Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
September 1, 2000

In the simple world of 5.0 Mustangs, adjusting your timing is a dragstrip ritual that takes all of five minutes. Hook up your timing light, crank up the motor, pull the SPark OUTput (SPOUT) connector, loosen the distributor, and set the timing to your liking. Before you know it, you're finished, and ready to try your new combination (don't forget to take good notes so you'll know what works). Setting your timing in this manner has not changed much since the dawn of the single point breaker distributor. But instead of pulling and plugging a vacuum line, you're unplugging the SPOUT connector.

For those of you with a '96-current 4.6 Mustang (GT or Cobra), adjusting your timing hasn't been a simple task in the past. Before Steeda designed the 4.6 timing adjuster, you basically had two options-a custom-calibrated computer chip or a laptop computer and tuning software. Both were expensive-especially if you didn't own a laptop-and had major drawbacks. A computer chip works fine and does an admirable job of creating power. But if you want to tweak the timing for a new combination (perhaps you installed larger injectors or ported the heads), then you'll have to return the computer chip to the manufacturer for correction and for chassis dyno time to calibrate it. Steeda has proven that the direct mechanical movement of the timing adjuster is more reliable than computer chips, which can suffer from poor connections and/or a loss of calibration.

Fear not if you already have a computer chip in your 4.6. The Steeda timing adjuster works with all existing chips and other timing-control devices. In fact, these devices are unaware that the Steeda timing adjuster is even present! Keep in mind how your other timing device or chip affects the timing when you manually set the Steeda adjuster. The factory timing setting is 10 degrees, and the Steeda adjuster can adjust base timing from 0 to 20 degrees. Thus you have 10 degrees of advance and 10 degrees of retard available with the Steeda adjuster. The Steeda timing adjuster will work with underdrive pulleys too, though Steeda or Auto Specialties pulleys are preferred. The piggyback-style pulleys require an adapter from Steeda and work only with the proper crankshaft-keyway orientation. However, not all piggyback pulleys have the proper crankshaft-keyway orientation required for the timing adjuster.

Made from 6061-T6 aluminum, the Steeda timing adjuster comes in three main parts: the engine bracket, the adjustable timing bracket, and the timing trigger wheel. The timing trigger wheel is steel (it has to be magnetic) and is nickel-plated to inhibit corrosion. The Steeda timing adjuster works on all '96-'99 4.6 2V and 4V Mustang applications, and will clear Vortech and most other super-charger kits (provided they use the stock crankshaft pulley and provided the mounting bracket doesn't interfere with the timing adjuster bracket).

The 2000 Mustang front engine accessory-drive mounting bracket has been changed from the previous model years, and Steeda is working on a revised timing adjuster for these applications. We hope to have some information on the 2000-specific adjuster soon. At $179.95 direct from Steeda or from a Steeda distributor (not including shipping), the Steeda timing adjuster is a great place to start on the road to 4.6 performance. Follow along as we install our adjuster on a '99 4.6 GT in less than an hour in the owner's driveway.