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Old 04-21-2021, 03:18 PM   #1
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What's RSC like offroad? In sand/mud?

So, I've been pondering upgrading my old Sportsmobile to a new E-Series van - maybe U-Joint 4x4 conversion or something, but using a cutaway E-Series box van this time.

However I'm reading how all Ford's vans these days include "RSC" - Roll Stability Control / "AdvanceTrac" / whatever. My current 2004 Ford E-350 Sportsmobile doesn't have RSC, and it seems to me that's a good thing. I'm a big fan of having all the manual control.

Still, I don't really mind the idea of the van computer deciding to occasionally add some left or right braking for me when things get squirrely, but I am very averse to the idea that the computer might cut engine power whenever it feels like it! I have a 2006 Prius which does that, and ugh it sucks.... I read that the RSC works by comparing the steering wheel angle with the individual wheel speeds (from the ABS tone rings) and if an unexpected mismatch is detected then the computer will apply brakes on one side and cut the engine power.

I'm most afraid of low-traction situations where I've got some good momentum going, but if the engine cuts out then I'm stuck.

For example, I periodically find myself alone on some remote Baja beach where the sand is coarse and dry. The beach slopes steeply down towards the surf. Even aired down, forward driving creeps me closer and closer downhill to the water - unless I build up some speed purposely driving downhill for a bit before turning wheel and powersliding my way back up the sandy slope to safety. Can't do this if the engine cuts power on me!

Or, I'm on some remote dry lakebed - that turns out to not be so dry after all. I gently turn the wheel back towards "shore", and the van starts fishtailing in the exposed mud. But I keep going using momentum to get back to a dry zone. If the computer cuts power, I'm stuck!



I do understand that Ford vans include an RSC-disable button. Is this enough? I just have to remember to hit the button before any unexpected offroad mishap? I read Ford automatically re-engages RSC when the vehicle reaches 20MPH. How does this work when in low range? On my van, the speedo reads 4x too high when in 4-low - so would the RSC re-engage at 204 MPH? Or does RSC only use the wheel tone rings to determine speed? Are there engine "tunes" to disable RSC?

I've done my best reading up on RSC here on the Forum (and special thanks to carringb for his expertise) but I still have questions….

I'm wondering if you all might be able to help me out by sharing your experiences driving offroad with RSC?

(And yeah maybe I just need to take a U-Haul rental out to a gravel pit and do some donuts )
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Old 04-21-2021, 04:28 PM   #2
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I tracked down some Ford E-Series owners manuals. Here's what the 2013 manual says: "electronic stability" and "roll stability" are both disabled in Reverse. "Traction control" can be disabled by "momentarily" pressing the TCS disable button, but will re-engage at 20MPH. I read on some F-series forums that pressing-and-holding this button will do a more substantial disabling on Ford trucks. Not sure if this applies to Ford vans.



I'm still a bit confused by all this terminology. What I really want to know is whether I can disable whatever computer system it is that might cut engine power on me?
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Old 04-21-2021, 10:44 PM   #3
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My SMB has it ('13) and haven't noticed power cutting out, BUT with that said, YOU have some pretty awesome/beautiful pictures (I'm a visual learner and that REALLY helped AND impressed) that showcase what you're talking about, plus added some adventure destinations added to the list
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Old 04-22-2021, 12:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctb View Post
My SMB has it ('13) and haven't noticed power cutting out, BUT with that said, YOU have some pretty awesome/beautiful pictures (I'm a visual learner and that REALLY helped AND impressed) that showcase what you're talking about, plus added some adventure destinations added to the list

Thanks If you look closely you'll see I have the GPS coordinates encoded into the image filenames.


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Old 04-22-2021, 12:56 AM   #5
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Clever Geofff THX! FOR THOSE SOOOO APPRECIATED! (BTW, one of my best friends through HS was a 'Geoff' and we affectionately nicknamed him, "Geoff My cloud" for his love of all things Rolling Stones...
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Old 04-26-2021, 11:02 AM   #6
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Crickets Well I will take this as a clue that maybe I'm worrying about nothing -- that RSC isn't really a major detriment offroad. Feel free to chime in with your experiences otherwise!



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Old 04-27-2021, 03:13 PM   #7
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We spend a lot of time on the beach and the traction control is annoying. I've only been able to disable it temporarily and like other folks have said, it will turn back on. So I either keep hitting the button or ignore it. We've been in situations where it almost got us stuck bc it felt like power was reduced and we barely made it up a sandy rise to get off the beach. I've held down the button to try and disable it all together, but it still turns back on. That being said, I feel like RSC saved me one night when a boogey board came flying off of a suburban that had just passed me with a bunch of surf boards on the roof. I had to do a quick evasive to avoid what I thought was a surf board and it still grazed the front aluminess bumper. It was a split second decision and all I saw in the dark was large object heading towards my face not knowing it was just a foam boogey board. I could totally tell the RSC was working to keep the van in control and was impressed at how well it worked on our high top EB. I've always thought it best to avoid those types of maneuvers on the highway especially if it involved a deer...just let the aluminess do it's job and don't risk it. In this case reaction took over thought and it worked out well. I was not towing our SMB trailer at the time and wonder how differently it would have turned out.
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Old 04-27-2021, 09:04 PM   #8
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My van has RSC (2008 advanced 4WD conversion 285/70-17's) and I've never noticed it working.....but I don't typically use 4WD lo for much...or drive on the beach.
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Old 04-29-2021, 11:01 AM   #9
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Interesting that the traction control re-engages at 20MPH. I have a 2005 Quigley and I just recently noticed that the speedo must be driven off of the main transmission and not from wheel speed sensors. I say this because when recently travelling in 4wd low range it said I was going 70MPH, no way was that correct! So my point here is that traction control would be very difficult to keep disabled in low range as it is reporting my speed as much higher than it should be and I would also think that wheel spin, in deep sand, would register a higher MPH than you are really going and thus cause it to re-engage when you least want it to. Just an observation from my recent travels.
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Old 04-29-2021, 11:19 AM   #10
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Exactly! That's why I want to understand the experiences of those who have actually driven a modern E-Series with RSC and a low-range transfer case.



Theoretically, the modern RSC-enabled car computer could be getting wheel speed from the wheel ABS tone rings, as it does to assess roll situations.
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