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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > Regional Forums > UK > RWD is fantastic in snow...



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      12-03-2010, 05:58 AM   #1
Jamze
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RWD is fantastic in snow...

...in our Mazda!

Just what is it that makes BMWs just give up in snow?

Half a foot here, cleared the cars this morning, and needed to get into town for provisions.

Traction control fully enabled, just DTC, all turned off, didn't matter, the BMW just couldn't get out of the car park, even with neighbours pushing.

So jumped in the Mazda, and away I went. No drama, immediate traction, once I'd sussed the levels of grip I was even looking for bits of snow to get the rear end out a bit - a delight.

I take on board all this talk about winter tyres - but both cars are on 18s with low profile 'non-winter' tyres. What gives?

Anyway, I'm using the MX-5 for the foreseeable
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      12-03-2010, 06:02 AM   #2
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Strange, all I can think of is that the Mazda is much lighter therfore easier to get going, but having said that you would have thought extra weight in the BMW would give more grip...

I'm sure someone with the correct explanation will be along shortly
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      12-03-2010, 06:05 AM   #3
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as much as people say adding ballast helps the car to grip I think otherwise and your situation proves it. More weight means more grip is required to move the heavier object.

Your mazda is lighter and needs less tractions to gain forward momentum.

Theres peobably a graph that would explain the relationship between weight on snow and the grip needed to move that weight, my theory is that it would point to a lighter car having more chance of overcoming the cars interia to where it is rather than move off.
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      12-03-2010, 06:08 AM   #4
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And your Mazda doesn't have rubbish "hard as rocks" runflats on it.
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      12-03-2010, 06:33 AM   #5
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Interesting topic.... not sure there is one answer, particularly as the weight issues can be contradicted... Having used BMW cars back as far as the 1970's (when we had much more snow in winters) weight in the boot always was the way to get more traction. Same for cars like my RWD Dolomite Sprint.

Are all things equal, tyre wise? Profile width, tread depth, tread patterns, that could be enough variables to make the difference, let alone weight itself. Even the front wheels can be the issue, how a tyre compresses the leading snow edge.

I'd be very interested in what the tyre sections are on both cars, as I suspect that has a lot to do with how each car cuts through snow and how much traction is generated. For example, there's a lot of difference in the way a 185 and 225 section works in snow, (let alone a 255 section) both for the ability to plough through fallen snow and the drive wheel grip and traction.

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      12-03-2010, 06:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandPete View Post
Interesting topic.... not sure there is one answer, particularly as the weight issues can be contradicted... Having used BMW cars back as far as the 1970's (when we had much more snow in winters) weight in the boot always was the way to get more traction. Same for cars like my RWD Dolomite Sprint.


HighlandPete

In the '70s were any people using snow tyres?
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      12-03-2010, 06:48 AM   #7
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The Mazda is a feather in comparison

Probably a lot less torque low down, so less slip

Smaller, thinner wheels

... that aren't run flats
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      12-03-2010, 06:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaishang View Post
In the '70s were any people using snow tyres?
Apparently they were invented by NOKIAN in the 1930s so somebody was.
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      12-03-2010, 06:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaishang View Post
In the '70s were any people using snow tyres?
I wasn't, and most folks of the period didn't either, some were on all seasons. But BMW drivers were typically on Michelin, something like an XAS.

I remember my 528 has 195 sections and was dire in snow, unless the boot was filled with logs.

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      12-03-2010, 07:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by briers View Post
The Mazda is a feather in comparison

Probably a lot less torque low down, so less slip

Smaller, thinner wheels

... that aren't run flats
Torque in itself won't be the issue, it's only when the driver doesn't control it.

Thinner wheels, now we are getting to it. Cutting through snow, rather than generating a wide wedge ahead if the tyre.

The RFT bit is an area we could debate, as stiffer walls won't allow easy road follow. Add in negative camber settings and we could have very localised loadings and strange footprint coverage on snow.

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      12-03-2010, 07:15 AM   #11
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They are still cr4p in snow even with non RFTs!
Landy has wider tyres than the BM - 235 vs 225s - but super high profile with very deep treads. It's also pretty torquey. Unbelievably good grip in snow and ice.

So its not tyre width, its not RFTs. Why are they so terrible in snow? TBH, I've no idea!
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      12-03-2010, 07:17 AM   #12
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Rock hard RFT on the BMW by any chance?
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      12-03-2010, 07:22 AM   #13
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Mega - nope. I have non RFTs...
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      12-03-2010, 07:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 335diesel View Post
They are still cr4p in snow even with non RFTs!
Landy has wider tyres than the BM - 235 vs 225s - but super high profile with very deep treads. It's also pretty torquey. Unbelievably good grip in snow and ice.

So its not tyre width, its not RFTs. Why are they so terrible in snow? TBH, I've no idea!
High profile, deep tread does it on the landy
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      12-03-2010, 07:53 AM   #15
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Width of tyre has a lot to do with it. I remember in the seventies out dragging a 911 from the lights in my wife's Metro - which had only 145 section tyres on 13" wheels - and he had plenty of weight in the back. Wider the tyre (Landies excluded) the bigger the problem.
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      12-03-2010, 07:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 335diesel View Post
They are still cr4p in snow even with non RFTs!
Landy has wider tyres than the BM - 235 vs 225s - but super high profile with very deep treads. It's also pretty torquey. Unbelievably good grip in snow and ice.

So its not tyre width, its not RFTs. Why are they so terrible in snow? TBH, I've no idea!
In this context don't mix tyre types, (Landy to BMW) think of the same summer tyre on the Landy, and see how we compare. Tyre width is a major cause of not getting on well with snow. Same for FWD cars, seen it this week, wide sections still scrabbling for traction.

I've had the chance in the past to compare two identical cars, on different width summer tyres. (Let's leave winter tyres out as well, as that's a different animal). One car had 155 section, the other 185. Was a chalk and cheese experience in snow.

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      12-03-2010, 08:11 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaishang View Post
In the '70s were any people using snow tyres?
No, they weren't - but then family hatchbacks didn't need tyres that could do 140mph for hours on end safely either!

My first car was a late 70's cortina - prob max'd out at just over a ton!

I fitted 185 wide tyres to it and thought they were wide at the time.

Rubber has now had to progress lots, mainly for performance reasons, and the newer wide rubber is cery poor at less than 7 deg C and the tread patterns are not designed to work with snow at all.

The winters however work well in winter but the compound of the rubber and the tread pattern mean that they will wear excessively fast if used in 'summer' conditions'

Bit like F1 cars, they have to use tyres that suit the conditions: the track has to be sufficiently wet enough to use the inters, and then has to be worse still to use the full-wets. If they used either in the dry then they would get destroyed quickly.

Our modern cars are comprised by having tyres that work VERY well in good-average weather conditions but meet their limits when the conditions get very bad.
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      12-03-2010, 08:25 AM   #18
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2008 135i  [3.00]
If you have the 6 speed manual or auto then your car is equiped with a stock LSD, which is way better and I mean WAY BETTER than your bimmers open diff. Meaning awesome traction but, winter tire's will give you stopping power.
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      12-03-2010, 08:42 AM   #19
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Sorry. I was asking Jamze.
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      12-03-2010, 08:47 AM   #20
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Misled you, they're 17s on the MX-5.

The previous owner put cheap Chinese tyres on it just before we bought it (Rotalla F105?). Was going to ditch them. Maybe I'll keep them now!

So...

Mazda 205/45 vs. BMW 255/35

Mazda 1,095kg vs. BMW 1,580kg, both supposed to be 50/50 weight distribution.

Mazda 158hp vs. BMW 184hp

Mazda 188Nm vs. BMW 380Nm

So taller skinny tyres and less weight?
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      12-03-2010, 08:51 AM   #21
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MEGA - yes, stock Bridgestone RFTs. It's a works car, so not much chance of playing around with tyres.
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      12-03-2010, 08:57 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3-FAST View Post
No, they weren't - but then family hatchbacks didn't need tyres that could do 140mph for hours on end safely either!

My first car was a late 70's cortina - prob max'd out at just over a ton!

I fitted 185 wide tyres to it and thought they were wide at the time.
I totally agree, tyre technology has moved on and so has 'oversized' wheel widths, which in wet and winter conditions doesn't help the cause one little bit. My Cortina Mk2 GT was running 'wide' wheels like the Lotus Cortina, 165 section on 5.5J rims. Some ran 175 sections on the 5.5J but was viewed as 'over-tyred'. How times have changed.

Even my E12 528 only had 6J rims, compared to the standard 5.5J on the 525 models.

Thinking about it, we did have tyres which were more an all season 'sport' tyre, remember the Dunlop SP Sport? Which looked very much like a current winter tyre, for tread patterns. I used them on the Cortina and Dolomite.

We used to have tyres called "town and country". Typically fitted to the rear of cars like the Morris 1000 Countryman. So was common for a standard tyre on the front and the T & C's on the rear driving wheels. But were used all year round.

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