Similar to any Bluetooth-enabled...
Similar to any Bluetooth-enabled cell phone and headset pairing, a single blue LED beacon on SCT's new iTSX Wireless OBD-II Interface (PN iTSX 4015; $469) indicates a no-wire SCT-tuning connection exists between Eddie Rios of Muscle Motors' Apple iPhone and the PCM in our '08 Shelby GT500 test Mustang.
Of course, we in the Mustang hobby certainly feel the influence of this revolution. There are applications that relate to several aspects of the lifestyle (horsepower calculators, GPS-based driving/speed/handling performance monitors, and more).
As you know, electronic control units handle all of the powertrain-control functions for fuel-injected Mustangs. It has been this way since 1986, and we seriously don’t foresee there being a change in this segment of Mustang technology any time soon. However, when it comes to managing an engine’s air, fuel, and spark for performance that’s above and beyond a stock ’Stang’s processor’s programming, the PCM must be manipulated by outside means to achieve proper calibration for various mods.
While the Wirecom port is...
While the Wirecom port is currently inoperative (this feature will be enabled when the ability to use iTSX for custom tuning is released), the unit features an Analog port that ties 0-5 volt external devices into the iTSX, so its signal can be monitored via an iDevice (requires additional Analog Input Kit). A standard USB connection is used for transferring SCT's firmware and tune-revision updates into the module, faster than the process is via the wireless method (the interface does not have to be physically plugged into the 'Stang's OBD-II port for such updates). The USB link also hops up the connection to SCT's Advantage III tuning/data-logging software when a laptop is being used.
This ECU-adjustment process, commonly referred to as “tuning,” is oftentimes accomplished by Mustang technicians using laptop computers loaded with SCT’s Advantage III software and one of the company’s OBD-II plug-in devices, like the Livewire or XCal3, that communicate with a Pony’s processor. All of these handheld devices facilitate calibration changes, diagnostic monitoring, and various performance tests, and until now, it’s been the standard for fuel-injected street Mustangs making moderate-to-big steam.
In an it-was-only-a-matter-of-time move, SCT recently announced its release of a new wireless tool that takes utilizing Bluetooth technology for EFI tuning to new levels. The all-new iTSX Wireless OBD-II Interface (PN iTSX 4015; $469) is the tool, and we must say, it really is a pretty neat deal.
Attaching the iTSX Wireless...
Attaching the iTSX Wireless OBD-II Interface to a '96- present ‘Stang is as simple as plugging the module into the Pony's OBD-II diagnostic port. On '05-'12 'Stangs like Marty's, the port is located below the dashboard on the driver side. Once SCT's iTSX App is downloaded from Apple's iTunes store into an iOS device, pairing is done by opening the Settings/General/Bluetooth screen, and selecting SCT iTSX. A blue LED on the module will illuminate once the pairing process is successfully completed.
The iTSX is similar to SCT’s pioneering TSX wireless device. However, the huge single difference between them is that its functions, and communication between the unit and a Mustang, all are controlled via of Apple’s popular iOS devices (iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad) as opposed to the proprietary touchscreen monitor that the TSX uses. In a nutshell, the iTSX basically cuts all aspects of a physical, umbilical-cord union between SCT’s performance features and EFI ’Stangs, and breaks down the wireless side into one simple plug-in module that can be directed by anyone with an iOS device.
Unfortunately, as of this writing, the iTSX was not capable of supporting the custom tuning that is required for most of the aggressive performance upgrades we evaluate. Editor Turner will be bringing you a review of the process as soon as the feature is released.
The accompanying photos, captions, and dyno results provide the details of our scratching-the-surface experimentation with iTSX technology. Using Marty Deyoung’s stone-stock ’08 Shelby GT500 and Eddie Rios’ Apple iPhone, we check out a few iTSX performance-test features, and of course, beam a performance calibration (SCT’s pre-programmed file) into the Shelby’s PCM. 5.0
Basic feature review, category...
Basic feature review, category selection, and setting changes made with iTSX are similar to those of other SCT handheld devices, with the big difference being that now it all is done through the iDevice's touchscreen. After running Marty's GT500 on the Dynojet chassis dyno for a baseline, Eddie completed the tasks stored in the Program category to transfer SCT's canned performance calibration for unmodified Shelby GT500s using 91-octane fuel. One of the cool features in iTSX is its ability to log real-time data (during dyno- or road tests) and allow that data to be played back directly on your iOS device.
While troubleshooting diagnostic...
While troubleshooting diagnostic codes is something we hope we never have to do, sometimes it is one of the byproducts of modifying stock 'Stangs. The iTSX includes a Diagnostics category that features a DTSC reader, which makes discerning malfunctions easier by defining various codes.
With the Mustang strapped...
With the Mustang strapped to the dyno, we experimented with the iTSX's 0-to-60-mph performance test. The feature utilizes data that comes directly from a Mustang's Vehicle Speed Sensor as opposed to GPS-calculated information, which other devices use for speed readings. For racing enthusiasts, the wireless module also calculates and provides e.t./mph (for eighth- and quarter-mile times), horsepower estimates, a top-speed performance test, and even a braking (60-to-0 mph) test.
We usually marvel over stock,...
We usually marvel over stock, unmodified Fox Mustang engines that we come across. However, the virgin status of the supercharged 5.4-liter bullet in Marty Deyoung's '08 Shelby GT500s is a surprise of sorts at this point, as a majority of owners mod Shelbys moments after they leave the dealership.
SCT's pre-made tune for stock...
SCT's pre-made tune for stock Shelby GT500s made an impressive difference in the rear-wheel performance of Marty's Pony. However, air/fuel stats at WOT were a bit leaner than we're comfortable with. To remedy this, Eddie enriched fuel volume by 6 percent, as the iTSX allows limited DIY fuel (in 2-percent increments from 6 percent to 12 percent) and spark (in 2,000-rpm increments from 0 to 8,000 rpm) modifying to clean up small calibration issues that arise.
The first run of SCT's iTSX...
The first run of SCT's iTSX also includes a few gauge-display options that can present any OBD-II system data that the device processes. Among those displays are three different numeric displays, or a single dial-style sweeping gauge (a digital numerical display is incorporated above the sweeper). Each gauge style also includes low- and high-side limits that will set off a red warning flash whenever either limit is reached. We configured the gauge to monitor spark (timing) while testing the SCT tune in Marty's Shelby.
Working with SCT's all-new iTSX Wireless OBD-II Interface is sinfully easy. Once the system's iTSX App is downloaded into the iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad being used, all of the system's usage tasks are intuitive, and they're triggered by the same finger-swiping/finger-pressing procedures that Bluetooth smartphone-savvy enthusiasts are familiar with.
|SCT6||Baseline v.s. SCT6|
After performing a baseline dyno test on Marty Deyoung's untouched '08 Shelby GT500, Muscle Motors lead technician Eddie Rios only needed a few minutes to wirelessly transfer an SCT-made performance calibration from his iPhone into the GT500's PCM. (The program-transfer process with iTSX technology seems much quicker than it is with SCT's cable-based devices.)
As the dyno numbers and graph indicate, simply adding the canned calibration brought about impressive power and torque increases. However, the gains are a result of the cal being much leaner than a Shelby GT500's OEM tune, as indicated by the 13.00 average air/fuel ratio during our first post-iTSX-tune dyno run.
As a corrective measure, Eddie used his iPhone to richen fuel by 6 percent for the next run. The iTSX facilitates timing changes as well, but at the time this project was performed, the computer programming that would allow more-extensive, custom PCM tuning was not ready for release.
Of course, when custom tuning functionality is released, we definitely plan to continue our evaluation of SCT's newest technology for late-model Mustangs (iTSX actually works on all '96-and-newer Fords), on a highly modified Pony that makes upward of 700 horses at the feet. But until that time gets here, you better believe the iTSX is one impressive device that now brings high-performance Mustang tuning into the same realm as any of the 500,000 "apps for that," which are available for Apple iOS devices.