StabiliTrak on Suburban / Yukon 4x4

We are in the process of purchasing a Suburban. We are using this mostly around metro DC and travel but no real off road. Having come from Miami we are not that used to snow/ice and think the 4WD will add
some extra safty and help to get up the hills when it is icy.
What we are aiming for is a 4x4 Suburban with STABILITRAK. Our understanding is that this provides full-time all Wheel Driver (AWD) in addition to the stability control. This configuration does not have "High 4" becuase the stabilitrack "takes care of it". Some other people suggested it was better to have "real" 4x4.
The sales litrature is VERY thin on exactly what this does or how it relates to the 4WD. Does anyone know if it is correct that this is essentialy the same as AWD? Is this car driving all the wheels all the time? Is this the best configuration?
Thanks in advance!
-JAX
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On 5 Sep 2004 20:08:30 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@presidency.com (John) wrote:

vehicle is headed for a potential spin or spill.
The systems will apply the brakes automatically to individual wheels while reducing engine power to forestall disaster
http://www.gminsidenews.com/forum/index.php?showtopicr76
Most important, regardless of # of tires being driven, is the condition of the tires. Good tires on a 2 wheel drive will work better than 4 hard or bald tires on a 4 wheel drive.
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Thanks for the thoughts - so as far as 4 driven wheels - that would be no? I amy buying a new car - bald tires are not an issue. I understand waht Stabilitrack does and why it is good, but not how it effects 4wd/awd. If Stabilitrak diables 4wd i'm not sure it is a plus over "automatic" 4wd. Also, why pay for 4wd if it is going to be off? The sales stuff does not make the interaction begtween these options clear. -JAX
(John) wrote:

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John wrote:

As far as I know, you cannot have Stabilitrak with a regular 4x4 system. Stabilitrak needs to be able to independently regulate wheel speed at each corner, and mechanical devices that regulate torque would simply interfere with it's operation. If you get a vehicle with AWD, nothing can "disable" it. It's in permanent 4x4 mode, but with no mechanical means to control torque output at the wheels. This is where Stabilitrak comes in, it uses the ABS system to control wheel spin. You can actually get the AWD system on full size vans, but what they do in this case (because Stabilitrak is not available on the full size vans) is simply insert a silicone based viscous coupling in the same t/case that is used with the Stabilitrak system. And you can also get the regular old locking diff in the rear.
I realize snow is not on the ground yet, but in my view, the very best thing would be to be able to road test both systems and attempt manuevers that will test both systems. My only complaint about the Stabilitrak/AWD systems is that it seems to be slower to control wheel spin and you can actually get the truck sideways before the system "catches" it.
By the way, I still think that for a combination of low maintenance and good useability, the manual style of 4x4 is the best. I know that you can get this on regular trucks, I'm not sure you can order that option on the Suburban. You might not like the idea of having to pull a lever on the floor, but believe me, very low maintenance. You get the versions with all the fancy buttons and electronics....big money when the components go south.
Ian
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The 'burb is very stabil and capable. If you get the pushbutton 4wd there is an "auto" setting. IT works well. However, the weight and handling even in snow will mean you'll almost never need the 4wd. Add stabilitrack and imo while nice it's overkill. Drive the 'burb for what it is and you won't miss it. Drive it like some people I see and you might NEED it. Larry

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StabiliTrak does not contain or add 4WD or AWD (all-wheel drive - I think full-time AWD is an option only on the Escalade and Denali). StabiliTrak just brakes individual wheels and/or adjusts engine torque to help keep you going in the direction you want to go - it does not add power to the front wheels if in a 2WD vehicle.
Now can you add the StabiliTrak option to a 4WD model? Not sure ... I think in the past you could get StabiliTrak on AWD models (ie, Escalade, Denali) but not 4WD.
John wrote:

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John wrote:

Are you sure that you can get AWD with Stabilitrak on a plain Suburban? I've only seen the systems on higher end trucks like the Denali, Cadillac Escalade, and the Avalanches. Perhaps you can get it now on the Suburbans.
Anyway, the AWD versions with Stabilitrak has a transfer case and front diff that is always engaged. There are no mechanical components to limit torque (like posi-trac, or viscous couplings) the system relies on the ABS system to stop wheels from spinning as it occurs. The Stabilitrak system also uses the ABS system to apply the brakes at each corner as necessary to keep you from going into a spin. I've only had a chance to road test the feature on a Cadillac car (STS), but it really is quite amazing. Especially in low traction conditions....I threw the steering wheel all over the place and you couldn't get the car to go into a spin.
The other system, the Auto4Wheel drive, probably responds quicker and better when you need 4 wheel drive. It uses a clutch pack in the transfer case that applies torque to the front wheels as needed in low traction condition. You also have the option of just sticking it into 4 wheel drive on a permanant basis, which should only be used in really low traction conditions. The only con to this system is that it will require more maintenance and repairs then the AWD system. We see lots of mechanical failures with this system. You can avoid this by, changing the diff and t/case fluids on a regular basis (every 30K miles) and leaving the vehicle in 2Hi at all times and only using the Auto4Hi feature when you absolutely need it.
Ian
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A good summation, as usual. John, it appears that Autotrak and Stablitrak have been confused. The Autotrak would be very worthwhile purchase, but run it as noted, in 2HI except when roads are slippery, then use the Auto mode. Ask the dealer or one of the web sites about the availability of Stabi with Autotrak. Depends on the trim level (options) of the vehicle. It is available on some configurations of the 4WD. Remember that 4WD will not help you stop any better, lots of people learn that the hard way.
shiden_kai wrote:

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As far as what is available, here is an abreviated listing from the Chevy web site of a similar vehicle;
2004 Suburban 1/2-Ton 4x4 <<<<<< 4x4 <<<<<<<< VORTEC 5300 V8 FLEX FUEL ENGINE 4-SPD AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION SPORT RED METALLIC GRAY/DARK CHARCOAL VIN: 1GNFK16Z74J321640
17" 5-SPOKE ALUMINUM WHEELS SUN SOUND ENTERTAINMENT PKG DVD REAR ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM POWER GLASS SUNROOF
PREFERRED EQUIPMENT SAVINGS $ -2,000.00 SUBURBAN LT PREFERRED EQUIP. <deleted>
SAFE AND SECURE PACKAGE SIDE IMPACT AIR BAGS STABILTRAC VEHICLE STABILITY <<<<<<<<< ENHANCEMENT
So this is a 4x4 with Stabilitrak and is not a denali. On the console there is a "4 low" button, a "wavy wheels" button and a stabilitrak button. There is no "4 hi" button (One of the sales guys thought this was bad-he didn't like AWD). No where does it say that this is AWD (But the sales guy does). This is not autotrac. If this is AWD+Stabilitrak it is a good deal - perhaps overkill but my family is in the car.
You would think that if it was AWD they would make a big deal about it - unless they don't want to kill Denali sales. Because of the options packages adding and subtracting things ($2k discount for the safe and secure package), this costs $800 extra - like I said, good deal if thats what it is, bad deal if I have useless 4x4.
-JAX

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On page: http://www.chevrolet.com/suburban/standard_optional.jsp ... Note 4 says: "Open differential transfer case replaces Autotrac when available StabiliTrak is selected." ... so that does seem to suggest something more than just 2WD (but probably not 4WD or AWD)
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Markeau wrote:

Welll I really meant that it probably is *not* AWD but rather a lesser variation of the 4wd AutoTrac ... I wonder what the open transfer case diff means re: power to the front wheels ...
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Markeau wrote:

What it means is that if there were no Stabilitrak on a vehicle with an open transfer case diff.....you would only have power flowing to all the wheels as long as each wheel was on a high traction surface. As soon as wheel began to spin, it would simply spin, as there is no mechanical mechanism like a clutch pack, viscous coupling, or antilock diff, to limit wheel spin. This would be a useless system. But if you add Stabilitrak that uses the ABS system to apply the brakes individually to each wheel when necessary, then you don't need mechanical devices to perform the torque limiting part of this whole equation.
Let's say that you start to spin the left front wheel, Stabilitrak applies the brake at the left front wheel.....because of the open diff at the front, power will flow to the right front wheel... then it begins to spin.....Stabilitrak applies the right front brake system.....now power has to flow thru the t/case (open diff in it) back to the rear wheels. Of course, all this happens quite quickly...but not as quickly as the mechanical systems.
This is mainly intended for yuppies, pimps, rap artists...etc who want to drive a big fancy truck and don't want to pull levers or push buttons....just want to drive....and have the vehicle make sure they don't end up in the ditch.
Ian
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StabiliTrak is not 4WD, it is AWD, meaning that all four wheels are engaged at all times. It is impossible to put it in 2WD Hi, and you get about 3MPG less than a 4WD in 2WD Hi. Tire wear is also increased on the front tires.
The window sticker on my Suburban states that it is 4WD, and nowhere suggests that it is actually AWD. The Chevrolet dealer in Columbia IL who sold me the vehicle also did not know that it was AWD until I brought it to their attention. Although this is the thirteenth Suburban I have owned, neither the dealer nor Chevrolet will do anything to address this.
Anyone buying a GM vehicle with Stabilitrak should make sure that he understands what he is getting.
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John wrote:

Yep, that's the AWD version. I forgot that you can select 4 low, all that happens is that the front and rear axles are locked together thru the transfer case. I discovered this one time on an Escalade...had to remove the front diff and front driveshaft. Normally, on an Autotrac version, you can just drive it out on the rear driveshaft....on this one, you have to shift into 4 low to be able to move without the front diff in there.

I must not be explaining things very well. It's AWD.....it will work.... just differently then your normal 4x4 system. You will not get stuck with it.....you will be able to run around in the snow just all the trucks with regular style 4x4.
Ian
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Well, I'm still trying to figure out if we are yuppies, pimps, rap artists... or.. etc. I think I'm an etc. :)
From the descriptions here (A lot more than anything on the Chevy site) I think that 4WD+Stabilitrack is a valid technology to improve safety (have the vehicle make sure my kids don't end up in the ditch and "you will be able to run around in the snow") - I will be picking up the vehicle tomorrow.
After I get it and find something slippery to skid about on I will let you know how it really works.
Thanks for your input.
-JAX

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John wrote:

Sorry, that probably wasn't the best way to describe who is looking for these types of systems. There isn't anything wrong with people wanting what I would refer to as a "set it and forget it" type of system. Many more people these days seem to want their driving experience to be something where the vehicle just does what they want without the need for all sorts of personal intervention.
Ian
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