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Focus Preacher
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
*Disclaimer* I’m not an expert critic nor pretend to be one. Neither is English my mother tongue.

So I finally rented a 2013 Focus SE sedan (Just shy of 40K miles) with the dredded DCT for two weeks in order to feel and judge how it behave under many daily circumstances we can encounter and also to know what’s the fuzz about it.
I think something that could be useful compared to other reviews is that I know really well my 5sp 2012 Focus SE HB.

At first, the DCT would perform poorly especially within the first day of driving. It felt like it was someone trying to learn manual transmission.
Excessive clutch slippage between first and second gears often leading to a shuddering (rev mismatch?) when they finally engaged.

I’ve noticed that this kind of transmission doesn’t love to be treated nicely. Slow start from a stop was the worse until you give it more gas.
The shifting further improved when it knew my driving habit and could anticipate what’s going on.

I did try some of the tricks people on FF talked about. Few hard launches and it improved dramasticaly. Also tried the Gas and Brake method,it didn’t change anything maybe because the clutches were already broke-in at that mileage?
Often after a long traffic run, under the hood you could smell the clutches overheating (smell exactly when you slip too much a MTX) this is something that preoccupies me for the longevity of the clutch set.

The big mistake Ford/Getrag did with the DCT is to make it behave like a planetary gears transmission (AKA slushbox). Making the first gear slip when releasing the brake to make it feel like it was fluid coupled is wrong. This hurt the clutch because people will make them slip all the time unaware of how a DCT work.

Already after three days of driving, I could feel improvement ... shuddering almost disappeared!
The worse was when it was cold (I know it’s the opposite for others) few minutes later it would do First to 6th unhumanly smooth.
The shifting feel is a lot better ; it’s very quick to shift and to downshift compared to the slushbox. I find the DCT a little bit quicker when having a WOT event.
It have a closer gear ratios advantage compared to the MTX-75 thus staying in the powerband longer.


If Ford could have more explained to the users that the DCT is more like an automated manual, people would have less complained.
DCT in overall is quite a technological feat. But because if its issues I wouldn’t recommend this transmission for anyone doing constant city traffic.
 

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It is like an automated manual but there really isn't anything to compare that to since the tech is still relatively new.
To a regular everyday joe the DCT still should operate fairly seemlessly instead of accepting it's odd behaviors in certain situation,temps,etc.
The DCT still comes with unpredictable behaviors which affect performance.
I wonder if there are owners that autox a Focus with a DCT or can a DCT be consistent at a dragstrip with back to back to back drag runs like the manual can with good drivers?

(I'm talking the Focus' DCT specifically and not other brands)
 

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#dailydriven
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nice write up and I agree with what you've said. I've had a my DCT now for almost 2 years with ZERO problems. I personally think it's because my first 3 cars were stick shifts so I drive this one a lot like I drove them. you are definitely right when you say the DCT likes to be driven hard.
 

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nice write up and I agree with what you've said. I've had a my DCT now for almost 2 years with ZERO problems. I personally think it's because my first 3 cars were stick shifts so I drive this one a lot like I drove them. you are definitely right when you say the DCT likes to be driven hard.
Yea. I just drive the shit out of mine. Most the hiccups on slow takeoff were fixed with the tune.
 

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Focus Preacher
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Great stuff Laurent.
What made you rent one, is yours in the garage, or just for fun and knowledge?
Mine was in a body shop for 2 weeks (nothing major just few scratches) ... I could lived without a car (and take my motorcycle) but rented one for the sake of trying that evil DCT! [grinking]


Thanks guys!

Trying the DCT was fun [:)]
 

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nice write up and I agree with what you've said. I've had a my DCT now for almost 2 years with ZERO problems. I personally think it's because my first 3 cars were stick shifts so I drive this one a lot like I drove them. you are definitely right when you say the DCT likes to be driven hard.
I don't drive mine hard but with light foot, now I can feel it shift like a clutch and MPG has gone up. It just took some time to figure out how to drive it but once I did, it responds well. It still has some shudder from time to time at low speed shifts, but not hearing the clunk sound when shifting anymore (9,900 miles). Most of the problems changed after 9,000 miles were racked up and a quick "scrub' as well. Just my experience!
 

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The DCT still comes with unpredictable behaviors which affect performance.
I wonder if there are owners that autox a Focus with a DCT or can a DCT be consistent at a dragstrip with back to back to back drag runs like the manual can with good drivers?

(I'm talking the Focus' DCT specifically and not other brands)
I'll answer these for ya Ron. Once you learn how to operate the DCT it becomes very predictable. You tell it what to do and not the other way around.

I autocrossed my DCT focus. It was great! I came in 2nd out of 10 behind an STI. That was after I added select shift and was able to down shift faster than before the conversion. Before the conversion, the down shifts were a bit slower and made it harder to power through turns but not terrible. My DCT now has 123,456 miles (I hit that today) and after the TCM going out, it still runs great. The TCM is so far the only hiccup this car has had. Mechanically it's been amazing.


nice write up and I agree with what you've said. I've had a my DCT now for almost 2 years with ZERO problems. I personally think it's because my first 3 cars were stick shifts so I drive this one a lot like I drove them. you are definitely right when you say the DCT likes to be driven hard.
I have to agree with Jordan here. After I read the forums when I first bought the car, I just drove it like all my previous cars. My first car was a 5 speed mk3 jetta, and then two 5 speed hondas, and a 5 speed Nissan hardbody pickup. So I just drove it like those. As you can see above, the car has been awesome!
 

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If I wanted 25MPG I would have got a V6/4 pot turbo.
I've never been close to 25 mpg and I'm not easy on the car...30 is the lowest I've ever seen the mpg and that was driving 85 into a headwind in the rain. Not sure the car would ever get that bad.
 

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My DCT now has 123,456 miles (I hit that today) and after the TCM going out, it still runs great. The TCM is so far the only hiccup this car has had. Mechanically it's been amazing.
I'm close to 95,000 and have only had the TCM go out around 65,000. The last time i actually felt a shudder was with 5 people in the car and starting from a stop light going uphill. Typically i can start to ease into the gas from a stop and it is smooth shifting from there. I really can't tell a difference from stops if i am easy on it or put it in sport and hammer it. So far for me this car has been bullet proof and average around 37mpg with a lot of highway driving.
 

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It is like an automated manual but there really isn't anything to compare that to since the tech is still relatively new. ...
(I'm talking the Focus' DCT specifically and not other brands)
The tech as been around since 1982-1983 actually.
Has it been sold in large numbers in any other car before the Mk3 Focus? As RonMaiden implied, the VW design doesn't count because of the different type of clutches, which makes a big difference.
 

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Old Phart
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Yeah, F1 sequential boxes don't count or the single clutch automated trannies that make this one look VERY refined.
 

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Posted speed limits, changes in elevation, type of road and the speed of other drivers around here pretty much call for using Select Shift.

Atlanta's elevation is 1,050 feet above sea level. Roswell is about 20 miles north of Midtown Atlanta with an elevation of 1,173, and as I drive steadily north, its all up hill.

Sunday I drove up to Blue Ridge, GA, about 75 miles north of Roswell, with an elevation of 1,762 ft.

On the open highway, I cruise in "D" at 65-70 mph, still getting 37 mpg+/-. The DCT is flawless.

However when I'm in and around Roswell, with lots of 2 lane 35-40 mph hilly roads AND the proliferation of drivers who insist on driving 5 mph BELOW the posted speed and who sit on the damn bakes with every bend in the road, Select Shift is the way to go, so that I can hang out in 4th or 5th gear, keeping the revs up and the car way more controllable and lots more fun.

I've progressed to the point that I really enjoy using the SS, and I find that I'm just as involved in the act of driving as I was when driving a "manual transmission shifted manually".

I would love to hear comments from some of the '15 models with paddle shifters as to their performance with the DCT.
 

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I'm close to 95,000 and have only had the TCM go out around 65,000. The last time i actually felt a shudder was with 5 people in the car and starting from a stop light going uphill. Typically i can start to ease into the gas from a stop and it is smooth shifting from there. I really can't tell a difference from stops if i am easy on it or put it in sport and hammer it. So far for me this car has been bullet proof and average around 37mpg with a lot of highway driving.
This has been my experience as well, except I have 107k miles and my TCM went out around 75k.
 

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We bought our 14 with the newest revised programming before we took delivery, at 16,500 miles we have had zero issues, and I hope it continues to be that way. My wife drives in the worst traffic in the country (D.C. commute) and puts lots of miles on the car relatively quickly. We took it through the mountains this past weekend and got 40.2 MPG.
It does have some initial lag with WOT, hope to cure that with a tune.
 

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Focus Preacher
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Discussion Starter #18
It does have some initial lag with WOT, hope to cure that with a tune.
The 5spd is the same... maybe due to the electronic throttle.

[...] 'Drive-ability' for your average driver I imagine is another. Sure you could just have it immediately relay the pedal inputs but it seems they usually try to 'smooth' out the power application. Smoothing inputs out in any application where the user really knows whats going on never feels natural (mouse smoothing in games is another good example).
 
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