After installing the 6AL-2, we spent the remainder of our time experimenting with launch-rpm settings and possible timing maps for Sal's coupe. Programming logic for the new box is simple. Although we didn't get an opportunity to test our limiter and retard tune-ups at the track before this story deadlined, we're confident this upgrade will bring noticeable improvement to Sal's reaction-time and 60-foot consistency, and quite possibly add one or two more mph at top end once we learn what the sweet spots are for timing retard in the back half of the dragstrip.
Loading the included Pro-Data graphics viewer is simple. Simply pop the disc into your laptop's CD drive and follow the software's installation steps. The 6AL-2 kit also includes a nine-pin cable that handles the box-to-laptop link. In the event you don't have a laptop with a serial-port that will accept the nine-pin line, MSD recommends using IOGEAR's USB-to-Serial/RS-232 adapter (PN GUC232A; $29.95) or an MSD handheld programmer (PN 7550; $228.60), as either will get you into the ignition once the software's up and running.
We're sure many of you are familiar with MSD's little rpm chips, the small, white plug-in modules that contain the electronics logic for the 6AL's rev-limiter function. The 6AL-2 box does not require those chips, nor does it have just a single rev limiter. Burnout, launch, and maximum rpm can instead be programmed in 100-rpm increments. As Sal's 'Stang has a five-speed transmission, we also used 6AL-2 to set up a drop-rpm value, which is a separate rpm window (lower than the launch limit) that prevents the launch limiter from activating when Sal kicks the clutch between shifts.
In most drag-racing applications, engines don't require as much timing at high rpm as they do when your Pony is leaving the line. We think the 6AL-2's timing control is its coolest programmable function. With this feature, we can change the timing map for Sal's engine by retarding timing at any rpm we choose. In this example, timing retard starts with 1 degree at 5,000 rpm and is gradually ramped to a full 2 degrees by 5,500 rpm and fixed at that point through the 302's 6,500-rpm limit.
We uncovered a few issues with some of the ignition-related wiring on Sal's coupe that could have made our efforts completely for naught if we hadn't made the necessary repairs. As a rule of thumb, whenever you're working with engine-related electronics in older 'Stangs (like the '93 Fox we're using, or other pre-'99 Ponies), a thorough inspection of all the wiring (wires, connectors, harnesses, and so on) is always a good idea.