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TCS: Cool Safety Feature or Dangerous Gizmo?

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After following a number of threads here about turning traction control on and off, I thought I would open up a brief but meaningful discussion about the TCS itself.

I tried turing mine off for the first time the other day and I was amazed and how much faster the car was off the line and how much better it performed overall. I am willing to concede that much of that my be perceptual and even psycological, but I was really impressed. My light hadly ever comes on normally, but the difference in dry surface performance was certainly obvious.

With that said, I then tried to hit a few choice on/off ramps around here at my normal speeds and found that the car was much more prone to getting away from me than it was with the TCS on as it is normally. After about a hour of completely non-scientific tests, I was able to comfortably resume the use of the TCS having been all the richer for the experience, but glad to have it back on.

What I want to know is, do most of you run with your TCS turned ON or OFF? And if you turn it off, what has your experience been relative to handling effects in high-speed corners?

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Gordon G. Miller, III
Y2K NSX #51 Yellow/Black
 

Lud

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Originally posted by G-man:
My light hadly ever comes on normally, but the difference in dry surface performance was certainly obvious.

Unless you are making a concerted effort to break traction it's pretty common to not notice the TCS light in the daytime. In "spirited street driving" on dry pavement it usually blinks very briefly and dimly such that you pretty much need to be looking at it to see it in the daylight.

What I want to know is, do most of you run with your TCS turned ON or OFF? And if you turn it off, what has your experience been relative to handling effects in high-speed corners?

I leave it on 95% of the time on the street because I rarely push hard enough on the street that it activates. I turn it off at the track or when autocrossing. I don't drag race but you should turn it off for that too or you won't get very good launches.
 

Edo

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My TCS seems to be a bit sensitive to small little bumps in the road, and even the slightest wheelspin. I dont know whether this is indigenous to the earlier models (1991) or not, but I drive without the TCS on all the time. The NSX doesnt have enough torque to really get away from you on the corners unless you make sudden movements (Bane of the race car driver). Besides, I like the extra power all the time
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My TCS rarely comes on and I too have a 91. I have aftermarket 16/17 wheels if that means anything to you Edo.

When my TCS did come on it did save me from a mild loose situation and IMHO did not do more detriment than good.

Hiroshima
 

Edo

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Well, here's the thing, I have aftermarket 16/17" wheels too. I found out earlier though that my tires are "slightly" larger in rear and slightly smaller in front. I think this contributes to my TCS sensitivity, I will change the tires to stock size as soon as I wear them out. But in my opinion it seems to me like the traction control is really there to keep you from making any sudden and catastrophic moves. I'm sure many of you have attended racing school and or race yourselves, and know from experience, that mid and rear engine cars are slightly more nervous at the limit than an inherently understeering car. Suddenly lifting the throttle, suddenly tapping the brake, or anything of that sort on a mid or rear engined car is going to cause you to induce an oversteer spin. It is my thought (I am young and dont know much
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so I could be really really wrong)that the TCS system is not so much a driver's aid, as it is a set of "training wheels" to let you know when you COULD have spun the car.
I am not saying that people who use the TCS are weenie drivers or anything, It just seems to me that people who actually "track" their cars seem to get consistently faster times with the TCS off.
 
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If I read your post correctly, you mentioned the tire size being larger in rear than front as being improper. The NSX should have one size larger in rear, always. By the way, TCS should very rarely activate in normal conditions. Have it checked out, it's not normal if it happens frequently. Also, it is very useful, not just training wheels.
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The utility of TCS varies considerably depending on the design. On some cars, a new Porsche for example, it is a really neat system that makes most people better drivers.

IMHO the TCS system on the NSX is pretty simplistic and generally gets in the way unless you are doing something really ill-concieved. I believe there was a class action lawsuit some years ago based on how dangerous the NSX TCS system is in wet conditions.

[This message has been edited by David (edited 30 June 2000).]
 
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On the street the TCS is a good thing to have on since you never know what will pop out in front of you around the next corner(deer, SUV). On the track its better to have it turned off so that you can learn car control, the handling limits of the car and how it behaves at those limits.
 
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I leave mine on most of the time cause that darn orange light bugs the crap out of me. However, I do turn mine off for those spirited, sunny, Targa off days where I want to drive the car more aggressively than normal. I don't do this very often. I get more kicks checking out people's reactions while driving my NSX around town.

Also, I've heard that having tire & rim sizes that are bigger than stock will tend to make the TCS more sensitive. Kinda scary thought when you're taking a corner particularily hard and then the TCS kicks in prematurely...
 
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Interesting to note that the only crashed NSX's (two of them) that I have heard of locally were caused by owners turning off the Traction Control and then losing control during aggressive cornering.

Occasionally if I feel the need to smoke the tyres a little, I will turn TC off.

Does this make me a closet hoon?

Bob
 
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If I read your post correctly, you mentioned the tire size being larger in rear than front as being improper. The NSX should have one size larger in rear, always.

I assumed from his post that he was saying that the aftermarket-sized tires his is using are larger than the stock tire size in the rear, and smaller than the stock tire size in the front. NOT that the stock rear tire is larger than the stock front tire.

I've heard that having tire & rim sizes that are bigger than stock will tend to make the TCS more sensitive.

I doubt it. TCS operates on the difference in rotational rate between the various tires. What really screws it up is if the ratio between the front outer diameter and the rear outer diameter is significantly different from stock. So if your rear tires are 5 percent bigger than stock and your front tires are 5 percent bigger than stock, no problem for TCS. But if your rears are bigger than stock and your fronts are smaller than stock, you may run into a problem.
 
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I believe there was a class action lawsuit some years ago based on how dangerous the NSX TCS system is in wet conditions.

An individual lawsuit, maybe, but I don't think there's been a class action lawsuit on the TCS, only on the rapid tire wear (settled by the issuance by Acura of now-expired tire certificates).
 
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