Product Installs / Product Profiles

Step-by-Step: Choosing MSD Ignition Components for our Project ’Stang

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MSD's 6BTM ignition was the logical choice for our electronic fuel injected, Vortech supercharged Mustang. It has a built-in Boost Timing Master that retards spark timing as boost increases, plus a rev control to keep us from turning the engine into little bits of metal. The hot, multiple sparks don't hurt, either.

With a 45,000-volt output and epoxy-encased windings to protect them from vibration, the MSD Blaster High Vibration coil is ideal for drag, oval track, and off-road racing.

We needed an ignition wire that could deliver maximum voltage to fire our big air/fuel mixtures, yet suppress radio interference to protect the engine computer and other electronics. MSD's Super Conductor 8.5mm wire does both, thanks to its helically wound copper alloy conductor. The cutaway shows its other features.

This MSD Pro-Billet Ford TFI distributor features a housing CNC machined from solid aluminum and a Tuftrided steel shaft with an upper ball bearing guide to control shaft wobble. Using it couldn't be easier--just drop it in the motor and plug it into the stock distributor harness.

With MSD's Three-Step Module Selector and RPM Module Selector, we can set rpm limits for burnout, staging, and top end from inside the car, allowing us to make last-minute changes. Plug-in modules control staging and top end, while the RPM Module Selector lets us change the burnout rpm by twisting a dial.

Since the exhaust oxygen readings provided by the Mustang's stock O2 sensors are accessible only by plugging a laptop into the engine computer, we installed two MSD Rich/Lean Indicators to keep visual track of rich or lean conditions. This will help us tune the car better, and avoid engine meltdown by knowing when it goes into too-lean mode.

Each of the Mustang's header collectors has two oxygen sensors--one for the ECU, and one for a Rich/Lean Indicator.

Detonation--otherwise known as knock--can destroy an engine in one heck of a hurry. An MSD Knock Alert will tell you when knock occurs with visual and audible warnings, giving you a chance to fix the problem before total destruction happens. It hooks up to a knock sensor on the engine; we placed ours in a hole Ford conveniently left on the front of the block on the passenger side.

Ignitions have come a long way from the breaker points and coil setup Charles Kettering designed before World War I (and starting the Delco company in the process). Now there are electronic distributors, megawatt coils, ignition control boxes, crank triggers, timing computers, and other gadgets designed to give you a bigger, more precise spark.

We consulted the experts at MSD Ignitions to find the right setup for one of our old project cars, a 1992 Mustang drag race car with a 377-cubic-inch fuel injected, Vortech-supercharged 351 Windsor. They set us up with a complete ignition package: 6BTM ignition, Blaster High Vibration coil, Super Conductor wire, Pro-Billet Distributor, Rich/Lean Indicators, Three Step Module and RPM Module Selector, and Knock Alert.

Does the stuff work? Heck yeah—we wrung 705 horsepower and 859 foot-pounds of torque (at the crank) out of the Windsor, and you can’t get that kind of power without a fat, reliable spark. At the track, we’ll be counting on the Three-Step, Rich/Lean Indicators, and Knock Alert to help us keep the engine together as we gun for the big numbers.

But you don’t have to have a mondo horsepower race car to use MSD stuff. The components we’re using will work on any high performance street Mustang. MSD also has a catalog chock full of ignitions, distributors, and other gizmos suited for just about any level of performance.

For you guys that are afraid of anything with wires connected to it, we have some wiring diagrams to show you how uncomplicated MSD components are to install. So join us and become one with the MSD Ignition Universe.

6BTM Ignition

The 6BTM ignition has a capacitive discharge (CD) design that puts out a very hot (105-115 millijoules), long duration spark (the MSD fires every 20 degrees of crankshaft rotation) to burn the air/fuel mixture at any rpm. Below 3,000 rpm, the 6BTM provides multiple sparks for improved low end power and throttle response. The ignition also features a built-in Boost Timing Master, which automatically retards the spark as boost pressure increases. This prevents engine-destroying detonation and improves power, especially on a supercharged engine that makes maximum power right at the edge of detonation. The spark retard is adjustable from one to three degrees of timing per pound of boost.

The other 6BTM feature we like is the built-in rev control. It keeps you from over-revving by dropping spark from some of the cylinders, then firing them on the next cycle to prevent fuel from building up. The control uses plug-in rpm modules to determine when it kicks on. We plugged the 6BTM into the cockpit-mounted Three-Step Module Selector so we can change rpm settings in the car.

Pro-Billet Distributor

The Pro-Billet distributor has cool features like a CNC-machined billet aluminum housing, a polished and Tuftrided steel shaft to minimize friction, a sealed upper ball bearing guide to prevent shaft wobble at high rpm, and a Rynite distributor cap base with a 1/8-inch steel plate to help stabilize the timing signal. Installation couldn’t be easier—just plug the stock Mustang distributor harness into the distributor’s TFI module.

Blaster High Vibration Coil

The Blaster coil s the perfect coil for drag racing. It puts out 45,000 volts and has epoxy-encased windings to protect the coil from damage due to vibrations. The Blaster coil also has widely spaced brass coil terminals and an alkyd spark plug tower to prevent arcing and carbon tracking.

Super Conductor Wires

Being supercharged and computer-controlled, our 377-cube Windsor needed an ignition wire with the maximum spark-delivery capacity of a solid core wire and the electromagnetic interference-suppression properties of suppression core wire. MSD’s Super Conductor wire comes awful close. It combines the very low voltage resistance (about 40-50 ohms) of a solid core wire with a high level of EMI suppression (equivalent to a 30,000 ohm stock suppression wire). The wire also features a tough 8.5mm jacket and dual crimp stainless steel terminals.

Three-Step Module Selector and RPM Module Selector

Our race-oriented Mustang has a line lock and a trans-brake in its C-4 transmission. We wanted a way to set rpm limits for burnouts, staging, and top from inside the car. MSD’s Three-Step Module Selector and RPM Module Selector solved our problem. The Three-Step has ports for three plug-in rpm modules to control burnout, staging, and top-end rpm. We wired it into the 6BTM ignition’s rev control, the trans-brake, and the line lock. The RPM Module Selector plugs into the Three-Step, and allows us to adjust our burnout rev limit from 3,000 to 5,200 rpm (in 200 rpm increments) by turning a knob. The Module Selector is available in other rpm ranges as well.

Rich/Lean Indicator

Tuning an electronic fuel injected, supercharged engine relies on information from the oxygen sensors. While our 351 has two oxygen sensors that feed information to the computer, we wanted something to warn us if the engine suddenly went lean (result: total destruction) or rich (result: runs like a dog). Enter MSD’s Rich/Lean Indicator. Consisting of an oxygen sensor and a dash-mounted box, it can tell you if the motor is lean (flashing green light), rich (flashing red light), or just right (both lights flash). We put a Rich/Lean Indicator in each header collector. With a total of four oxygen sensors collecting data, if we blow this car up, it’s our own fault.

Knock Alert

Detonation kills engines—especially supercharged engines with the boost level set on hyperdrive. We got MSD’s Knock Alert so we can sleep at night. It uses a knock sensor connected to a dash-mounted controller. When engine knock starts, the controller starts beeping and shows a green warning light. As the knock gets worse, the beeping gets louder and the light goes to yellow and then red.

MSD-6462 MSD 6BTM Ignition
MSD-8452 MSD Pro-Billet 351W EFI Distributor (roller cam)
MSD-8222 MSD Blaster High Vibration Coil
MSD-31329 MSD Super Conductor Wires
MSD-8737 MSD Three-Step Module Selector
MSD-8670 MSD RPM Module Selector
MSD-8933 MSD Rich/Lean Indicator
MSD-8964 MSD Knock Alert

 

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