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      12-11-2011, 12:36 PM   #1
Voltigeur
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Question Sudden snap oversteer - no warning

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So, my normally predictable ///M nearly bit me in the arse last week. I'm interested to know if this has happened to anyone.

First, the set-up:
  • MDM on
  • More sensitive throttle on
  • steering too
I'm entering a Hwy: no rain; an even road surface; as far as I can recall no oil spills etc. I press on the throttle maybe 50% to enter traffic.

WHOA!

35-45 degrees' snap oversteer; reacted before I had time to 'think', so spun the wheel to correct - away from going down a slope - overcorrected a bit so back the other way to bring the car back to straight ahead.

Observations:
  • I have tracked; and this car is normally nailed down or gives me warning of some slippage - in MDM mode
  • the rear tires' wear is even & tread is sufficient
  • as stated, no treacherous conditions
Hence, I am at a loss to diagnose what happened. Could something have gone awry w/ the MDM programming? Maybe the LSD (diff) had a 'moment'?

Have not been able to replicate - on a wider road - but I can assure you on a city road it was not a calming experience and I was grateful I'd done some track.

---- V
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      12-11-2011, 12:43 PM   #2
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I have seen oil on the road where I experience a "whoops" moment!
Check the road again to be sure.

then again, when I was at the M-school, an M6 that I was driving kept dragging one of the rear brakes, and it had to be towed off the track.

But, the car did give a warning....

the wipers turned on by themselves
the seats started moving forward and back
the radio started seeking new channels....
I just sat back and laughed while we waited for the tow!!
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      12-11-2011, 12:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocJohn View Post
I have seen oil on the road where I experience a "whoops" moment!
Check the road again to be sure.

then again, when I was at the M-school, an M6 that I was driving kept dragging one of the rear brakes, and it had to be towed off the track.

But, the car did give a warning....

the wipers turned on by themselves
the seats started moving forward and back
the radio started seeking new channels....
I just sat back and laughed while we waited for the tow!!
Thanks for your reply Doc. I drive this road every work day - including subsequently - so did not see any obvious slippery spot - a regular urban road.

Sounds like there was a major systems' failure in the M6 you were driving I can't point to any anomalies like this - which is why I am perplexed. Luckily I was doing a moderate speed but if this had happened at 2x+ it would have led to a big 'off' - even Vettel would not manage a 'save' under those circumstances as like all of us we need feedback to react to.
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      12-11-2011, 12:51 PM   #4
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Likely something on road surface. My uncle almost lost his cobra driving up in the Amish region of Pennsylvania when he ran over horse manure in the road.
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      12-11-2011, 12:52 PM   #5
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Yikes. Did you stop and look at the road surface? Sometimes there are small spills that you can't see that reduce traction. Glad you're ok!
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      12-11-2011, 01:00 PM   #6
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thanks mate

Quote:
Originally Posted by immiketoo View Post
Yikes. Did you stop and look at the road surface? Sometimes there are small spills that you can't see that reduce traction. Glad you're ok!
Thanks. No, I did not stop - maybe I should've. It's a one-way road and so I continued on to my office. To do so I would have had to go back around - a long way - to check. But I have replayed in my mind and I did not see any obvious imperfections in the road surface. Admittedly, next day's re-examination may not have picked up on any potential hazards.

Lesson: no matter how much tech one can always have a scary moment; and ideally- and I'm not holding myself out as a great driver - when one is driving a hi-performance car it's very helpful to have explored its limits - on a safe road.
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      12-11-2011, 01:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick3753 View Post
Likely something on road surface. My uncle almost lost his cobra driving up in the Amish region of Pennsylvania when he ran over horse manure in the road.
Have driven through that part of PA. Glad your uncle is OK. I got to the intersection in Intercourse, PA & later on the road trip we drive through Climax, MI. Which led me to remark drily to my g/f (then): it's a long way from Intercourse to Climax
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      12-11-2011, 01:04 PM   #8
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That rimends me of the only unintentional 90 degree back spin I had. I was coming off a green light will take a left in 50 yards, get on second turn my wheels left (I usually take my turns hard) and woohoo here goes the back but no tire screeching, it felt like the back was on ice. And yes it was like 3 drops of oil (luckily I counter steered and corrected and it looked nice from outside, from inside tho I kinda needed to change pants
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      12-11-2011, 01:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sameh View Post
That rimends me of the only unintentional 90 degree back spin I had. I was coming off a green light will take a left in 50 yards, get on second turn my wheels left (I usually take my turns hard) and woohoo here goes the back but no tire screeching, it felt like the back was on ice. And yes it was like 3 drops of oil (luckily I counter steered and corrected
So, was the oil from your M3 or the road surface? Glad you caught it too, bro.

Quote:
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[A]nd it looked nice from outside from inside tho I kinda needed to change pants
Could not have said it better myself, mate How I felt too: not too arrogant to be given a scare.
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      12-11-2011, 01:16 PM   #10
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I was traveling on I-75 at about 70mph on a damp rode, when I hit a puddle on a bridge. It completely spun me at 180 degrees nearly hitting three cars. I was looking at oncoming traffic as I veered off into the median at about 60mph when I finally regained control. Probably one of the scariest moments of my entire life. The only explanation I could think of is that the coefficient of the asphalt and the bridge were different and the puddle made it even slicker. When my tire hit the lower coefficient asphalt my car's DTC tried to compensate and completely swung me into a 180.
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      12-11-2011, 01:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltigeur View Post
So, was the oil from your M3 or the road surface? Glad you caught it too, bro.
No wasn't my oil. Was on the road but under the overpass, the change of lighting/shadow made it hard to spot.
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      12-11-2011, 01:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sameh View Post
No wasn't my oil. Was on the road but under the overpass, the change of lighting/shadow made it hard to spot.
Gotcha. As I said, next day I did not see evidence of oil which is why i asked about LSD (lock-up?) or any other issue. Thx for your reply and glad you were safe.
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      12-11-2011, 01:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chungdae View Post
I was traveling on I-75 at about 70mph on a damp rode, when I hit a puddle on a bridge. It completely spun me at 180 degrees nearly hitting three cars. I was looking at oncoming traffic as I veered off into the median at about 60mph when I finally regained control. Probably one of the scariest moments of my entire life. The only explanation I could think of is that the coefficient of the asphalt and the bridge were different and the puddle made it even slicker. When my tire hit the lower coefficient asphalt my car's DTC tried to compensate and completely swung me into a 180.
First, glad you are OK Second, any normal human is going to be scared by these events - I sure as hell was.

I think your analysis is correct - very different friction surfaces - and I have experienced that. But this was not true in this case: no rain / puddles which is what led me to post this query.

Thx mate.
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      12-11-2011, 02:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltigeur View Post
First, glad you are OK Second, any normal human is going to be scared by these events - I sure as hell was.

I think your analysis is correct - very different friction surfaces - and I have experienced that. But this was not true in this case: on rain or puddles which is what led me to post this query.

Thx mate.
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      12-11-2011, 02:33 PM   #15
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This is the one and only aspect I miss about my RS4 compared to the M3. With the RS4, you could turn all the stbaility stuff off, and still HAMMER IT, and it would track dead on course. But with AWD, you lose the steering precision and overall dynamics that make the M3 legendary.
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      12-11-2011, 02:46 PM   #16
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Need some more specifics. Temperature? What type of pavement? Was it an overpass? Last week I had my car sideways on an overpass with full DSC. It was cool outside, a tad damp and the bridge was concrete. That makes for a very slick combo. Other things could have contributed as well. Wet leaves maybe?

I wouldn't worry about something being wrong with your car. It happens. Luckily you were paying attention and stayed in control.
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      12-11-2011, 02:58 PM   #17
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Funny, I test drove an S4 in 2007 (4.2L) and I had a similar experience with the back end stepping out. I was entering an on ramp that I know like the back of my hand. Perfectly smooth, even, and constant radius. I was pushing the car a bit, and then "snap" - the back end stepped out without warning, I caught it and was very baffled by the experience. The SA told me that car had the engine replaced completely before ... don't know if that had anything to do with it.

Hearing these stories makes me uneasy about the M3. I'm getting mine soon, and I will pay attention to this are report back with abnormalities. I'm sure its not the car but road conditions, but who knows.
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      12-11-2011, 03:03 PM   #18
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conditions were good

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjae1976 View Post
Need some more specifics. Temperature? What type of pavement? Was it an overpass? Last week I had my car sideways on an overpass with full DSC. It was cool outside, a tad damp and the bridge was concrete. That makes for a very slick combo. Other things could have contributed as well. Wet leaves maybe?

I wouldn't worry about something being wrong with your car. It happens. Luckily you were paying attention and stayed in control.
Answers:

* temp was about 40F
* no frost
* good quality of surface: even, tarmac in good condition, no potholes [having driven all 'round the world this road was top 10% condition]
* no leaves - TX - not such an issue where I live

Thanks for your input and all good qns but still mystified: have driven my car in much more tricky conditions and - aside from correctable slip - nothing like this has ever happened in 2 yrs of driving [28k mi - Germany and US].
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      12-11-2011, 03:08 PM   #19
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This happened to me once at the end of a highway ramp. I took the ramp fast but not enough to lose the back end. At the end of the ramp the back end lost traction and the car was facing the sidewalk but I could correct it before I spun out completely. MDM was on, but I found out the ramp asphalt wasn't smooth at the end, it had a small bump which threw my car off traction. Make sure the road didn't have imperfections on the turn because any small bump during a turn could make you lose control.
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      12-11-2011, 03:10 PM   #20
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M3, RS4 - all good

Quote:
Originally Posted by VVG View Post
This is the one and only aspect I miss about my RS4 compared to the M3. With the RS4, you could turn all the stbaility stuff off, and still HAMMER IT, and it would track dead on course. But with AWD, you lose the steering precision and overall dynamics that make the M3 legendary.
Yes, this is a valid point: I have driven an RS4. If I lived in a snowy area I would choose it. In this situation I think the AWD may have compensated for the sudden loss of traction at the rear RHS.

But on a track I just adore the playfulness - including oversteer, general balance - that an M3 brings. Would not swap it for C63 / RS4.

I suspect that for the avg driver the RS4 is the better option as an all-round car; for the trained driver, the M3 - leaving aside riskier weather and road conditions.
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      12-11-2011, 03:19 PM   #21
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I've done this before and I don't think it's systems failure, it's just too much power relative to the available traction.

Location: Munich, Germany
Car: 2008 M3, manual trans, new dealer vehicle
Temp: Approx 35F
Situation: Relatively sharp 120 degree on-ramp onto Autobahn. SA in passenger seat, wife and daughter in back (it's an E92).
MDM on, throttle, normal (I bet your "power mode" made this worse with the more sensitive throttle), as I'm unwinding the steering wheel, I roll in the power a little too aggressively and then wham, I'm sideways. Correct the wheel, wind it out in 2nd gear and get good wheelspin shifting into 3rd. Comment from my wife in back, "what was that?" my reply, "too much power", SA says nothing.

Anyway, I don't think your situation is unusual or indicates any kind of problem with the car, but I bet if you go back on foot and look at the surface there's a reason your rear end let go. Nothing to do with the electronics.
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      12-11-2011, 04:05 PM   #22
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People can critisize me all day for this but this is another example of people not using the best (or one of the best) safety features cars have on them today-Full DSC. If you were that good a driver, you would not at all be troubled by having to correct a simple problem like that.

Why you use mdm on the street should show you its stupid. Sure, this could have happened with full dsc on but chance is less likely.

MDM was designed for track driving for people who were not skilled enough to take their DSC totally off. It was and should not be intended to play boy racer on the freeway. Any type of street driving, even aggressive should never trigger the DSC anyway. We do not have enough low torque where it is preventing acceleration unless you do launches.

Just dont get people that feel cooler in MDM mode
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