[v12-engine] Crane ignition problems

I have just installed the Crane XR700 in my car. Like others who have
done this,
I could not get the provided brackets to work well. I finally used the
one-piece one, which
seems to position the optical sensor circumferentially very close to the
original Jaguar
magnetic one, but leaves it out too far radially. I shimmed 1/8" which
gets it over the slotted
disk, but just barely. I was able to time it and the car now runs, but
kind of raggedly. That is,
it is missing at idle and at all speeds as nearly as I can tell.

In addition to the Crane installation I also replaced the seals and
bearings and cleaned
and greased the mechanical advance. I had a speed shop spin it up and
they said it
was producing approximately advance curve provided in the ROM.

I have double checked all injector connections and listened to each.
They are all clicking nicely.

I am also using a Crane PS20 coil (their recommendation) and the
original Jaguar
ballast resistor. I tested it and measured resistances pretty close to
the Book, and also
close to the resistor that came with the Crane coil.

How should I proceed to diagnose this problem?

Ed Sowell
76 XJ-S

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Edward F. Sowell wrote:

I have just installed the Crane XR700 in my car. Like others who
have done this, I could not get the provided brackets to work well.

Supposedly, you’re supposed to leave the provided brackets in the box
and attach the pickup right where the OEM pickup was. I take it this
didn’t work for some reason?

I am also using a Crane PS20 coil (their recommendation) and the
original Jaguar ballast resistor.

That’s the one that reportedly won’t get you past 5000 rpm. I’d
expect it to work OK below that, though.

– Kirbert

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I have just installed the Crane XR700 in my car. Like others who have
done this,
I could not get the provided brackets to work well.
I was able to time it and the car now runs, but
kind of raggedly. That is,
it is missing at idle and at all speeds as nearly as I can tell.

Ed Sowell---------------------------------------------------------

Agreed, the brackets are not quite good enough to make a nice neat fit.
I had some trouble getting the pickup positioned so that the rotor was just
right and I had enough play in both directions to swivel the dizzy for
correct timing.

Now it is working, with a fairly standard Bosch coil, I can get up to 5,500
easily in 2nd gear and no missing. Have no roads close by to safely run at
higher RPM in 2nd or top.

If you had a scope you could check the signal out of the dizzy and then the
signal out of the Crane to coil and spot any problem with the engine running

No scope ? Try this with engine stopped and negative side of coil not connected
( since you don’t want a spark in the cylinders right now ).
Get the rotor slot close to the photocell, mark your timing position then
swivel the dizzy so the slot passes the photocell and check with
an ordinary multimeter the output from the dizzy drops from ( +11V ? ) down
to about +0.5V.
The Crane should have 3 wires to the dizzy. One is the LED supply ( at
about +2V ), one ground and one dizzy output.
On mine the grey wire was output. Stick a pin in it to check, or a real
thin wire inserted in the 3 pin plug/socket.

If you still have a ballast resistor like mine the Crane unit has about +11V,
not +12V on it, since voltage is dropped through that resistor.
No matter, you need the dizzy output signal to the Crane to drop down to a
low voltage to trigger the ignition.

Another way is to put a spanner on the end of the crankshaft and turn it
over to observe the dizzy signal, making very sure you don’t get a spark in
any cylinder.

From what you say there is doubt the photocell is sufficiently into the slot
to give a good voltage swing.
Lining that thing up while leaning over into the valley is no mean feat.

Good luck !

Richard Dowling, Melbourne, Australia, '79 XJ-S & '85 XJ6.

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Kirbert wrote:

Edward F. Sowell wrote:

I have just installed the Crane XR700 in my car. Like others who
have done this, I could not get the provided brackets to work well.

Supposedly, you’re supposed to leave the provided brackets in the box
and attach the pickup right where the OEM pickup was. I take it this
didn’t work for some reason?

There are 2 brackets in the box, one 1-piece, the other 2-piece. The
documentation
says to use the 2-piece. I’m sure that is to allow total control over
positioning
the optical pickup to synchronize the firing of the diode with the
pointing direction of the
rotor. However, the two part bracket is just about impossible to tighten
enough to
give any comfort that it will stay put. Paul Clarkson wrote about his
coming loose.

I used the 1-piece bracket. This one has holes on its foot that exactly
match the original
magnetic pickup, and as nearly as I could tell would position the sensor
circumferentially
exactly like the original. I had to shim it to position it radially to
get it over the slotted disk

However, Paul Clarkson now tells me the 1-part bracket does NOT line it
up like the original.
Either my eye is off or the bracket has changed over the years (either is
possible). I shall have to
pull it apart again to tak anothe look.

I am also using a Crane PS20 coil (their recommendation) and the
original Jaguar ballast resistor.

That’s the one that reportedly won’t get you past 5000 rpm. I’d
expect it to work OK below that, though.

I’ll look into this again, but Crane says to do it that way.

Ed Sowell
76 XJ-S

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Ed

Replace the Crane coil with the original. If the problems persist,
then redo the distributor bracket. If all else fails let me know. I
have a spare amplifier that I could send you to swap out the amp.

Bernie>That is, it is missing at idle and at all speeds as nearly as I can tell.

I am also using a Crane PS20 coil (their recommendation) and the
original Jaguar
ballast resistor. I tested it and measured resistances pretty close to
the Book, and also
close to the resistor that came with the Crane coil.

How should I proceed to diagnose this problem?

Ed Sowell
76 XJ-S


The manual said “Windows XP or better” so I bought a Macintosh

                           http://bernardembden.com/

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Thanks, Mike. Believe it or not, both have occurred to me! The first I’ll try
today
as it’s an easy shot, and I’m feeling a little under the weather. If the cap
has to
come off, it will have to wait a few days till I’m feeling better.

Ed Sowell
76 XJ-S

Mike Morrin wrote:

Ed,

If you have a timing light, connect it to each HT lead in turn, to see if
one or more cylinders are not firing.

Perhaps if the trigger wheel is slightly off centre and the LED is out of
alignment??

regards,
Mike

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RE: swapping coils---- Great idea! Will try today.

RE: redoing the bracket. When I am feeling like taking off the cap again
(little under the weather now) I will take another look at the alignment.
However, when I had it apart I set the Crane disk on top of the
Jag disk, aligned the keys using a steel scale, and the slots overlaid metal
pins in the Jag disk quite nicely.

Interestingly, , Paul Clarkson told me he
used the same bracket and found it was way off. This caused him to
cut off the key on the Crane disk and glue a ring cut from an old rotor
onto the bottom of the Crane plastic hub, creating a new key. Then he
removed the pop rivits holding the disk to the hub and enlarged the holes into
slots, giving some rotational
adjustment. (Clearly, that’s what Crane should have given us.) But he sent me
some pics
of his installation, and it looks like he flipped the bracket 180 degrees from
the way I had it.
I remember trying it that way and abandoned it when I saw how far off it was,
because
there is no rotational adjustment at all with the Crane 1-piece bracket. An
advantage of
doing it his way, though, is the pickup is positioned radially inward so he
needed no shim to get it
over the disk.

So the upshot is I believe what I have done should work. That said, I was
surprised to find
the timing so far advance when I started to do the timing— about 20 degrees.
Reviewing what I posted here
a few weeks back, I set the timing marker to 12 BTDC (per ROM 86.35.20), then
rotated the distributor base until the LED on the Crane amplifier went on, and
then tightened
the Allen screws. Consequently, I would have thought it should be at 12 BTDC.
Nonetheless,
I had enough adjustment at the vernier to get to 10 BTDC. My only theory on
this is the mechanical
advance may not have been fully returned to its stops when I set the
distributor position.

Ed Sowell
76 XJ-S

Bernard Embden wrote:

Ed

Replace the Crane coil with the original. If the problems persist,
then redo the distributor bracket. If all else fails let me know. I
have a spare amplifier that I could send you to swap out the amp.

Bernie

That is, it is missing at idle and at all speeds as nearly as I can tell.

I am also using a Crane PS20 coil (their recommendation) and the
original Jaguar
ballast resistor. I tested it and measured resistances pretty close to
the Book, and also
close to the resistor that came with the Crane coil.

How should I proceed to diagnose this problem?

Ed Sowell
76 XJ-S


The manual said “Windows XP or better” so I bought a Macintosh

                           http://bernardembden.com/

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Richard,

Richard Dowling wrote:

No scope ? Try this with engine stopped and negative side of coil not connected
( since you don’t want a spark in the cylinders right now ).
Get the rotor slot close to the photocell, mark your timing position then
swivel the dizzy so the slot passes the photocell and check with
an ordinary multimeter the output from the dizzy drops from ( +11V ? ) down
to about +0.5V.
The Crane should have 3 wires to the dizzy. One is the LED supply ( at
about +2V ), one ground and one dizzy output.
On mine the grey wire was output. Stick a pin in it to check, or a real
thin wire inserted in the 3 pin plug/socket.

I believe what you are describing here is accomplished with an LED Crane now puts
on the amplifer. It comes on whenever the slot is over the pickup LED.

If you still have a ballast resistor like mine the Crane unit has about +11V,
not +12V on it, since voltage is dropped through that resistor.
No matter, you need the dizzy output signal to the Crane to drop down to a
low voltage to trigger the ignition.

Are you using the Jag resistor?

Another way is to put a spanner on the end of the crankshaft and turn it
over to observe the dizzy signal, making very sure you don’t get a spark in
any cylinder.

This is something I have not mastered. The only way I can get a wrench on
the crank nut is from below, and it takes all the strength I can muster to
turn it a few degrees for alignment. And this is with the plugs out!

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I don’t mean to be a spoilsport or anything BUT…why are you going
through all this with the CEI units as reliable as they are?

Is there some great advantage that I’m missing here?

I have actually taken Crane/Allison units off other cars and installed CEI
units in their place…and have been doing so for years with nary a
failure on one yet.

I can’t say as I’ve done hundreds or anything but I have had way more
problems with Crane/Allisons, Piranhas, Lumenitions, Pertronixs, you name
it, and to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t had one CEI failure.

I know that Lucas electronic ignitions got a justifiably bad rap from the
OPUS units but the CEIs to me seem virtually bulletproof.

Just my $0.02 US,

Jeb

At 03:36 PM 9/3/2002, you wrote:

Interestingly, , Paul Clarkson told me he
used the same bracket and found it was way off. This caused him to
cut off the key on the Crane disk and glue a ring cut from an old rotor
onto the bottom of the Crane plastic hub, creating a new key. Then he
removed the pop rivits holding the disk to the hub and enlarged the holes into
slots, giving some rotational
adjustment. (Clearly, that’s what Crane should have given us.) But he sent me
some pics
of his installation, and it looks like he flipped the bracket 180 degrees from
the way I had it.
I remember trying it that way and abandoned it when I saw how far off it was,
because
there is no rotational adjustment at all with the Crane 1-piece bracket. An
advantage of
doing it his way, though, is the pickup is positioned radially inward so he
needed no shim to get it
over the disk.

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Hi Jeb,

I guess I just got into the Crane thing
after reading about them in the List. The problems all seemed minor, centered
around the
mounting bracket. Thought I could handle that.

So you are saying I should have just gotten a distributor out of a later model
XJ-S? But, if I understand
the Book correctly it would have to be '82-89, and these are not only different in
the ignition
side, but also the EFI side. So wouldn’t I also have to change the ECU? And the
injectors? And the
harness going back to the boot? Or, can one put just the ignition pieces in the old
D-Jetronics distributor?

Where were you when I needed you most, Jeb? :slight_smile:

Ed Sowell
76 XJ-S

J&L Autoworkers wrote:

I don’t mean to be a spoilsport or anything BUT…why are you going
through all this with the CEI units as reliable as they are?

Is there some great advantage that I’m missing here?

I have actually taken Crane/Allison units off other cars and installed CEI
units in their place…and have been doing so for years with nary a
failure on one yet.

I can’t say as I’ve done hundreds or anything but I have had way more
problems with Crane/Allisons, Piranhas, Lumenitions, Pertronixs, you name
it, and to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t had one CEI failure.

I know that Lucas electronic ignitions got a justifiably bad rap from the
OPUS units but the CEIs to me seem virtually bulletproof.

Just my $0.02 US,

Jeb

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Hi Mike,

I think you may get the cigar!

I find a nice, steady flashing pulsing on all HT leads except
3A and 4B. 3A shows an irregular flash, i.e., the timing light lights up, but
seems to miss beats.
4B is completely dead.

Moreover, I note that these two are side by side in the firing order, suggesting
that the slotted
disk is a little bit eccentric and I have the sensor too close to the edge. It
makes sense.

But before going too far down that path, is there anything else that would cause
the above
results?

Ed Sowell
76 XJ-S

Mike wrote:

If you have a timing light, connect it to each HT lead in turn, to see if
one or more cylinders are not firing.

Perhaps if the trigger wheel is slightly off centre and the LED is out of
alignment??

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Edward F. Sowell wrote:

I
was surprised to find the timing so far advance when I started to do
the timing— about 20 degrees.
Nonetheless, I had enough
adjustment at the vernier to get to 10 BTDC. My only theory on this is
the mechanical advance may not have been fully returned to its stops
when I set the distributor position.

Careful! You may be ending up with the spark occurring when the
rotor is not properly aligned with the cap. This will usually result
in misfiring either at idle or at high rpm. One or the other, I’d
have to strain my brain to figure out which one in this particular
instance, but you can tell by checking the arcing pattern on the tip
of the rotor.

– Kirbert

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Edward F. Sowell wrote:

I believe what you are describing here is accomplished with an LED
Crane now puts on the amplifer. It comes on whenever the slot is over
the pickup LED.

Cool! Is it flashing like crazy when the engine is running?

– Kirbert

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From Ed Sowell:>I believe what you are describing here is accomplished with an LED Crane

now puts
on the amplifer. It comes on whenever the slot is over the pickup LED.

Are you using the Jag resistor?

Another way is to put a spanner on the end of the crankshaft and turn it
over to observe the dizzy signal, making very sure you don’t get a spark in
any cylinder.

This is something I have not mastered. The only way I can get a wrench on
the crank nut is from below, and it takes all the strength I can muster to
turn it a few degrees for alignment. And this is with the plugs out!


A medal to Crane. My 10 year old unit has no LED, hence the convoluted way
I have to check if the dizzy signal is working.
Crane puts a 3 cent LED in the amp now and makes life much easier.

However, my way checks if the dizzy signal is marginal by actually looking
at the voltage level.

I have the original Jag resistor ( still working ) in my spares bin. I have
a generic power resistor mounted on the top of the air filter box now.

Thinking about it, the resistor drops very little voltage before the amp
turns on the coil.
In my Crane setup the resistor is in series with the coil + terminal and the
Crane power supply is taken from the coil + terminal.
The coil must drag a few amps when turned on which will cause the voltage
fro the Crane to drop to ( +8V ? ).

I am not in the Tarzan league put can just about turn over the engine with a
spanner on the crank with plugs in.
Apart from a spanner you really need an accessory called a “teenager”. They
can be keen, strong and willing.

Richard Dowling, Melbourne, Australia, '79 XJ-S & '85 XJ6.

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Edward F. Sowell wrote:

I find a nice, steady flashing pulsing on all HT leads except
3A and 4B. 3A shows an irregular flash, i.e., the timing light lights
up, but seems to miss beats. 4B is completely dead.

Moreover, I note that these two are side by side in the firing order,
suggesting that the slotted disk is a little bit eccentric and I have
the sensor too close to the edge. It makes sense.

But before going too far down that path, is there anything else that
would cause the above results?

Bad plugs or wires in those two holes.

– Kirbert

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Edward F. Sowell wrote:

I guess I just got into the Crane thing
after reading about them in the List. The problems all seemed minor,
centered around the mounting bracket. Thought I could handle that.

Some claim there is NO problem. I’d sure like to know why some have
problems and some don’t.

So you are saying I should have just gotten a distributor out of a
later model XJ-S? But, if I understand the Book correctly it would
have to be '82-89, and these are not only different in the ignition
side, but also the EFI side. So wouldn’t I also have to change the
ECU?

Nah. Just mount the D-Jetronic trigger board where the anti-flash
shield mounts on the CEI cars. However, you’ve also got to deal with
the fact that the H.E. uses different advance curves than the pre-
H.E., so you need to retrofit the advance mechanisms from your old
distributor into the later one. Exactly which parts from which
distributor get used and which get tossed I dunno.

Just the H.E. distributor alone is likely to cost more than the
Crane, which is the primary reason most people opt for the Crane.

– Kirbert

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Richard Dowling wrote:

Thinking about it, the resistor drops very little voltage before the amp
turns on the coil.
In my Crane setup the resistor is in series with the coil + terminal and the
Crane power supply is taken from the coil + terminal.
The coil must drag a few amps when turned on which will cause the voltage
fro the Crane to drop to ( +8V ? ).

For some reason this reminds me of another thing— the dash charging gauge
fluctuates now. It did not do this with the Jag ignition. Does this thing
pull that much current?

I am not in the Tarzan league put can just about turn over the engine with a
spanner on the crank with plugs in.
Apart from a spanner you really need an accessory called a “teenager”. They
can be keen, strong and willing.

I get the picture. You up looking at the scope, son under the car. “Faster, son,
turn
it faster!”

Ed Sowell
76 XJ-S

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In my Crane setup the resistor is in series with the coil + terminal
and the
Crane power supply is taken from the coil + terminal.
The coil must drag a few amps when turned on which will cause the voltage
fro the Crane to drop to ( +8V ? ).

For some reason this reminds me of another thing— the dash charging gauge
fluctuates now. It did not do this with the Jag ignition. Does this thing
pull that much current?

I am not in the Tarzan league put can just about turn over the engine
with a
spanner on the crank with plugs in.
Apart from a spanner you really need an accessory called a
“teenager”. They
can be keen, strong and willing.

I get the picture. You up looking at the scope, son under the
car. “Faster, son,
turn
it faster!”

Ed Sowell
76 XJ-S-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

a) Will pull around 4A max, and should have no great effect on your dash
mounted voltmeter.
Previous OPTUS would be similar.

b) I have two daughters, just a smidgin above teenage status.
The eldest inherited my dad’s old Nissan 2L 4 cyl.
Within 3 weeks she had managed to drive it with a dry engine when a small
water hose under the air cleaner burst.
She drove it till the engine just would not go any more and it took a lot of
work by the mechanic next door to fix that disaster.

“Why, oh why, love of my life, did you keep driving with the engine pinging
and the temperature gauge off the stops”
"Well, Dad, I thought . . . . . . " Oh, yeah, a lot of thinking went into
evaluating that situation.

I bought the youngest ( with her money ) a nice '88 4 cyl Camry luxury model.
9 months later I asked her who had changed her oil.
“What do you mean by “change” Dad, I just check it to make sure there is
some oil in there”.
Next day I drained out the bitumen and put a new filter and fresh oil in the
engine.
Toyota engineering is good, the car still goes well.

Daughters do not like cars, except to drive them.
No chance they will be swinging that spanner on the end of the crank.
With sons at least you have some hope.

Still and all, they are good girls but just don’t comprehend mechanical things.

Richard Dowling, Melbourne, Australia, '79 XJ-S & '85 XJ6.

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Actually, I have some hope. Mine are 4,4, and 3 (all girls) and one of
the 4 year olds the other day asked how brakes work. She has had other,
similar questions concerning mechanical things. The other 4 year old
has shown some acumen toward mechanical objects. Perhaps I have some hope.

Burt
Austin
'85 Sovereign H.E. (needing tires and a replacement (maybe) harmonic
damper, and lots of leatherique)

RichardDowling@access.net.au wrote:

Daughters do not like cars, except to drive them.
No chance they will be swinging that spanner on the end of the crank.
With sons at least you have some hope.

Still and all, they are good girls but just don’t comprehend mechanical
things.

Richard Dowling, Melbourne, Australia, '79 XJ-S & '85 XJ6.

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Richard Dowling wrote:

I have two daughters, just a smidgin above teenage status.
The eldest inherited my dad’s old Nissan 2L 4 cyl.
Within 3 weeks she had managed to drive it with a dry engine when a
small water hose under the air cleaner burst. She drove it till the
engine just would not go any more and it took a lot of work by the
mechanic next door to fix that disaster.

I knew a car buff whose early-20’s son had a VW Rabbit that was
basically shot, needed a new engine. So this guy tackles the job.
He props the hood open, drains the coolant, removes the radiator,
removes a few other things, etc. Workin’ on it when he can. The
next evening he finds nothing good on TV so he goes out to the garage
to continue work – and the car is gone. On a hunch, he drives down
to the local bar, and there’s the Rabbit in the parking lot. He has
it towed home. Son is now pissed at Dad for leaving him stranded at
the bar with no wheels, while Dad is incredulous at a son that would
go out to the garage where there’s a car obviously in mid-teardown,
parts all over everywhere, and simply drop the hood and see if it
starts, and if it does to haul off to get drunk. Especially since
this guy owned, like, eight cars.

You know how the repair manuals tell you that the first step in
nearly any major work is to disconnect the battery? Apparently
there’s a good reason for that!

I bought the youngest ( with her money ) a nice '88 4 cyl Camry luxury
model. 9 months later I asked her who had changed her oil. “What do
you mean by “change” Dad, I just check it to make sure there is some
oil in there”.

A girl I knew in college had a Datsun 510, which I had heard was an
excellent car. I asked how she liked it. She hated it. She told me
that she had been driving down the freeway when a red light on the
dash came on. It was the low oil pressure light. “I took the very
next exit, and repairs cost me $1500 for a new engine!” And, in her
mind, this was the car’s fault.

Driver’s Ed in this country teaches how to parallel park. Driver’s
Ed in other countries teaches how to maintain a car. Perhaps we
should take a lesson.

– Kirbert

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