Have people generally found ABS a hindrance or help off road??

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 13:38
ThreadID: 12217 Views:1699 Replies:7 FollowUps:8
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Has anyones life here been saved by it? Just wanted to know if ABS is a worthwile feature. Never had it before, and most base models I'm looking at still lack it - eg Prado.
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Reply By: Vince NSW - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 14:14

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 14:14
Go the base model. I have it & hate it. I pull the fuse when on dirt. MHO.
AnswerID: 55137

Follow Up By: GO_OFFROAD - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 19:23

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 19:23
If you wish to save adr and insurance hassles, just transplant the ABS fuse for a blown one if concerned when you want it disconnected 8-)

My prado ABS is fantastic though I must say, it changes its pattern when the centre difflock is engaged, and is cancelled in low range [another way to fool ABS install a switch which makes it think your in low range]

I just drive the loose gravel with the difflock engaged, and even in snow, ice etc, with difflock locked, you struggle to feel the foot massage of the ABS working.

The IFS even when centre diff unlocked seems to cure the trying to stop on corrugations problem that live axle 4wds have though.
FollowupID: 316899

Follow Up By: Glenno - Monday, Apr 26, 2004 at 02:32

Monday, Apr 26, 2004 at 02:32
From memory on the Hilux / Prado Diesel the ABS fuse is shared with the glowplugs. So note sure if putting in a blown fuse will be successful on other types of 4by's.


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Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 14:22

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 14:22
I got it and a passenger's air bag as a "freeby" when I bought my 4.2 GU Patrol in 2000. Didn't really want it, but am glad to have it all the same.

Having said that, it's an absolute nightmare on gravel roads. I nearly came unstuck big time on our Cape York trip because of it. When I stopped for a BEX and a cuppa tea, I pulled the fuse out and it was back to being a normal/predictable braking system again. When I got back home, I removed the fuse again (I'd put it back in on the bitumen) and made up a replacement for it. Simple....
Get a small piece of PC (printed circuit) board about the same size as the plastic bit of the blade fuse. Solder 2 bits of brass the same as a fuse has. Carefully cut the copper cladding between the 2 bits of brass. Solder a wire from each side, leading to a dash-mounted switch, via an in-line fuse the same amperage as the one you removed (7.5amps in the Patrol). Plug it in and away you go. The Patrol has an idiot light in the instrument cluster to remind me when I've got it switched off.
I know I've probably broken about a million ADR's and my insurance company will show me the door etc, but I feel 110% safer when it's off and I'm on gravel roads.
AnswerID: 55138

Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 14:24

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 14:24
I've heard there can be big differences in it's effectivness on dirt depending on the manufactuer, however my only experiences have been in a BA falcon in dirt and mud and a subaru forrester in dirt and mud. Found it actually a little freaky as in the mud it's almost like total brake failure!! Gravel it probally stops you the same if not a tiny bit sooner but you have absolutally no control over whats going on, and with gravel I don't think that's a good thing. Sometimes on the gravel you want you tyres to dig through the top surface.
I wouldn't bother if it's the only feature lacking.
AnswerID: 55140

Follow Up By: Keith Scott - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 14:39

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 14:39
Thanks for the great responses and tips so far.
Does ABS have a big advantage on wet bitumen though? Is this a genuine safety feature that would be irresponsible to ignore even though it leaves a lot to be desired off road?
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Follow Up By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 14:47

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 14:47
On the black top it is very good, but takes a bit of getting used to. The big advantage is that even under full emergency braking, you can still steer around an obstacle. So picture this..... You're cruising down the freeway @ 110kph and you suddenly see a dead elephant dropped in front of you by some kids off an overpass. Without ABS you'd hit the skids and plough straight into it, even if you turned your tiller.
With ABS, provided you were conscious of having it in that moment of the emergency, you stand on those picks as hard as you want and still steer the vehicle out of danger.
Once you've done that, then it's time to get that packet of BEX and the Thermos out for a cuppa tea and wonder to yourself......"how the bloody hell did those bloody kids get that elephant over the railing?????LOL

OKOKOK....I know....I've lost the plot BIG time.


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Follow Up By: Keith Scott - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 14:58

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 14:58
thanks mate for your wisdom on this one. You guys are full of info and various tricks! Its great.
FollowupID: 316838

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 16:59

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 16:59
The BIG difference between hitting the elephant and not hitting the elephant is exactly what Roachie says. With ABS you stamp as hard as you can on the brakes and hold it down. The pedal willbe doing the Rhumba, quick-step and the bossanova under your foot but hold it down same as you would your foot on the mother-in-laws throat, and let the brakes do their thing, then you steer around the elephant.

With non-ABS you have to brake to the threshhold point, just before the wheels lock and then gingerly hold the pedal there, like I will be when Marie reads this reply, whilst you try and steer around the elephant and deal with the tendency to push hard, lock everything up and slide into the elephant with your steering wheel on full lock.

The trick is knowing what to do in what car.
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FollowupID: 316862

Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 14:45

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 14:45
On the road it's a totally different storey, very very good (most of them anyway) and for bigger cars (like 4bys) an excellent idea.
The other option if to get a crimp type wire joiner, they fit perfectly into one side of the fuse blade socket, get another for the other side and run through a switch as mentioned above. I did a similar trick to run my dome light of the aux bat instead of the starter as it was turning out to be to bigger mission to re-wire from underneath the fuse box, solid connection and very easy to do, works a treat.
AnswerID: 55141

Reply By: Savvas - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 18:39

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 18:39
ABS on the blacktop is very worthwhile, but it's still easy to come unstuck in extreme situations so it's not a substitute for driver skill.

There was an extremely wet morning morning last year when I hit a piece of slippery road on the Link Rd exit of Southern Cross Drive in Sydney. Even with ABS, my vehicle had not responded to the turn of the wheel and had locked up going straight instead. Not sure if it was oil or what, but the plantings on the island ahead looked like another victim had already been in there.

If your vehicle is full time 4WD or a torque on demand style of 4WD, it's useful to be aware that you can use your throttle to save yourself instead of standing on the anchors.

I'm lucky that I had those extra few milliseconds and I blipped the throttle to get the front wheels turning again. She went around the bend ok, but it was a scary few seconds.

I also know a fellow that owned a Merc AMG E something or other with ABS, who ended up with no brakes when he hit the anchors in the rain on bald tyres. They just kept on rolling because there was no chance of the tyres gaining any traction.
AnswerID: 55184

Reply By: Flash - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 20:24

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 20:24
Insurance companies are NOT fond of ABS.
Many people think it'll reduce their stopping distance, and drive accordingly......
It will NOT dramatically reduce stopping distance on bitumen, but will dramatically INCREASE it on dirt.
definitely not all good news, to put it mildly!!
AnswerID: 55196

Follow Up By: GO_OFFROAD - Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 23:19

Tuesday, Apr 20, 2004 at 23:19
Depends on alot of variants, but it doesnt increase the stopping distance of my vehicle on dirt, and it will definately shorten the stopping distanceon bitumen of the average driver who doesnt have the vehicle control to keep the wheels unlocked.

Why would insurance companies dislike ABS?

perhaps you could qualify this statement?
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Follow Up By: Member - StevenL - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 00:33

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 00:33

Heard this before, seems that particulary when ABS first came out the insurance companies were unhappy about the number of claims where ABS was a factor because of the percieved increase in confidence by some drivers that if they got into trouble the ABS would save them. Overconfidence led to more risktaking and more rear ender type shunts. Also many drivers just don't know how to use ABS properly and in fleet cars may not even know it is there!

Also some early systems actually increased the stopping distance because in the process of releasing and reapplying the brakes it was not as good as even a lockup! Much better these days.




FollowupID: 317007

Reply By: stevesub - Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 07:31

Wednesday, Apr 21, 2004 at 07:31
ABS, love it or hate it?

I have owned and driven many cars with ABS and without ABS including racing them from time to time. I also drove rally cars for 27 years - all without ABS.

On the sealed roads, wet or dry, yes, it is the best thing to have. You have to be extremely skilled to outbrake a car equipped with ABS and even then, you will only make around a car length in decreased stopping distance from 80kph if you are really skilled. I have seen demos on the track and also participated in such demos

On gravel roads, depends on the car but in general, an ABS fitted vehicle will not stop as quickly as a skilled driver without ABS. In my son's Nissan Pulsar, anyone could stop quicker without ABS on gravel - it is so bad. On loose gravel, you need to lock the wheels and get the tyres to the hard stuff below the surface, You also build up a wall of gravel in front of each tyre that helpsyou stop. If you had ABS, you skate across the top of the gravel.

On some slippery surfaces eg grass, mud, etc - the ABS gets tricked and spends so much time in the unlocked brakes mode that you end up with no brakes - scary as. I used to race my road car (Subaru) from time to time in club grass track events and pulled the ABS fuse as this is the only way to make it stop.

I also find that the Traction Control on our Freelander is a hinderance in soft sand. (ABS working in reverse mode) It locks the wheels all the time until you stop so once again we pull the fuse. Not so bad in mud as if you keep the wheels spinning above a certain speed, the TC stops working but you cannot do the same in sand.
AnswerID: 55251

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