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AdanA

New TC Owner in East Tennessee, traction-challenged

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Hey all, a couple of weeks ago my wife and I traded a fifteen-year-old (and very well loved) Subaru Forester for a nearly new 2019 Ford Transit Connect LWB passenger wagon, Titanium features, with ~6k miles on it. It was a nice find, well discounted for not being new but feeling essentially unused.
 

 I’m hoping it’ll be a great all-around daily driver / toddler-hauler / mountain bike carrier / kayak carrier / camp mobile... as well as something I can use when I have to travel, carry display equipment, and sell my small business’s products at shows. 
 

Until last night I was feeling pretty great about it... but then I was completely unable to drive up a shallow damp grassy slope. Now I’m a little bummed and hoping to learn how to improve its off-road performance. 


It wasn’t like it was just spinning and spinning - it would just sort of spin and stop. I assume it’s trying some kind of traction control stuff? I tried toggling traction control off with the dash button but it didn’t seem to be responding. I tried in M mode to be sure it wasn’t kicking out of first but no difference. 
 

This was happening in overflow parking for a pizza joint and I was lucky to be able to ask the guy behind me to move back a bit. That allowed me to get a running start at the hill and I was able to get up and over that portion of slope. Phew! 
 

I know these stock tires are hardly knobbies (some kind of Continental street tire) but I swear other FWD vehicles with similarly bland tires I’ve driven could handle way more difficult grassy stuff than that. 
 

Does anyone have tips and tricks for low/no speed traction without snow tires and chains?

 

Thanks!

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Welcome, I bought my 2016 Titanium in Knoxville TN a little over two years ago.  Yes it is somewhat traction inhibited which is further complicated (at least in mine) with a somewhat sudden surge of power when starting off.  Not sure how the powertrain in the newer ones are.  On wet pavement I sometimes have trouble starting off and spinning the front wheels.  I got stuck in wet and muddy grass once and another time I was parked on a slight slope with damp grass but ground was firm.  Was able to carefully start without any problem that time.  After getting stuck previously was extra careful  With a little practice it's possible to ease it away then feed throttle to  it.  My other car is a Chevy Volt which is vey soft starting  off and I've gotten in the habit of just flooring it.  As for snow and ice I just leave it in the garage!  Around here folks can't drive in the snow.  

 

TC is a great van for hauling people and stuff.  We have twin 6YO grandkids, they love riding in it, biggest problem is in the carpool pickup the helpers don't know how to deal with a van without power doors!  Want extra space, Ill fold down the rack two seats, fold down all the seats and it is a lot of space.  Several times a year I'll haul my scooter (Kymco not a mobility scooter).  It will fit on top of the seats but usually I take the back two seats out.  Hauled a 65"TV in the back standing vertically.  My daughter has a Honda Odyssey which is longer, wider and heavier but not as tall and roomy inside.  The TC drives like a car and will out corner my Volt.  

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When you use the steering wheel control you should be able to turn the Traction control off. If you have succeeded there will be a light in the display that lets you know it is off. Then it will act like a regular front wheel drive. You will have to reset the trac off everytime the  ignition is cycled.   The TC is not the best vehicle for wet traction but it is adequate. Your task is made harder because you are coming into it from a Subaru which is a leader in good traction.

 

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6 hours ago, G B L said:

TC is not the best vehicle for wet traction but it is adequate

 

 

It has worked well for me in rain, on paved roads.  But I only drive on city streets.

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It is weird that the Gen2 is lost on wet grass while my Gen1 was a capable offroader.

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Thanks all for your thoughts and comments! I’ve now retried turning off traction control and it was straightforward... not sure what I was doing wrong before. I haven’t gotten back to a slippery situation to see if it makes a difference. 
 

The tires really may be just too street-optimized for this use case. I don’t do _that_ much off road travel but I’m still tempted to explore a grippier tire option. I can’t imagine trying to get myself to work in the snow as they are. 
 

No joke, my history with the Subaru does mess up my traction expectations 🙂 Oh well.

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I played around in some more damp grass this morning. It was again pretty embarrassing how easily my poor little van lost traction. Turning off traction control did make a difference: it allowed me to spin the tires instead of having them auto-stop after beginning to spin. But it didn't help me go much farther on the damp slope.

 

After studying the tires, however, I'm ready to say this isn't a Transit Connect problem. It's a Continental ProContact TX problem. These tires just... I mean, they're for the road. They run smoothly and quietly on asphalt. But a couple of blades of grass in the tread and they're slicks. I guess I need to decide how much it matters to me, being able to drive on non-paved surfaces. Do I care enough to replace these with grippier (noisier, less efficient...) tires?

 

I do still love the vehicle. This is just part of the getting to know it process. 

 

IMG_3421.jpg

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 The fact that you are in the south will limit your snow exposure but if you find your self in Muddy conditions the traction control will still get in the way!

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Bad tires are just flat bad tires.  The tires that are on my Gen 1 will spin up on dry pavement if I'm starting on a hill.  Mines an older one, and I don't think it has traction control.  That said, it spins and spins on Seattle's hills.  I haven't lost traction braking or turning, so there's that.  The next set of tires sure won't be what's on it now.

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