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Old 02-12-10, 11:47 AM   #1
Little Darwin
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Automotive Advice Needed

I am curious if someone can tell me if there is a solution to a long term issue with my car...

I have a 2003 Saturn Vue 2 wheel drive, with a 4 cylinder and a CVT transmission.

The issue is that the computer has always done silly things that I want it to stop doing.

When I accelerate out of a parking lot while turning right is when it happens most often, but if I accelerate too hard and the traction is lost (i.e. gravel/snow cause the wheel to spin) the computer apparently decides that I am too stupid to drive, and cuts off all acceleration for a second or two.

I would prefer that the computer allow me to back off of the accelerator a bit, rather than coasting into traffic like a target for oncoming cars.

Am I correct that this is a computer issue?

I know there are chip replacements for performance available for some cars, but I don't care about that, I prefer economy, but is there a chip replacement to let me control the car?

Or is this something besides the computer?
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Old 02-12-10, 12:17 PM   #2
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Appears to be your traction control cutting your throttle so your tires stop spinning. Turn the option off (should be a button somewhere, try looking in the manual). A quick search indicated this may not override it completely. In such a case, you can look at a wiring diagram and see what fuse runs it, and try taking it out if nothing else on the circuit is important. Otherwise you'll have to find a trick to disable it. Good luck.
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Old 02-12-10, 12:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Darwin View Post
I have a 2003 Saturn Vue 2 wheel drive, with a 4 cylinder and a CVT transmission.
Swell!


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When I accelerate out of a parking lot while turning right is when it happens most often, but if I accelerate too hard and the traction is lost (i.e. gravel/snow cause the wheel to spin) the computer apparently decides that I am too stupid to drive, and cuts off all acceleration for a second or two.
Bikernator is exactly correct. I have the same set-up in my '03 Saturn ION and when I am getting up the driveway or in deep snow, I have to turn off Traction Control first, otherwise the computer kills the throttle and I can't do anything to get going.

Unlike what Bikernator said, though, when I turn off Trac in my ION, it completely overrides it, and I believe it's an identical set-up in the VUE for that year.

So, simply push the button on the dash to turn it off, and come back and let us know.
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Old 02-12-10, 02:33 PM   #4
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Interesting... I have never noticed a switch, and I bought the Vue new.

Also, in searching I notice that the traction control only came on Vue's that year with anti-lock brakes, and I don't have anti-lock brakes...
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Old 02-12-10, 03:54 PM   #5
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that may depend on the sophistication of the traction control. On my older car (although not a saturn), it only cuts the throttle but on newer fancier models, it may cut the throttle and also apply the brakes to the slipping wheel. Obviously the slipping wheel will slow down to a happy speed faster if the computer can apply the brake, but that feature seems unlikely without ABS. So if the computer is slow to notice the slipping and can't do anything to slow it down other than cut the throttle, you just have to wait for the normal friction on the tire to slow it down. I can see that taking a comparatively long time to regain control.

I'm not sure how the CVT feels. I'm guessing its closer to a manual transmission, so no big torque surges when the computer finally decides it should downshift? Anything that creates a sudden increase in torque (i.e., stabbing quickly at the pedal) will be bad. Pressing the pedal down even slightly slower can help. Practice makes perfect, find a parking lot with snow or wet asphalt and you can get a feel for how much gas it can handle before it slips.

Also, when you accelerate, the weight balance of your car shifts towards the rear. This takes away traction from the front tires...which means more slipping in a FWD car. In this case if you apply the gas a little bit easier at first, lets say 1/2 throttle, and give the suspension a chance to settle (front end raises, rear end squats) before giving it the rest of the throttle, you can reduce slipping. The speed of the weight transfer will depend on the suspension (stiffer springs, stiffer rebound in the front shocks)
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Old 02-14-10, 12:51 PM   #6
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A Chrysler mechanic told me that it's particularly difficult to flash a Saturn computer, because the regular GM flash computer tools won't work, since Saturn did it's own little thing with engineering and development. He said you'd probably need a manufacturers tool to flash it, and that it would be difficult if not impossible to have a tuner shop do it.

Just curious if anyone can confirm or deny that.
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Old 02-14-10, 01:09 PM   #7
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I don't own one, but I agree that there should be a button to override it. If not, I suspect dealers could disable it. It's curious that you would have traction control without ABS though. Normally ABS equipped cars need to have a rotary encoder sort of doodad on the axle/cvjoint/whatever. They use that to determine how fast the wheels are rotating, and without it are blind.
Assuming that to be the case, if you can't find a fuse or a button, you might be able to unplug the sensors at the wheels. The downside to this is that you'll probably get an error light.
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