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I definitely wouldn't drive anything decent that I intended to keep in the winter in NY state. I have family that live in NY (near Buffalo/Erie) and everything they drive in winter rusts/corrodes into junk within 2-3 years. It's so bad they come down to Virginia, buy nice late-model used vehicles here, drive them into rusty dust in NY and throw them away. It saves money on the depreciation of new vehicles and they drive nice(r) vehicle that way. If they buy a "keeper", they just don't drive if for about 6 months of the year, because the road maintenance sucks.
Ehh, that ship's sailed. The RS is my everything-car. How I got to it even originally was that I was looking for a WRX in early 2015 as a new car, and noticed a mention of the RS somewhere. RS shines on snow too! It's just such a beauty to drive!

It's been a long time since I've monitored this thread, but looks like activity has severely died down since its peak. So I'm digging through now to see if I missed anything. It appears the DSC shop in MD is really the only place to get Tractive-specific work done. There's also some arguing back-and-forth about full-stiff, limits on the suspension, bad spring rates(?), rear skipping, and I can't seem to figure out if these things are still present. A fussy DD would be rather annoying.
 
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Ehh, that ship's sailed. The RS is my everything-car. How I got to it even originally was that I was looking for a WRX in early 2015 as a new car, and noticed a mention of the RS somewhere. RS shines on snow too! It's just such a beauty to drive!

It's been a long time since I've monitored this thread, but looks like activity has severely died down since its peak. So I'm digging through now to see if I missed anything. It appears the DSC shop in MD is really the only place to get Tractive-specific work done. There's also some arguing back-and-forth about full-stiff, limits on the suspension, bad spring rates(?), rear skipping, and I can't seem to figure out if these things are still present. A fussy DD would be rather annoying.
It's a night and day difference. As a point of reference, consider the Tractive dampers ranging from 1 full soft to 10 full stiff, the OEM dampers range would from something like 7.2 to 8. That range for OEM is probably generous as well.

There are other places that can service Tractive dampers. Check the third map: Contact - Tractive Suspension

Not sure if I would run the Tractive dampers on a car that sees salt. The electrical connections can be finicky even when dry, and corroding out a damper would make for a really bad (and expensive) day. I'd go with the DSC controller, newest OEM dampers, and Mountune springs for sure on a stock-ish car.
 

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It's a night and day difference. As a point of reference, consider the Tractive dampers ranging from 1 full soft to 10 full stiff, the OEM dampers range would from something like 7.2 to 8. That range for OEM is probably generous as well.

There are other places that can service Tractive dampers. Check the third map: Contact - Tractive Suspension

Not sure if I would run the Tractive dampers on a car that sees salt. The electrical connections can be finicky even when dry, and corroding out a damper would make for a really bad (and expensive) day. I'd go with the DSC controller, newest OEM dampers, and Mountune springs for sure on a stock-ish car.
Ah, not being able to run it in the winter would be a bummer. I don't have an option of a second car, plus this car is just too fun in the snow. Aren't Mountune springs lowering, or do they have stock replacement now? Looking to avoid lowering because it just gets painful during certain seasons, between bulged and irregularities in roads, and unusually steep driveway entrances due to constant pavement and repavement.

That map is where I got the idea that DSC might be my only option. I'm in mid-upstate NY, so MD is in fact the closest place on the map. Fwiw I have friends in that region, so I can use an excuse of visiting them post-rona to actually do anything should I go this route. For catastrophic failure of any kind I'd probably just need to keep a spare set of shocks around in case I need to swap em out during however long it takes to ship things. Overall it's not a perfect solution. All that said, your point about maybe not subjecting this stuff to salt is fair and valid, which would invalidate this as a solution for me.
 

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It's been a long time since I've monitored this thread, but looks like activity has severely died down since its peak. So I'm digging through now to see if I missed anything. It appears the DSC shop in MD is really the only place to get Tractive-specific work done. There's also some arguing back-and-forth about full-stiff, limits on the suspension, bad spring rates(?), rear skipping, and I can't seem to figure out if these things are still present. A fussy DD would be rather annoying.
I think peak interest and activity was prior to pricing reveal and it's only slowed down more since the production end of the RS. Potential to go full stiff will always be there - it happens if the system detects an error like an open circuit or faulted controller.

As with many things, what you plan to do and are willing to do will determine how limited this setup is for you. For me, rear end skip was caused by too firm of a damping setting for what I was doing. A few keystrokes, upload, and fixed.
 

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Ah, not being able to run it in the winter would be a bummer. I don't have an option of a second car, plus this car is just too fun in the snow.
I can add a little on this topic. I've used the DSC/Tractive set up through its first full winter here in MN now. Road salt is used liberally here. I haven't had any issues or noticed much in the way of corrosion. The stanchions being the most critical part and there are no signs of corrosion for me. The damper bodies are anodized aluminum and I only notice some staining from daily use but I can't call it corrosion. After this winter I added coilover covers to the front dampers, similar to @misterchonger The rears are protected by the stock damper cover.

As for the electrical connections mentioned, they are located in places that wouldn't see much for salt or moisture. My rear connectors are in the rear hatch area and the front connectors are under the cowel by the cabin air intake.

I'm nearing 10,000 miles on my Tractive/DSC setup and have no issues to report other than a top hat nut that came lose but that was due to confusion on torque specs. I am very happy with the setup and have had fun tuning it to meet my needs. Makes the car as soft as you want when touring and as firm as you want when you get on it.
 

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I can add a little on this topic. I've used the DSC/Tractive set up through its first full winter here in MN now. Road salt is used liberally here. I haven't had any issues or noticed much in the way of corrosion. The stanchions being the most critical part and there are no signs of corrosion for me. The damper bodies are anodized aluminum and I only notice some staining from daily use but I can't call it corrosion. After this winter I added coilover covers to the front dampers, similar to @misterchonger The rears are protected by the stock damper cover.

As for the electrical connections mentioned, they are located in places that wouldn't see much for salt or moisture. My rear connectors are in the rear hatch area and the front connectors are under the cowel by the cabin air intake.

I'm nearing 10,000 miles on my Tractive/DSC setup and have no issues to report other than a top hat nut that came lose but that was due to confusion on torque specs. I am very happy with the setup and have had fun tuning it to meet my needs. Makes the car as soft as you want when touring and as firm as you want when you get on it.
Well here's first hand report ^^^^. Looks like they may hold up as well as stock components, so that's a good thing.
 

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I definitely wouldn't drive anything decent that I intended to keep in the winter in NY state. I have family that live in NY (near Buffalo/Erie) and everything they drive in winter rusts/corrodes into junk within 2-3 years. It's so bad they come down to Virginia, buy nice late-model used vehicles here, drive them into rusty dust in NY and throw them away. It saves money on the depreciation of new vehicles and they drive nice(r) vehicle that way. If they buy a "keeper", they just don't drive if for about 6 months of the year, because the road maintenance sucks.
So true. Just south of your kin. We store the RS & my wife’s 4x 4. Sounds crazy, untill you witness the alternative.
 

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I can add a little on this topic. I've used the DSC/Tractive set up through its first full winter here in MN now. Road salt is used liberally here. I haven't had any issues or noticed much in the way of corrosion. The stanchions being the most critical part and there are no signs of corrosion for me. The damper bodies are anodized aluminum and I only notice some staining from daily use but I can't call it corrosion. After this winter I added coilover covers to the front dampers, similar to @misterchonger The rears are protected by the stock damper cover.

As for the electrical connections mentioned, they are located in places that wouldn't see much for salt or moisture. My rear connectors are in the rear hatch area and the front connectors are under the cowel by the cabin air intake.

I'm nearing 10,000 miles on my Tractive/DSC setup and have no issues to report other than a top hat nut that came lose but that was due to confusion on torque specs. I am very happy with the setup and have had fun tuning it to meet my needs. Makes the car as soft as you want when touring and as firm as you want when you get on it.
Thanks for the feedback! That's good to hear! Not familiar with the covers, though I think I saw them in one of the earlier posts. I wasn't sure if that was a stock feature, or some third party product. Any issues with valving or electronics in the cold? What version of the springs did you end up going with?

I was chuckling at this thought: my original question, otherwise rephrased, would be - would the car pass older mother / mother-in-law comfort test with Tractive? It 100% does not right now based on oral feedback. I usually drive in Sport anyway, but a cushy cruising / putzing around with passengers Normal would be super welcome. The DSC controller from the past few drives has done an admirable job on Normal, but the mental gears are turning, and the mod itch is growing. Suspension mods have always been my favorite to do because they can change the character of a car in such a dramatic way, and they're basically adult Legos.
 

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Thanks for the feedback! That's good to hear! Not familiar with the covers, though I think I saw them in one of the earlier posts. I wasn't sure if that was a stock feature, or some third party product. Any issues with valving or electronics in the cold? What version of the springs did you end up going with?

I was chuckling at this thought: my original question, otherwise rephrased, would be - would the car pass older mother / mother-in-law comfort test with Tractive? It 100% does not right now based on oral feedback. I usually drive in Sport anyway, but a cushy cruising / putzing around with passengers Normal would be super welcome. The DSC controller from the past few drives has done an admirable job on Normal, but the mental gears are turning, and the mod itch is growing. Suspension mods have always been my favorite to do because they can change the character of a car in such a dramatic way, and they're basically adult Legos.
The covers are just as they sound and there are a few makers of them. Cheap insurance to keep the stanchions and oil clean as possible.

No issues with any of the electronics or valving in the cold that I can speak of. I did do some ice racing at -15F for 7 hrs and didn't have any problems. Actually, one advantage of the DSC system is that you could compensate for the increased oil viscosity that happens in the severe cold if you wanted to. Think of it as a cold map you can upload for a real cold stretch of daily driving. I haven't tried it yet but it should be possible.

Regarding the springs, I asked DSC about that since I had heard of a few revisions to their heights. They confirmed I'd get the "V3" set which allowed for an adjustment range of a hair taller than stock to maybe 2 cm lower than stock.

And as for the "mother-in-law" test I haven't had her in the car since the DSC/Tractive install. I can say that my wife is very impressed with the new comfort in the RS. There were times on OEM setup when the pogo was bad enough she would start to feel ill.

We recently took a 5,000 mi road trip and the car was now so comfortable, even on 19" wheels. We said several times on the trip it was worth it to take the plunge. I made a special "GT" map just for our trip that compensated a bit for the added weight of all our camping gear. That was pretty neat to be able to do.

The RS is already sort of a Swiss Army knife in being able to do many things. The DSC/Tractive system expands its usefulness even further so we probably drive it more than we maybe would have before the suspension change. I asked DSC a lot of questions because I was skeptical of the price and some of the words of caution I'd read. I think it's worth talking to DSC about the system directly if you are interested. I would also suggest you ask if they are offering any deals on the package should you end up going that way, never hurts to ask.

Also, random fact I recently found by chance - the Pagani Huarya BC uses Tractive dampers, though probably a little different price tag $$$ there.
350702
 

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The covers are just as they sound and there are a few makers of them. Cheap insurance to keep the stanchions and oil clean as possible.

No issues with any of the electronics or valving in the cold that I can speak of. I did do some ice racing at -15F for 7 hrs and didn't have any problems. Actually, one advantage of the DSC system is that you could compensate for the increased oil viscosity that happens in the severe cold if you wanted to. Think of it as a cold map you can upload for a real cold stretch of daily driving. I haven't tried it yet but it should be possible.

Regarding the springs, I asked DSC about that since I had heard of a few revisions to their heights. They confirmed I'd get the "V3" set which allowed for an adjustment range of a hair taller than stock to maybe 2 cm lower than stock.

And as for the "mother-in-law" test I haven't had her in the car since the DSC/Tractive install. I can say that my wife is very impressed with the new comfort in the RS. There were times on OEM setup when the pogo was bad enough she would start to feel ill.

We recently took a 5,000 mi road trip and the car was now so comfortable, even on 19" wheels. We said several times on the trip it was worth it to take the plunge. I made a special "GT" map just for our trip that compensated a bit for the added weight of all our camping gear. That was pretty neat to be able to do.

The RS is already sort of a Swiss Army knife in being able to do many things. The DSC/Tractive system expands its usefulness even further so we probably drive it more than we maybe would have before the suspension change. I asked DSC a lot of questions because I was skeptical of the price and some of the words of caution I'd read. I think it's worth talking to DSC about the system directly if you are interested. I would also suggest you ask if they are offering any deals on the package should you end up going that way, never hurts to ask.

Also, random fact I recently found by chance - the Pagani Huarya BC uses Tractive dampers, though probably a little different price tag $$$ there.
View attachment 350702
That's awesome! I'm glad you mentioned camping: we camp a lot, and the RS is our go-to "swiss-knife" car. Part of the reason why I can't lower it. We can load it with all of our camping gear, and I have a hitch for the bikes that we take with us and cycle some dirt/gravel backroads. I'll reach out to DSC and see what they think about my use-case.
 

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That's awesome! I'm glad you mentioned camping: we camp a lot, and the RS is our go-to "swiss-knife" car. Part of the reason why I can't lower it. We can load it with all of our camping gear, and I have a hitch for the bikes that we take with us and cycle some dirt/gravel backroads. I'll reach out to DSC and see what they think about my use-case.
I think you'll be very happy with the DSC/Tractive setup. It takes nothing away from what Ford provided, but adds so much to it. And if you're concerned with spring rate for the road, it's only slightly stiffer than OEM. I believe Tractive is 280 lb/in Front and 260 lb/in Rear and OEM is 246 lb/in.
 

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Thanks for the feedback! That's good to hear! Not familiar with the covers, though I think I saw them in one of the earlier posts. I wasn't sure if that was a stock feature, or some third party product. Any issues with valving or electronics in the cold? What version of the springs did you end up going with?

I was chuckling at this thought: my original question, otherwise rephrased, would be - would the car pass older mother / mother-in-law comfort test with Tractive? It 100% does not right now based on oral feedback. I usually drive in Sport anyway, but a cushy cruising / putzing around with passengers Normal would be super welcome. The DSC controller from the past few drives has done an admirable job on Normal, but the mental gears are turning, and the mod itch is growing. Suspension mods have always been my favorite to do because they can change the character of a car in such a dramatic way, and they're basically adult Legos.
I can answer the mother law test with a definite YES! Even after going back to stock, I've become tainted by knowing the comfort of Tractive. On stock, depending on the road, it's sometimes even hard to drink a sip of coffee in the morning drive to work. Never had that problem with Tractive.

I'm getting tempted to try again reinstalling the Tractive system, in hindsight, the mechanic I used was probably the root of a few of the problems. Will be sending the suspension back to Tractive to get serviced and will either sell or retry.

When it works, there's nothing like it for the Focus RS imo
 

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I can answer the mother law test with a definite YES! Even after going back to stock, I've become tainted by knowing the comfort of Tractive. On stock, depending on the road, it's sometimes even hard to drink a sip of coffee in the morning drive to work. Never had that problem with Tractive.

I'm getting tempted to try again reinstalling the Tractive system, in hindsight, the mechanic I used was probably the root of a few of the problems. Will be sending the suspension back to Tractive to get serviced and will either sell or retry.

When it works, there's nothing like it for the Focus RS imo
If you were closer, I'd say just bring it over and we'll get it sorted. When I purchased my top plate adaptation, DSC provided some connectors for diagnostic testing.
 

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I can answer the mother law test with a definite YES! Even after going back to stock, I've become tainted by knowing the comfort of Tractive. On stock, depending on the road, it's sometimes even hard to drink a sip of coffee in the morning drive to work. Never had that problem with Tractive.

I'm getting tempted to try again reinstalling the Tractive system, in hindsight, the mechanic I used was probably the root of a few of the problems. Will be sending the suspension back to Tractive to get serviced and will either sell or retry.

When it works, there's nothing like it for the Focus RS imo
Haha!

What problems did you run into? Just curious. Getting the right installer is going to be definitely interesting. Having worked on a suspension before I could give it a shot, but would prefer someone else to do it just due to not really having a garage I can just have my car propped up in for an extended period of time. At the same time I don't think I can trust any ole local shop to actually do everything right and torque things to spec.
 

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Haha!

What problems did you run into? Just curious. Getting the right installer is going to be definitely interesting. Having worked on a suspension before I could give it a shot, but would prefer someone else to do it just due to not really having a garage I can just have my car propped up in for an extended period of time. At the same time I don't think I can trust any ole local shop to actually do everything right and torque things to spec.
TLDR - Full stiffness issues that we were never able to resolve. Went thru 4-5 controllers that only fixed it for a bit then back to full stiffness, lots of theories, and no real concrete way of figuring it out w/o driving to Maryland.
 
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TLDR - Full stiffness issues that we were never able to resolve. Went thru 4-5 controllers that only fixed it for a bit then back to full stiffness, lots of theories, and no real concrete way of figuring it out w/o driving to Maryland.
You need to keep that full stiffness when you need it the most!
 

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How does DSC+Tractive compare for a DD to DSC+stock? Are impacts harder, softer? What's the spring rate like on the Tractive coilovers compared to stock? I am trying to get at least a description of a difference in feel for a comparison. Considering the setup, but not sure what to expect. I intend to run these at stock height because any lower and I'll beach myself somewhere. Would love to try it, but between Rona and there likely not being one of these near me (Upstate NY), that's unlikely to happen.

What's the typical price for the 30k maintenance? I guess what's the time? I imagine the shop would charge by the hour. I am not even entirely sure where this service could be done as NY seems to be a dead-zone for DSC dealers. Shops in CT and NJ have not responded. Official Tractive dealers are just DSC though according to their map, and that's a hike.

One more: Has the Tractive setup been tested in winter? Is it a suitable year-round setup?
You might want to see my review here: DSC Sport: Tractive Active Dampers Available!.

Since that time I have upgraded to the V3 rear springs and played around with various program settings. For the last 5 months I've been running Northish's Heavy Touring program, which I like alot: DSC/Tractive Programming.

I live in Connecticut and drive the RS year round (total mileage on the Tractive setup - about 16K miles). I find it's very good in the snow, but the low ground clearance means that the stock undertray is going to collect snow and sag if there's any depth to it. There are several threads about this here.


I've replaced it with ADF Customs Aluminum undertray, and it works well. The only issue is that the standoffs make the undertray a bit lower, which does not clear the tracks at a typical car wash, even at stock ride height). I have have to wait for warmer days to power wash the winter grime off myself. 2016-2018 Ford Focus RS Aluminum Skid Plate — ADF Customs

In winter I use Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 Run Flat tires, which I find are great in the snow and decent on dry pavement: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tire...er+Sottozero+3+Run+Flat&partnum=24VR8SZ3XLRFT

Hope you find this info useful.
 

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You might want to see my review here: DSC Sport: Tractive Active Dampers Available!.

Since that time I have upgraded to the V3 rear springs and played around with various program settings. For the last 5 months I've been running Northish's Heavy Touring program, which I like alot: DSC/Tractive Programming.

I live in Connecticut and drive the RS year round (total mileage on the Tractive setup - about 16K miles). I find it's very good in the snow, but the low ground clearance means that the stock undertray is going to collect snow and sag if there's any depth to it. There are several threads about this here.


I've replaced it with ADF Customs Aluminum undertray, and it works well. The only issue is that the standoffs make the undertray a bit lower, which does not clear the tracks at a typical car wash, even at stock ride height). I have have to wait for warmer days to power wash the winter grime off myself. 2016-2018 Ford Focus RS Aluminum Skid Plate — ADF Customs

In winter I use Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 Run Flat tires, which I find are great in the snow and decent on dry pavement: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tire...er+Sottozero+3+Run+Flat&partnum=24VR8SZ3XLRFT

Hope you find this info useful.
Thanks for the response and the review link! Also appreciate the calibration link. Will need to dig through that thread eventually.

Yeah, I've been all over those undertray threads because the stock is a joke. I too went with ADF back in 2018, and it's been wonderful!

TLDR - Full stiffness issues that we were never able to resolve. Went thru 4-5 controllers that only fixed it for a bit then back to full stiffness, lots of theories, and no real concrete way of figuring it out w/o driving to Maryland.
Oh man, that's rough.
 

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TLDR - Full stiffness issues that we were never able to resolve. Went thru 4-5 controllers that only fixed it for a bit then back to full stiffness, lots of theories, and no real concrete way of figuring it out w/o driving to Maryland.
I also had a recurring full stiff problem, and swapped out controllers to no avail. I finally solved it this way:

I found the left rear cable was loose at the junction with the connector – there was a fair amount of play (see photo below). This indicated a possible frayed/broken wire underneath. So I cut off the tab on a spare front connector (from an extra cable I had purchased) and spliced it in the rear (soldered connectors and used shrink tubing to make it look nice). Tested impedance @ 3.4Ω. Also re-flashed controller firmware and calibration. Error code query then showed no connection faults. Then went for a drive, and the active suspension came back – no more full stiff. And has not re-occurred.

A loose connection at the junction of the cable and connector would also explain the intermittent nature of my full stiff condition. Sometimes there would be enough current, sometimes not. And over time, my attempts to fix it by plugging/unplugging may have caused additional fraying underneath to the point where it became a full break.

Troubleshooting was hindered by the fact that in some instances the Fault code read for the left side of the car only is reversed so my error code on the left front was actually the left rear. Jeremy confirmed this.

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