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MINI VANILLI
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
with this snow and ice the mini uses the DSC abit more than in the summer. but sometimes the DSC kicks in repeatedly and violently especially from a stop in snow, kind of like how the anti lock breaks quickly go on and off. this seems very hard on the engine. the car sometimes starts bucking and stuttering like crazy. is this bad or doing damage to the engine? the DCS just cuts power so hard and so repeatedly it just seems harsh.
 

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OK, so here's what I know...

The DSC system does two things when your tires slip:

Part A is that they apply individual wheel brakes to slow down the spinning wheel, which can cause the wheel to start/stop rapidly, which feels kinda violent. Part B is that the engine torque is reduced by shutting down the spark plugs at the right time so that individual pistons don't fire. I believe Part A is more noticable and seemingly more violent.

Personally, I just switched to winter tires, and I am noticing that the DSC seems a LOT less violent with lighter wheels and tires on the car (I had 17" runflats before). Maybe it has to do with the amount of rotating mass being stoppped and started...? Either way, it was designed as an emergency system, so if it seems excessive, turn it off, you'll still have ABS, EBD, ATC etc, you'll just disable the torque management and stability controls. Give it a try in a snowy parking lot to see how different it feels.

Either way, it's not great for the car, but it shouldn't affect the engine very much. The wheel-braking phenomenon happens after the gears and the clutch, so it should be insulated against that. Shutting down cylinders isn't great, but its momentary, so the flywheel should be able to absorb the slight torsional vibration this induces.

Hope it helps..

RMout
 

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brown is back
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flav said:
is this bad or doing damage to the engine? the DCS just cuts power so hard and so repeatedly it just seems harsh.
My guess at this is... the DSC will not harm the engine. If you're getting that much "action" out of it, perhaps your driving style needs to adapt to the lower available traction. Try driving in the snow and seeing how little you can make the DSC act. Like RallyMINI said, it's a safety system. If you're tripping a safety system that much...

But, just a guess. We'd need more info on what you are doing / trying to do when you experience these violent DSC instrusions.

[Edited to add]

What tires are you running? Stock all seasons? Stock performance (summer) tires? Snow tires? other?
 

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MINI VANILLI
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
i am on the stock performance tires. i know.... if i switch to snows the DCS will not kick in as much but i am very short on $$$$. the performance tires work perfectly on side streets up to 45 MPH in a couple inches of snow and ice. i can pull away from a light or stop just fine to make the DCS kick in alittle or mostly not at all. i have never felt out of control on my stock performace tires. but yesterday we has 14 inches of snow here. and while i would not dare drive on the freeway with the performance tires the side roads are fine. but yesterday i was in like 6 inches of snow in a parking lot and going slightly up hill. so my DCS was kicking in so violently that the car was not even moving but 2 MPH and it was bucking around very hard. so i need to go a few more months or hopefully the whole winter on my stock tires. and it will be no problem except that if my engine or car is being ruined by all the DSC kicking in it would be more cost effective for me to just buy snows. i want to keep this car till 200,000 miles or so. so it would very bad if all this piston shutdown was ,in the long run, taxing and wearing my engine. i try and take very good care of it as it is the most important part of the car. like you said the DCS is for safety. so where is the line drawn between safety and car damage when the DSC is concerned.
 

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brown is back
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Sounds like you've run into the same problem with driving a Cooper in the snow that I have. Even on snow tires, trying to get started in low traction (like an icy hill) is a PITA. One trick is to start off in 2nd gear so you have less torque and are less likely to have the wheels break loose, tripping the DSC. Another option is to turn the DSC off until you get moving, then turn it back on.

DSC is there to protect you, not the engine. :) I've had the DSC cut so much power that the engine stalled completely, but that was a gradual thing - not violent at all.

At some point, you have to just say "my car is not going on the road right now".
 

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Premium Member
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The users manual does suggest temporarily turning off DSC/ASC if it is bogging the engine while trying to pull out of the snow..., as soon as you are rolling, turn it on again for safety's sake. Problem is simply that the traction is too close to zero and requires speed is below idle, so the DSC disables the engine so much that it starts to sputter and possibly stall. It's certainly not going to harm the engine though. Keep the engine at revs below 2k and slowly let off the clutch, or as snid recommended start in 2nd to minimize torque.
 

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You will end up in severe trouble on performance tires in the snow. Just yesterday someone else from cleveland posted about running into the back of an SUV because he couldn't stop. Fortunately damage wasn't too great, but he's already ordered snow tires.

Order snow tires ASAP, or avoid driving on snow with performance tires. Especially with the icy conditions, its just dangerous. I rarely engage DSC because you get traction with snow tires.
 

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I don't know what the laws are in Ohio, but when I lived in W.Va, you could get ticketed for using summer tires when the roads were covered with snow and ice.

Using the performance tires or even the all weather tires in really bad weather is plain irresponsible. :confused:

Most likely you insurance deductible is $500.00. That should buy a pair of wheels and a good pair of winter tires. :rolleyes:
 

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MotorCityMadman
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I went for two weeks a couple of years back driving my 328 in the winter snow and ice with summer performance tires as I had winters on order. It was the only time I had ever dreaded driving, and in a BMW to boot. Everytime I went out it was like I was playing Russian Roulette. Like riding a hungry bronco.

Do yourself a favor before something seriously bad happens, get winters or highly winter-rated all-seasons. Just get off the performance tires.
 

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MINI Geek
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I drove for two solid years in Michigan winters with a 2wd, RWD S-10 truck on 9 inch wide wheels with Kuhmo perfomance tires. I had a bit of trouble getting around in harsh conditions or really snowy roads, but it sure taught me how to drive correctly and safely. Driving the MINI with the performance tires on is like a dream. I personally don't see how you could get ticketed in West Virgiina for running summer tires Z1GZAG N, but then again Michigan is flat and West Virgina isn't. If the weather's too bad, just stay home ;)
 

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While the high performance tyres are great in the Summer, if you check their rating in snow and ice you will find that they are rated at 1 out of 5 i.e. they basically have no traction. The Winter tyres plus DSC work great here in New Hampshire.
 
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