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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've had my Focus RS for about 3 weeks now. I had done a bunch of research and watched a ton of reviews prior to buy it. Every review mentioned how stiff the stock suspension was and mentioned the infamous pogo effect. I have a pretty long history of modifying and tracking cars so here's me thinking "firm" to the average person would have been just right for some one like me. Then I bought my RS, and for the past 3 weeks I was getting nauseous from how over dampened the stock shocks were to the point where I swore either the spring spacers weren't removed or my dampers were broken and stuck in track mode. Even after installing the Mountune Sport Springs, the pogo effect at higher speeds seemed to be slightly tamed but just driving around town hurt.

Then last week I found out about the DSC Sport controller. Wanting to keep my car as lightly modified as possible and just drive it, I pushed past the $1299 price tag and ordered it. Tom was kind enough to upgrade my shipping to 2 day, and it still arrived earlier than expected. It took about 5 minutes to install, 4 of which were spent realizing I needed a torx bit to remove the two bolts that held the plastic trim cover over the carpet, and a minute to trim the velcro onto the back of the unit. Another minute to bolt every thing back up and I immediately hopped in my car and went for a quick test ride.

I live in Alhambra, CA, and the streets are terrible; crack and bumps and uneven pavement are everywhere. With the stock suspension the dampers felt so stiff and fast that every little crack or bump felt directly transferred into the chassis. With the new controller, the suspension now feels like it's absorbing everything while trying to keep the car flat. It's kind of a weird sensation but I feel like this is how the car should have come from factory! It's a night and day difference and I could see how this could make the car even faster in the canyons. I've yet to try the track mode on a track, and won't have the opportunity to until December, but this is exactly what I was looking for; comfortable on the street but flat in the corners, this might be the best canyon suspension i've experienced.

I read some reviews with people saying that the price tag doesn't justify what the controller does, but I beg to differ. The suspension simply feels like it works now. I've spent about 20 minutes on the 10 freeway, driven around SGV's rough roads, and taken a few twisty back roads, and it's insane how much more confident I am in the suspension now. I'm not scared of a random bump or crack in the road unsettling the suspension enough for me to need to make quick steering and throttle adjustments. I feel like i can confidently throw my car into a turn and let the drivetrain do it's job now. I'm really excited to just get more seat time now with the car and enjoy it. 100% going to eventually be ordering a set of the Tractive dampers.

Next step is going to the other thread and seeing how everyone is setting up their tunes. Man can't believe how good the RS is!!
 

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Thank you for posting this! I have heard and read whispers of this controller around the forum but wasn't too sure about it. Seems like a great option for a comfort/performance mod later on down the road for me. I am curious though as to whether it's a similar result to just swap in updated struts and if so I would wonder which option is more cost-effective (mine is a 2016).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for posting this! I have heard and read whispers of this controller around the forum but wasn't too sure about it. Seems like a great option for a comfort/performance mod later on down the road for me. I am curious though as to whether it's a similar result to just swap in updated struts and if so I would wonder which option is more cost-effective (mine is a 2016).
The updated shocks was next on my to do list to improve the ride/driveability, but the DSC controller did such an amazing job transforming the feel of the suspension that i'm perfectly happy with them now. Now next on my list is deciding between the KW DDC coilovers or the Tractive dampers. I'd say $800 for all 4 updated dampers + $180-240 for install depending on your mechanic or diy to save the money vs $1300 and a 5 min plug and play anybody can do, personally i'm extremely satisfied with the immediate impact on driving feel.

Mine is also a 2016. I was lucky enough to find it with super low miles and 1 owner. I just broke 15k miles yesterday.
 

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Glad the controller is working out for you!

Now next on my list is deciding between the KW DDC coilovers or the Tractive dampers.
I'd say tractive since the SC controller was designed to work with it from the get-go, although this may have some draw backs. One I know of for sure is not being able to use the more common GC/Vorshlag camber plates. I believe Tractive has been working on one but not sure where they're at.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Glad the controller is working out for you!



I'd say tractive since the SC controller was designed to work with it from the get-go, although this may have some draw backs. One I know of for sure is not being able to use the more common GC/Vorshlag camber plates. I believe Tractive has been working on one but not sure where they're at.

Will have to see what I can afford when i'm ready to move up lol. KW DDC is half the price and I only track 4-6x a year but i'm in the canyons every weekend. Not sure if I can financially justify a near $7k cost for suspension when my whole reason for buying the RS was to keep it a stock'ish reliable daily/canyon car lol. I still want a 992 911 in a year or two.
 

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This sounds a little bit like a sponsored review :) Besides that I've yet to understand how this works: the dampers have a 2-wire input and the current fed to them determine the amount of damping above a baseline that is set at the factory through physical valves and the base viscosity of the damping fluid. The current range is 0 to 800mA.

It happens that the OEM "Normal" mode is 0mA so it is already the softest "position" the dampers are physically capable of, and it's easy to check that by unplugging them. Then the OEM "Track" mode is 800mA which is (presumably) the hardest the dampers can be.

I can understand how some aftermarket controller can vary between 0 and 800mA instead of switching between those two extremes, like the OEM "Normal" vs. "Track" modes does, but the adjustment range is in between the OEM "Normal" and the OEM "Track" modes, not outside of it.

The dampers cannot possibly be softer than when 0mA (no current) is applied, and we know that low-speed (low damper shaft speeds, say below some 100mm/s) is too stiff in "Normal" mode already, and this is what causes the harsh ride.

The damper can only go stiffer from there, so I don't understand how making them stiffer reduces the bouncy feel?
 

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This sounds a little bit like a sponsored review :) Besides that I've yet to understand how this works: the dampers have a 2-wire input and the current fed to them determine the amount of damping above a baseline that is set at the factory through physical valves and the base viscosity of the damping fluid. The current range is 0 to 800mA.

It happens that the OEM "Normal" mode is 0mA so it is already the softest "position" the dampers are physically capable of, and it's easy to check that by unplugging them. Then the OEM "Track" mode is 800mA which is (presumably) the hardest the dampers can be.

I can understand how some aftermarket controller can vary between 0 and 800mA instead of switching between those two extremes, like the OEM "Normal" vs. "Track" modes does, but the adjustment range is in between the OEM "Normal" and the OEM "Track" modes, not outside of it.

The dampers cannot possibly be softer than when 0mA (no current) is applied, and we know that low-speed (low damper shaft speeds, say below some 100mm/s) is too stiff in "Normal" mode already, and this is what causes the harsh ride.

The damper can only go stiffer from there, so I don't understand how making them stiffer reduces the bouncy feel?
Hmmmmm this is a phenomenal point. I wouldn't go so far as to accuse the OP of a sponsored review, but maybe it has more to do with the spring swap than the controller swap. Either way, knowing what you have found has definitely made me a little more hesitant to purchase one of these.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This sounds a little bit like a sponsored review :) Besides that I've yet to understand how this works: the dampers have a 2-wire input and the current fed to them determine the amount of damping above a baseline that is set at the factory through physical valves and the base viscosity of the damping fluid. The current range is 0 to 800mA.

It happens that the OEM "Normal" mode is 0mA so it is already the softest "position" the dampers are physically capable of, and it's easy to check that by unplugging them. Then the OEM "Track" mode is 800mA which is (presumably) the hardest the dampers can be.

I can understand how some aftermarket controller can vary between 0 and 800mA instead of switching between those two extremes, like the OEM "Normal" vs. "Track" modes does, but the adjustment range is in between the OEM "Normal" and the OEM "Track" modes, not outside of it.

The dampers cannot possibly be softer than when 0mA (no current) is applied, and we know that low-speed (low damper shaft speeds, say below some 100mm/s) is too stiff in "Normal" mode already, and this is what causes the harsh ride.

The damper can only go stiffer from there, so I don't understand how making them stiffer reduces the bouncy feel?
First off I wish I was sponsored. I paid full price for the controller. I even emailed to ask for a discount code prior to ordering and none was available. I'm not trying to sell anyone on the controller, I was just excited to share how it changed my experience with my RS.

Second, It's not that the dampers feel softer, they just feel more responsive and more reactive to road imperfections. The dampers go from static to dynamic so, from what I understand, the controller is actually making adjustment to dampening on the fly. Hopefully someone with more knowledge can chime in but there's tons of videos out there that explain what the controller actually does.

Like this one from DSC:

Also here's my order receipt! Buy it if you want but damn lol info was just a google search away.
Product Rectangle Font Screenshot Material property
 

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Second, It's not that the dampers feel softer, they just feel more responsive and more reactive to road imperfections. The dampers go from static to dynamic so, from what I understand, the controller is actually making adjustment to dampening on the fly. Hopefully someone with more knowledge can chime in but there's tons of videos out there that explain what the controller actually does.
That makes more sense, thanks for clarifying that.
 

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Either way, knowing what you have found has definitely made me a little more hesitant to purchase one of these.
A lot of information about the stock dampers and reviews of the V1 controller can be found on this site. Along with the OP's, I would recommend reading some of the other reviews as well to get a better feel, if you're on the fence.

I'd say tractive since the SC controller was designed to work with it from the get-go, although this may have some draw backs. One I know of for sure is not being able to use the more common GC/Vorshlag camber plates. I believe Tractive has been working on one but not sure where they're at.
DSC is offering the camber/caster plate adaptation now, although it was in limited supply when I received mine.
 

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First off I wish I was sponsored. I paid full price for the controller. I even emailed to ask for a discount code prior to ordering and none was available. I'm not trying to sell anyone on the controller, I was just excited to share how it changed my experience with my RS.

Second, It's not that the dampers feel softer, they just feel more responsive and more reactive to road imperfections. The dampers go from static to dynamic so, from what I understand, the controller is actually making adjustment to dampening on the fly. Hopefully someone with more knowledge can chime in but there's tons of videos out there that explain what the controller actually does.

Like this one from DSC:

Also here's my order receipt! Buy it if you want but damn lol info was just a google search away.
View attachment 355050
glad you're enjoying the dsc. I am too.
might i suggest going with a rear sway bar next. cheap and easy upgrade and them canyon sharpies will be blissful.
 

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I can understand how some aftermarket controller can vary between 0 and 800mA instead of switching between those two extremes, like the OEM "Normal" vs. "Track" modes does, but the adjustment range is in between the OEM "Normal" and the OEM "Track" modes, not outside of it.

The dampers cannot possibly be softer than when 0mA (no current) is applied, and we know that low-speed (low damper shaft speeds, say below some 100mm/s) is too stiff in "Normal" mode already, and this is what causes the harsh ride.

The damper can only go stiffer from there, so I don't understand how making them stiffer reduces the bouncy feel?
I'm been wondering about this ever since the controller was released, but obviously it's doing something to warrant all these happy customers ;)

My take is that it's not really making it "softer" to fix the bouncy/pogo feel per se, it's just able to control the body better as it goes over a bump by quickly switching it in between these two modes based on whatever the sensors it has on board pick up.

The way I picture it: car hits a bump, on board accelerometers senses the initial impact, controller puts car in normal to soak up initial compression, accelerometers sense the deceleration as the wheel crests the bump then puts it immediately on "sport" to slow down the last bit of compression, then quickly back to normal to smooth out rebound, then back to sport as the car settles, then back to normal as it flattens out etc...Again, complete guess on my part.
 

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I'm been wondering about this ever since the controller was released, but obviously it's doing something to warrant all these happy customers ;)

My take is that it's not really making it "softer" to fix the bouncy/pogo feel per se, it's just able to control the body better as it goes over a bump by quickly switching it in between these two modes based on whatever the sensors it has on board pick up.

The way I picture it: car hits a bump, on board accelerometers senses the initial impact, controller puts car in normal to soak up initial compression, accelerometers sense the deceleration as the wheel crests the bump then puts it immediately on "sport" to slow down the last bit of compression, then quickly back to normal to smooth out rebound, then back to sport as the car settles, then back to normal as it flattens out etc...Again, complete guess on my part.
Unfortunately not. What you're describing is Velocity tuning using ride height sensors to make adjustments based on the velocity of the piston rod movement. The RS does not have ride height sensors, and thus our controller is a V1 controller that does not use the Velocity tuning function.

The bulk of the V1's control comes from feedback from throttle, brake, and lateral/longitudinal forces. When you're cruising, regardless of bumps encountered, the controller is operating in a pre-defined range ("comfort parameters").

In addition, there are limitations to the speed of the valve in the stock damper, to which it would make the situation above very difficult. The DDA valve on the Tractive, though...
 

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Unfortunately not. What you're describing is Velocity tuning using ride height sensors to make adjustments based on the velocity of the piston rod movement. The RS does not have ride height sensors, and thus our controller is a V1 controller that does not use the Velocity tuning function.

The bulk of the V1's control comes from feedback from throttle, brake, and lateral/longitudinal forces. When you're cruising, regardless of bumps encountered, the controller is operating in a pre-defined range ("comfort parameters").

In addition, there are limitations to the speed of the valve in the stock damper, to which it would make the situation above very difficult. The DDA valve on the Tractive, though...
I forgot to preface my post that most of my understanding of active dampers is based on GM's magnetic ride control system. I knew the RS did not have any ride height sensors like the caddys & corvettes and just assumed the DSC was doing something similar with fancy onboard accelerometers. Still pretty interesting what it can do with what data it gathers.

You mention "V1", are there "V2" controllers available that do so with an addition of ride height sensors? or is that more for cars that already have them in place?
 

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I forgot to preface my post that most of my understanding of active dampers is based on GM's magnetic ride control system. I knew the RS did not have any ride height sensors like the caddys & corvettes and just assumed the DSC was doing something similar with fancy onboard accelerometers. Still pretty interesting what it can do with what data it gathers.

You mention "V1", are there "V2" controllers available that do so with an addition of ride height sensors? or is that more for cars that already have them in place?
From my understanding, it's more for cars that already have hardware equipped. For instance, if you see V1/2/3 controllers for Vettes, it's because as the Vettes got updated with tech and features, the controllers were versioned up to allow integration of the features.
 

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I'm glad that you are enjoying the DSC box. I ran the controller for a week before going full Tractive to have a back to back comparison. The DSC controller on the stock suspension is a welcome change compared to the stock box. Assuming that it uses PWM to change the amount of current going to the dampers. There are lengthy discussions as to what the box is doing elsewhere on the forum.

There's only so much that can be done with the stock dampers, both in the speed of the valve and range of damping. The valves are so slow that you can feel them adjust while driving if you pay attention. People have had good luck with DSC + newest revision dampers + Mountune springs. The full setup is 100% worth it if you daily the car and you can afford the price tag.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Most likely i'll be going with the KW DDC next as i've heard some pretty good things about the setup, esp now that DSC has a profile for the KW DDC's. Super happy with the setup right now though. It's definitely a night and day difference and enough for daily and canyons for now.
 

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Absolutely a night and day difference, especially overcoming confirmation bias with the wife test (swapping out without saying anything and having her mention it).

That said, going from 19 > 18 wheels was a huge difference as well. Stepping down further to 17 wheels was even better. Still on rev0 suspension but looking to change that out soon to rev1 rears at least.
 
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I originally had a 2016 build RS with V1 dampers and the DSC controller made an absolutely massive difference on how the car drove and felt, I then swapped out to a 2018 build car with the later dampers on and the car was more of the same just better.

KWDDC “v” OEM V2
Dampers perform almost identical to each other, for the price difference I’d opt for the OEM V2 shocks with H&R springs and DSC, I found that setup absolutely fantastic.
I then moved up to the Tractive setup and thats a whole new game changer.
 

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But with the DDC setup you do get ride height adjust, Fr camber option, higher quality matched springs, the ability to swap to fronts to Swift/Hyperco vs OE/H&R. And it's half the cost of Full Tractive.
 
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