Launch control module, RPM controller or 2-step are just a few of the names by which MSD Performance’s launch mechanism device is described. No matter what you call it, this handy little device serves a pertinent role in keeping your car consistent every time you launch it out of the hole.
Installing a launch controller quite literally can shave seconds off of your time, whether you’re looking to improve your reaction time or an e.t. at the strip. A great example of that is how MSD’s 2-step module allows you to make adjustments on the fly. If you’ll recall back in early 2011, we had great success using MSD’s early iteration of its 2-step on one of our former project cars, — a 2011 Mustang GT.
…In drag racing or any type of racing where a standing start is involved, having a 2-step installed is absolutely a critical. — Blane Burnett, MSD Performance
Nowadays, we’re using MSD’s latest 2-step module for the ’11-plus Coyote-powered Mustang on our supercharged 2013 Mustang GT. That car recently received an automatic transmission swap, and, when combined with a transbrake, was looking to take full advantage of launching capability at the drag strip.
Moreover, our friends at Brenspeed have also had great success with MSD’s 2-step for Coyote cars, having installed one on its high-mileage 2011 Mustang GT equipped with a 6R80 six-speed-automatic transmission.
So, as you can see, there’s a pattern here with MSD and Mustangs. Our supercharged 2005 Mustang GT will receive one at a later date as well, so we decided to check in with Blane Burnett, Advertising and P.R. Supervisor for MSD Performance, to find out how a Mustang can benefit from a 2-step upgrade.
MSD’s Blane Burnett says that the company even manufactures 3-step rev limiters for those looking for burnout, launch, and rev limit control for serious drag racing needs.
FM:What Is A 2-Step?
Blane Burnett: “The purpose of a 2-step is to provide racers with launch control along with a redline rev limit. “It allows racers to program a lower RPM for consistent launching of a vehicle out of the hole. This RPM limit is typically set lower than an engine’s maximum RPM. For example, the 2-step rev limit should be set just below the stall speed of a torque converter on an automatic car using a transbrake. When the transbrake is released, the converter will flash and accelerate the car off the line.”
“The 2-step works equally well when foot-braking an automatic, or dumping the clutch on a stick car,” he added. “The final rev limit is just like a factory rev limiter on a late-model vehicle – albeit it is adjustable – so that an engine doesn’t see over-revving, or sustain critical engine damage. As you can imagine, in drag racing or any type of racing where a standing start is involved, having a 2-step installed is absolutely a critical component for competitive teams.”
See those two dial indicators? The first one is to adjust rpm by the thousandths, and the second is four hundredths, allowing enthusiasts to dial in their RPM range as accurately as possible.
FM:How Does It Work?
BB: “In the early days of analog rev limit technology, the function of rev limiters was seemingly choppy. However, innovations in these products over the years have allowed 2-step devices to activate much softer and actuate in terms of which cylinders are being dropped. This effect is most noticeable on a car with open headers, as the traditional popping and banging is now less audible.”
Installing MSD’s 2-step is extremely easy, as the new female connector from the included MSD harness install directly onto the factory coil pack.
“A 2-step works by dropping spark on a cylinder during a revolution, and then picking it back up the next revolution to prevent loading cylinders with fuel and fouling plugs. As alluded to earlier, MSD’s new digital rev limiters are much smoother and easier on engines all around. All of the rev limiters that MSD manufactures are ‘soft-touch’ rev limiters, which is a huge plus for any enthusiast.”
Be sure to verify you're ordering the correct 2-step, as models vary due to connector changes based on vehicle year model.
FM:Does it stress the ignition components?
BB: “Even a factory rev limiter isn’t designed to be utilized for long periods of time. With that said, as long as a rev limiter is utilized in the manner for which it was designed and intended for, it will not have a detrimental effect on the timing system of an engine.”
Kickin’ It Old School
MSD Performance’s 2-step devices have come a long way since their first iteration. With newer cars comes newer technology, but on classic or vintage platforms, these will work just fine as well.
FM:Can a 2-Step be used outside drag-racing environment?
BB: “Absolutely. Any motorsport which requires a standing start, such as drag racing, autocross or drifting. Virtually anywhere you would want to be able to execute a consistent launch, having a 2-step will do nothing but benefit you right from the beginning —literally!”
To recap, investing in a 2-step device such as the one we’ve reviewed today from MSD Performance will allow you to take a huge step toward consistency on your racing path.
“With the convenience of the installation being non-permanent, coupled with the simple plug-and-play installation process, you really can’t beat installing a 2-step on your car if you’re looking to maximize the most out of it,” Blane concluded.
Since our own ’05 Mustang GT is built around that same street/strip mentality, we plan to utilize a 2-step of our own once we hit the strip again. Interested in learning more about what MSD has to offer for your ride? Head over to the company’s website here.