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Vsc/trac Report....

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For the first few days of the current snowstorm here in the Seattle I drove our 94 AWD Aerostar but then my daughter's AWD T&C failed.

So I got stuck with the 01 AWD RX300. But, slipped the snowchains on the rear wheels and went to work yesterday. Today was much worse than yesterday but the snowchains got me into Bellevue.

I found a virtually empty Sears parking lot and decided to see just how good the AWD with VSC/Trac really is. So I popped the chains off.

The snow was about 3 to 4 inches deep, 27F as it fell, not quite good skiing powder but unpacked. But obviously a layer of ice underneath.

Accelerating moderately and straight ahead it was clear from the sound that the brakes were being applied by the Trac system. No audiable alarm but if I looked down during the event the "skid" icon would be illuminated.

If I applied "excessive" gas during the Trac activity the engine would very definitely get dethrottled and over-ride my input. I can't say for sure, but I came away with the sense that Trac was acting differetially in the rear to provide a "virtual" LSD.

Regardless of what I did, causing oversteer, serious oversteer in several cases, the VSC did nothing discernable. Creating understeer was a bit more difficult but again the VSC did nothing.

In the past few days I have, I'm sure, experienced VSC activation, even with the audiible alarm, but try as I might it would not activate in the Sears parking lot.

Oh, that instruction to apply the brakes firmly and let ABS do its bit needs to be amended. If you know the roadbed is slippery and the brake pedal stops pulsing before you come to a full stop the ABS has just been "fooled" into thinking the vehicle is stopped.

In that case lift your foot from the brakes long enough for the wheels to begin rolling again and then reapply firmly. Repeat as needed.

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