sandbagging behind driver/passenger?

Wheel and tire information and upgrade discussions
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BustedVibe
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sandbagging behind driver/passenger?

Post by BustedVibe » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:05 pm

Hi,

Looking for a little more stability in the winter. A dedicated winter set is not an option financially (or practically). My biggest problem with the Vibe since becoming an owner has always been driving it in the show. Stuff most people can slush on through with their heavier cars I feel like I am about to die...lol I wanted to at least get steel rims this year but wasn't able to make that happen.

The car is just a lot more difficult to control and loses grip easier I guess.. I feel because it is just too light. I do have new tires I put on earlier in the year (Cooper touring CS5), the last time they were measured tread was 9mm or whatever the scale is.. One tire is slightly newer since a blowout I had when I hit debris and got a replacement on.

My mechanic suggested putting the weight behind the drive/passenger seat, as opposed to just in the back hatch area, as it would distribute the weight more evenly.

Does anyone care to comment on experience doing this? How much weight you tried, where you put it, etc. Are we talking 100 lbs, 200lb, or more to be effective?
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vibrologist
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Re: sandbagging behind driver/passenger?

Post by vibrologist » Sat Dec 01, 2018 5:00 pm

What's the reasoning of placing extra weight right there in the middle of the chassis? Do you feel any improvement when you have passengers as compared to driving alone? Placing weight in the middle will change the distribution in favor of the rear tires. But it is the front tires that need help.
I am sorry to tell you: in my opinion your only chance of improving winter driving is with dedicated tires. Your CS 5's are already high ranking all season tires.
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hogdoctor
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Re: sandbagging behind driver/passenger?

Post by hogdoctor » Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:20 am

Your front tires already have the weight of the engine & trans sitting on them, they don't need much more help. I'm more afraid of the back end sliding out on corners because it's light back there. I would add weight over the rear tires or just ahead of the rear tires. Anything you put behind the rear tires will take away from the front tire's weight. Just pick up dense things that you already buy or will have need for in the future. Cat litter works for me. Makes for good backup traction enhancer should you find yourself stuck on glare ice.

BustedVibe
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Re: sandbagging behind driver/passenger?

Post by BustedVibe » Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:47 pm

To be perfectly honestly, this is the lightest car I've ever owned and it makes me scary nervous to drive it in the snow. That's the reason I want to increase its weight.

Yeah the backend is light, but lets not kid ourselves. The front end isn't exactly heavy either. I used to own a dodge stratus just to give you an idea of comparison. Yeah I get that traction is not going to get much better without dedicated tires but its just not in my budget.

I figure adding weight somewhere it could be distributed evenly would be the easiest way to increase the cars weight safely. That's all I'm looking for at this point. I'm not expecting to climb hills covered in ice but getting up my driveway with a light dusting of snow on the ground would be a nice start.
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Re: sandbagging behind driver/passenger?

Post by vibrologist » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:33 am

Is this the point in time to dish out winter driving tips?
Some of the best I have received came from a Canadian.

Avoid braking. Let the car slow down with engine braking. When you have to stop do this: when the car is about to stop put it into N and then very lightly apply the brake. You get better response because you are not fighting the torque converter.
I practice this on dry pavement to get the hang of it.

To get going: Put it in D and get off the brake. Let the car creep and now barely touch the pedal to avoid wheel spin. Practice on a parking lot.

Can you get on your driveway with a bit of momentum? As you climb up use very little power to avoid wheel spin. How about a box with sand that you could throw on the track?


By the way I had even lighter cars on all season tires. Mazda 323 hatchback. Mazda Protégé. Geo Prizm.
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zbyers
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Re: sandbagging behind driver/passenger?

Post by zbyers » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:14 am

Frankly, winter tires are your best option. While they sometimes cannot be financially feasible, if you're planning on keeping the car a while, they're worthy of the investment.
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BustedVibe
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Re: sandbagging behind driver/passenger?

Post by BustedVibe » Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:36 am

Yeah I was going to get steel rims this year at least, but needed to have a $5,000 surgery lol....
Maybe next year I will be able to afford them and some snow tires.

Thanks for those tips vibrologist,
I actually have trouble with my throttle response. Sometimes I get a lot of torque / harder throttle even when I touch the pedal lightly. I think I had a thread on this once that didn't really go anywhere. I kept meaning to take my intanke off and clean the throttle body myself (don't think my mechanic did a good job when I asked him) but keep forgetting to do it. It does feel like something may be sticking (slight delay between pedal / movement of the vehicle.. sometimes it creeps, sometimes it doesn't). So far with a light dusting of snow It feels too easy for me to spin my tires from a stop sign, etc sometimes.

In general I use the engine to brake all-year round. But I don't like doing that with traffic behind me (no lights obv.) My concern in the snow would be sudden corrective braking or unanticipated deceleration being required. If I have trouble with the driveway (and to be fair it has a steep grade) I generally will back out, roll back to the other side of the street then try to hit it at a higher speed. Sometimes 2nd gear helps, sometime sit doesn't.. sometimes I gotta go get some sand/rock salt.. lol
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Re: sandbagging behind driver/passenger?

Post by vibrologist » Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:21 am

The inconsistent throttle response could have a number of causes.
1. There was a recall for the ECM on a number of models (including my 05 base). Check if yours is included and if the recall has been performed.
2. The throttle body could be sticky. that's where your cleaning will come in.
3. A small vacuum leak could cause the trouble. If it happens more during warm up and much less after reaching operating temperature it is probably such a leak. One that is small enough so that the computer can adjust for it. During warm up the computer is not doing any adjustments. It runs off program data. Check vacuum hoses in particular where they are attached to nipples. Consider replacing the intake manifold gasket.
4. Other reasons I can't think of right now.

And here is my 3 word rant: medicare for all!
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BustedVibe
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Re: sandbagging behind driver/passenger?

Post by BustedVibe » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:09 pm

Thanks, I will investigate those avenues.
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xcmtb83
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Re: sandbagging behind driver/passenger?

Post by xcmtb83 » Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:52 am

To answer the original question, yes, in theory adding weight to the vehicle via sandbags will increase the traction but it is important where the weight is placed. The passenger front seat floorboard would be the best place since it is a front wheel drive vehicle. This may not be practical if you need to carry a passenger so on the floor behind the front seats would be the next next option. Adding weight to the rear of the vehicle is going to make traction to the drive wheels even worse so don't do that.

My better half was suffering the same awful performance in the winter months as the OP, to the point that we were considering selling the Vibe and buying another 4Runner. To make matters worse the Vibe's throttle response is so sensitive it can make gaining traction very difficult. Well we opted to try dedicated winter tires and if these weren't satisfactory we would sell the Vibe. The winter tires are a night and day difference! I realize having two sets of tires seems like alot of money but if you are the type of person that drives a lot the cost is almost a wash as both sets are going to last a long time when the duty is split between them though the year. The only real expense is the purchase of the second set of wheels. I highly recommend not swapping tires on and off of the same set of wheels each spring and fall as it gets expensive fast and can pay for the second set of wheels in one year.

The Vibe is a light vehicle, IMO far too light for the factory 205/55R16 tires for winter duty so we opted for a skinner 195/65R15 tire that offers the same overall height. For tires we went with Cooper Evolution from Discount Tire Direct. After the Black Friday promos we got a set of tires for less than $300. Keeping with the budget theme I headed off to the local self serve salvage yard for a cheap set of Prius wheels and Pontiac center caps. I slapped some paint on the wheels and machined some adapter rings to run the smaller diameter Pontiac center caps, yes, I am an OCD machinist.
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