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2000 Mazda Protege ES
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Discussion Starter #1
First let me say, disabling ABS is a bad idea in almost all situations. However, even the ABS lobbying/education groups will inform you ABS can cause longer braking distances in fresh snow and gravel surfaces. The below paragraph is from the ABS lobbying/education group.

ABS Frequently Asked Questions

In what circumstances might conventional brakes have an advantage over ABS?

There are some conditions where stopping distance may be shorter without ABS. For example, in cases where the road is covered with loose gravel or freshly fallen snow, the locked wheels of a non-ABS car build up a wedge of gravel or snow, which can contribute to a shortening of the braking distance.

Do I ever consider disabling ABS in snow or on gravel roads (I drive on gravel roads a lot, probably 1000+ miles per year) no way! I just drive slower. Losing 5 mins over a 10 mile trip is not worth car and face repairs.
 

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1998 Cayenne GTS 6speed
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Here is yet another example of why we get what we get (i.e., no control over ABS function in most production cars). The article referenced by the OP, although reasonable in its coverage of the subject, is still not much more than an advertisement.

More so, it is misleading on some subjects (e.g., about independent braking force modulation on different wheels - most systems will decrease braking force on wheels with good traction almost or exactly the same way as on the on the wheel(s) that are slipping - to avoid introducing rotational forces on the car, sacrificing braking for stability), and dodgy on others (e.g., benefits of disabling ABS or benefits of proper driver's education, as opposed to, or in addition to, "investing in ABS").
 

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2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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I can't think of once where I've been in the puckering position of requiring ABS.

Even in the snow this weekend, I never had an issue with ABS intrusion. I wouldn't consider turning it off. In my efforts to actually engage ABS, though, I did seem to notice a threshold difference between VDC on/off.

On a similar note, I was surprised by a few things about VDC in the snow. First, in "normal" mode (S-mode on SI-Drive), the vehicle behaved reasonably well. In I-mode (fuel-econ mode), I noticed more traction control intrusion and less wheel spin which was nice in some cases. In S-Sharp ("sport" mode), there was a noticeable decrease in VDC intrusion. The computer would let the car hang out a LOT more than in the other modes. It was actually pretty cool. Feathering in of the brakes was gradual, so there was no snap-control of sliding. You could bury the throttle, turn the wheel, and the ECU would smoothly exit the slide. In straight-line acceleration, it felt a bit faster in I-mode because wheel-spin was almost non-existant. You could bury the throttle and let the computer handle acceleration. Under all circmstances, though, VDC did put the kaibash on significant snow shenanigans. But, thankfully, the VDC button completely disables the system.
 

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07 Forester XT
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As someone who drives every winter in a snow covered region and competes in winter events I can state factually that ABS on a Subaru significantly extends the distance needed to stop on any snow/ice surface regardless of whether its fresh or not.

Does my ABS engage on my daily drive to work ? Typically not. However, its those times where you have to hit the brakes that ABS will get you into trouble. While I encourage people to drive safely and take extra precations during the winter there are simply times when "stuff happens" at any speed such as rush hour traffic. That extra 15 feet that engaging ABS can mean the difference between stopping safely and rear ending someone even at speeds of 20mph.

I've pulled the ABS fuse plenty of times at the track to know there is a significant difference between driver controlled braking and engaging the ABS. Once ABS engages , the on/off cycle continues to operate until you let go of the brakes. Driver instinct when you're not stopping is to push even harder. If this happens to you, my best advice would be to come off the brakes slightly until the ABS disengages then reapply immediately trying not to trigger ABS again.
 

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2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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Are you certain ABS continues to cycle until you let off the pedal? I've had numerous experiences where ABS disengages after a few initial cycles, even in my 98 Forester, though I may simply not have noticed that i pumped the pumped the pedal.

One thing I would be curious to find out is what, if any, the interaction between the ECU and ABS computer is. I wonder if the ECU cuts fuel and/or closes the throttle when ABS is engaged.

ABS logic is one area that could vastly be improved in general though. Even if it's in the form of a "gravel/ice" button, the response of ABS could easily be tuned for surfaces like that. Threshold breaking, in general, could easily be programmed into a controller.
 

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2000 2 Outbacks 1Man , 1 Auto
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Legacy hit the nail on the head in his post above. Quote" ... come off the brakes slightly until the ABS disengages then reapply immediately trying not to trigger ABS again. " Unqote. If you are a thinking driver then this is ABS's greatest benefit. It gives you an indication of what the road conditions are like and if traction /grip is on the verge of being lost. In icy/snowy conditions BRING the ABS into action occasionally when its safe to do so , so that you know the limits of adhesion of the car.
 

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I think most people get the idea to disable the abs after having bad experiances with other cars such as GMs. Every GM car i've had, which is a lot, had horrible abs. I love Subarus system and don't have any complaints with it. Its by far the best abs system I've ever driven with.
 

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2000 2 Outbacks 1Man , 1 Auto
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I can't think of once where I've been in the puckering position of requiring ABS.

Even in the snow this weekend, I never had an issue with ABS intrusion. I wouldn't consider turning it off. In my efforts to actually engage ABS, though, I did seem to notice a threshold difference between VDC on/off.

On a similar note, I was surprised by a few things about VDC in the snow. First, in "normal" mode (S-mode on SI-Drive), the vehicle behaved reasonably well. In I-mode (fuel-econ mode), I noticed more traction control intrusion and less wheel spin which was nice in some cases. In S-Sharp ("sport" mode), there was a noticeable decrease in VDC intrusion. The computer would let the car hang out a LOT more than in the other modes. It was actually pretty cool. Feathering in of the brakes was gradual, so there was no snap-control of sliding. You could bury the throttle, turn the wheel, and the ECU would smoothly exit the slide. In straight-line acceleration, it felt a bit faster in I-mode because wheel-spin was almost non-existant. You could bury the throttle and let the computer handle acceleration. Under all circmstances, though, VDC did put the kaibash on significant snow shenanigans. But, thankfully, the VDC button completely disables the system.
Hi Bac .. .... .. if you never had ABS intrusion... ! .. then think you never really had the eh .. pedal to the metal?.. ..?.... ?..
 

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2009 Forester 2.5x
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First experience driving a Subaru in snow yesterday at 4:00 am est. Not much traffic and about 4" of fluff on the ground, less on the roads as they had been plowed. My ABS kicked in at the end of my street, me going about 10 mph. I slid right thru the stop sign. Like I said, not much traffic at 4 AM. Well it's 8 miles to work and the ABS kicked in almost every time I touched the brakes, no matter how lightly I touched them. Not to mention the VDC causing the subie to shudder violently on most tight turns, no matter how slowly I took them. Boy, do I hate that! Turned that off, but ABS continued to plague me. I know how to use the ABS brakes...keep your foot on them and continue to steer (that's the theory, anyway). But the vehicle just wasn't STOPPING. Came to a city crossroads red light at the bottom of a moderate grade, I approached very slowly, ABS came on, stayed on, I slid right thru the red light! Sheesh...my old Taurus with its regualar brakes may have swung its back end a bit there but it always stopped at that intersection in a snowstorm. Almost to work, I've got a green light and am gooing thru, on my left a full size sedan is blowing thru his red light setting me up to be T-boned. Maybe HIS abs brakes wouldn't let him stop! I hit the gas and subie got me out of his way, but boy....I can now understand why the Forester really does need a set of dedicated winter tires (I am running the OEM Duelers). On a brighter note, the Foz pulled uphill like nobody's business.
Steve
09 2.5X AT
 

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2004 Forester XT
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180 Posts
When I have my winter wheels/snow tires on I've never had problems with the ABS system being over active while driving on snow and ice. The same with running A/T tires on gravel/dirt roads. The ABS system only responds to differences in rotational speeds of the wheels it doesn't matter what kind of surface you're driving on. In low traction situations at lower speeds it is possible to lock up all 4 tires even with the ABS working.
 

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07 Forester XT
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6,792 Posts
Are you certain ABS continues to cycle until you let off the pedal? I've had numerous experiences where ABS disengages after a few initial cycles, even in my 98 Forester, though I may simply not have noticed that i pumped the pumped the pedal.
I can't say 100% how it works but I can say its way too sensitive. I'd like to see footage taken from outside to determine if the wheels are even locking up at all. Even at a low speed when I play with it, the ABS would have me go right through a stop sign at cycling speeds. I advise on lifting the foot as to force the ABS to disengage.


And for those wondering, this is with proper snow tires, not all-seasons.
 

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2005 Impreza RS Wagon Auto
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I can't say 100% how it works but I can say its way too sensitive. I'd like to see footage taken from outside to determine if the wheels are even locking up at all. Even at a low speed when I play with it, the ABS would have me go right through a stop sign at cycling speeds. I advise on lifting the foot as to force the ABS to disengage.


And for those wondering, this is with proper snow tires, not all-seasons.
Yeah I would have to agree, the leggy is more sensitive than the foz and it put me through a stop sign (10 ft past the line), luckily no one was coming. It engaged on practically dry ground!
 

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2009 forester
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Scariest Car in the Snow I ever Drove

This is the scariest car I ever drove in the snow. I just went across a street with absolutely NO stopping power. I was in a residential neighborhood, dropping off my daughter at daycare. I was doing around 10-13 miles an hour. About 25 feet before the stop sign I started to brake. The antilock kicked in. NOT SLOWING DOWN. I released and reapplied the brake, Antilock kicked in. One more time, now I'm at the stop sign without slowing a bit. I see that no cars are coming, but someone walking their dog across the street. So, knowing I won't hit a car, I decide to trust the antilock brakes and see what they will do. Slide, slide, slide... The curbing on the other side of the street stopped me.

I bought the Subaru because it is supposed to be great in the snow. I've owned a Legacy Wagon before and loved it.

Anyone else have this issue.
Is the the antilock brakes, or the Bridgestone Dueler X/T tires?

'09 Subaru Forrester Base model is what I have.

My family is not safe in the Subaru Forrester. We will be driving the Volkswagen Passat through the winter.
 

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07 Forester XT
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Anyone else have this issue.
Is the the antilock brakes, or the Bridgestone Dueler X/T tires?

'09 Subaru forester Base model is what I have.

My family is not safe in the Subaru forester. We will be driving the Volkswagen Passat through the winter.
Its going to be a combination of your ABS and your tires. Lets say you have bald tires, well they're gonna lock up real easy so then the ABS comes on sooner. Then the ABS sensitivity issue comes into play...

What year is your Passat. My 95 Jetta was one of the first VW's with ABS, it was even worse than the Forester. My wife had an 01 Golf and the ABS was much improved.
 

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One thing I would be curious to find out is what, if any, the interaction between the ECU and ABS computer is. I wonder if the ECU cuts fuel and/or closes the throttle when ABS is engaged.
There is definitely communication. On the 4eat it locks you out of 4 when abs is engaged, and probably does more than that.
 

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2008 forester
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abs not safe in snow

There seems to be a knee jerk reaction about turning off the abs for any reason.It's like "oh, what will your insurance company think ," or "why not cut your seat belt and deactivate the airbags while you're at it."I turned off the abs on my 08 Forester last week (for the winter), and I don't think- I know the car is much safer now on snow covered roads.I've done the same on my truck for several years.Gently pumping your brakes when approaching a curve or intersection on a snow covered road or applying steady gentle pressure is a big part of safe winter driving here in northern N.Y. State.I've found that the abs invariably engages in those situations and essentially locks up your brakes,resulting in lengthened stopping distances , loss of control and potentially very dangerous situations.And it takes very little pressure for them to kick in on a snowy road.So think for yourself on this one.
 

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07 Forester XT
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I've been doing it for years. We went out to a tree farm to cut down a Christmas tree this morning. It was (is) freezing rain and we took my wife's Legacy which has ABS as well. I had to brake much much earlier as the wheels would lock on the ice and trigger the ABS. I'd say it easily was taking 40-50ft longer to stop.
 

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2009 Forester 2.5x
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I complained last yr. in this thread about the Forester's ABS. It kicked in too easily and took forever to bring the vehicle to a stop. (While driving in snow.) After buying a set of winter tires, the vehicle was just a completely different animal. I mean I had to really TRY to get the ABS to kick in during a snow stop. The OEM Bridgestone Duelers were , IMHO, the greatest part of my winter no-stopping problem. So I probably won't be pulling that fuse. That said, having grown up driving non-ABS brakes and learning how to use them in snow, I would have preferred that the ABS be an option on the Forester.
Regarding stopping on actual ice, well...good luck to us all there. Unless you're on studded tires, there just isn't enough friction on ice for effective stopping...now matter how educated your brake foot is.
Steve
09 2.5X AT
 

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2011 Forester X AT
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This is the scariest car I ever drove in the snow. I just went across a street with absolutely NO stopping power. I was in a residential neighborhood, dropping off my daughter at daycare. I was doing around 10-13 miles an hour. About 25 feet before the stop sign I started to brake. The antilock kicked in. NOT SLOWING DOWN. I released and reapplied the brake, Antilock kicked in. One more time, now I'm at the stop sign without slowing a bit. I see that no cars are coming, but someone walking their dog across the street. So, knowing I won't hit a car, I decide to trust the antilock brakes and see what they will do. Slide, slide, slide... The curbing on the other side of the street stopped me.

I bought the Subaru because it is supposed to be great in the snow. I've owned a Legacy Wagon before and loved it.

Anyone else have this issue.
Is the the antilock brakes, or the Bridgestone Dueler X/T tires?

'09 Subaru forester Base model is what I have.

My family is not safe in the Subaru forester. We will be driving the Volkswagen Passat through the winter.
Glad to see I'm not the only one who feels the same way about the forester. Even with brand new allseasons on the forester, my civic is far safer and I'm not sliding through intersections.
 

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2008 2008 2.5i-2018 XT
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The only time I have ever slid through an intersection (with or without ABS) is when I was being stupid (going too fast).
 
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