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  #1  
Old 04-02-2004, 04:09 AM
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Using DSC on the Street

For several years I have listening to people wanting to turn DSC off on the street all the time, and couldn't figure out why they would consider this. Well finally, this morning it hit me.

Basically we do things based on our past experiences and what happened in certain circumstances. So obivously these people have had acceptable experiences with lack of traction control on the street. So what is different. What makes the E46 M3 so different than most peoples experiences to warrant them wanting to turn it off and many of those wrecking their cars when driving when it is off?

Unlike most cars people have experience with, the E46 M3 differes in several ways. LOTS of power. Rear wheel drive, many people have a lot of front wheel drive experience. And finally, a Limited Slip Diff.

So lets look a situation with typical street cars and the E46 M3 in a moderatly tight corner. This is one tight enough to cause trouble and fast enough to carry enough speed to hurt things. Same corner, different cars. And we will look at what the driver typically does and what happens then.

In all cases we will use a fairly hot entry, then applying power in the corner, enough to lose traction. And in all cases there is no traction control.

Front Wheel Drive, Open diff (non-LSD) - In this car if you go into the corner a bit hot and try to accelerate, the inside front tire will spin. This is because the inside front is less loaded due to the turning. With an open diff, the power is transferred to the driven tire witth less traction. So as soon as a tire spins, the power goes to that wheel. This also means the outside tire will no longer be asked to turn and accelerate. This means more turning traction available.

At the same time the loss of drive transfers the weight forward reducing traction in the back. But since the rear tires are not applying power, they have excess turning traction anyway, so all is pretty much OK.

Now what does the driver do? The driver lets off the throttle. This allows the inside tire to stop spinning, so it now it has traction again. This means its traction is available for turning, but since the power is off, you have a deceleration force and that takes some of that traction. But this is ok, since the rears have lower traction due to the weight transfer, and the car is reasonably balanced and under control.

Rear Wheel Drive - Open Diff - In this car the power and spinning tire is similar, the inside rear spins. And again the outside tire loses power and thus has all the traction available for turning. But since it is the rear tires doing the power application and turning, when you lose the acceleration the weights shifts forward and you have less outside rear traction. But since you also have less drive, you are basically OK. The tail may step out a bit.

Now the driver lets off the gas. The rear tires are no longer driving, you regain traction, but have the decel force. The weight is still forward so you have some loss of rear traction leading to a little tail out action. How much decel dependson the compression ratio a good bit. Again normally some mild oversteer, easily controlable

{E46 M3, Rear Wheel Drive, LSD[/b] - In the M3 you add the limited slip diff.

So now we enter that corner, apply too much power and BOTH rear tires break loose. The LS diff applies power to BOTH rear wheels, even if one is in a low traction situation. So now you have no rear traction and the rear end comes out.

But at the same time, you have shifted the weight forward since the acceleration is gone, and that removes even more traction from the rear.

Now the driver lets off the gas. The rears stop spinning and have some traction, but due to the power off condition the weight is still forward, and part of what little traction the rears have is used for deceleration. Also the the rear end is already a good bit out of whack. Also since the rear is already coming out, the tires have a much harder time regaining traction. It is much harder to regain traction than to maintain it. So the rear comes around MORE. And unless you have very quick steering corrections, and put some power back on, but not TOO much, the car spins and slidees off the road and wrecks the car.

Now let's take the E46 M3 with DSC on. In this case the DSC prevents too much power being applied to break the rear tires loose. Also using diferential braking it maintains the car's balance.

If you had picked up your car at the Performance Center they would have given you a chance to run their wet skid pad with and without DSC to see what happens. With DSC off, you accelerate around the skidpad then add power, the car spins, and when you snap the throttle off, it really spins.

With DSC on, same situation, speed and adding power, the car gently understeers into a wider arc. Reducing power brings it back on line.

On the track or during racing, you are 100% concentrated on driving the car, and you are ready for things like this to happen. On the street, even with a very expericned driver, there are other things going on, listening to the radio, talking, thinking about your upcoing date, etc. All these increase your reaction time and reduce your ability to react to loss of traction.

This is why even after a good bit of track time, lots of autocrosses, several professional driving schools, I run with DSC ON while driving on the street. I NEVER run with the DSC on while at the track or during autocrosses.

Just my opinion and thoughts on the matter.

BTW I have experience running rear engine-RWD-open diff, front engine-RWD-open diff, front engine-FWD-open diff, front engine-RWD open diff, front engine-RWD-LSD cars. I have never run a FWD-LSD combo.
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  #2  
Old 04-02-2004, 04:51 AM
LDV330i LDV330i is offline
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Nice writeup. You did a good job of explaining why DSC is truly a security blanket (while driving on the street) and should not be viewed as a hindrance to your driving style.
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  #3  
Old 04-02-2004, 05:38 AM
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I kill DSC on the street because leaving it on scares me. It's stalled my engine while pulling into traffic, and that was NO FUN.

I'd probably leave it on with an E46 M3, though.
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  #4  
Old 04-02-2004, 05:54 AM
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Nice job, Terry. You made it plain and simple enough for even me to understand.

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  #5  
Old 04-02-2004, 05:58 AM
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In my 330i, I leave mine on at highway speeds, but often turn it off when doing and off at low speeds. Keep in mind, I only turn it half way off, so I still have a "more aggressive" version of the original DSC.


Main reason? It's too easy to break one wheel free when accelerating, and then have the engine lose power. It sucks too. You're trying to go faster, and all of a sudden you lose power and your head lurches forward.
  #6  
Old 04-02-2004, 06:05 AM
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On non-M E46s a singl ebutton push is the same as ON for the M3.

But realize, slower speeds are where DSC works best, at high speed there is less power available to cause problems.

Also part of DSC is supposed to stop one wheel spinning on E46 cars y using individual wheel braking, so I don't know what is goning there.
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  #7  
Old 04-02-2004, 06:48 AM
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I don’t disagree DSC has its place my problem with it is when it intervenes it actually confuses my internal accelerometer and therefore my reactions.

I enter a corner a bit fast, the M3 begins to plow. I tighten the turn add some power and expect the rear to come around and bang the DSC comes on and every action and seat of the pants feeling I expect has been replaced by the DSC taking control.

Now my brain is behind the car. When is the DSC going to give me the car back? What will the new attitude of the car be post DSC ?

Personally I dislike DSC as such part of my preflight check list includes turning DSC off.

  #8  
Old 04-02-2004, 11:45 PM
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I now have 10 schools, and have gone through two E36 M3's and one E46 M3's, and I think DSC is stupid.

So what if the back end comes out? Just CPR it, it's not that big of a deal. I used to drive sideways every f'ing day when I had my E46 M3, and it really wasn't hard once you have some seat time in an RWD car.

My routine was, get in the car, turn on the car, turn off the DSC, then put the SMG from 0 to 1, and off I go.

A few festers have had the experience of either following moi as I was driving sideways, or in the car with moi as I was driving sideways, and I would say that as a past M3 owner, if you (not you in specific) can't drive the M3 without bending it with the DSC off, you are the problem.

The M3 behaves beautifully and predictablly with the DSC off. After last years Laguna Seca school where an A and a B guy wrecked their M3's from oversteer, I am now a firm believer that everyone should know how to drive the M3 with the DSC off all the time. It will make you a better driver.
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  #9  
Old 04-03-2004, 01:58 AM
daihard daihard is offline
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Thanks for the great writeup, Terry. It will make a great tech tip for me. Copied and pasted it onto my computer.

So when the DSC is on in a regular 3-Series car, what goes on there in addition to the M3 DSC feature?
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  #10  
Old 04-03-2004, 03:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuka
I now have 10 schools, and have gone through two E36 M3's and one E46 M3's, and I think DSC is stupid.

So what if the back end comes out? Just CPR it, it's not that big of a deal. I used to drive sideways every f'ing day when I had my E46 M3, and it really wasn't hard once you have some seat time in an RWD car.

My routine was, get in the car, turn on the car, turn off the DSC, then put the SMG from 0 to 1, and off I go.

A few festers have had the experience of either following moi as I was driving sideways, or in the car with moi as I was driving sideways, and I would say that as a past M3 owner, if you (not you in specific) can't drive the M3 without bending it with the DSC off, you are the problem.

The M3 behaves beautifully and predictablly with the DSC off. After last years Laguna Seca school where an A and a B guy wrecked their M3's from oversteer, I am now a firm believer that everyone should know how to drive the M3 with the DSC off all the time. It will make you a better driver.
The problem is, many people do NOT have experieince in high horsepower RWD drive cars with LSD. If you do, fine, then make your choice.

But a lot of the people who are running around with DSC off do NOT understand what will happen and how to handle it, and those are the that get into trouble.

As for on the track I agree that DSC messes up my internal sense of what the car is doing, I apply power to nicely balance the exit, and it doesn't happen. But I also believe running to this limit on the street is not a good idea, especialy in this car, you are going way too fast near the limit for safety.

On the street you don't have a flagger telling you of the body part or dirt or oil on teh track. You don't have the flagger telling you of the stalled car just past the corner. And most of all, you don't have the last 4 -5 laps telling you there isn't a pot hole os such at the apex.

I like spirited driving on the street, but dialed WAY back for safety.
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  #11  
Old 04-03-2004, 07:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone
Also part of DSC is supposed to stop one wheel spinning on E46 cars y using individual wheel braking, so I don't know what is goning there.
This is active only if you press DSC once, disabling the most aggressive level of DSC.
  #12  
Old 04-03-2004, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone
This is why even after a good bit of track time, lots of autocrosses, several professional driving schools, I run with DSC ON while driving on the street. I NEVER run with the DSC on while at the track or during autocrosses.
Geez, some of you guys MUST be young. The first car I drove regularly was my mom's 1969 Pontiac Catalina back in the early 70's.

Big V8, rear wheel drive through a live rear axle, horrible weight distribution, tons of torque......

Simply accelerating out of a wet corner would bring the rear around.

In those days there was no traction control or antilock brakes, just a lot of white knuckle instinct.

Ed
  #13  
Old 04-03-2004, 04:45 PM
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Good points Terry...especially the part about not always having full attention to things while on the street. I'll also add into that not knowing what might be around the corner...kid in the street, animal, truck backing up, etc. DSC makes sense on the street except in the case where you are an experienced driver (meaning you've had formal track/autox training and/or experience...nothing else qualifies despite what many people think) and you want to push it really hard in a safe place to do so.

For those that don't want to go to the track with their own car, please still take a car control/driving class at a place like Skip Barber, etc or do a BMW CCA or the like autocross. You'll learn skills that will keep your car in one piece and you and your passengers alive...beside its a ton of fun
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Old 04-03-2004, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StahlGrauM3
For those that don't want to go to the track with their own car, please still take a car control/driving class at a place like Skip Barber, etc or do a BMW CCA or the like autocross. You'll learn skills that will keep your car in one piece and you and your passengers alive...beside its a ton of fun
StahlGrauM3,

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  #15  
Old 04-04-2004, 04:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdCT
Geez, some of you guys MUST be young. The first car I drove regularly was my mom's 1969 Pontiac Catalina back in the early 70's.

Big V8, rear wheel drive through a live rear axle, horrible weight distribution, tons of torque......

Simply accelerating out of a wet corner would bring the rear around.

In those days there was no traction control or antilock brakes, just a lot of white knuckle instinct.

Ed
Sorry, first car was 1955 Chevy with big Buick engine dropped in, Borg Warner T-10 Close Ratio, 4.11 Posi.

Then to a Fiat 850 Spider for my introduction to sports car.

Also, a lot of this was based on taking a serious look at your own experience and skills and the possibility of trouble. To do so you have to understand the differences in this car and what you have been driving.


And bottom line also is the street is not the track.
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  #16  
Old 04-04-2004, 08:31 AM
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DSC Options

Interesting discussion - what I really want (as previously stated) is the ability to set the defaults as desired. I don't quite buy the liability issue, since the ability to turn off traction control is already inherent. I'm surprised no-one has figured this out. Many years ago I raced an M3 (prior to traction control) in a club enduro and they implemented a switch to turn off ABS. In this case the ability to change the DSC characteristics are there and it's simply a matter of changing the software. It seems though a company like Dinan would've offered a software package to change this.

This is the first BMW I've owned and so far I'm very impressed with the car. I've only had the car for a few weeks, but my only complaint so far is the lack of default control over DSC - I always turn off DSC, set the Drivelogic shift mode to max., and turn on SPORT mode. I would really, really like the car to remember this so I wouldn't have to do this every time I get in the car.

FYI - turning off ABS allowed us to run a 10 hour enduro without changing brake pads whereas running with ABS wore down the brake pads fairly fast and required a brake change. I didn't experience this personally as the mod was done prior to my driving the car, so I don't know whether it was due to drivers simply banging on the brakes too hard knowing ABS would save them vs. using some finesse.
  #17  
Old 04-04-2004, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone
Also part of DSC is supposed to stop one wheel spinning on E46 cars y using individual wheel braking, so I don't know what is goning there.
DSC can also retard engine timing and IIRC, on DBW cars, adjust the throttle.

I've had the same problem as rumratt and Nick as well--rev up the engine and dump the clutch will cause the car to lurch as the DSC kicks in hard. Big problem as you turn in front of oncoming traffic.
  #18  
Old 04-04-2004, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elbert
DSC can also retard engine timing and IIRC, on DBW cars, adjust the throttle.

I've had the same problem as rumratt and Nick as well--rev up the engine and dump the clutch will cause the car to lurch as the DSC kicks in hard. Big problem as you turn in front of oncoming traffic.
The other option in that situation is typicaly lots of sound, lots of smoke, and still very little motion.

Personally I seldom have DSC kick in on the street, only on wet, dirty streets when turning as stgarting froma stop (turning from a stop sign for intance).

On the track DSC drives me nuts.
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  #19  
Old 04-04-2004, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone
The other option in that situation is typicaly lots of sound, lots of smoke, and still very little motion.

Personally I seldom have DSC kick in on the street, only on wet, dirty streets when turning as stgarting froma stop (turning from a stop sign for intance).

On the track DSC drives me nuts.
With only 184hp, there won't be a lot of smoke or sound I think the DSC in non-M cars is very aggressive, not only how abruptly it kicks in, but the low threshold as well.

I don't think I've ever got the DSC light to flash the times I've driven an M3, but then again, with an extra 149 hp, there isn't a need to launch too hard...
  #20  
Old 04-04-2004, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone
The other option in that situation is typicaly lots of sound, lots of smoke, and still very little motion.

Personally I seldom have DSC kick in on the street, only on wet, dirty streets when turning as stgarting froma stop (turning from a stop sign for intance).

On the track DSC drives me nuts.
I wasn't referring to bogging, although that is unbelievably annoying as well. I mean sitting there with your foot to the floor and watching the revs drop until the engine cuts out. After the second time that happened, I really stopped using DSC.

Of course, the Barge isn't exactly a tough car to handle, either.
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  #21  
Old 04-04-2004, 05:05 PM
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And 4wd is different.

Also the E46 M3 DSC is like yours with a single push to off. OUrs off is like yours witht eh long push to turn it more off.
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  #22  
Old 04-04-2004, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone
And 4wd is different.

Also the E46 M3 DSC is like yours with a single push to off. OUrs off is like yours witht eh long push to turn it more off.
IIRC, your (M3) "off" is totally off. On the xi, "off" is not quite completely off.

And for the record, I am totally opposed to disengaging DSC on the street in any car that I'm familiar with. If DSC is causing an issue for someone on the street, I don't to be anywhere around them when they are driving.
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Old 04-05-2004, 11:49 AM
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could someone explain it with AWD? I currently have an XI and would be delighted to see this apply to my XI.
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  #24  
Old 04-05-2004, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fzara2000
could someone explain it with AWD? I currently have an XI and would be delighted to see this apply to my XI.
The thing will AWD is that you have to really start breaking down how each diff (3 in most AWD vehicles) is done.

Some are all open, some have LSD rears, center and front open. Some have LSD rear, some form of torque biasing center, and open front. Then the all torque sensing/LSD ones.

Basically if there is an LSD front or rear ONLY, it will act like a FWD or RWD car based on teh end the LSD is. Torque sensing centers in AWD cars run the gamut from simple LSD types, to fixed ratio types, to all out intelligent ones that vary torque split on the fly.

Also some AWD vehicles are rear biased (like BMW) so they drive more like a RWD car, with some of the FWD features. Others are FWD biased, with some RWD features.

So in this case you have to analyze the tech info on your car or go out in a BIG open space and test it.
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  #25  
Old 04-06-2004, 07:47 PM
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Jjprusk,

I read your original post with interest, and more so when you listed your credentials further in the thread. A former co-worker of mine is also running a Daytona Prototype. I now have two DP teams to watch.

Sorry for the flames you took for asking a legitimate question that was never answered.

As far as I know, there is no way to program DSC off by default.

I wish you and your son the best.
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