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First "real" winter drive

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mr2noob
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First "real" winter drive

Postby mr2noob » Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:51 am

aka first time with mid-engine RWD.

pic.png


I've driven RWDs in winter before, much much younger and braver (or stupider?) had loads of fun. 1am, no traffic, powersliding through curves on a nearby road; donuts on empty parking lots, etc. Even more recently with a Merc W202 I wasn't this... wussy. Maybe I'm prematurely turning into an old man and see dangers everywhere, but I was driving like walking on eggshells yesterday, as if I'm gonna go off the road as soon as I pass walking speed. :oops: There was loads of fresh snow and I sadly noticed the car tends to have a pretty strong understeer when applying throttle through a curve (which I half expected tbqh) even with brand new pretty good winter tires (Falken HS449 Eurowinter). Is there anything at all that can be done with the car mechanically to minimise that and that doesn't mean some project that requires loads of money? Sadly couldn't avoid here and there regretful thoughts that I really should've gone for that AWD Impreza as I had wanted to for years, instead of a mid-eng rwd. But then I remembered the fun and enjoyment the MR gave me all through the summer with the top down and the much softer hit on my wallet everytime I have to refuel (highest fuel econo right now holding at 6.6 liters/100km and most of that was slow driving on twisty mountain roads and then slow driving because of snow; with longest fuel tank range having been around 400 miles - compared to reported Impreza's 9-10 liters). I wanted a WRX, but the insurance would've murdered me.

I think (hope) I just need more experience (and an empty parking lot and later road to get a feel of the car on slippery surface) to get more confidence with it.

I know this is a pretty useless thread and I do apologise for wasting space on the forum, but I had to voice my thoughts to someone and not my family or friends, cause I'm not ready to hear "I told you so"'s that I would definitely get (everyone suggested a more "practical" car lol, even though I'm single and don't really need practical).

PS: I took a few videos with my phone, but are sadly very shakey cause the phone was mounted on a long-arm windscreen mount inside the car. Gonna try to stabilize the shaking and if it works wil upload it, if anyone's interested.
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delhusband
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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby delhusband » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:30 am

I remember when I had my first 2 back in 2004, we had some heavy snowfall one winter evening. 2 was parked on a sloped parking bay behind our flat. Wife had been out drinking with mates, and phoned for a lift home. It was my first RWD mid engined car, and I remember looking outside and thinking "LOL! , this could be fun :D" (re: slides, donuts etc.) . Got out to the car and failed epic, as with every gentle attempt at applying the throttle the wheels just spin and the car slid down the slope sideways towards the wall of the building. Gave up, phoned missus back sheepishly advised she'd have to walk it :oops:
All I've got to offer is, old car mats under wheels to get going/get underway, set of winter tyres (check!), maybe small collapsible shovel or spare mats in car to get out of trouble when out and about, a blanket hat, gloves, and portable charge cell fully charged for your phone in case you can't get out of trouble, and razor sharp wits, bigger gap between traffic and a lighter right foot when out & about. Snowchains for deep stuff? (never tried them)
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mr2noob
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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby mr2noob » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:36 am

That's some good advice. But I've got a just as good a question: where to put all this stuff? :P

Yesterday I had to drive my sis to a seminar she was holding and the materials filled up both the cubby behind the seats and the shelf under the rear window (she really needs to get her own car). :cry: No space for anything that I agree with you is good to have in these conditions. It just hammers in the point that this is not a winter car. But I will tr to force it to be. :lol:

I did have fun visiting a not-so-nearby museum while waiting for her to be done and enjoying the company of a very pleasant (and attractive) museum guid-ess. Problem is I've exhausted all the museums in reasonable distance and now am having to drive 40 miles away. :oops:

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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby shnazzle » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:58 am

Trying to think of good winter driving advice but unfortunately failing at anything past winter tyres and drive slowly.
You'd think the car would have a tendency to oversteer wouldn't you? But this is where Toyota were 1 step ahead and designed a fair amount of understeer into the car. Safety and all.

No traction control and very little weight over the front makes it so that you need to calibrate your right foot to be a very very well-honed traction control device.

Only thing I can advise (with a lot of trepidation) is a very minute amount of trail-braking.
When you go into a bend you know might cause some issues, slow down sloooowly, stabilise the throttle and then very lightly do some left foot braking when you feel understeer kick in.

I say with a lot of trepidation because there's a tiny margin for error there.

I fall back to... Winter tyres and slow :) And prepare as per the advice above. The frunk can store a fair bit if you do the tyre flip and alarm move mod
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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby Carolyn » Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:24 am

I'm one of the 'Old enough to remember real snow' brigade. Control your speed on the gears, especially when going downhill. Drive in a higher gear and slip the clutch if you must (this keeps the wheel revs under control) Stay off the brakes, especially on ice, locked wheels don't steer.
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Re: First

Postby mr2noob » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:08 pm

shnazzle wrote:You'd think the car would have a tendency to oversteer wouldn't you? But this is where Toyota were 1 step ahead and designed a fair amount of understeer into the car. Safety and all.


Honestly, not sure that's a step ahead or safety feature, at least imho. I'd personally call it the opposite. Rear end sliding is easier to control/save than the front going out of corner into either incoming traffic or rail or ditch. With my Dad's W202 I once regained control of a really ugly fishtail in rain on a motorway (out of coming from a very sharp right-turn ramp onto the main road), I can't imagine doing that same with front going out of control. Then again, W202 has the engine and much weight in front, something that MR2 lacks.

Over a certain point both under- and over-steer are just pretty much OMG! moments that end badly.

No traction control and very little weight over the front makes it so that you need to calibrate your right foot to be a very very well-honed traction control device.


Hm, hanging some more weight onto the front would help, but sadly not many places to put it.

Only thing I can advise (with a lot of trepidation) is a very minute amount of trail-braking.


I remember that from Richard Burns Rally! 8) Was the hardest thing to master at the rally academy part of that game. I just need to find a more-or-less abandoned part of a road with sharp curves to train.

I fall back to... Winter tyres and slow :) And prepare as per the advice above. The frunk can store a fair bit if you do the tyre flip and alarm move mod


It's a difficult decision. Spare tyre or that stuff. Hm.

Carolyn wrote:Control your speed on the gears, especially when going downhill. Drive in a higher gear and slip the clutch if you must (this keeps the wheel revs under control) Stay off the brakes, especially on ice, locked wheels don't steer.


That's good advice and I was actually doing exactly that on the road in the photo. It can't be seen, but that's a moderately steep and very curvy road that is extremely popular among bikers for it's twisties during warm months. I was going downhill this time.

I specifically stayed away from the brakes and let the engine brake cause firmly in my mind were all those snow-storm videos from the US where drivers just lock the brakes and the car slides out of control.

After the first (and only time) that the front wanted to kiss the guard rail I entertained the idea of trying to swing the rear of the car around with a Scandiavian flick in the next curve so the rear would be the one sliding (which I could control at that low speed), but decided against it. Haven't done that in some 15 years and didn't want to damage my car if I messed it up. xD

I'll either end this winter as a much better driver or a car-less driver. :|

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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby lamcote » Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:15 pm

Well the rally drivers boot the throttle (of a rear wheel drive car) as soon as any understeer starts to happen and then balance the car on the throttle, spinning the rear wheels all round the corner in a big oversteery slide.
If I was driving someone else's car with no one coming the other way I might try that too, otherwise I would certainly stick to Shnazzle's more cautious advice....

Edit. Of course the rally drivers are also using off road tyres that are specifically designed to provide their best grip at 15-20 degrees of slip angle which even your winter road tyres won't emulate, let alone a summer road tyre for the rest of us. By that I mean, please follow Shnazzle's cautious approach.
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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby Roverv8 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:39 pm

A good tip when the snow falls is to drop down air pressure in your tires
I do about 40k a year and it works on my front wheel drive VW golf
Land rover, and on a transit van rwd
NO fast motorway speeds & when the snow melts don't forget
to pump them back up

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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby 2 of the left » Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:30 am

Roverv8 wrote:A good tip when the snow falls is to drop down air pressure in your tires
I do about 40k a year and it works on my front wheel drive VW golf
Land rover, and on a transit van rwd
NO fast motorway speeds & when the snow melts don't forget
to pump them back up

Yep drop tyre pressures by two - and when starting from stationary - use 2nd gear to pull away slowly!! Go easy with the clutch :wink:
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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby shnazzle » Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:24 am

I just let them naturally deflate due to temperature dropping. Sounds stupid but once the temp drops to about 6 and below, the pressure usually goes down sufficiently to put that little bit more rubber on the road
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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby lamcote » Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:08 am

I've seen reference to tyre pressures dropping by around 0.19psi for each 1 deg C reduction in ambient temperature.
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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby inside » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:43 pm

That sounds so familiar! I had a very similar experience yesterday:

2017-12-01 21.29.27.jpg


I've had it on the snow before, but last year didn't bother with winter tires, as I only use it in the city. This year I've got another set of stockers with winter tires (all 185 width), just for this cause - MR, LSD, winter tires - I thought should be close to perfect. So I was quite eager to try it, and went on a drive to a hill with nicely prepared snowy road.

The grip was impressive on acceleration, as expected. However there's understeer. The front just isn't so pointy and you cannot do any aggressive moves on the entry to get it sideways, as it induces understeer. Additionally, the car has tendency to slide with smaller, unstable angles, and recover rear grip, producing mid-corner understeer on longer corners. It works better if you're faster and use inertia to keep the car sideways... than just being a bit safer, slower and powersliding through. But that's harder to do on public roads (I'm also getting older/wussier).

All in all, it is still a major fun, and it's fast! However, on a public road, I didn't find it as easy as or enjoyable as with some bmws... or I'm just getting older :D

Some food for thought: studded front tires should make it perfect. Also it probably didn't help with understeer that I put 185 at the back... 205 would have less grip I reckon.
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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby inside » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:53 pm

Some fun from the past on summer tires :)


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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby Ardent » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:59 pm

Well played.
Not sure the camera operator (MRS? GF? Mam? Friend?) appreciated your 2nd and 4th pass as much as you did. :lol:

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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby 2 of the left » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:32 am

inside wrote:That sounds so familiar! I had a very similar experience yesterday:

2017-12-01 21.29.27.jpg

I've had it on the snow before, but last year didn't bother with winter tires, as I only use it in the city. This year I've got another set of stockers with winter tires (all 185 width), just for this cause - MR, LSD, winter tires - I thought should be close to perfect. So I was quite eager to try it, and went on a drive to a hill with nicely prepared snowy road.

The grip was impressive on acceleration, as expected. However there's understeer. The front just isn't so pointy and you cannot do any aggressive moves on the entry to get it sideways, as it induces understeer. Additionally, the car has tendency to slide with smaller, unstable angles, and recover rear grip, producing mid-corner understeer on longer corners. It works better if you're faster and use inertia to keep the car sideways... than just being a bit safer, slower and powersliding through. But that's harder to do on public roads (I'm also getting older/wussier).

All in all, it is still a major fun, and it's fast! However, on a public road, I didn't find it as easy as or enjoyable as with some bmws... or I'm just getting older :D

Some food for thought: studded front tires should make it perfect. Also it probably didn't help with understeer that I put 185 at the back... 205 would have less grip I reckon.

Just put a bit of ballast in the frunk !
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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby Garfy » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:25 pm

Although we have no snow this far south yet, I have 15Kg of gravel in a bag which I'm looking to place in the funk, how much, weight wise, is recommended? Have two bags but one is split :-)
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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby JoeCool » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:44 pm

Lower your front tyre pressures and sling a couple of sacks of sand/gravel in the frunk! Pull the alarm siren and spare out to get the weight low and stop it damaging things. I'd consider 22-24 psi, but not much lower. We happily ran 12psi on standard rims and tyres in soft sand but at that point you have to be very careful with speeds and steering input. Not such a problem in snow!

Other than that is just slow and smooth.... And a recognition that you can't beat the laws of physics. If there's no traction there's no traction. Proper winter tyres are amazing though. They should bite through slush, and also fond purchase on hard pack cold ice. (ice basically becomes a road surface when it's cold enough. Some winter tyres have walnut shells in the compound to bite into it) Where any tyre struggles is on mixed conditions though.
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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby lamcote » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:08 pm

Regarding the original post and the option of a WRX, see this interesting question;

http://www.clubwrx.net/forums/everyday- ... -snow.html

I reckon you made the right choice with the MR2.
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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby JoeCool » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:39 pm

Having had both a WRX and the MR2, I'd take the WRX on summers over an MR2 on winter tyres! They're bloody incredible things in loose/changeable conditions.
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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby lamcote » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:27 am

Having thought about this I reckon it comes down to the point in the corner that you start to accelerate. Any use of the throttle before or even at the apex, while the car is still turning, is going to introduce understeer particularly in a mid engine car that has good traction. (You may have got away with this in your front engine rear wheel drive cars due to their poor traction?) If you stay well off the throttle until after the apex you may well find that you can avoid the understeer and then push the rear of the car out as you accelerate out of the corner.

The key is to wait until the car has rotated into the corner before you accelerate, this is why the Scandinavian flick works, because it rotates the car before the apex and allows you to slide the car round the apex with oversteer.

The problem in the snow is, because you are going so slowly, it takes forever to get to the apex so you feel like you need to accelerate before you get there, but this is exactly what causes the understeer.
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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby mr2noob » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:33 pm

Thanks, guys, for all your input! I'm definitely gonna put weight in the frunk and, lamcote, you make good point. When I get the opportunity to drive in snow again I will definitely test it out (half of my country was even recently under snow, only my region seems to be free of it lol).

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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby Nvy » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:50 pm

2 of the left wrote:
Roverv8 wrote:A good tip when the snow falls is to drop down air pressure in your tires
I do about 40k a year and it works on my front wheel drive VW golf
Land rover, and on a transit van rwd
NO fast motorway speeds & when the snow melts don't forget
to pump them back up

Yep drop tyre pressures by two - and when starting from stationary - use 2nd gear to pull away slowly!! Go easy with the clutch :wink:


Id never use 2nd gear to pull away doesnt matter what car you are driving.. Just be gentle on the throttle. I was driving some scary 450+ nm monster last winter with no problems. Just winter tires and gentle on the throttle. It takes a get used to if u never drove in the winter but its not rocket science :)

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Re: First "real" winter drive

Postby lamcote » Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:32 pm

I would be very interested to hear how it goes.

By the way, I suspect adding weight in the frunk may actually increase understeer. Adding physical weight to improve grip only works for straight line traction, not cornering. Weight in the boot of a front engine rear drive drive car helps traction and so can reduce power oversteer (because it's weight over the driven wheels, weight in the frunk is not over the driven wheels), however the increased weight actually decreases overall cornering grip, this is certainly true on tarmac, so I imagine the same applies in snow unless perhaps the tyres are far too wide and so are not digging into the snow. Maybe worth experimenting with this? Again, feedback would be great.
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