Rover Traction Issues

Submitted: Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 14:12
ThreadID: 104085 Views:3342 Replies:11 FollowUps:21
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Coming back from the West towards Big Red recently we were swapping places with a TDV6 Range Rover Sport.

As we got to Big Red he was ahead and went up the easier track (but not the chicken track).
To our surprise he bogged down just below the crest.

No big deal everyone stuffs up occasionally.

With the car blocking the track we went straight for steeper track, ran straight up it, spun around on the top positioning ourselves on the crest about 10m from and above the Rover.

I love to see real in the field examples of cars performance and so set we up to watch and record.
Suspecting an issue we also made a quick cup of coffee.

Down it backed and came at it again getting more or less to the same spot.

I had a short talk to them and they seemed aware of the issues and fiddled a bit with
the traction control , dropped of a passenger and went back to give it a third go when I took these photos.

He got no further, I noticed he had good tyres 255 18's and he said they were down.

No doubt dropping tyre pressures would have got him further, but then next time the track may have been steeper.
The key point being that the cars performance was clearly sub-standard and its a powerful torquey expensive machine.
And the owner seemed to know what he was doing.

So why did this happen?
To me there was no obvious issue - I thought these things were well sorted by now and you just turned the knob and it did it all.
(Maybe I have seen to many 4wd ads).

It was midday, the sand was soft but not overly so, I was running ST-Maxx tyres which are tough but not exactly sand tyres like his AT's.

Looking at the photo's can we deduce anything ?

First it was a sensational day to be out their.

In the first photo things are looking good, the tracks relatively smooth.

In the second photo, taken just as it was about to stop you can see that the
crest in front of the rear wheel is building up, the front wheels less loaded and tellingly, the sand being thrown back from the front wheel is in bursts - indicative of intermittent loss of traction.
Could be poor suspension control on little moguls or perhaps traction systems braking the wheel.
As the sand looks relatively smooth I suspect traction control.

I do note that in another current thread "Now thats a Surprise" reference to Simpson road test in which the Rovers suspension couldn't handle it.
In this case there was ample time for shock cooling.

After 4 failed attempts we left.

I don't know much about these cars and welcome any comments.

Robin Miller

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Reply By: Member - Des Lexic - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 14:50

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 14:50
In both photo's the rear wheels appear to digging in more than the front ones. I wonder wether the drive is equally applied to both front and rear wheels. I'm guessing that the rear ones are digging in more and that is why it won't go any further.
The vehicle doesn't appear to be overloaded, nothing on the roof rack and can see through the rear passenger widows.
Perhaps the rear is digging in more because the front wheels have already loosened the track.
I'm sure that we will get many expert opinions.


AnswerID: 517215

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 15:52

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 15:52
Hi Des

Yes the whole car looked pretty good actually and I wonder about equal drive as well.
I guess you can expect some weight bias towards the rear but I all the photo's I took there were no spurts of sand from the rear like there is from the front.
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Reply By: Ken - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 14:52

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 14:52
Robin, some 4WD's are becoming too clever for their own good. Sounds and looks like traction control is thwarting the otherwise capable performance of the vehicle.
I noticed a similar issue with a Rangie on the Canning some years ago. Where I was able to climb a 2 step dune and do a 180 turn to look back at the other vehicles in the convoy in a standard old Land Rover County, no LSD or locker and certainly no ABS or traction control, the Rangie could not even complete half of the turn.
Not sure if these aids, which have their place in some circumstances, can be turned off but it seems they defeat the purpose in some conditions.
Even on deepish sand the traction is not always equal to all corners , bumps can cause a momentary small amount of wheel spin which it seems triggers the system to unnecessarily apply the brakes with the result that drive and momentum is temporarily lost at a critical time.
BTW the Simpson looks pretty dry in your pics, I thought it would be greener.
AnswerID: 517216

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 15:59

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 15:59
You would hope that for the dollars that shouldn't be the case Ken, and its reasonable to expect it to out perform the old County.

I does look a little dry , but there is still a large body of swamp water just over the hill.

Robin Miller

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Reply By: garrycol - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 14:55

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 14:55
Well first thing you cannot tinker with the traction control.

As I mentioned in the other thread the obvious issue was that the driver had stability control enabled which will not allow the engine to exceed 2700rpm in slippery conditions and may cut power right down.

The RRS would have been easily able to cliimb Big Red if TR (Terrain Response) was set to sand or maybe rock crawl. Sand will bring power on at lower revs and give the TC control a bit more bite so immediately one wheel spins it brakes and drives the other wheels and brings in the center diff lock earlier.

With rock crawl - everything is locked up and closely resembles an older 4wd in 4wd low range and hubs locked.

Also the RRS should have been in Command Shift rather than auto so the required gear can be selected.

Robin - the issue was not the car but the driver. The RRS is just a shorter wheelbase Discovery 3, probably the most capable 4wd wagon off the showroom floor.

AnswerID: 517217

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 16:14

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 16:14
Garry when you say you can't tinker with traction control - do you mean you shouldn't or do you mean that there is no control to play with - I thought there was a knob saying "sand" and this driver certainly tried some things.

I did not know there was a seperate stability control and so did not ask the driver about this.

Is Command shift required - is the auto slow to react ?

My Patrol was simply in high range auto, 21 psi, and didn't raise a sweat.
(to be fair my auto is superfast and a bit blunt in its actions due to an enhanced valve body)
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 18:57

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 18:57
There are no specific controls for traction control - its responsiveness is linked to the TR setting selected.

There is a switch on the dash for stability control. It needs to be turned off when doing any technical stuff as it will cut power and try to make the car "more" stable when it senses wheel slippage or any unstable situation. It needs constant checking as any change in TR will auto switch it back on again.

Nothing wrong with auto but Command Shift allows the driver to select what they want.

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Reply By: Rangiephil - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 15:03

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 15:03
The most likely explanation was provided to you in your previous post by 2 posters who are familiar with RRS's .
Driver training and familiarity with the car's electronics specifically ETC ( Electronic Traction Control)
Also remember that RRS weighs 2.8 tonnes empty and that and 18 inch tyres and a load do not add up to fantastic sand performance at best.
IMHO my old D2 without all the doodads is superior and for certain a D1 or Range Rover Classic with 16 inch wheels is superior in sand . That's why I have just discarded my 18 inch wheels but you cannot do that on a RRS or Disco as the brake discs are too big.
IMHO Land Rover has done nothing to adapt their recent products to Australia eg Long range tanks and possibility to fit 16 or 17 inch wheels. Toyota can do it.

What is fashionable in Europe is not often suitable for Australia.

Regards Philip A
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Follow Up By: Rangiephil - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 15:21

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 15:21
BTW , I meant ESC ( Electronic Stability Control)
Just some more detail. ESC brakes AFAIR the inside wheel and reduces throttle setting when a "yaw" meter tells the computer that the rear is stepping out on a sealed road, so the car is pulled back into line.
When in sand , cars are always swinging side to side so the ESC gets completely confused and brakes one side then the other and cuts the throttle setting, most likely resulting in the car compeletely stopping to the bewilderment of the driver.
Land Rover do know this and there is a disable switch on the dash.

Also the Traction conrtrol will cut in if the ABS sensors sense a difference in wheel speed that indicates that a wheel is spinning. This will happen once you get to a certain point in sand. ( which looks like where the driver is when sand starts being flung from the tyres)

All these things can be overcome by driver input.

1 Turn off ESC
1 Select sand or as the other poster said rock crawl
3 Lower the tyres more
4 Have more momentum. Once ETC starts to operate , then you are pretty near stopping, and may be helped a bit by easing off to equalise wheel speed, but usually better off backing down and attacking with more speed and lower tyre pressures.

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Follow Up By: garrycol - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 19:04

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 19:04
17" wheels will go on all 2.7 TDV6 D3s and RRS - indeed some D3s have them as standard.

With respect to Traction Control - unlike earlier generations of TC which locked the slipping wheel too long and caused some retardation of the vehicle, the TC on the RRS does not cause a loss of momentum.

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 19:05

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 19:05
Thanks Phil , I am getting a better picture of whats happening.

From the look of the wheel arch you can't go much the other way and put higher profile tyres on to help either.

Its starting to look like ESC is the issue.

I missed the rock crawl comment - will re look at that.

Its a heavy car al right - I thought it would be lighter as I think it doesn't have a chassis.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: garrycol - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 19:14

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 19:14
It has a full heavy duty chassis - that is why it is a bit heavy.

I have had the OEM 255/55 R 18 tyres at 10psi offroad without issue. Yes more suitable tyres would be better but they are road orientated tyres so like all preparations for offroad are something to consider (most 4wd manufacturers have the same issue).

I now run 60 series ATs for around town and the beach and run 17" Muddies for longer offroad and more difficult trips.

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Reply By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 15:08

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 15:08
It is a little hard to tell from the photos, but to me they do not look as if the tyres have been deflated enough. I'd like to know what the driver meant when he said they were down?
They also look as though they might be the low profiles that some fwds gave fitted when they are mainly being used around town. They are often fitted to that model Rover. I have no idea how these behave when downflated, ot whether they bag enough for the downflating technique to work??? Quite possibly these run on somewhat higher presures for highway work and need a lot more deflating??

I have seen Landrovers with auto height control get into trouble on dunes before. The car is put on high to get over the bumps, but when you get to a (quite moderate) speed, they suddenly lower. I think this has been discussed here before. Landrover says this is a safety feature as the car shouldn't be driven at higher speeds with the high height position. If you try to have the speed at which this happens altered (a computer setting), the warranty is voided. Trouble is, you put the foot down to get some momentum before a dune climb and the vehicle suddenly turns into a plow. From the photos, I don't think that is what is happening here (unless it had already done its plow trick and slowed, then raised again having lost momentum??
AnswerID: 517220

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 19:15

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 19:15
Should have written it down but I think profile was pretty low 60? certainly 255 size 18's Mfewster.

I believe they could have been lower but track really wasn't very hard and I was more concerned with how the car handled the sand with whatever the tyres were - I wouldn't be surprized if some other electronic control came into play as it seemed to be doing 40-50 at the start of the run.
Robin Miller

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Reply By: mikehzz - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 17:40

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 17:40
Most definately would have been the ESC (stability control). You have to turn it off or you will have all power cut to the drive wheels right when you need it most. Sand tricks it up very easily and it beats me why Land Rover don't make it auto switch off when sand mode is selected. You have to remember to do it every time you start the car even if you are already in sand mode...the ESC auto switches on with the car and that has caused me grief on a dune or two for being absent minded after admiring a view. Anyone used to a conventional 4wd has initial trouble adapting to the terrain response in Land Rovers. It's a great system but you have to learn how to use it correctly.
AnswerID: 517227

Follow Up By: mikehzz - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 17:49

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 17:49
PS For those thinking it is a wheel braking action, it isn't. If it hits hard there is a big clunk and the cars appears to go into limp mode. The power from the motor is totally cut. I thought I had broken the car the first time I did a big dune with ESC on. I sailed over no problem with ESC off.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 19:39

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 19:39
Well it does look like a concenus is forming around ESC as being the main culprit here Mike.
Particularly when it seems so easy to forget it.

Good to point out that its not all wheel braking action , I would have assumed that also.

I like to travel with my wife in the passenger seat so that when I stuff up I can also say I was admiring the view. (doesn't work as well now as it did years ago , but still gets me off the hook occasionally)
Robin Miller

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Reply By: olcoolone - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 18:39

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 18:39
Turning traction aids of in sand is a must, our Landcruiser work a hell of alot harder with them turned on.

On rocky or slippery stuff the traction aids can be useful and it does offer an advantage, as other have said it is technique and knowing your 4x4.

Robin ow are you ST Maxxs going and are you happy with them?
AnswerID: 517230

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 11:28

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 11:28
In all the excitement I missed your question Cool One.

The ST Maxx's are going quite well - I used to be a Cooper hater 10 years ago , but these new ones are seriously tough and have enough bite to make them my normal use trip tyres.

Compared to my BFG AT trip tyres they are noiser but not significantly so. The BFGs more constant pattern makes there noise less intrusive and also makes them a little better on outback gravel but Coopers are good and work better in slop.

In sand , its harder to differentiate , the Coopers can quickly bury the car - mostly on last trip I drove high range in desert but once ran low range and abundance of power meant that on one hill when I wasn't paying attention then floored it to get up , well I just stopped with all wheels churning.

The BFG would be better if they didn't have such sharp edges, and can't match the Coopers puncture resistant to stakes.

Robin Miller

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Reply By: DiscoTourer - Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 22:27

Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 at 22:27
Needs to learn how to drive the Rangie before he goes out there. They are not your average and basic 4wd.
Dsc off, and light throttle is all that is needed. Heavy throttle will cause dsc to kick in, even when switched off...obviously for litigous reasons.
Once he learns to drive with light throttle, he will fly over the talest dunes. The abundance of torque needs respect.
I learnt on Yeagerup and Callcup, and once I applied this principle, brakes are needed at the top to slow it down.
AnswerID: 517237

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 08:38

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 08:38
I'm sure that the right driving technique can take you further Brett - but from your description its also possible from that the cars are just not up to the job.

If as you say that the "DSC" will cut in anyway, then by definition there is an area between light throttle and "DSC" on that will be to much for the car.

In the cars defense that point might be a hill so bad that no-one could get up it anyway, but also that point might be what we actually observed in this post.

We would all love to hear from the driver (I have rego number) - all I can say is that the car didn't do the job and the driver sounded reasonable and clearly tried different things.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: garrycol - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 11:29

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 11:29
I have never had any issues using "power" and DSC kicking back in. I know that it is supposed to kick back in but I believe it is on the onroad TR setting and maybe Gravel, Grass and Snow but not the full on offroad TR modes.

The Discovery version of the RRS has won just about every 4wd award around the world (and in Aust year after year) so I can assure you the vehicles are certainly up to the task - as I indicated elesewhere - was the driver either not knowing his car or no realising DSC was back on after changing TR from Gravel to Sand. The dash indication changes but may be missed - I do it all the time - is a really annoying characteristic. Off should be off.


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Follow Up By: DiscoTourer - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 11:45

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 11:45
Gday Garry,

When I first drove the D4, I drove it like the previous 200 and the GU, where I just put my foot into it for big long dunes (not smaller ones like Big Red), and could not understand why it would chop and change gears and reduce momentum (rooster tails on, then off)....and alas could not make it over, where the previous 4wd's could (driver error not having experience in this model).

After talking to Gordon and others on AULRO, I found that this was the issue. Low Range reduces the severity of DSC kicking in, in sand mode, but is still hovering in the back ground. Research in ToPix also showed this will occur.

Now I am only talking of the bigger dunes. When you flatten it, DSC will kick in, when switched off and at the wrong time, but light throttle is all that is needed for even the biggest dunes, and no DSC intervention will occur.

On your other point, I read on here the only reason it won 4wd of the year for some many years was due to Land Rover and their advertising budget....not that they were any good ;-)

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 11:57

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 11:57
Hi Garrycol

What you Mike Philip described seemed to me to be quite probably the answer and I was surprized at Bretts revealation.

Could it be that their are small differences between the Discovery and RRS settings ?

It would seem appropriate that the D4 was more optimized for off-road.

Don't you hate it when systems take over - on my auto 4800 patrol you can put it in a "fixed" gear and it changes the gear on you under some circumstances - I could sort of live with that but the real bitch is that the gear number display doesn't change on the dash so it says "3rd" and your really in "5th".

Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: garrycol - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 12:37

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 12:37

I here what you say about DSC coming back on but hasn't happened in my experience but then except for a Suzuki 25 years ago all my 4wds have have been landies so have always relied on their superior offroad capabilities rather than having to gun them to get anywhere like the makes you mentioned :-) (the smiley with tongue sticking out would be good here). Next time I am offroad I rev the guts out of it in Mud Ruts or Rock Crawl and see if it cuts back in.

Robin - the RRS in your pics is the same as mine and is the Discovery 3 equivalent. If there is any difference in ECU programming between to two it is most likely to take into account the light weight of the RRS.

The Discovery 4 and its RRS equivalent may very well have different programming to D3s but equivalent models of Disco and RRS will have similar programming.
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Follow Up By: DiscoTourer - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 12:49

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 12:49
Hi Garry,

I am only referring to sand. The first time I drove it I almost decided to leave it below the High Tide line I was that cheesed with it, and its lack of ability to climb the big dunes. Now I need to slow it down at the top (my previous cars made it over but not as easily), and have taught a few other D4 and RRS Perth owners to sail over the top....I felt there frustration but once I showed them, they were very happy chappys (they have since been on GOE courses).

Rock Crawling, or in Mud, I have had no issues with DSC as I have never had to use much throttle in these situations.

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Reply By: DiscoTourer - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 09:40

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 09:40

The cars are certainly up to the job......your statement that the vehicle is not up to the job was rot....and based on what you saw from someone who just thought he should give it stick, when its not needed. The cars don't need to be thrashed to get over's simply not required.

Your pics do not show that it did not make it over, and is based on solely what you stated. I guess we need to take your word for it.

I could come up with a number of similar situations where other brands could not clear obstacles, but the car was capable.....purely drivers with lack of experience. But I won't ever say that the vehicle was not up to the job as that would show that I was talking out my behind.

From your explanation the reason was obvious to those that own them and know how to use them. Sand, with heavy throttle, will cause dsc to kick's likely for litigious reasons as I stated.

If you ever have the chance to spend time with one that knows how to to drive them, you will see how incredibly capable they are. I have had a D2, a GU, and a 200 so compare.


AnswerID: 517244

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 10:39

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 10:39
Brett all we are taking about here is a car not getting up a hill.

I just put in the photos demonstrating my point.

For your benefit I enclose a photo showing it stopped and just how close it came.

I did not say the cars were not up to the job I said its "Possible they weren't" and we are in a search for answers based on what actually happened.

I appreciate you own such a car , but to get anywhere we need to examine things objectivily .

If I find a problem with a car, then I try hard to seek a solution.

Here we have 3 bits of info ->

1/ The car tried a lot and didn't make it and there is obvious chatter on the front wheels and its digging in.

2/ Other contributers here seem to support ESC as being the culprit .

3/ You have told me the ESC (DSC-I assume its the same thing ?) can automatically switch from off to back on by itself when working hard.

Given the above its a logical deduction that there is a point where things aren't enough.
(Engineers love logical deductions.)

P.S. Your post seems to put the blame on the driver, that may be, but we have no evidence that the car was being thrashed or for that matter that the driver was incompetant.
We should also not forget that he just drove the whole Simpson bar this hill.

Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 21:11

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 21:11
Robin, ESC is generic for electronic stability control. On a Land Rover it is called DSC for dynamic stability control. Its not actually traction control, that is another topic. It's a comprehensive interaction of throttle, fluids and electronics that tries to keep the car from going out of control and sand tricks it big time.
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 21:55

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 21:55
DSC is actually quite hard to get to kick in. I have it only kick in twice and your know when it does as the cars change of direction to correct is quite violent. The first was in a mud track where the rear followed some tracks in the mud and the DSC did not like it and the other was when towing and I rounded a bend and DSC kicked in even though the car did not slide - it had a almost flat rear tyre.

Interestingly there is a corner near home where you can give it a bit of stick and break traction and the rear will slide but DSC does not kick in.

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Reply By: philw - Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 17:01

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 at 17:01
Definitely the low profile tyres are at least partly to blame. No footprint,no go.
AnswerID: 517262

Reply By: GimmeeIsolation - Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 18:46

Friday, Aug 30, 2013 at 18:46
"Interestingly there is a corner near home where you can give it a bit of stick and break traction and the rear will slide but DSC does not kick in."
YES, you can have the whole car sliding sideways in gravel (deliberate) and if you keep your foot into the throttle and steering straight ahead, not to correct, just straight at 12 o'clock, the car will not kick the DSC in from experience.
Shift the steering wheel or back off the throttle and the car assumes a problem and initiates DSC straightening you up.
They are no Rally car but it so unusual to have one in a slide even on gravel (after many, many thousands of kms on it) that it does bring a smile when obviously in a controlled area and playing/fooling the electronics.
I too agree a bit of driver training here and perhaps a look at what tyre's and pressure would of seen the car over easy. He was probably relying on all the aids instead of basic soft sand hill procedures. Tyres look like standard "pick up the kids" tyres instead of offroad from afar with picture blown up but may be wrong.
AnswerID: 517354

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