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Discussion Starter #1
Just reading about a hitch for sale in the for sale section about yet another SSR sliding off the road. I think that that makes three at slow speed in the rain plus one very sad fatality. Seems like a high number for the relatively small numbers represented on this forum. Makes me wonder if there is a common cause here.? Is it just lousey wet handling tires, a combination of the tires and badly reacting traction control in the automatics, do we drive these too aggressively because to a point they feel like a sports car giving us false confidence, or is there some other handeling issue? I have been a member of other forums in the past, Mustang, Lightning, M3, Z06, and although accidents were reported there were not so many that were so similar in nature to what seems to be happening here.
 

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Machell
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:agree I have been wondering that too, I think there have more sliding incidents but only so far three who have gone off the road!
 

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I think it is caused more by overly aggressive driving then any other factor. When we get behind the wheel of these machines, we tend to think we are kids and maybe even invincible.

I know I have to remind myself to slow down. There is a lot of power in these little trucks.
 

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SSR Owners Group
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I know that I feel better when I switch OFF the traction control - I don't like the computer doing my driving for me - IF/when I feel the tires kicking loose - I make the correction!
 

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Machell
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I have had that thought too Focks, that we think that because this truck is so heavy we are safe but realistically it has an enormous amount of power, even for the weight!
 

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slip and slide

I had a 1984 Corvete and one evening I found out what happens if you push the car a little to far. After a great spin I was out on the Beach looking at the surf. Well I got lucky and let the air out of the tries and I got the car back on the hard pavement Before the Police Dept show up. This was in 1984 and we all got away with a little more in those days. The SSR handles much like that car with the Z51 Option. When you push to hard the Vehicle may push back. Drive it easy and everything should be OK

Ocman
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think your partially right Focks, but the other cars I referenced are in the 400 HP range and had higher hP / lb. I realize that the SSR is basically a truck and to a point it handles and feels way better than any other stock truck. I know our stock tires are a big factor wet or dry, but with the stock wheels, there are not too many choices of serious high performance tires. It would be interesting to hear from some of the roadcourse guys if they detect any unpredictable behavior from the chassis. I'm a pretty aggressive driver, but I have been a little over cautious with this thing on mountain roads.
 

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From my perspective (backwards and rolling sideways)

8 Factors that contributed to my first SSR's "eating it":
1.) The onramp that I lost traction on is an upwards incline, where cars drop oil when accelerating. Intersections would be the same I imagine.
2.) It was not raining during my accident, but just after the first shower of the season, so the onramp was especially slippery. It started to rain again as I crawled out of my SSR.
3.) I hit second gear too hard for wet weather, just like I do when it is dry. No traction control factor (positive or negative) here. Going maybe 40mph.
4.) Although the SSR has a near neutral balance (52/48 I read), the high rolling center of gravity does not favor the "high mileage" harder OEM Goodyear rubber composition staying in the grove when sharp directional changes occure (fishtailing). I actually think the suspension is very decent otherwise. Remember, the SSR is not a sports car.
5.) I didn't loose traction for that long, just long enough to get into trouble (two flat tires pulling me into a reverse direction).
6.)I was out of room at the top of the onramp and chose the edge of the freeway over tangling with the heavy traffic on the freeway. The actual length of the accident was very short, maybe 300ft.
7.) In my situation, just after the edge of the freeway there was a hill. Declining 50ft. at a 45 degree angle, unfortunately. :cry
8.) My horoscope said I would be careless and accident prone (yeah, I read them after to see how accurate they were!).

So now I am doing it again. In my new SSR I will:
1.) I will drive slower in wet weather.
2.) I will get to know the animal that the SSR is more carefully.
3.) (IMPORTANT FOR FUTURE AGGRESSIVE DRIVING)
I will be replacing (very soon) the Goodyears with stickier tires in both wet and dry conditions (could use some guidance here, as there are not many choices that fit the stock rims). I usually do this with my other cars.
4.) Maybe I'll lower the beast, too. Maybe not, because as much of a hot rodder as I am, I really like my SSR just the way it is (OK, except the tires).

I admit that the very first time I drove my SSR in rainy wet weather I was a little aggressive.. I just didn't know I was overly aggressive and careless. I was very surprised that my SSR broke loose. I honestly do think the tires and roll center of gravity have to be considered when driving an SSR.

... and I am NOT going to let this happen to me again!
 

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My Two cents

I have been thinking about this also.... Without getting over-analytical, I'll just say that there seems to be a common set of contributors here.....

I have always loved my positraction rear axles on dry pavement, BUT..... on wet pavement they have always tended to bring the rear end around more easily that a non-posi vehicle. Has everything to do with trying to turn both wheels at the same speed.... even in corners.

The SSRs with the 6 speeds have the Eaton differential with the clutch packs and they probably have a pretty substantial preload on them. This will tend to have both wheels rotating at the same RPM on slick surfaces. The inside wheel is one that gives first.... obviously.

The Automatic SSRs with the Torsen axle offer tremendous "differential" action when no torque is being passed through them, but when torque is applied, they will act in a very "locked-up" fashion. I've noticed this when turning and accelerating in my own truck on dry pavement. Seems almost like a live axle in the way it wants to scrub the inside tire..... even with the best of surfaces.

All this leads me to believe the SSR has a propensity for "coming around" when applying throttle on wet pavement. I'm sure the professional drivers in the group could put it more succinctly......

The other notable contributor (seems to me) is that once you break the tires loose on a wet surface, there must be a significant step function in adhesion. When you do it with skinny tires, there is a fairly gentle break point. Not much of a step change. The wider the tire, the bigger the step.

I am curious if others share my opinions.....

Mike
 

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Yes - the posi will help break it loose in the wet. We need to remember the throttle is not astep funtion (on/off).
Another factor not pointed out is the weight distribution does some interesting things. One is one the rear is loose it will want to come around and keep coming since it has about 50% of the mass of the vehicle.
I have found the SSR handling more like my rear engined car than a front driver (Camaro, Mustang, etc). I did laft hand turn yesterday from a dead stop in first gear in the rain. I could get the rear to dance (slide/not slide) just by playing with the throttle (small amounts). A big stomp on the throttle and I could be looking at oncoming traffic.

Bottom line is the SSR does handle a bit different than your normal driver is used to. The best cure is to find a safe venue (autocross, etc) to learn just how far you can push the limits.
 

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Although the Eaton is more robust in many ways, I think the Torsen tends to lock up more solidly when sending torque trough it. With that, I'd venture that the automatics are possibly more prone to coming around on us when turning and applying power on wet surfaces.

Mike
 

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Mike,
Could be but I'd need to go play in an auto for awhile to get a feel for what the difference may be.
 

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Tires

Car and Driver( December 2005 issue) recently did a tire test and evaluated the Goodyear Eagle F1 GS D3 as best overall performer, but it doesn't come in our SSR sizes. The best wet traction rated tire that will fit is the Goodrich g-Force T/AKDW2. I've been thinking about a set of those, but if I remember right, didn't Bob A have those on his SSR?
 

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Its Not A Z-06

Last time I looked in my garage there was a truck in it.
We thend to foget this fact.
A trailblazer with cool skins.
Not a vette with cool skins

Scott Doran ( still on the road for now) #201
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I agree with you Scott, its not a sports car. I am not at all unhappy with the handling of my SSR It feels really good, better than any other "sport truck" and better than most cars, but under certain conditions, not just wet, not neccesarily extreme manuvers that the truck has surprised me in an unpredictable manner. The more I play with it the more I think that it is just tires. On a quick check, there may be a Pirrelli asymetrico tht will fit. Expensive and not long lasting, but if one drives aggressively, than tires aren not the place to skimp. For those who just cruze, the stock rubber seems fine as long as care is taken in the rain.
 

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Autocrossing is cheap and a great experience for everyone to get to know their vehicle. You are one person on a track with cones and you can get as wild or mild as you like. The important thing is you get to know the limits of your vehicle and how to handle it on the street. Try it, it may help bring about a newfound awareness you can use on the street. I have learned a lot about my 03 auto SSR in the process and will continue to do it. The tires really change after about 15K miles. They grip well until then but tend to break free after that period of miles. Just my personal experience, hope it helps. We all need to be a whole lot more careful with these beautiful beasts.:seeya
 

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Caution is in order!!

I have been driving and racing performance cars (vettes, M3, M5) on road courses for many years. The first day I drove my 05 6 speed in the rain I was very surprised when I nearly lost it on an entrance ramp. Fortunately I regained control and learned a valuable lesson at no charge. Remember the car is very powerful, the tires are rather high performance, and the suspension is ok but not world class. It is quite easy to break it loose under acceleration on a entrance/exit ramp or under similar conditions. So, treat the car with respect, use your brain, and be very cautious. If you do you will enjoy a great ride in a great car.
 

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I think one problem is the weight. It takes some power to make it move, so you get used to punching it a bit to get out into traffic or up a ramp.

Coupled with this is that the trucks are normally pretty sturdy on the road. My Z3's were always a bit squirrly if you pushed the envelope a bit, but you always knew where the envelope was. That's not the case with the SSR.

I had the SSR cut lose coming up on an interstate on a rainy ramp. It could have been very bad, but fortunaetely I road it out. What I had done was kick it hard to put myself right into traffic, an almost instinctive reaction at that point. But it wasn't hard to figure out later that kicking it to 4000 RPM on a wet road was not a good idea.

The thing is, tho, that I just wouldn't have done that in the Z3. It would have been acting just squirrly enough on the wet pavement that I would have known ot be careful.
 
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