Ford Focus RS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Supporting Vendor
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Other than the bumpy suspension and the uncomfortable seating position, I love my Focus RS. I even like the exhaust note. It's just a little...subdued. Especially from outside the car -- when I first heard someone drive my car off down the street, I was disappointed. It didn't sound nearly as rip-snorting fun as I imagined it should. I know, Ford has to make everyone happy, including EU regulators and my grumpy neighbors. Still...it needs more volume.

With that in mind I recently installed a Thermal R&D cat-back exhaust system on the car. There are a lot of exhaust manufacturers out there, but Thermal R&D has been around forever, and I have dealt with them since the very beginning of Mach V Motorsports, when we sold DSM parts and they made exhausts for those cars. Back in those days, they were known for being high-quality systems, designed and built in the US and with a lifetime warranty. I hadn't heard much about their Focus RS system, so I figured I'd give it a try.



What I liked in looking at the system is that it doesn't use a muffler at all -- it has a couple of resonators, and a single big resonance chamber (Helmholtz resonator, to be technical). It re-uses the factory exhaust valve solenoid, so there's no trouble with the ECU missing it. And the plumbing is routed in such a way that when the valve is open, the exhaust flow is effectively a straight-through system. That should give benefits in both sound and power.


Where the stock exhaust valve solenoid goes


With the valve open, exhaust can flow straight out the left side.

Like with any exhaust installation for the Focus RS, you have to either cut the stock exhaust to remove it, or drop the entire rear subframe, which would be a massive amount of work. So, we set to making a cut with the Sawzall. If you get it right in front of the top of the bend where it goes over the rear suspension, you can wiggle the two pieces of exhaust down off the car. If I ever want to return the car to stock, I could have the stock system welded or clamped back together.


Mach V tech Kevin bifurcating the stock exhaust


The cut

Once you get the exhaust down, you'll notice it really doesn't weigh that much. The middle pipe section, in particular, is very light weight. I was hoping the new exhaust would be less, but that's not the case. It's more by about a pound.

We unbolted the stock exhaust solenoid and transferred it over to the new Thermal R&D system, then started fitting the new parts up to the car.


The front section of the exhaust attaches using the stock V-band clamp system.

The system comes in five pieces, which makes it manageable in terms of fitting in a box as well as being able to adjust it on the car. Each joint is connected by a sleeve-style clamp, so any given joint can be adjusted both in an in-out direction, as well as by rotation. Build quality of the Thermal R&D system looks really good. Welds are all carefully done, everything fit the first time, the hangers are routed nicely, and all the resonators and tips are mirror-polished and protected by lots of packing.




Clamping up the second segment.

This next part of the install, I have fewer pictures of, because I was called upon to hold up the system and adjust it while Mach V Kevin clamped and fastened up the hangers. You basically keep hanging bits and clamping clamps until everything is in the right place. Then you have some adjusting to do, as the tip location relative to the rear valence needs to be right, and the somewhat brain-straining task of imaging how the tips will move if you move this or that joint just about did me in.

Speaking of the exhaust tips, they are 4.5" across and the outer wall is joined to the inner right at the edge, using a detailed TIG weld that shows off some unknown hero's welding skill. I kind of like that.





After a little bit of looking at the back of the car, adjusting, and repeating, the system was snugged up, clamps tightened, and the car set on the ground.





Now for the real question: How does it sound? I worried a bit that it would be too loud. There's not a lot of muffling on the system, and I have heard some Focus RS exhausts that are quite obnoxious. This one really does not sound that much louder than stock inside the car -- most times I don't even notice any increase in volume. Outside the car, though, there's a very pleasant volume gain that changes tone with the opening and closing of the exhaust valve. It sounds at times barky and sharp, other moments more rumbling, other times kind of medium tone. I really like the varying sounds. At full throttle it sounds kind of ripping and reminds me of one of those Gymkhana videos. Much more satisfying than the overly-muted stock exhaust note!

The other day I was in a parking structure and really enjoyed the noises bouncing off the concrete walls. I will try to get a video of that. In the mean time I have this one:


Overall I'm very pleased with the system. It retains the factory exhaust valve function while improving the noises the car makes. It fits great and looks nice. The price is moderate, too.

If you want to order one of these systems, you can get one from Mach V:

Thermal R&D cat-back exhaust -- click me!


Thanks,

Dan
Mach V
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
305 Posts
I haven't come across this one yet!

Is the Helmholtz resonator supported in any way?

Can you do a sound clip comparing normal and sport mode sounds?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,367 Posts
what does smog inspector think when they don't see a muffler? I am in CA .. Smog inspection is a ***** out here.
As long as you don't touch the cat you should fine, they don't care about the exhaust past that. When I last smogged my forester, I just threw the stock DP back on it was fine with the Cobb CB. Didn't even flash back to stock from the OTS stage 2 map. They just hook up to the OBD II port and check that all smog equipment is there now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,096 Posts
what does smog inspector think when they don't see a muffler? I am in CA .. Smog inspection is a ***** out here.
Smog inspections have nothing to do with mufflers. If anything, mufflers and resonators confuse the smogging newbs. I had one guy think I was double catted because my prelude's exhaust had a stock resonator after the cat...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Thanks for posting this. I was considering this exhaust but it was hard to decide because there weren't many sound clips of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,367 Posts
Yea, would love to see how much it weighs. I was pretty much sold on the borla, since it was the best sounding exhaust from the clips, and wasn't too loud, but I'm liking the sound of this one. Would love to hear a few more sound clips as well to confirm, but this may be the one I go with.

Any sales/discounts coming in the near future? :)
 

·
Supporting Vendor
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I haven't come across this one yet!

Is the Helmholtz resonator supported in any way?
It does not have another support, other than the tube that connects it to the rest of the system. The resonator is not very heavy, and that design is typical for a Thermal R&D exhaust design these days. Thermal R&D says they don't have a problem with cracking; it is warrantied for life in any case.

Can you do a sound clip comparing normal and sport mode sounds?
I'll see what I can do.

does the pop volume esclate to gunfire with this?
Not gunfire, but the volume is higher. I like it.

Yea, would love to see how much it weighs.
About a pound more than the stock system, as mentioned.

I was pretty much sold on the borla, since it was the best sounding exhaust from the clips, and wasn't too loud, but I'm liking the sound of this one. Would love to hear a few more sound clips as well to confirm, but this may be the one I go with.
When I get chance, I will try to get some more video footage.

Any sales/discounts coming in the near future? :)
This is on sale from thermal r&d for $870 with code "boostedST"
We have a discount code, too! Use code "Gimmeburbles" on our web site to save 20% on this system until the end of this month (July 2017).

--Dan
Mach V
 

·
Supporting Vendor
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Update: I still love the Thermal R&D exhaust. In Sport mode it makes some tremendous pop and bang noises when you come off the throttle. In Normal mode it's totally fine to drive around without scaring local dog-walkers and children half to death. I am still working on a burble-and-pop highight video. Taking and editing video is time-consuming!

--Dan
Mach V
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Update: I still love the Thermal R&D exhaust. In Sport mode it makes some tremendous pop and bang noises when you come off the throttle. In Normal mode it's totally fine to drive around without scaring local dog-walkers and children half to death. I am still working on a burble-and-pop highight video. Taking and editing video is time-consuming!

--Dan
Mach V
Looking forward to hearing the video! Looks like a nice system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Not to hijack but I have to share my experience. I ordered straight from thermal and they delivered the best customer service possible. Not only did they throw in a free shirt but they even hooked me up with a better shipping rate.
Now, onto the install. Super simple and straightforward except the bracket that holds the factory valve controller. Mine was bent in shipping and doesn't quite hold the housing 100% even after bending it as straight as I could. Needless to say I sent them some pictures and they have one on the way.
Now onto the sound. It's AMAZING. It's not too loud but offers a great snarl and growl sound. Slip it into sport mode and those pops and bangs are beautiful. This is what the car should've sounded like from the factory. I was afraid startup would be too loud in the am but it isn't hatefully loud. Once you get on it though it opens up and makes music behind the RS.
I was looking for valved, resonated (as drone free as possible), stainless steel, and not too pricy. This fit the bill perfectly and with the service I got from thermal, specifically Jake, I am definitely a fan for life!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Torn between Thermal and Borla S-type. Can someone speak to drone with the Thermal? Specifically highway cruising at 70, 75, 80. I made a $700 mistake with a Quicksilver exhaust on my MCS.
TIA / rAte
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
209 Posts
I have never owned a Thermal, but they're known for their "no drone" exhausts. I knew a couple guys with them on the ST and loved it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Absolutely no drone at all. I also disconnected the FENG as it turns out that little guy drones like crazy. Regardless of who you go with, unplug that FENG. Customer service from thermal has been awesome. The bracket that holds the exhaust valve actuator was bent during shipment and they quickly sent me a replacement at no cost to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Pulled the trigger on the Thermal. Put the first cold start up on my IG.
FENG is disconnected.
Took a week or so to mellow out.
Valve closed is wife approved. Valve open is amazing.
Part throttle between 3k and 4,800 it just sings. Happy to share if someone wants to hear in the TB area.
This is the best sounding exhaust I have owned in a long time, it is that good.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BjAf3kKhG8E/
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top