So Mrs. NewSkyGuy and I were driving back home after a delightful hike in the Hocking Hills and an equally delightful picnic. We were on SR 374 which is a very hilly & curvy (for lack of better terms) road. It's not too narrow and in excellent condition; the kind of road that just screams DRIVE YOUR ROADSTER AS FAST AS YOU CAN WITHOUT DRIVING OVER A CLIFF. So I did--not the CLIFF part, but I drove it just as aggressively as I knew how.
At one point, we came upon a very sharp curve which also happened to be downhill AND another car suddenly appeared from behind the large rockface which hides the other half of the curve. No sweat, he was safely on his side of the road, and I was on mine. I was however going a "bit" faster that one would normally take it. So I tapped the brake and turned a little sharper into it. That's when I felt and heard a slight rumble, and at the same time, the car seemed to (for a very brief moment) take over and drive itself out of the curve. At that moment I just happened to look down at the DIC and saw the ESC ACTIVE message. It probably engaged because I may have started to go into a skid, but it was WAY cool.
This has probably happened to you guys many times. But I've never experienced anything like this while driving--a total thrill. SO GLAD to own my Sky!
BTW, Mrs. NSG was thoroughly impressed
2009 Sky 2.4L Chili Pepper
Premium Trim Package
Windrestrictor Version 2
V-LED HIDs Lows & Fogs
So I tapped the brake and turned a little sharper into it. That's when I felt and heard a slight rumble, and at the same time, the car seemed to (for a very brief moment) take over and drive itself out of the curve.
Although the car has understeer designed into it, your actions probably induced oversteer. Downhill will load the front, moving the setup toward a neutral condition. A tap on the brakes loads the front even more, which unloads the rear to the point the steering twitch broke it loose...and the ESC took over to stop it.
Just a guess. Maybe an autocrosser can chime in with their experiences with downhill power off brake/steering induced oversteer.
__________________ 2008 Redline Auto
If you have an opportunity to experiment on a "closed track", you really should take it out and get used to the "limits".
ESC will not completely save your butt, however it does do a fairly decent job. The computer has a definite advantage with braking just one wheel. In the summer, when the roads are good and warm and the tires are good and warm, the Sky is a complete hoot to drive.
And if you get on a "closed track", running in Competition Mode is wayyyyy fun. A lot of the die hards (and I used to be one) will swear that a "truest" will shut the nanny all the way off and to hell with ESC all together. But I have really become fond of Competition Mode. In that setting Traction Control is off AND ESC is "lightened up" a little bit. So the computer will let you "steer with the rear wheels" a little more before the computer decides to set a brake to help straighten you out. I find it to be a pretty darn good compromise.
Traction Control Settings:
1. Traction Control On and ESC On (normal driving mode and is automatically selected every time you start the car)
Nothing indicated on DIC
2. Traction Control Off and ESC On (click button once)
"Traction Control Off" indicated on DIC
3. Traction Control Off and ESC on but allows more over-steer or under-steer before engaging. (click button twice within 5 seconds)
"Competition Mode" indicated on DIC
4. Traction Control Off and ESC Off (hold button down for about 5-8 seconds)
DIC will cycle through settings "Traction Off" then "ESC Off"
Setting 4 leaves you driving completely without any Nanny, so be ready to drive. You will still have ABS, but NO COMPUTER CONTROL of traction or individual wheel braking. Very easy to put the ass of the car in front of you, if you are not accustomed to the limits of the car. Don't forget that you always have Posi Track engaging the rear wheels. That is a mechanical function. As soon as you put full power to the rear end, both wheels lock up, so if you are on a corner and go WOT with the Nanny shut off, then you WILL drift the rear wheels out of the corner and can easily spin out.
If you've just seem the ESC indicator for the first time you are now on your way young Permagrinner. Now you are ready to employ the traction control button (Per Bogie's excellent explanation above) and enhance your smile-induced facial cramps. My startup procedure:
1. Clutch in.
2. Turn and release the key.
3. Two quick presses on the Traction Control button (= Competitive Mode)
4. Smile and GO
2008 Red Line
Chili Pepper with special order red/black leather
Monsoon stereo w/ USB input
Custom lighted Windrestrictor
GMPP ECM upgrade
Norm's custom rear facia
I suspect that is what I experienced the other day. I went into a left turn, smooth, flat road, doing about fifty, fast but not uncomfortable, then the road went into a right turn that was probably good for only thirty to be comfortable. I got excited and touched the brakes, instant four wheel squeal and drift to the center of the road for a couple seconds, then my brain kicked in and I took my foot off the brake, (was a very hard thing to do), and the car then tracked perfectly back to my lane and through the turn. It was not just tire squeal, there was a rumble and I felt more control being applied than what I was doing, (best way for me to describe it). I'm sure I went into the right turn at the limits of my Goodyear F1s, touching the brake put me over the limit, but the car did its best to keep me aligned even though I drifted to the middle of the road. Was scared and impressed at the same time, scared I did that on a public road, impressed the car kept me from eating weeds.
So today I experienced my first heavy rain day with my RL. I had the Traction and ESC off and gave it a little gas on a slight bend in the road and the car started to do a 360. I caught it well before then but I felt it going.
How do you guys drive these in the winter!! I'm not looking forward to my winter. I drive up north on windy roads a lot.
Try keeping the traction control and ESC on. There is no reason during "normal driving" you would need to turn the ESC off. (Unless you plan to drift around a corner)
Traction control is optional in my opinion (it is annoying to have reduced power if the car slips) But I don't understand why people turn off the ESC. Unless you are on a dry track and drifting around corners, the ESC is nothing but helpful. It is especially helpful in rainy, snowy, or any other adverse road conditions. It reacts quicker than any human can, and keeps the car going where you point it.
I always use "competitive mode" (Trac off and ESC on) when I want to "go fast." Turning off the ESC is a bit crazy if you ask me. You can drive the car pretty close to "the edge" with ESC on.
Last edited by miller11386; 09-03-2010 at 07:13 AM.
The AutoGuide.com network consists of the largest network of enthusiast-owned enthusiast-operated automotive communities.
AutoGuide.com provides the latest car reviews, auto show coverage, new car prices, and automotive news. The AutoGuide network operates more than 100 automotive forums where our users consult peers for shopping information and advice, and share opinions as a community.