If the car runs too hot because you're aggressive with the timing, then it's pinging/knocking or you don't have enough cooling capacity. If it's not pinging, it's making power. Backing off on the power level in some attempt to keep it cool seems pretty weak.
FWIW I'm running about 17 degrees with my current combo and I ran about the same with the old iron-head combo.
- '92 5-sp LX coupe, TKO, 3.55s, pulleys, Al DS, 1-5/8 shorties, Magnaflow spun metallic cats, 2.5 Dynomax VT's, Pro5.0 w/ Steeda Comfort Pro
- GT40Y's, E cam, Cobra intake, tmoss ported lower, FRPP 65mm TB, BBK 75mm MAF, 155 lph pump, FRPP oil cooler, Al rad, 130amp alt, Energy mounts
- Autopower 4-point bar, 5-pt harnesses, MM weld-in subs and STB
- MM K-member/A-arms/Coilovers, 425# springs, MM cc plates, Koni Yellow DA's
- MM adj rear LCA's/torque arm/panhard bar, 500# rear springs, Eibach swaybar, Koni Yellow SA's
- SN95 Cobra brakes, FR500 17x9 wheels, Raybestos ST47 pads
- 3400 lbs with me and 1/2 tank of gas
- Regional autocross champ 99-02, 10,100 miles on 17 tracks