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Trouble shooting a Crane XR700 elec. ign.?


Lilleyvanilli
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Could anybody help me determine if my Crane XR700 elec. ign. is performing correctly? What do you look for to verify that it is working properly? This is, as far as I know, an LED diode and a 'chopper wheel' type system.

Been chasing an intermittent starting issue on my '76. Runs fine, like always, but recently have had to start car by jumping hot-to-starter wires, diagnostic port, remove switch and start w/screwdriver (new ign. switch). BUT NOW, none of the above works. but I bet 2 days from now, it will. I have cleaned all grounds throughout, even put on a new - battery lead for good measure months back.

Car is getting voltage from key to coil. New coil operating correctly, but no spark. But sometimes there is spark. I've been over the hills and through the woods with this one. I wish only one time it would consistently repeat itself

I do not want to put points back in in order to prove the XR700 is faulty.

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When my Crane (Allison) ignitions failed (I had 4 of them fail) the engine would backfire and miss terribly, then finally quit running and not start at all. Replacing the ignition with points solved the problem.

I finally resorted to removing the Allison (Crane) altogether and going back to points. Too many failures.

I still have the one they sent back to me after the last one failed. It was repaired and is sitting on a shelf in my closet. You can have it if you want it.

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You say that you have bin jump starting your vehicle, replaced one battery lead, checked system voltage. I bet you have a dead battery or low battery voltage for whatever reason. you didnt say what the voltage was and dont tell me you used a test light because test lights are very misleading. Crane XR700, Pertronix, MSD 6a etc. etc. need to see 12.6 volts on the red wire. not 12 volts or they will not work correctly. Get your battery/started/generator tested so that you know your electrical system is producing a cosistant 13.0-13.5 volts. then recheck your Crane XR700.

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Funny you mention the backfire, Mike,

When I start the car, on occasion, I've mentioned it just keeps turning over and when i release pressure from the key (as in let go of it completely), the car starts up! This initially led me to suspect the ignition switch being worn. BUT ON OCCASION, when I've done this, the car will poop out the top of the carb (and one time ran in reverse!). It's almost like the the elec. ignition is sending out a Jolt of current.

So your 4 units were all bad? I'm curious how you determined... was it the LED pickup? The wiring? The unit with the aluminum fins? guess I'm lucky to get the 10+ years out of mine. I'm thinking I may have to call Crane and have a tech trouble shoot with me. Nice to know you can send them off to repair/rebuild. Did I get that right?

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Charging syst: check

Battery: check (car will turn over all day long, never dying)

Used volt meter: 12.5v on red from ign. to coil.

Please be specific as to all the electr. ign. systems 'not working properly' at 12v?

It's basic knowledge that 12v is a low figure (points or otherwise), but what are your trying to tell me?

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Well if you have 12.6 volts on the XR700 red wire while your cranking the starter motor and no ignition spark then your ignitor inside of your distributor is out adjustment or failed or the module is bad. in witch case you no what you need to do. Kinda funny that other people say crane xr700 has a high failure rate i had one in my 74 2002 for 10 years never had problem the person i sold the car still has it in there car witch brings it up to a total of 15 years. i use msd 6a with pertronix- when i first installed i had all types of no spark problems because not wired correctly and low system voltage.

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I had 4 units go bad. They all were a failure of the transistor. The little silver button on the heatsink. The first three they sent me a new unit, then they fixed the last one. I guess that is why Allison was bought out by Crane. Maybe the Crane units have better reliability than Allison.

It was a long time ago (20+ years) but I seem to remember checking for spark and not getting anything. When returning to points, it fired right up.

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OK folks, I think I've determined my issue (Have i said this before?). I followed to the T the Crane troubleshooting guide that came with my ign. 10 years ago and this is what I found...

1. Pulled the coil wire at the distr. and taped it about 1/8 inch away from ground to see a spark jump and cranked. Nothing (already knew this, but)

2. ran a test light from - coil, grounded the high tension wire from the center of the coil (taped it to body where other grounds were) and cranked... Test light DID NOT PULSE, but remained solid ON. Because it did not pulse, Crane says it's on to the module and optical trigger (and connections)

3. Checked all connections, cleaned, etc. Looks good.

4. Disconnected the black, white & gray wires at the molex plug leading from module to distrib./trigger. (**grey wire connects to clear wire on optical trigger).

5. Repositioned high tension center coil wire to 1/8" from ground to see spark jump, then turned ignition on (not turning car over, just 'on'). I then took a thick wire and on the molex coming from the module, jumped the white wire to the grey (or clear, as Crane says) and tapped it quickly, breaking connection. This is supposed to emulate the trigger firing while bypassing the trigger.

AND GUESS WHAT... at first ... nothing. THEN ONE SPARK!! Then nothing. I got maybe 3 sparks in 2 minutes of jiggling the jumped wire. they say use a screwdriver, but same difference, eh? Apparently, this is to confirm that there is a problem with the module. If it would have fired consistently, the problem would be with the trigger.

So Mike, about that module sitting on your shelf, hehe... I'll be confirming all this with a Crane tech tomorrow hopefully. Or it's back to points I go. Could have saved a lot of time, but I so wanted to chase this down and keep the elec. ign. It's great not to set your timing in 10 years, but not that big a hassle I guess, compared to getting stranded and never knowing if it will start.

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  • 8 years later...

'm having the exact same problem.. now 9 years after this post. My Allison XR700 died. It worked flawlessly for 18 years. Crane bought Allison, & now FAST bought Crane. I ordered a NEW FAST XR700.  Upon receipt, the box had been opened prior to me & re-taped. Inside, the paperwork had handwritten notes in INK , & the clear plastic bag full of parts had previously been opened & re-taped shut.

Someone had DRILLED 2 of the 4 module mounting holes larger. Someone had pushed on the white plastic connector onto the 3 wires coming from the optical. I took photo's of all this to document it.
I just "WENT FOR IT" & installed everything.
I still have no spark, no red LED light coming on, etc. etc.
When I crank engine over, NO SPARK, except when I let off on the key, the car tries to fire/start.

I guess I'll be returning this brand new FAST XR 700. I don't have any points lying around as I bought this car with the ALLISON XR 700 already installed & i sold all my parts cars and 10 engines. Everything is gone.

 

 

Box re-taped upon arrival.1.jpg

Ink writing on installation instructions.jpg

Plastic package re-taped upon arrival 2.jpg

Edited by jonny
Trying to delete this DOUBLE posting? (oh well)
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Just now, jonny said:

'm having the exact same problem.. now 9 years after this post. My Allison XR700 died. It worked flawlessly for 18 years. Crane bought Allison, & now FAST bought Crane. I ordered a NEW FAST XR700.  Upon receipt, the box had been opened prior to me & re-taped. Inside, the paperwork had handwritten notes in INK , & the clear plastic bag full of parts had previously been opened & re-taped shut.

Someone had DRILLED 2 of the 4 module mounting holes larger. Someone had pushed on the white plastic connector onto the 3 wires coming from the optical. I took photo's of all this to document it.
I just "WENT FOR IT" & installed everything.
I still have no spark, no red LED light coming on, etc. etc.
When I crank engine over, NO SPARK, except when I let off on the key, the car tries to fire/start.

I guess I'll be returning this brand new FAST XR 700. I don't have any points lying around as I bought this car with the ALLISON XR 700 already installed & i sold all my parts cars and 10 engines. Everything is gone.

Here's the failed ALLISON XR 700:
1466741978_ALLISONXR700.thumb.jpg.c0750a89cde0b6b3a4d731fec27bbcfd.jpg

Just now, jonny said:

 

Re-taped box upon arrival:

Box re-taped upon arrival.1.jpg

 

Handwritten notes in INK on installation instructions:

Just now, jonny said:

Ink writing on installation instructions.jpg

 

Re-taped parts bag upon arrival:

 

Plastic package re-taped upon arrival 2.jpg

 

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