All of this is in the quest of turning my once-stock 1990 Mustang LX into a fun little street/strip car.
In past installments, I have:
1. Swapped the stock T5 for a C4:
2. Installed a driveshaft loop:
My plan is to assemble a warmed-up 364ci SBF based on Ford Racing's new Boss block. That course of action will be taken at the end of this year. Until then, the goal is to lay a nice foundation for the engine. That includes the addition of an MSD 6AL ignition box and some other MSD-related goodies.
On this go-around the following parts were installed:
* MSD 6AL - MSD #6420
* MSD TFI Wiring Harness - MSD #8874
* MSD Blaster 2 TFI Coil - MSD #8227
* MSD Streetfire 8mm Plug Wires - MSD #5541
* Summit Racing 79-93 Mustang Ignition Box Bracket - SME-2802
* Stock Replacement Distributor Cap
* Stock Replacement Distributor Rotor
I did a lot of research before I purchased any parts for this upgrade. I had to first decide on an ignition box. MSD has their new Streetfire line out, which offers an ignition box for less than $140. That actually seemed really tempting, as the footprint of the box is a lot smaller than the 6AL. However, I was able to find a comparison between the 6AL and the Streetfire box, which showed that the latter was only rated for vehicles up to 350hp. My future plans include numbers around 525-550hp, so I decided to ante up and head for the 6AL.
My second decision revolved around where to mount the box. I searched FM, Stangnet, and the Corral, looking for optimum locations. While on Summit Racing's site, I just happened to do a search for "ignition box bracket". Up popped this:
Summit SME-2802 - Summit® Manufacturing and Engineering Ignition Mounting Brackets
One of the great things about working on Fox chassis Mustangs is the great abundance of aftermarket parts. The bracket above is made of galvanized steel, is already drilled and tapped to fit several different boxes, and it even includes the rubber shock mounts. All for under $20. It's made to mount on the passenger side inner fender, where the strut tower meets the fender.
Since we're talking about aftermarket part availability for Mustangs, I'll add in how nice it was to find MSD's 8874 TFI wiring harness. I'll talk about this more later on, but it really made the installation very easy.
I began by removing all of the intake items on the passenger side inner fender. This included the stock airbox, the mass airflow sensor, and the duct that connects it all to the throttle body.
There are several wiring harnesses that pass through that area. They will all have to removed from their staked-in mounting positions. There is also a relay that is mounted in this area. It needs to be relocated. This was accomplished by drilling a small hole further down on the inner fender and attaching the relay to the inner fender with a self-tapping screw.
I then mocked up the ignition box on the bracket and placed it on the inner fender. It really fit the area well, so I just marked the position with a Sharpie, removed the ignition box, then placed the bracket back in place and drilled (3) 1/4" holes in the strut tower. The bracket is already drilled for mounting screws. I then anchored the bracket to the strut tower with (3) 5/16" lag screws.
While I had the MSD box mocked up, I went ahead and planned my routes for the wiring. I noticed that most of the wires would have to be lengthened by about 18".
It is recommended by MSD that you use the next larger gauge for lengthening wires. That means that you use 16GA for the smaller wires and 10GA for the big wires that go to main power and ground.
I then cut the ends off each wire, then soldered the wire extensions on. After soldering, I slipped on shrink-wrap tubing and applied a little heat. I also put on the new wire ends and then slid everything down into some wire loom tubing.
It was then time to install the new rotor, distributor cap, plug wires (CCW firing order for this 302, 13726548), and mount the new MSD coil. The coil was a very straightforward swap, with it just being held onto the bracket with (4) little screws.
The MSD box got mounted up and the wire loom got routed. I decided to run it back along the passenger side inner fender, then along the firewall and back down the other side. The loom was ran back behind the air conditioning lines and it's really hard to detect that something aftermarket is there.
I decided to run the large power wire from the MSD box to the starter relay on the driver's side inner fender near the coil. That kept me from having to use special battery terminal lugs.
Since the ground wire from the battery went straight to the engine block and the ground wire on the MSD box was a little short (I didn't lengthen it because I knew where I would attach it), I secured it to the bottom left throttle body bolt on the intake manifold.
Here's the neat part about the MSD TFI wiring harness: it just snaps in-line of the coil weatherpack connectors. It has 4 little pigtails sticking out of its own loom that correspond to the wires coming out of the MSD 6AL box. Black to black, white to white, orange to orange, and red to red.
(Picture courtesy of Summit Racing's website)
The only thing I didn't like about it was the way that the wires were sticking out of it. It was a little hard to get them routed in a neat way and I'm still working on that part.
After the box and wiring were finalized, I then reinstalled the intake plumbing and plugged the MAF sensor back in.
Everything fired right up without incident and settled right down to a nice idle.
I couldn't really notice any power difference with all the newly installed parts, but I now have a rev-limiter (although it's set at a very low 5400 rpm for the stock 5.0) and I have a good foundation for a future engine.
What's good about the 6AL is that it uses the same pills as my MSD LED shift light:
My next step in the transformation will be a big one: switching everything over to a carb setup, including a new fuel tank with pickup (AN fittings), a Aeromotive pump, new fuel lines, and some new engine goodies.