Traction Control vs Torque Management? - Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-15-2016, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Traction Control vs Torque Management?

Those of us that have owned current model diesel trucks know what "torque management" is. Now a days the gas pedal is really just a suggestion that we give to the computer, and the computer is what really tells the engine what to do. For example, towing a heavy load at a higher throttle load, then let completely off the throttle, then get back on the throttle hard again, and you've got a dead pedal, as the computer limits torque load that is put back into the drivetrain. I'm not talking about turbo lag, this is clearly different.

So anyway, my 2016 Colorado with D max engine will de-throttle the engine when working very hard in frame deep snow, and when in low range. My perception is that traction control is turned off in low range. But when you are really working the engine hard, trying to keep RPM up while spinning all four tires in deep deep snow, the engine is de-throttled by the computer, which usually stops you dead in your tracks, and can leave you stuck in the snow.

What is causing the engine to de-throttle? Is the traction control not really turned off, like the light on the dash says it is? Or is this a "torque management" thing programmed into the diesel?

I am thinking of replacing my Z-71 Colorado with a ZR2 Colorado. If this problem I note above is a "torque management" thing inherent to the diesel, the new truck certainly won't have a diesel under the hood. If this problem is because traction control really doesn't turn itself off in low range, then there is no point in even getting the ZR2.

Interested in hearing your thoughts.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-15-2016, 10:12 AM
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There is torque management programmed in the ECM logic for a few things, RPM and Coolant temp are the 2 that are likely to effect most people in regular situations. I'd be guessing that youre getting interference from both in those conditions.

That's not to mention that there are Trans torque limits in the TCM and if your getting the Trans temp up in those situations then those could have the TCM requesting the engine power back on you too.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-15-2016, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Well I don't think RPM was high enough to hit a rev limiter. We're talking about maybe 3200 RPM, and while that is enough to get decent power out of the diesel, it isn't even all that close to rev limited RPM. I don't think it was a coolant temp thing either. These events where the computer de-throttled the engine occurred after normal driving in snow that was about ten inches deep (not enough to overheat anything according to the gauges, or by the feel of how hard the engine was working) followed by a brief uphill that wasn't long enough to overheat anything, in deeper snow. This could be torque management trying to prevent too much torque being applied to the transmission. It sounds like there are several things that cause the computer to limit torque on the diesel.

This was during the late Elk hunt where I had gone down a rather steep snow covered hill, and thought before doing it that I might not be able to make it back up. But I was certain the road went through to another road at the bottom of the canyon, and I wouldn't have to come back up that hill. It turned out that the road did not go through to another road, and just ended at the bottom of the canyon, and I had to climb that hill on the way out. This torque management or traction control issue that de-throttles the engine always seems to have a knack of knowing when to occur, just as the front tires are starting to crest the top of the hill, then it kills forward momentum and stops the truck dead, just as it was about to finish the climb. This could have been a bad situation, calling for a 20 mile walk in deep snow, where temps would have dropped well below zero at night.

So, are people having this problem with gas engine Colorado's? Is it worth changing to a gas engine ZR2, or will that just be more of the same with a gas engine truck?

Last edited by 3TV; 12-15-2016 at 08:03 PM.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-15-2016, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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For what it is worth, I just got my On Star Diagnostics Report (literally, five minutes ago) in my email. It says there are no problems with my truck.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-15-2016, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by 3TV View Post
Well I don't think RPM was high enough to hit a rev limiter. We're talking about maybe 3200 RPM, and while that is enough to get decent power out of the diesel, it isn't even all that close to rev limited RPM. ...
Just posing possibilities for you not saying it was definitely a factor. But since you seem to be curious here's the tables, so you can come to your own conclusions
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-16-2016, 01:58 AM
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Torque management and traction control are two totally different animals.
To be clear, torque management limits the amount of torque in the first two or three gears, and unless you were stomping on the accelerator when you were stuck(I forgot whether you said snow or mud), it's not likely it was activated. Since one generally babies the throttle when stuck in the muck looking for traction, you weren't likely asking for more torque than what was available to you.
If you're wondering whether the diesel ZR2 will have it, abso-fucking-lutely, but again, given the same situation I'm not seeing it come into play.
FWIW, it's there to stop you from rolling into the local dealer's service bay with burned trans clutches, broken U-joint, R&P damage etc.
Even tuners/programmers tend to keep it active. Some programmers (on diesel trucks where they're available that is) come with several different maps pre-loaded(I had a PPE for my LBZ that came with 9), and warn you that if you're gonna run higher than level 2(on said PPE), you need to first have someone like Inglewood or ATS strengthen your trans, as these maps remove the torque limiter, and if you're lucky all you'll do is smoke your clutches. If not, maybe break an input shaft, drop a driveshaft and catapult the rear of your truck over the front, or smoke an R&P etc.
I'm not aware of the traction control being automatically turned off when engaged in 4wd, in which case it definitely would activate if you were spinning.
I thought the traction control icon lit up when it activates on this truck, however(in which case you'd obviously know when it's activated). Am I wrong?
I've never paid attention
Now, if I totally misunderstood what you wrote, then forget what I said.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-16-2016, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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In 4wd high range traction control still functions, and the light on the dash only comes on when traction control activates. But as I understand it, in 4wd low range traction control is supposed to be turned off, and the light on the dash is always on, indicating that the system is disabled.

Traction control and torque management are two totally different systems, but the effect of the two systems can feel the same, because throttle is limited in both situations. That is why I am asking this question. It is hard for me to tell which system is neutering my Colorado right when I need it to keep working the most.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-16-2016, 08:54 PM
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In 4wd high range traction control still functions, and the light on the dash only comes on when traction control activates. But as I understand it, in 4wd low range traction control is supposed to be turned off, and the light on the dash is always on, indicating that the system is disabled.

Traction control and torque management are two totally different systems, but the effect of the two systems can feel the same, because throttle is limited in both situations. That is why I am asking this question. It is hard for me to tell which system is neutering my Colorado right when I need it to keep working the most.
The only time you're gonna really feel the TM system is when you're mashing the throttle(lower gears), which you weren't doing when you were stuck, were you?

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-16-2016, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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I wasn't stuck. It was a moderate uphill with drifted snow at the top that would require a little momentum to get through. Half way up the hill I started easing into the throttle and built engine RPM rather slowly. All four tires were spinning and engine RPM was about 3200 RPM. The truck was clawing its way through the drift and almost through to the other side when the engine just de-throttled to practically nothing, which stopped the truck in its tracks. Being as it was an uphill where I lost forward motion, I wasn't stuck. Just put it in reverse, and back down the hill. This same "scenario" happened several times in the two days we used the truck for hunting. Each time it was at steady throttle (about 2/3 of the way down) and about 3200 RPM or so, with all of the tires spinning in deep snow (Low Range). We only used the Colorado for two days because my usual hunting rig had a solenoid fail for the rear locker, and took two days to get repaired. Here it is, from that same hunt.



So, my question is ... is traction control not totally turned off when in low range? Because if it isn't, this could be a traction control "feature". Personally, it feels like a torque management issue to me. I've owned a few other new diesel trucks that have torque management programs, and that is what this feels like. I've also been 4-wheeling for a while now; it seems like I've been doing something offroad practically every weekend for >40 years, and have owned several new 4x4s that have these electronic traction control nannies on them. I know with Jeeps you can push a button on the dash to disable traction control in 4-Hi (just like the Colorado), but with the Jeep, traction control in 4-Hi isn't really disabled by pushing the button. It just tones it down some. If you push and hold the button for five seconds it totally disables it. And in 4-Lo Jeep traction control is totally disabled. I don't know if the Colorado's traction control is totally disabled in 4-Lo? The illuminated traction control symbol on the dash when in 4-Lo would make you think that it is though

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Last edited by 3TV; 12-16-2016 at 11:57 PM.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 12:36 AM
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I would bet that you're getting traction control. I had the exact same problem in my H2. In deep snow or sand it would kick on just when you really needed wheel spin the most. Traction control uses both throttle control and braking, via the ABS system. And you're right, even when you "turn it off" is not really off. It just allows more spin before it kicks in.

I have a custom tune in my H2, and I had the traction control and torque management completely disabled. Now I don't have any problem in conditions like you faced.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-17-2016, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3TV View Post
]

So, my question is ... is traction control not totally turned off when in low range? Because if it isn't, this could be a traction control "feature". Personally, it feels like a torque management issue to me. I've owned a few other new diesel trucks that have torque management programs, and that is what this feels like. I've also been 4-wheeling for a while now; it seems like I've been doing something offroad practically every weekend for >40 years, and have owned several new 4x4s that have these electronic traction control nannies on them. I know with Jeeps you can push a button on the dash to disable traction control in 4-Hi (just like the Colorado), but with the Jeep, traction control in 4-Hi isn't really disabled by pushing the button. It just tones it down some. If you push and hold the button for five seconds it totally disables it. And in 4-Lo Jeep traction control is totally disabled. I don't know if the Colorado's traction control is totally disabled in 4-Lo? The illuminated traction control symbol on the dash when in 4-Lo would make you think that it is though
The manual says the systems are off in 4LO so I'd have to assume they are off.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-19-2017, 04:43 PM
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Could the Stabtrac system be causing this problem as well? Was the hill slowly getting steeper at the top?

To turn that off, you have to hold the switch down even longer, I think over 5 to 6s and that would then show up as being off.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-19-2017, 07:14 PM
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Could the Stabtrac system be causing this problem as well? Was the hill slowly getting steeper at the top?

To turn that off, you have to hold the switch down even longer, I think over 5 to 6s and that would then show up as being off.
Stabilitrac = GMs term for skid control and is regulated by the brakes via ABS so I think that's different
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-19-2017, 07:35 PM
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In 4h I have to hold the switch until both orange lights illuminate in the dash then I can go but if I get over 30? mph it kicks off. In 4L I'm wondering if you're hitting a wheel speed limiter of some kind.


Some of these "dummy" proof features can sure be a PIA

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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 08:20 AM
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To turn TC totally off you have to hold down for ~6-10 secs
I know manual says it is off in 4Lo but maybe try holding the button in it too to make sure?

@KFhunter according to the manual, 4lo can be used up to 60mph iirc so shouldn't be hitting any kind of speed limiter unless he was really spinning in like 3rd gear



fwiw I was playing around in 4hi with tc turned off and never felt it come on at all while sliding about and doing donuts and all either.

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