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06 Tahoe 2WD first drive in snow- unimpressed!

10371 Views 17 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  BillD64
It's snowing like crazy here in Denver and I just drove our new to us 06 Tahoe from downtown to our home about 5 miles away. It was no bueno.
Some background info on the Tahoe
Full tank of gas
Tires: Cooper Discoverer AT3 with 60-70% tread remaining (maybe more)
G80 Differential

I made it home safely, but had difficulty starting from a stop. Backend would start to slide one direction or another almost every time. Braking was fine. Even on streets without snow pack (freshly laid snow) I had a hard time getting up slight inclines. I tried it in both 2nd gear and normal Drive- same result, very little traction with the unnerving feeling that the backend would slide around (not excessively). To be fair, it was very slick/icy but not ridiculously bad.

My wife refused to take it back downtown when she left a few minutes ago (daughter is playing in a volleyball tourney) We still have our '99 Suburban and my wife took that instead- said it handled "like a boss".

I'm seriously reconsidering my 2WD purchase. Some things I've read is that the 2WD Tahoes get around fine, but I was more than unimpressed.

Should I have disabled the Stabilitrak? Or are these just dicey vehicles in the snow?
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@ Chesters- Yes, the Tahoe is 2WD.

I've driven RWD vehicles in Denver without too many issues for years. My current daily driver is a 95 BMW 325is. Now I did end up getting a second set of wheels with studded snows because that car has an open diff and wouldn't go anywhere in the snow/ice. Same thing with my previous daily driver and my son's current ride (93 Lincoln Town Car). It's an open diff but get's around just fine with studded snows and drove it a while with just all-seasons.

I figured that the Stabilitrak and limited slip / locker differential on the Tahoe would eliminate the need for studded snows. Not really too interested in buying a second set of wheels/tires for her.

I also played around with the Tahoe in the snow at low speeds and found the Stabilitrak confusing. When starting to slide if I let it on the gas it actually seemed to compound the slide in the wrong direction. Though I did read in the manual that the slide control piece of Stabilitrak only works when under acceleration. So are you supposed to keep the accelerator down as you begin to slide to use it properly?

Finally, does anyone have a good recommendation for an AT tire that does well in the snow? Some of the Discoverer AT3 reviews I've read seem to indicate that snow isn't one of the areas that is excels in.
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How much weight did you have in the bed? I lived in Alberta for some time and a lot of 2wd have weight in the bed. The boys from the country used a bail of hay..
Well, it was a full tank of gas, but nothing in the back storage area (it is a Tahoe, not a pickup).

Have you driven vehicles with a limited slip diff before? When one of the tires lose traction the diff will transfer torque to the other side. However, sometimes there isn't enough traction for the amount of torque being applied and both wheels will slip. When you have both wheels slipping that can cause the rear to swing back and forth as you countersteer to correct for the swings. Non Limited Slip Diffs usually let one wheel spin and the other sit still so you don't get the swinging because one rear wheel is planted. You just need to be easy on the throttle and let the vehicle back end slide around. Sometimes you may be driving sideways to keep moving.
I have not ever driven a limited slip diff before. I know exactly how an open diff acts in the snow (I grew up in Denver and have driven it the white stuff plenty of times). Thanks for the heads up. Both my wife and I are more comfortable with the stabillitrac off as it seems to be easier to predict what the vehicle is going to do next. Guess we'll just need to get used to it.
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