tracks dead straight. Now, in this case, I use the flashing ASR light as a signal that I'm driving too fast and will slow down to keep within the limits of the situation.

There is one situation I've heard people talk about where ASR is detrimental.
In certain very low traction situations - heavy ice or bald all-season tires in a bit of snow and on a slight uphill incline - you can get a situation where one tires starts to spin. ASR tries to apply some brake to stop the spin. If that doesn't slow the spinning tire enough, the ASR will command the engine to cut power. That leaves you with not enough power to go up the hill and you stall out. In that case, turning off the ASR lets the wheel spin and that spinning tire will apply some power to the ground and (hopefully) allow you to move forwards. That's why I'd add the defeat switch, so you can turn it off if needed.
 

[486]

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2014
Location
MN
TDI
02 golf ALH
the ASR will command the engine to cut power
The downfall of all TCS in my mind.

I'm cool with it sticking the brakes to spinning wheels to get power to the other side, but cutting power makes it into a potential killer.

Turning right at a T intersection, the vertical part of the T is the only stop sign. You pull out and think that the car going the other way is no issue, they're in the other lane, right? You're not going in that lane, that would be dumb.

You start to pull out, and at the apex of the turn TCS cuts power, unloading the rear and tossing your car's ass end into the oncoming lane, sideways.
It happened to me in a customer car. Missed the rear quarter panel of the other car by a foot. Half a second earlier and I'd have been a very unhappy driver.
 

79TA7.6

Veteran Member
Joined
May 8, 2006
Location
Live: Wilbur/Creston; Work: Moses Lake Washington
TDI
2003 Jetta GLS 5 Speed
Some of my concern is that I drive down 6 miles of gravel road each way, everyday. During the winter time this road usually drifts real bad. I do not need for my car to tell me when I should and should not allow the tires to spin when I am making a mad run at a drift. You might say "Just turn off the traction control during that instance" but it is not that easy. Some times you do not know if the road has a bad drift in it until you have hit the drift. This is the last moment that I would be wanting to remove my hands from the steering wheel to push a button.

I am really torn as to whether I want to install this retrofit or not. I can see the benefits, but I can also see how it would annoy me. I wish there was someone close who has done this willing to let me play with their car.
 

jettawreck

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 2, 2004
Location
Northern Minnesota-55744
TDI
2001 Jetta and 2003 Jetta
The Jetta 1.8T wagon and sedans that I have are equipped with it. I have it turned off most of the time when you would think it would be useful. Snow and ice situations I hate it. Even when it's turned off, something still activates on takeoff that is horrible noisy (differential lock?) and I've driven on snow/ice my whole life. I want to (and need to in some situations) flail the tires and the owners manual even says that in deep snow etc to turn it off. The flashing light when it's "working" is distracting/irritating.
With the way the power delivery is for the TDIs I would have even less use for it. The smooth even power makes for driving in slick, sloppy conditions the easiest I've experienced for a fwd vehicle.
 

jettawreck

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 2, 2004
Location
Northern Minnesota-55744
TDI
2001 Jetta and 2003 Jetta
"horribly noisy"? Does it sound like the ABS when it cycles? That can be kinda noisy.
Don't want to hijack this thread, but yeah, sort of like the ABS (another thing I would gladly do w/o and have disabled it in my Suburban towing vehicle) but louder and only makes the "horrible" noise on take off from stop. When once moving along and the light flashes and system activates, then no noise. You can "feel" it. Maybe the differential is shot in the '03 wagon. Haven't driven the 2004 1.8T sedan Jetta enough to see if it acts the same or not.

"Do I really want traction control?" was the poster's question. I don't know if you do or not, it depends on how/where you drive and what you are used to.
I'm just not impressed with it and tend to disable it in most of the vehicles I have that are equipped with it. At least thru the winter driving season.
 
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supton

Top Post Dawg
Joined
May 25, 2004
Location
Central NH (USA)
TDI
'04 Jetta Wagon GLS
Last snowstorm I turned off traction and VSC in my truck. After going through an intersection sideways I had second thoughts about driving around in RWD and did the rest in 4HI.

It can have its uses. In some vehicles. In some cases.
 

dremd

Veteran Member
Joined
May 31, 2007
Location
South Louisiana
TDI
06 sprinter. 03 jetta wagon premium with 6 speed ALH swap, 14 JSW
Yeah man, you want it.
I did ASR install on the golf, pretty cheap, super easy.
This car has ESP (factory) it's epic, BUT I'm not sure that I would go through the troubble to install it.
 
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