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Crane XR3000 Ignition Install for n00bs

Written by Randy Molson Thursday, 06 April 2006

Here is how I installed a Crane Cams XR3000 ignition and PS91 coil in a 1976 carbed 2002. Before this installation, I had little experience with automobile ignition/timing, so I found the available guidance difficult to use.

compiled from RandyMolson's Forum Post Crane XR3000 Ignition Install for n00bs by _z_

Component Selection and Arrangement

I bought the Crane XR3000 because I wanted the closest thing I could get to true electronic ignition, using a system that would bolt-on to my dizzy. I bought the Crane PS91 coil because the manufacture recommended replacing the OEM coil for the XR3000 application. I waffled between the PS60 oil-filled coil and the PS91, finally deciding on the PS91 due to slightly better performance specs and not much price difference.

I relocated the coil location to the passenger firewall adjacent to the dizzy. I did this for several reasons. First, I needed to drill new holes to mount the non-OEM coil, and for rust prevention, I didn’t want to breach the wheel well. Also, the new coil location eliminated the various ignition wires that dangled along the side of the engine bay. Finally, the XR3000 wires would not have reached the OEM coil location unless I mounted the XR3000 along the side firewall, and I didn’t want it there.

One coil-related surprise was the PS91 has a male coil-wire connection, while the OEM coil is female. Luckily I found a parts store with a M-F ignition wire in stock.

Another coil-related surprise was the PS91 has slot connectors rather than post connectors. So I basically had to cut the ends off all the ignition wires and wire-nut everything to new coil slot connector wires. I might clean that up and get a couple of 4-prong connectors to eliminate the wire nuts.

The installation would have been faster if I bought the PS60 and installed the XR3000 on the sidewall between the coil and the dizzy. The XR3000 is light enough that it can be screwed to the sidewall with 2-screws in an upper area that will not breach the wheel well, I think. The down-side with this arrangement is mainly aesthetic in that it dangles a lot of wires along the side firewall. My arrangement is cleaner looking. However, I spent more time monkeying with the wiring and the mounting locations than I spent actually installing the XR3000 in the dizzy. If you want a faster install with less wiring mods, go with the PS60.

Following the example of a few FAQ folks, I mounted the XR3000 in the ventilation well above the new coil location.

Bypassing the Ballast

OEM ignitions have a resister in one of the coil power wires, either wired as a standalone unit mounted near the coil, or in the later models, as a resister wire. You must bypass the resister for an XR3000.

The insulation on my resister wire was horribly failed and melted looking, with exposed conductor everywhere. I was more than happy to chop that out of the system. It was about 1 meter long and I replaced it with standard multi-strand wire using a soldered connection.

Installing the XR3000

The XR3000 includes generic directions and a little bag of cheap-looking adaptors to make it compatible with any 12-volt dizzy under the sun. That results in a lot of trial-and-error to figure out how it fits an 02. I thought I had this issue licked because another post on the FAQ board showed 02 installation instructions with photos. Unfortunately, neither the base arrangement nor the disk-type documented in that post worked with my dizzy. I wasted many hours trying to make that arrangement work, so beware, unless your dizzy looks exactly like mine, you may have to do something entirely different.

Here are the steps for installing the XR3000:

1. Remove the car battery cables.

2. Set the engine position so the #1 cylinder is at TDC. To do this, remove the valve cover. Push the car in 3rd gear to turn the engine until the slot on the timing chain cog is at the apex. Take the car out of gear for the remainder of the installation, so you don’t accidentally rock the motor out of position.

3. Remove the dizzy from the engine. Otherwise, it is next to impossible to install the tiny parts and check clearances of the shutter disk and optical sensor. To remove the dizzy, loosen the collar-pinch-bolt and pull the dizzy straight up.

4. Remove the points, condenser and wire grommet.

5. Install the base and sensor mount as shown in the photo. You will likely fine tune the mounts later, but the photo is a good starting point.

6. Find shutter-disk Part 220. Slip the optical sensor over the disk, then push the disk down over the dizzy post, noting that notches in the disk collar fit into the flat sections of the post.

7. Adjust the angle of the base and the height of the sensor mount to allow the dizzy to spin with the Crane components centered and not rubbing anywhere. Do this check with the rotor installed, since the rotor must clear the sensor as well.

8. In lieu of the electronic static timing described in the mfgr instructions, I timed it mechanically as follows. I did this without the dizzy installed so I could look closely at the tolerances. Point the dizzy post notch to the #1 TDC notch in the dizzy housing. Rotate the optical sensor mount so the leading edge of a disk slot aligns with the centerline of the sensor, then secure the mount in this position using the set screw.

A Note on TDC: winstontj posted a great little tip on finding Top Dead Center

Remember the crankshaft turns TWICE for every ONE camshaft rotation. Easiest way to get to TDC after pulling the dizzy and getting turned around like you describe is to pull the valve cover and watch the valves. @ TDC both #1 lobes will be pointing away, with the exhaust the next one to depress. 1-3-4-2.... Look to #3, it should look like #1 but just a wee bit behind. When you have TDC at the motor then install the dizzy per the manual. It helps to take white out or a razor knive and mark the lip the amount you have to rotate the rotor forward (because it turns as you insert the dizzy)

9. Put the dizzy back on the engine and rotate it so the rotor points to the #1 TDC notch in the dizzy housing. This should be all you need to do to statically set the timing.

10. Button everything up. The timing should be close enough to run the engine. You will need to time it with a timing light for optimum performance.

The 02 immediately started up on the first try following my XR3000 installation. It has never cold-started so nicely. Cold-starts with this car previously took over 10 tries.

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In addition I've included the post-67-13667560045983_thumb.jpg


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