Stability and Traction Controls

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 11:29
ThreadID: 46647 Views:2080 Replies:7 FollowUps:11
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Last weekend we took the Landy to a place near Karratha that the locals call the "Jump-Up". This is a very steep, very cut-up, boulder strewn track up the side of a hill that tries to stop you from getting to some very scenic beaches and gorges.

The landy, with its air suspension, terrain response and traction controls got over easily, without wheelspin and the loss of part of the LHS side-step.

As is the custom here, once over you usually assist the vehicle/s behind you by helping to place rocks where they are needed (or take them out of the way) and to guide the driver so that he/she knows where their wheels are etc. We did this and we hung around for a while, watching how the other drivers approached this obstacle and how their vehicles performed.

I'm not going to go into vehicle brands or any of that stuff that whips up the usual rabid responses on this site, I'm just going to make this observation. Any brand of vehicle with some form of traction/stability controls managed the jump-up with relative ease. Most suffered minor denting under the door sill, or damaged side-steps, but they still made it easily.

Vehicles without these controls suffered from serious wheelspin, over-revving, rubber loss, smoking clutches and a frightening lurch as they shoot over the top of the last bit. Some just didn't make it.

People, you can say what you want about these modern fourbies and their electronic wizardry, but I am now well and truly convinced - it works. Mind you, a lift kit wouldn't go astray on some of them too.


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Reply By: Wayne-o (Pilbara WA) - Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 11:59

Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 11:59
Russ n Sue
I live in karratha, and have tackled the jump up many times.
I totally agree with you.
In my case i have no traction aids other than the best LSD on the market, but make up for it with the 3" lift, 33" rubber and LOWER TYRE PRESSURE!!!!
No one seems to want to lower their tyre pressure when tackling it, and believe me, you can get a lot more grip when your rubber moulds around a rock than you can when only less than an inch of rubber is touching it. I have actually drivin up it in 2wd with the tyres at 16psi, and no problems at all. the lift and excellent articulation helps for sure, but i believe tyre pressure is the key.
How long you in karratha for btw??
AnswerID: 246746

Follow Up By: Russ n Sue - Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 12:37

Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 12:37
G'day Wayne-o,

We'll be at Karratha until July 25th or so. Then we're going to slowly head North for a couple of months.

I agree about the tyre pressures. We run BFG A/T's which like a bit of pressure in them but I let mine down to 22 front and 26 rear and I'm sure it helped, but all the same, the vehicle behind me did too and he really struggled. (Notice how I'm still not going to buy into the brand-name war with vehicles?)

See you around somewhere,

FollowupID: 507547

Reply By: Drew - Karratha - Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 12:54

Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 12:54
G'day Russ
I too have gone up and down the jump-up many times - in my 80 series Standard Cruiser (no traction aids or electrickery to helpor hinder me). I have never dented it, scratched it, or even scraped the underside on the rocks and rely on first gear low range for it to 'walk' itself up. I have seen a Ford Bronco with its front wheels pointing in opposite directions after ripping some part of the steering off, a Troopy get hung up on the front spring hangers, a guy in a Cruiser ute give up after much wheel spin and smoke, a Jackeroo with a tear along the passengers door skin, and many other dented / folded side steps on various types of vehicles. Saying that - the only reason I dont have a fourby with traction aids etc is because I cant afford it (and even if I could I dont know if I would take an expensive vehicle on the jump-up track too often...)
Have fun
AnswerID: 246750

Reply By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 13:19

Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 13:19
Hi Russ

I'd like to think one can have a sensible discussion about vehicles without a war
and I think one needs to know details to be able to gauge any product.

I'd like to know more about how you find you car overall and its weaknesses
as while I own a Patrol I would easily change car if I found something
genuinely better for my application.

As for traction controls , they do range in performance and I have
been in situations where I have been able to see both good and bad points.

I have observered specific and repeatable cases in Pajero,Porsche , Discovery 2 and Range rover whereby in direct comparison they have unable to proceed without taking action to disable their traction/Stabilty controls to simply follow my car.

I have not been able to do so directly with a discovery 3 which I believe
is an improvement.
In a recent test on a well known Vic track called Monument track I got
out of my car to carefully observe the following disco 3.
This track section is very rocky and the disco 3 drove thru significantly
more cleanly than I did.
However in coming thru it lifted a wheel well clear of the ground
and the traction action was beautiful to watch - but it ultimately
meant running on 3 wheels instead of 4.

If conditions got worse than at end of the day having less wheels on the ground
will ultimately tell.

It would be good if you were able to test your ramp travel index and report
as I have not seen this for that car, and its a big performance factor.

I keep looking for someone with a discovery 3 to do a "non - confrontational"
comparison with , and I am quite happy to provide a safe venue for such.

Perhaps on your tours you will come via Victoria and we can check things out.

Robin Miller
Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 246754

Follow Up By: Russ n Sue - Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 13:40

Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 13:40
G'day Robin,

yeah, I don't like the Brand wars either. In my experience, any car driven within its design limits will do the job it is meant to. And that's where the trouble starts, I guess, when people try to do things the vehicle was not intended to do.

I hadn't thought much about the 3 wheels on the ground as opposed to 4 thing that you mentioned. What you described first happened to me in my NP Pajero a couple of years ago. I was crossing a deep, deep rut and looked out the driver's window to see the ground fully 6 feet or so below me and the RH front wheel a couple of feet off the ground. It spun me out at the time.

Having said that, the car felt OK and I was able to inch forward slowly and eventually was back on all fours without incident. I guess it's the old story about a three pointed object being more stable on an uneven surface than a four pointed object is.

I guess my point is that even with loose rocks and a steep incline, the Landy (and other vehicles with traction/stability) really did it easily compared with the commotion and effort of other vehicles. I think the earlier point about tyre pressures is also valid and picking the "best line" helps too. I'm not sure about limited slip diffs. I've never been in a vehicle with one fitted so I have no input about them, but I guess that they should be a help.

It would be interesting to get together sometime and do some objective testing of how these electronic aides afect the ability of vehicles, but from a purely subjective point of view, they seem to be the answer. My last two vehicles have had traction/stability and I have to say, 4WDing has never been easier. (Except that one time where I forgot to turn it off in the Paj before I went into some deep sand. The wheels started to spin and the brakes came on and I stopped....oops.)

Keep an eye out for our submissions as we travel around and give us a shout when we get closer to where you are. We'll be in WA until early Oct, South Oz 'til Christmas, Vic for Christmas and most of January, New South from then 'til Easter and who knows after that.



FollowupID: 507554

Follow Up By: Russ n Sue - Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 14:11

Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 14:11

Sorry, I forgot to answer one of the main questions in your post. My subjective impression of the Landy so far, and it has only done 10,000Km, is that it is the most capable 4WD I have driven. Having said that, it has not yet been through mud or wet river crossings.

I have driven most brands of 4WD at work and apart from one Patrol that must have had a defect and was gulping fuel, all of them have done the job if driven according to the conditions. Some have been better than others and one Prado I hired let me down when doing a creek crossing that I'd done many times before in the Paj, while a new Navara kept going down in sand that had never troubled me before.

With both vehicles I just mentioned, I did not have a lot of time to familiarise myself with their characteristics before they were thrown in at the deep end and neither had traction controls that I had grown used to in the Paj.

But you do get a "feel" for vehicles and as I said, I'm more than happy with the Disco so far. I haven't had any issues with the air suspension that you may have read or heard about. When we get to the Kimberleys in the next couple of months the vehicle will get more of a test and I'll have a better opinion then.

My prime reasons for getting the Disco were the ability to carry quite a weight within the vehicle and the ability to tow up to 3.5 tonnes. The air suspension came next, the excellent V6 diesel after that, quietness, comfort, fuel economy, looks and price followed. To this day I do worry a bit about the distance between dealerships so let us hope I don't need one in a hurry.

So far the Disco has lived up to my expectations, just as I think the Landcruiser that I thought of getting possibly would have too. The only reason I didn't consider a Patrol was the horror stories with the 3.0L engine and that's all we could buy at the time.

Time will tell and I'm quite happy to compare notes with anyone. I'm completey over the "my car is better than your car" stuff that you sometimes see here. I started a post about the poor fuel economy I got with the hired Patrol and some people took great offense to it. All I was trying to find out was whether this was normal. I didn't criticise the vehicle in any way, other than to mention a weird front-end bounce that happened a couple of times, and boy did I cop it.

As I said, it would be good to catch up and try a few things to see what the Disco can do.


FollowupID: 507558

Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 14:44

Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 14:44
Thanks Russ , I'll follow your experiences. There is an outside chance that I will be in your situation within a Year.

On paper they read well as does D4D and until recently sort of didn't consider much because of their weight , and was a little surprised to find that more basic models actually weigh less than my GU. As you note they have acceptable power and can apparently get sub 10lt /100km cruising.

I see you have fixed up the small tank weakness.

If going down that path it would be a hard descision for me to decide between traction controls as opposed to aftermarket locks, as well as auto / 6 speed.

Robin Miller

P.S. Note your comments elsewhere about internal size compared to D4D
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Russ n Sue - Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 15:01

Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 15:01

rear locking diff can be fitted as a factory option for just $1000.00 in the Disco. It cannot be retro-fitted and I regret not having ordered that option when we got our vehicle. At the time, our vehicle was on the ship and on it's way to Fremantle if we took it as-is. If we ordered the diff lock it would have added another four months to delivery time. Having said that, I still haven't been in a situation where I might have engaged a locking diff.

I can thoroughly recommend the auto box in the disco. It is as smooth as silk and apparently very strong.


FollowupID: 507574

Reply By: Member - Tom V (WA) - Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 13:42

Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 13:42
Russ n Sue
Inclined to agree, thats why I purchased a, VX model D4D prado, with traction control, stability control & all the other electronic thingys. cheers Tom
AnswerID: 246759

Follow Up By: Russ n Sue - Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 14:24

Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 14:24
G'day Tom,

I like your choice. I did drive one and it felt good, but when it came down to it, the Prado was too small for what we wanted. We'll effectively be living in our vehicle for the next several years and we have to carry ebverything including the kitchen sink with us.

In fact, the only vehicles that we completely ruled out right from the outset were the Patrol (for no other reason than the 3.0L diesel engine issue) and another Pajero (not because I didn't like the car, but because I am of the opinion that Mitsubishi Motors Australia are difficult to deal with when it comes to warranty issues.)

Basically we were committed to getting a large, strong, 4WD with traction and stability because I have grown used to the technology and it has made the 65,000Km I do each year a lot easier.

As I said, I liked the Prado (although I'm not too keen on the way the gearshift works on the automatic version) and it was quite high on our list when doing the numbers.


FollowupID: 507560

Follow Up By: Member - Tom V (WA) - Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 15:55

Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 15:55
when deciding to buy the Prado, I did look @ other vehicles, one was the TDV6 SE. went for a drive, great vehicle, but price was a little beyond me @ the time, even had second thoughts about the VX. did think about the S version, but no lift kit available.
One thing that did worry me about the TDV6, was their unexplained ability to stop suddenly. something to do with electronics.this was mentioned in one of the 4WD mags. understand Landrover has now sorted the problem in the recent models. probably the same as yr computer, need to reboot, now & again. anyhow good luck with the 4BY.
cheers Tom
FollowupID: 507590

Follow Up By: Russ n Sue - Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 16:59

Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 16:59

when I researched the D3, I read about the electrical issues. In the main it was to do with the air suspension. At worst it appears that the vehicle would drop to "access height" and then you would have to limp home. Susbsequently I read that all you have to do is turn the vehicle off, wait a couple of minutes and start it again.

I haven't heard about the engine stopping. To date, we've had none of these issues.


FollowupID: 507602

Reply By: Member - Captain (WA) - Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 16:21

Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 16:21
Hi Russ,

Interesting reading your all the threads - I am "considering" getting a D3 but must admit have bee totally turned off by all the reports on the web (particualrly UK) about electronics issues (and thats coming from a very satisfied 3.0TD driver!!!).

Have you had any electronic type issues or other type concerns (airbags etc...) Also, how is resale looking n the D3 - I know its much lower on the D1/2 than an equivalent Toy/Nis vintage, but has the D3 overcome this.

i am genuinely interested in this as have held off replacing my GU since last october for the new Hummer/V8 200series/new GU and have previously ruled the D3 off my list - all from web/mag based reports and not anything from an owner. I did take a RR Sport for a run and it sure went like stink - not that I would contemplate a RR sport!


AnswerID: 246806

Follow Up By: Russ n Sue - Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 17:13

Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 17:13
G'day Captain,

To date we have not had any issues. On one occasion the park brake indicator lamp did not extinguish after we had locked the car but it was gone the next morning.

Last time I checked, the resale of the TDV6 versions of the D3 were holding up very well, the same percentage as a Landcruiser after 3 years, but the petrol engine values were abysmal with something in the order of a 73% reduction in value after 3 years.

We don't intend to sell ours until it is six years old as we have purchased an insurance contract that doubles the new car warranty. By then, I'll take what I can get for the vehicle as it will have done a lot of work.

In the past I had to use fourbies for work and when I got home the last thing I wanted to do was drive. Since we got the Landy, my wife and I both try and find excuses to take it out. It's that kind of vehicle. Mind you, check with me after we've done the GRR and the Tanami Rd - I might have a different opinion.


FollowupID: 507604

Follow Up By: Member - Captain (WA) - Friday, Jun 15, 2007 at 08:52

Friday, Jun 15, 2007 at 08:52
Hi Russ,

Look forward to your GRR and Tanami trip report. These electronic issues make me nervous but I took the "gamble" on the 3.0TD and have been very happy so perhaps the D3 should be on my shopping list.


FollowupID: 507810

Reply By: The Landy - Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 16:29

Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 16:29
Sounds like a good vehicle.

Whilst slightly off the original topic; one of the concerns I have is the long-term reliability of all the electronic control systems and the cost of maintaining them beyond the warranty periods along with the ability of faults to be fixed 'in the field'.

My reading is that one will need to either accept the need to upgrade vehicles on a 3-4 year basis, or accept large maintenance costs beyond the warranty.....

Interested to hear others thoughts as this is one of the reasons we went 'back to the future' with our vehicle. Previously had a TD5 Defender 110.
AnswerID: 246808

Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 20:06

Thursday, Jun 14, 2007 at 20:06
I doubt that Stability Control improves off-road capability in any situation - in the Pajero it works by applying the brake on only ONE wheel and by cutting back the throttle. It will only cut in if the steering wheel is off centre.

You should disable Stability Control when off-road.

The Traction control in the Pajero can't be disabled.
AnswerID: 246850

Follow Up By: Redback - Friday, Jun 15, 2007 at 09:12

Friday, Jun 15, 2007 at 09:12
The D3 works differently, it's the computer that decides everything, all you do is choose what mode you want (ie) ruts, sand, rocks and the computer does the rest, even to the point of deciding whether to lock it into 4WD or low range.

I have seen the D3 offroad and i must say, it's very impressive in how it tackles things with very little effort.

The electrical problems stem from the suspension and apparently has been fixed in the later models and is also a call back for the early models to be fixed.

The traction control in my TD5 is bloody brilliant and i would never turn mine off, it works too well when offroad, in fact sometimes i don't even need to lock into 4WD.

FollowupID: 507816

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