KJ Jones Senior Technical Editor
July 20, 2007
Photos By: KJ Jones

Horse Sense: Running a carburetor on a mod motor is a concept we here at 5.0 Mustang & Super Fords like to think of as teaching a new dog an old trick.

Sometimes we wonder if the prophetic statement "time does not stand still," was first said by someone associated with the form of high performance there was back when the phrase was coined-chariots, horse and buggies, whatever.

Time, with respect to the innovations and technologies for Mustangs we experience on what seems to be a daily basis, certainly doesn't stay in one place. Manufacturers are always developing parts intended to make 'Stangs better, stronger, and faster. Our job is to make you aware of all the latest and greatest parts as soon as we find out about them.

This is the mod squad we're installing on a supercharged, 4.6-powered '04 Mustang GT. The pieces include eight new MSD Blaster coil-on-plugs (PN 82428; $388.60), a complete 6-Mod ignition controller system (PN 6011; $411.00), and a harness for EFI (PN 88814; $285.70).

MSD Ignition has just taken the wrap off its new 6-Mod ignition (timing) controller (PN 6011; $411.00) for Two- and Four-Valve modulars, as well as Ford Blaster coil-on-plugs (PN 82428; $388.60/set of eight) for SOHC 4.6s. The timing couldn't be better.

MSD's 6-Mod essentially bridges the canyon that separates modular engines and the ability to run them with carburetors. The absence of distributors in '96-to-present 'Stangs has long been a major hurdle for a happy marriage between the two, as control of ignition and timing was all but impossible to achieve when carb swaps were attempted.

Timing control is 6-Mod's fort. For a carb application, the unit assumes the same role that weights and springs take on inside a distributor. But 6-Mod isn't strictly for carb swaps; it suits street/strip 4.6s and 5.4 EFI applications. It's quickly and easily installed using an optional harness for EFI (PN 88814; $285.70). The system is all-inclusive with a complete harness, two-bar MAP sensor, and ProData+ software. The only thing not included is the laptop computer used to program custom timing curves based on MAP or rpm and dialing-in step retards, rev limits, and two-step settings, if desired.

Our test Pony packs this Vortech S-Trim supercharger, which features an eight-rib beltdrive for better belt traction. The 'Stang's engine is stock, save for the blower, so boost is limited to a safe 10-pound range to ensure there are no detonation issues with 91-octane California gas.

Our friends at Extreme Automotive have a supercharged '04 Mustang GT that's due for tuning-which is something timing plays a huge role in. We're seizing the opportunity to install and test 6-Mod and MSD's new COPs. In actuality, a Mustang with a carbureted 4.6 would be an even better test vehicle. That said, we don't have a non-EFI mod motor at our disposal, nor do we have the time to delve into a carburetor swap for this exercise.

Our plan is to try and optimize the blown EFI 'Stang's tune and make power by using the controller's built-in timing source. This is 6-Mod's most basic adjustment method, and we recommend you use it as a starting point if you're new to laptop tuning.

With the built-in timing source, 6-Mod processes a PCM's timing and presents a new baseline timing curve that can be modified (advanced or slowed) by clicking on and dragging the dots in ProData+'s rpm or MAP tables. Data is then transferred and saved in the tables from the laptop to the 6-Mod controller unit mounted in the engine compartment. The system also offers more dynamic methods of manipulating an injected mod-motor's timing, but again, we suggest you stick with the built-in basic feature until you're more familiar and comfortable with operating 6-Mod.

Continue reading and learn more about our exploits with MSD's new 6-Mod ignition controller and the overall performance of the blown '04 when spark and timing are at their best.

Saul "The Surgeon" Gutierrez of Extreme Auto-motive orchestrated our installation and dyno tests. The process begins with the removal of the air-charge cooler's tubing, which creates more than adequate access to the coils on the passenger side of the engine. Even though our test subject is equipped with a strut-tower brace, removal isn't necessary.

Ford Blaster Coil-on-Plugs bolt directly in place with no changes or mods required. The COPs provide higher voltage and greater spark energy than factory coils, thanks to MSD's patented, dual-magnet technology. By emitting spark energy directly from the coil and across the spark-plug gap instead of at the wire in the boot, combustion and engine efficiency are greatly improved with Blasters.