Traction Control - advice pls

I've got a 2006 Alhambra which I've recently started to use for caravan towing, using basic green field type sites.
My main concern is getting stuck, or not having sufficient traction on wet
grass due to the reduction in weight over the front wheels caused by the weight of the caravan. Even on dry grassy sites I've noticed an initial slip when pulling away.
All this rain is going to make things far worse of course, and my question is about the Alhambra traction control (which apparently is part of the ESP package)
How much would (or would not) the traction control assist in really slippery conditions? I've been tempted to PX the Alhambra for a 4x4 but would prefer to keep it if the traction control would be all I needed.
I realise that it's no substitute for dedicated 4WD, but do you think it would be good enough for the relatively few weekends that we find ourselves negotiating camping fields?
Thanks
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On evidence of how it worked on my Passat in the snow, it'll be useless - I had to turn the traction control off to get the car on my drive.
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SteveH 'You're not a real petrolhead unless you've owned an Alfa Romeo'
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wrote:

Thanks - does that mean that the traction control is more a system for optimising road & tyre adhesion at normal driving speeds - rather than preventing initial slipping as you pull away?
If so, it sounds as if I'll be in trouble on a wet or muddy field, shame.
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It controls wheelspin on damp and wet roads. Works fairly well on slightly icy roads.
It gets really caught out by very slippery surfaces - if there is next to no traction, the traction control just keeps cutting engine power, meaning you can't spin the wheels to get any kind of grip.

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wrote:

OK, thanks for the advice. I hadn't really given much thought to what a traction control systems is supposed to do, just assumed that it would be of some help in the situation I outlined. Obviously not, but thanks again for your input.
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Don't load the caravan so that it's pushing the arse end of the car into the floor?
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It's got about 60 kilos noseweight - necessary for ensuring that a biggish caravan ( 25 feet including the hitch) is stable at speed.
Actually, the noseweight doesn't make the Alhambra sink more than an inch or so, it's got very firm rear suspension. We don't use the two rearmost seats either, so deduct the weight of two people and you'll appreciate that the load on the rear is considerably less the car's design specification (which is also supposed to accommodate at least a 75 kilo hitch load as well as a full complement of 7 occupants)
Nevertheless, the effect is to weaken traction on the front end - no problems (so far) on loose gravel etc, my concern is on soggy grass where it may well prove impossible to pull away.
I'm considering a 4 x4 (Mitsubishi have got some tempting offers on the Shogun Equipe) but I'll be sad to give up an easy 45 mpg in daily use, plus I bet the servicing and tyre costs of the Shogun will be a bit harsh - not to mention some of the horror stories about Shogun reliability I've come across in searches.
Other option is to stop being so mean and pay for sites with hard standings -;) However, that tends to mean large commercial sites with noisy bars and even noisier kids roaminng about.
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Alhambra wrote:

Another option might be to invest in some knobbly tyres and a couple of spare wheels for the fromt that you could fit when you go caravaning.
Never tried it myself but I reckon some "proper" tyres could make a big difference to your traction on grass.
Tim
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The other way I have seen it done, though may not be possible on the Alhambra, is to mount an additional towing hook on the front, then hitch the 'van up to that and go out in reverse. You get all the traction you might need that way.
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What about getting a couple of bodies to stand in the back of the caravan to lift the A frame thus pushing the front wheels down? Might work as a temporary measure to get you onto hard standing. Robert
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It isn't about the rear suspension sag, it's about weight distribution.
You've got the noseweight so it is stable at speed. When you're on this slippery grass, you're not going at any great speed at all. So redistribute the weight for pulling away - eg put the rear car passengers in the back of the caravan - then when you reach tarmac get yourself in a roadgoing configuration.
cheers, clive
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AT tyres on the 4 x 4 are useful if you are doing a lot of caravanning with it
I carry a heavy towing strop and shackles so if the ground is poor I can put the car on the road and drag the caravan off the wet ground using the strop (Also useful for towing out bogged down cars)
Tony
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The other thing to note is you don't need 4wd or special tyres to tow out bogged down cars/caravans, so long as the towing vehicle has some spare grip (ie is on a non-boggy bit).
cheers, clive
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