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Speed Secrets: Understanding Timing For Your Best Tune

So you’ve done your research and picked out the perfect parts for your application, put it all together, and now all you’ve gotta do is find a way to control the beast. That’s where FAST comes in with their impressive XFI management system. No matter the engine or combination, when it comes to tuning there are really two major elements – air/fuel ratio and timing. Each just as important as the other and the FAST XFI has got it covered. 

You see, for the combustion process to work, it must be supplied with air and fuel that is then compressed and ignited. The issue with this process is that it is a dynamic equation, meaning it is ever changing. Likewise so is the needs of timing the ignition of the air/fuel mixture relative to piston position. So, what would happen if you optimized the timing on a naturally aspirated application versus an application with boost? To find out, Richard Holdener with Speed Secrets teamed up with his friends at FAST. 

First, Richard puts an XFI management system to work on a naturally aspirated 408 LS Stroker. The combination was initially dialed in to 24 degrees of timing. Run at that timing level on the Dyno the 408 stroker produced 533 HP @ 6,400 RPM and 479 Lb-Ft of torque @ 5,000 RPM.

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After dialing the timing up to 30 degrees the output jumped to 547 HP @ 6,600 RPM and 491 Lb-Ft of torque @ 5,000 RPM. Optimizing the timing was worth 15-17 HP and the same amount of torque on the naturally aspirated engine, but what happens when you add boost to the equation?

Boosted applications generally run less timing that NA applications, so Richard started the supercharged LS combination off at 18 degrees. On the Dyno, it produced 791 HP @ 6,500 RPM and 655 Lb-Ft of torque @ 5,100 RPM. After increasing the timing up to 21 degrees the peak power output jumped to 839 HP @ 6,900 RPM and and 681 Lb-Ft of torque @ 5,900 RPM. This extra 3 degrees of timing was worth 35 HP on the supercharged combination. This proves that no matter if your combination is naturally aspirated or boosted, the reality is that optimized timing works on any engine with any number of combinations.

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