5.0 Mustang & Super Fords
SCT's iTSX Wireless OBD-II
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.
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.
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
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On the Dyno
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.