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Old 09-16-2012, 04:31 PM   #1
Wildsailor
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DCT "S" Mode, "D" Mode, and observations

This may all be buried in other threads somewhere but I thought I would just post my observations from playing around with my Focus today. Today was the first time I had a chance to do this since picking the car up on 29-Aug.

For reference my car is a Job 2 SE with the Convenience Package and Sport Package (which included the Selectshift system). I also have the Winter Package and Moonroof but that is irrelevant for this discussion.

I had used "S" mode a few times before but just to see what would happen if I pushed the up/down button. This time I had more time.

I took the Focus out for a pretty long test ride today to specifically play with "S" mode. While in "S" and moving away from a stop without pushing the manual shift button the car will shift itself but the upshift and downshift points are at a noticeably higher RPM than when in "D."

When in "S" and the shift button is pushed the car seems to hold in that gear and no longer will shift automatically but it will still downshift while coming to a stop. It is not a very smooth transition and the car bucks a bit and acts like it may stall just like forgetting to push the clutch in on a manual while coming to a stop. I did notice that it will hold 6th and not downshift with speed modulations like it does in "D." Also, I can shift it up to 6th at about 35 MPH which did not cause any lugging issues; in "D" the shift point to 6th is around 40 MPH with light throttle.

Eventually I started accelerating away from a stop with light throttle and at about 35 MPH pull it into "S" and manually shift it into 6th. Speed modulations either accelerating or decelerating at that point did not cause a shift to 5th so this method may yield better economy than just leaving it in "D." For a stop it is easy to just pop the lever forward back into "D" and start over again.

In a particularly curvy section I was able to put the shifter in "S" and downshift to 4th and keep the RPM's about 5k through the twisties. Throttle response was pretty good for acceleration and deceleration. Once through the twisties I just pushed the lever forward into "D" and resumed a "normal" speed, whatever that is.

Interesting contraption this 6 spd DCT.


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Old 09-16-2012, 04:44 PM   #2
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I too, have been driving my DCT in a similar fashion lately (for the first year of ownership, I rarely played in "S" mode), and your observations are spot on. I normally drive this car for economy reasons (its my daily commuter for work, and I put on almost 140km a day doing that), but, by using the "S" mode to keep it in 6th gear longer, I have noticed a slight increase in mileage (I was already getting over 700km/tank regularly with a 70%/30% hwy/city mix beforehand, so, no complaints). This is nice bonus and now that I'm into the routine of putting into "S" once rolling, it makes the car feel more lively and me, as the driver, more involved once again...
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:48 PM   #3
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Put it in cruise control in S MODE and put it in sixth, helpful Eco tidbit
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:49 PM   #4
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Does S only effect shift points or does it sharpen up throttle response.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:52 PM   #5
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Put it in cruise control in S MODE and put it in sixth, helpful Eco tidbit
I can do better without cruise control, but you have to have a steady throttle foot. Its a lot of work, but 470.1 mi/11.176 gallons of gas primarily locked into 6th gear at around 65mph on the freeway, that resulted in 42.1 mpg hand calculated.

It might be easier with cruise control to drive long distances (200+ miles at a pop), but in my old car I was able to get at least 2-5 more mpg by using my foot and letting the car slow down just a bit heading up the steep hill rather than charging up it at 70 mph and having to open the throttle to wide open in order to maintain speed.
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:54 PM   #6
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Put it in cruise control in S MODE and put it in sixth, helpful Eco tidbit
I also forgot to mention that you can pop back and forth between S and D without the car kicking out of cruise control. So, if you are in hilly terrain and the car keeps downshifting up and down hills you may be able to move the lever into S and force the car into 6th without having the car pop out of cruise.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:01 PM   #7
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I can do better without cruise control, but you have to have a steady throttle foot. Its a lot of work, but 470.1 mi/11.176 gallons of gas primarily locked into 6th gear at around 65mph on the freeway, that resulted in 42.1 mpg hand calculated.

It might be easier with cruise control to drive long distances (200+ miles at a pop), but in my old car I was able to get at least 2-5 more mpg by using my foot and letting the car slow down just a bit heading up the steep hill rather than charging up it at 70 mph and having to open the throttle to wide open in order to maintain speed.
I learned this lesson with our 28' Class C Econoline based motorhome with the 7.5L 4 spd powertrain. Our first trip down to Mammoth Caves through Kentucky and Tennessee we saw terrible fuel economy. I read online the culprit is the downshifts going uphill so I tried two things...the first was to let the coach slow down on hills without the cruise control. That worked pretty good. The second thing we did was increase speed to about 75 MPH and that gave the powertrain enough torque on uphill grades to not force a downshift. Using these methods we have been able to squeek out...ready for this...11 MPG on a recent trip to Maine. Letting the thing downshift on uphill climbs makes use of the fire-hose sized fuel lines to deliver about 6 MPG. We typically get about 9 MPG.

The main objective is to NOT LET the thing downshift. Slowing down going uphill and then coasting down the other side returns significant improvements.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:08 PM   #8
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Does S only effect shift points or does it sharpen up throttle response.
Effecting shift points (higher RPM) will give the illusion of better throttle response because the engine will be further up the torque curve.

Playing around in S mode can also yield some interesting results. During the time I was driving in S mode and letting the trans shift itself (in other words, I was not using the button yet) I was approaching a light and coasting down. I was not yet stopped when the light turned green so I let off the brake and pressed the accelerator right when the car must have been in the middle of a shift because nothing happened. The car finally caught after about 1/2 second and accelerated hard but for that 1/2 second it did nothing and that was a totally unexpected result.

Later I was shifting into D mode on deceleration and I did not experience anything like that again.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:15 PM   #9
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2012 Focus SEL 5 door 303a w/Lux pkg in KonaBlue
2012 Escape Limited w/park assist
2010 F150 Supercrew XTR 5.4 4x4
2006 Honda VFR 800 Interceptor (street)
2008 Kawasaki ZX6R (track only)
Interesting that you chose to highlight your bikes as well! Ah yes, a fellow rider...puts a different perspective on the performance discussions of the Focii doesn't it.

So, for your amusement, here is my corral....

1999 HD Ultra Classic - for long winded leisure cruising
2006 BMW K1200GT - for long winded sport touring

The K1200GT is like a Formula 1 car with saddle bags and a trunk!
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:22 PM   #10
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Interesting that you chose to highlight your bikes as well! Ah yes, a fellow rider...puts a different perspective on the performance discussions of the Focii doesn't it.

So, for your amusement, here is my corral....

1999 HD Ultra Classic - for long winded leisure cruising
2006 BMW K1200GT - for long winded sport touring

The K1200GT is like a Formula 1 car with saddle bags and a trunk!
Its funny you mention your BMW k series.... I've always loved those bikes (especially the new K1600), I just recently sold my Interceptor and replaced it with a new Kawasaki Concours 14 (big sport bike with luggage! LOL)... my wife enjoys 2 up riding on that a little more than the smaller Honda.
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