We educate you on Innovate Motorsport’s MTX-A gauge line and install a set in a supercharged Fox Body Mustang!
Previously featured in the December issue of Race Pages Magazine.
Innovate Motorsports has always been known for its ability to give automotive enthusiasts a look into their engines with diagnostic and tuning tools. Through its long list of patent-pending, digital and analog products, nearly all critical functions of an engine can be displayed or recorded. Selecting the right gauge (or gauges) can help racers and enthusiasts tune their way towards optimum performance and steer clear of engine-ruining calibrations. Needless to say, we are way beyond the simple idiot lights that come standard on most dashboards when running high horsepower combinations on the street and strip.
(Left) Knowing your boost reading is valuable for tuning as well as for identifying problems like a slipping blower belt or faulty bypass valve. (Right) Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) is self-explanatory and it works as a tuning aid to determine if the cylinder it is reading is too lean (hot) or too rich (cold). Paradis installed the Innovate Motorsports EGT sensor in the number seven cylinder, as it tends to run hotter than the other cylinders in that particular combination.
In today’s high-performance world, it seems as if everything benefits from some sort of boost, and with abnormal manifold pressure comes the need for information. In order to sample some products from the Innovate Motorsports MTX-A line up, we called up Dez Racing to track down a supercharged test car. The shop owner, Mike Dezotell, had the perfect vehicle, a 1993 Mustang LX that belongs to shop technician Doug Paradis. His street car sports a basic heads/cam/intake package that gets pressurized by a Vortech S-trim supercharger churning out 14 psi of boost. The car produces 460 rwhp through an AOD automatic transmission.
A Means Analog
The MTX-A line of gauges offers several unique features to ensure accurate information is delivered in the harsh environments of racing and, of course, street use. The –A signifies that the gauges are analog and there are four parameters covered in the series—Air/Fuel ratio, Boost (20- or 30-psi), Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT), and Oil/Water Temperature. Each 2-1/6th inch (52mm) gauge is microprocessor-driven, boasts vibration- and shock-resistant needles for accurate displays. According to Innovate’s engineering staff that means the gauge needle sweep uses an electronic digital stepper motor instead of a diaphragm like other gauges. Not only are the bezels interchangeable, the gauge is lit up with LED lights for a uniform look across the dashboard or wherever the gauges are mounted. To check out the full line of MTX-A gauges, click here.
MTS serial in/out plugs allow the gauges to be daisy-chained together for use with an Innovate Motorsports or 3rd-party, MTS-enabled devices for additional channel logging. The Boost, EGT, and Oil/Water Temperature gauges can also be programmed to act as a warning indicator to alert the driver. And no worries on the speed or accuracy of the data as Innovate gauges only use high quality sending units.
We selected three MTX-A gauges to help keep an eye on the 10-second supercharged package. The first one we chose was the 20-psi Vacuum/Boost gauge, while we ordered up the Air/Fuel and EGT gauges as well, rounding out the trio of gauges that would fit nicely in the A-pillar gauge pods. The mounting location gives the driver a clear view of the needles when Paradis needs to study the information while on the chassis dyno, or to get a quick glance when in the heat of a drag race.
The Air/Fuel gauge would be setup to read the right bank of the engine as the Holley EFI on the vehicle draws data from an air/fuel sensor on the left side. The Innovate Motorsports MTX-AL air/fuel ratio gauge features a patented DirectDigital wide-band sensor control, which is 100 percent digital. The kit includes a Bosch LSU 4.9 wide-band sensor that has the ability to be calibrated via laptop for maximum accuracy. The final gauge we installed is the EGT sensor, which reads up to 1,800 degrees. Paradis decided to put the sensor on the number seven cylinder, it tends to get hotter than other cylinders on the 302 High Output engine.
(Left) It is always recommended to keep your wiring neat and organized as it will ease the installation and reduce the risk of connection errors. Paradis marked and bundled the wires and tied all of the gauges together to create only one ground, one illumination wire, and one key-on wire. (Right) The Air/Fuel and EGT gauges have serial programming cables that can plug into a laptop, and Innovate Motorsports software allows the user to calibrate the sensor(s). Paradis marked each one so there is no guessing once the installation is complete.
Paradis tied all the wires together to neaten it up as well as to ease installation with just one wire for each: the ground, illumination, and key-on. As he fused together the gauges, he soldered the wires and used heat-shrink wrap to cover the connections. Paradis cautioned against using butt-connectors or quick connectors, as vibrations and rattles tend to loosen up those types of connections and can create problems. The main dashboard console had to be removed in order for the pillar mount to be installed, but outside of getting the gauges wired and running the sensors to the different parts of the engine, the installation only took a few hours.
(Left) Innovate Motorsports gives enthusiasts two choices to install the EGT sensor; either drill/tap a hole or use a bung. Paradis decided to drill and tap a hole, as it was easier. (Right) The boost sensor was mounted on the firewall next to the factory vacuum tree, which is where the sensor gets its manifold pressure reading.
Beyond the three gauges we chose for our supercharged subject, there are two more gauges in the MTX-A line-up. One of the two remaining is a 30-psi boost gauge, which is identical to the one we used except for the peak boost limit. The other gauge is a fluid temperature one that reads from 120-degrees up to 280-degrees, Fahrenheit. It can be used with either water or oil; additionally the temperature gauge can be configured to act as a warning lamp just like the boost and EGT gauges. Using a hook-up to a laptop, Innovate Motorsports software allows users to set a threshold to trigger a blinking light in the gauge to alert the driver.
With the back-lit gauges glowing, the supercharger humming, and the Weld Draglites spinning on the chassis dyno, the needle twisted to 14 psi, the air/fuel was rock-solid at 11.3:1 at WOT, and the EGT reading settled in at 900 degrees at idle. The Innovate Motorsports MTX-A gauges added style and function to an otherwise mundane interior.