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Crane XR3000 ignition  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: 04-07-2009 04:56 pm
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sjensen24
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I paid someone to install a Crane XR3000 electronic ignition in my car and have been having problems ever since.  The work was done by a non english car mechanic who is no longer available.  I set the timing at 12 btdc.  The car is very low on power at high speeds or climbing hills.  I have not checked to see if the timing advances with rpm but plan to do that this weekend.  I have read Greg's tech note suggesting that most Crane ignitions are installed wrong.  What would be the obvious mistakes a mechanic would make?  I notice that the instructions say I must bypass any ballast resistors.  I do not know if that was done or if it would explain the problem.

Any help would be most welcome.

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 Posted: 04-08-2009 01:00 am
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JHRV8
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You have  to follow the entire installation through the wiring  to see if done correctly....Find a JHPS member in your area to help you look; sounds like it needs to be re-done.....sorry, JHRV8.

Last edited on 04-08-2009 01:02 am by JHRV8

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 Posted: 04-08-2009 02:59 am
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Jensen Healey
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There are two "bumps" on the inside of some aftermarket distributor caps that interfered with the Crane that was on my car. I removed the Crane and installed Pertronix, no worries!

Kurt

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 Posted: 04-08-2009 03:39 pm
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Dan (Florida)
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Even though Crane Cams is no longer in business, their website is still up and working and has all of the instructions and diagrams.  I have a xr750 that came with the car that works ok but much better with a msd unit. They had the instructions for installing both.  The xr750 didn't make the car start or run much better than what I imagine the points would do , but I don't think the car would start at all if wired wrong. You are going to have to experiment with plug gaps and  timing.  Did the mechanic remove the vacuum advance mechanism and block the vacuum ports as is needed?  I would first visit the crane cams site/technical/ignitions and read up on the unit. It sounds like something else may be wrong.

keep us posted

Dan

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 Posted: 04-08-2009 04:41 pm
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sjensen24
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thanks for the response.  I did buy the unit from Delta for the JH.  Seems like they would know if it was not appropriate.  I am able to adjust the timing manually.  Do you think the interference you describe would prevent that?

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 Posted: 04-08-2009 04:44 pm
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sjensen24
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I will be working on the car this weekend; checking if the timing advances.  I can verify the vacuum ports were blocked.  I did find the crane instructions.  thanks, all.

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 Posted: 04-09-2009 01:49 pm
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Jensenman
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The #1 problem is the pickup is not properly 'phased'. It's not difficult, just a little tedious. 'Phasing' means that the rotor points to the contact in the cap at the same time that the shutter wheel slit is centered in the pickup. The pickup has to be slid on the mounting bracket to set this and it might take a few tries to get it right. If this is not done the ignition timing will be impossible to set properly.

 

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 Posted: 04-09-2009 02:04 pm
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sjensen24
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Thanks.  It sounds like it would be easy for an installer to miss that.  I am planning to remove the distributor for these investigations as it is very hard to work on in the car.  Is the phasing a visual exercise (just line things up by sight) or is it more technical.

Additional info that was not in my original post.  In addition to being low on power at higher rpms,  the exhaust system got seriously hot after about 30 minutes of driving.  It burned a hole in my muffler.  My best guess is that the timing is not advancing.  I intend to test that this weekend.

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 Posted: 04-09-2009 02:25 pm
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Jensen Healey
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To set the phasing I used an old cap and drilled holes on either side of the #1 tower. Then used a timing light to look at the rotor while it operates. I had to redrill my Pertronix unit so it could be adjusted enough.

With the MSD unit phasing problems quickly lead to tracking in the cap and burned through rotors.

Kurt

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 Posted: 04-10-2009 12:17 pm
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Jensenman
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On mine, I painted a line on the dizzy body with White Out which lined up with the #1 wire tower on the cap. I then painted a small white line on the shutter wheel in line with the slit (makes it much easier to see), aligned the rotor with the mark on the body and then aligned the center of the pickup with the mark on the shutter wheel.  

Last edited on 04-10-2009 12:19 pm by Jensenman

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 Posted: 04-13-2009 01:21 pm
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Jensenman
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If the exhaust got that hot, it tells me the timing was seriously retarded. Assuming the engine still runs smoothly, I'd say the powerplant will be all right. Generally speaking, a lot of timing advance will cause spark knock and detonation which will punch holes in pistons and melt stuff but retarded doesn't usually cause damage unless it's run that way for a LONG time. It can also make the engine overheat big time, you didn't mention that so my gut feeling is the engine is OK.

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 Posted: 04-13-2009 01:36 pm
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sjensen24
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I spent some time this weekend working on the car.  The symptoms again are low power at high rpm and an overheated exhaust.  This is what I have found so far.

 

1.                  The install instructions for the Crane ignition say that all ballast resistors must be removed from the circuit.  There is what looks like a ceramic resistor still wired.  When I pull one of the wires, the car dies.  Are there any risks to bypassing this resistor with a jumper wire?

2.                  The timing does not increase with engine speed.  It is set at about 12 degrees BTDC at 1000 rpm.  It does not change when I rev the engine.

3.                  The vacuum advance is still on the distributor, but it is not connected to the manifold and the line was not blocked off, either at the manifold or the distributor.

 

Is it necessary to have the vacuum connected or can I just block these ports?  Is it possible that the resistor is responsible for the failure to advance or is it likely that there is some inference inside the distributor that prevents it from advancing?  I believe that cap to be original.

 

This is a little frustrating, but I am learning a lot.

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 Posted: 04-13-2009 01:39 pm
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sjensen24
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The engine seems to be fine.  I started it and it ran well at twenty five degrees btdc, but when I dialed it back to 12 it ran a bit rough.

Last edited on 04-13-2009 02:52 pm by sjensen24

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 Posted: 04-13-2009 02:46 pm
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Judson Manning
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What you've got is a band-aid solution.  While it may be running, it's not running well and it's certainly not taking advantage of the Crane's higher output.

The guy you want to contact is Jeff Schlemmer at Advanced Distributors jeff@advanceddistributors.com in Shakopee, MN 612-804-5543.  Jeff rebuilt my 45DM and has done work for several other club members.

He's the kind of guy who can do just about anything with the Lucas distributors and he is a very 'can do' person.  I'd give him a call and tell him your story.

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 Posted: 04-13-2009 03:06 pm
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Jensen Healey
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Jeff also sells high quality rotors.

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 Posted: 04-13-2009 09:05 pm
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Jensenman
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There's two types of advance: vacuum and mechanical.

The vacuum capsule is one of two types: it either advances the ignition timing when you open the throttle, this type works off of 'ported' vacuum meaning there's no vacuum applied at idle but as you open the throttle the advance unit now gets vacuum. This type will have a hose going to the carburetor in the area of the throttle plate.

Or there's the 'retard' type, this one has vacuum at idle and retards the ignition timing. When the throttle is opened, the vacuum drops and a spring inside the unit now advances the ignition timing. This type will have the hose connected directly to the intake manifold.

Either one can be bypassed but now you have to set your ignition timing differently: the engine has to be run at ~2500 RPM and the ignition timing set at the full advance point. I'd have to go back and look at my manual, but I believe that's 32 deg BTDC. This means the ignition timing at idle will be advanced compared to the stock setting.

The mechanical advance is a set of weights and springs inside the distributor, under the points plate. It looks like this:

http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa70/supercharged111/Crown%20Vic/DistributorMechanicalAdvance.jpg

 Here's how to install the distributor holddown to make life a lot easier. I learned this from messing with MGBs which have the dizzy clamp in a terrible spot (although nowhere near as bad as the J-H's): while you have the dizzy out, install the clamp on the dizzy and experiment with the clamp bolt torque until you can turn the distributor in the clamp with medium effort. It has to be tight enough that the dizzy can't be easily removed from the clamp, yet it can be rotated; as noted this takes some experimenting. Once it's back in the engine use the stud/nut which points toward the rear of the engine to hold the dizzy in place. Now you can turn the dizzy to set the ignition timing without having to loosen/tighten the bolt. In the future if you have to remove the dizzy, take the nut off of the stud and leave the clamp attached to the dizzy. 

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 Posted: 04-13-2009 10:57 pm
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Jensen Healey
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Block the vacuum tap at the manofold. That's a vacuum leak and the car will never run right.

If your advance doesn't change with rpm then the mechanical advance is stuck. Lubricate and move by hand before rechecking. If this is not working, do not run the car. Send it to Jeff and get it fixed!

Good Luck,

Kurt

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 Posted: 04-14-2009 12:22 am
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Jensenman
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BTW, about the resistor: the control box should have +12V at all times. The ignition coil will vary; some require +6 volts regardless of the voltage supplied to the control box meaning the resistor is needed for the coil only. Some require +12V at all times, meaning no resistor. I'm running a 'Lucas Sports' coil with my Crane and it requires a resistor.  

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 Posted: 04-27-2009 01:21 pm
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sjensen24
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Progress report.  I spent some time on the car this weekend.  I restored the vacuum connection.  The engine seems to run smoother at idle and I now read advance of about 8 degrees at 2000 rpm.  At 3000 rpms the engine starts to miss and the marks fade out, creating the impression that the advance has stopped.  I am beginning to wonder if my whole problem is that ballast resistor.

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 Posted: 04-27-2009 02:47 pm
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Jensen Healey
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No, no, no. DISCONNECT THE VACUUM!!!!!!   Cap it at the manifold. You can't check the timing with the vacuum retard system connected.

Your timing is way off. by 2000 rpm you should read around 20 degrees BTDC.

 

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