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06 Tahoe 2WD first drive in snow- unimpressed!

10379 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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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.

If you have good tires (all terrain or all season tires may not cut it) you will not have a problem. It doesn't matter whether the vehicle has 4WD, AWD or 2WD if you don't have good tires you will not get through snow and ice. You can have great mud tires and lousy performance. What I read about the AT3 on various sites is they don't do well once worn down over a couple of years.

The tire that will really make your vehicle perform in snow is the Michelin LTX M/S2. A little pricey but when I had my previous Tahoe with regular 4WD I never used it because these tires and a LSD got me through the deepest snow and slush with no issues at all. I could bring it to a stop on an icy hill and just go.

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Well, it was a full tank of gas, but nothing in the back storage area (it is a Tahoe, not a pickup).

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.
Stabilitrack doesn't do anything unusual unless you do something unusual. It gets its input from the direction you are turning the steering wheel and tries to make the vehicle go in the direction you want it to go. It compares the steering angle input with the yaw rate of the vehicle with the lateral Gs being pulled and determines if the vehicle is responding to your input appropriately, if it is swinging too fast (oversteer), if it is swinging too slow (understeer) and if a correction is required determines which brake to apply to bring the vehicle into line with your steering input.

To correct understeer (something that happens a lot in snow) it will apply the inside front or rear brake depending on the method the auto company has decided to use. To control oversteer it will apply the front or rear outside brake. A lot of GM cars use the front brake method. If you are on a slippery surface and make a left turn but the front end plows (understeer) you can feel it pulsing the left front brake to get the vehicle to yaw more to the left to match your steering input. In other cases where you might turn the steering to the left and the backend starts to come around because you took your foot off the gas too quickly at the wrong time it will pulse the right front brake to try and keep the back end where it belongs. If you are accelerating hard in a straight line and the back end starts to swing one way or the other it will brake one front wheel or the other to keep the backend in its place. Sometimes you also get an interaction with traction control which can reduce torque or apply a rear brake to aid the positraction in moving torque from one side of the vehicle to the other.

It is a fantastic aid but is limited to the laws of physics so may not help when you get too far out of control.

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