INSTALL A POINTLESS IGNITIONINSTALL A POINTLESS IGNITION
story and photos by Dan Burrill, 10 June 2009
The point is, electronic ignition provides maintenance-free operation and accurate timing
story and photos by Dan Burrill
Here are all the parts needed to convert your engine from points to electronic ignition. We chose a Crane Cams FireBall XR-i unit for the Ford 429 big block we are using.
Over the years manufacturers have made a number of changes to the basic internal combustion engine. By far one of the most important advancements was doing away with the contact points and going to electronic ignition. Crane Cams XR-i electronic ignition module is designed to replace conventional breaker points on Chevrolet and Ford V-8 engines. The kit converts points distributors into fully digital technology. Some of the advantages to using this unit is that it’s maintenance free, you never have to replace or set points again, it guarantees a super accurate ignition timing and it features a built-in adjustable rev limiter.
So how does it work? According to Crane the XR-i ignition uses a Hall Effect Sensor to detect the lobes of the distributor points cam. Dwell is controlled by the battery voltage and engine rpm to provide maximum ignition energy and minimum component heating. The mechanical and vacuum advance mechanisms work the same as with the original breaker points.
Our latest project is a Ford 429 engine, so we will use this distributor for our install feature. Keep in mind that this system will work on just about any older points-style distributor.
1. First step is to remove the distributor cap and the rotor.
2. With a small screwdriver remove the e-clip holding the vacuum linkage arm to the points plate.
3. Next, remove the 2 screws and the vacuum mechanism from the distributor body and set it aside for reinstallation.
4. Carefully remove the 2 screws holding the points plate assembly to the inside of the distributor. Use WD40 to lubricate these screws to avoid damage to the threads in the distributor body.
5. Remove the points plate assembly from the distributor. (This assembly should be saved because replacements are not available.)
6. Now take a look at the new parts. Press the nylon center ring into the bottom plate and ensure it is fully seated. Test fit the top adapter plate on the center ring. If it does not rotate smoothly, polish the inner diameter of the top adaptor plate with fine emery cloth until it does rotate smoothly. Press the four supplied nylon slides into the top plate from the bottom side. Now assemble the adapter plates and the center ring. Align the two small cutouts in the top plate with the mounting holes in the bottom plate.
7. Place the adapter plate assembly into the distributor and align the holes in the bottom plate with the holes in the distributor body. Now place the larger ring terminal of the jumper wire on one of the supplied 8-32 screws with the fl at side of the ring terminal facing away from the head of the screw.
8. Secure the adapter plate assembly to the distributor with the 8-32 screws, plastic washers, and aluminum spacers as shown. (It is recommended that a thread lock compound, such as Locktite be applied to the screws to keep them from vibrating or working loose.) Route the XR-i wire harness through the hole in the distributor. Install the supplied grommet over the wire harness and insert into the cable end of the distributor.
9. Apply thermal grease to the bottom of the XR-i module. Install the module with the 6-32 hardware, but do not tighten. The jumper wire must be installed on the XR-i mounting ear with the metal pad. The fl at side of the ring terminal should contact the XR-i mounting ear. Push the module as close to the points cam as possible without touching the cam lobe. Tighten the hardware to secure.
10. Replace the vacuum mechanism and secure with the two screws. Connect the black/yellow wire of the module to the Coil-terminal of the coil with one of the ring terminals. If the coil has an external ballast resistor wire, use a Scotchlock connector to attach the black/red wire of the module to the switched +IGN supply. If the coil has an internal ballast resistor, install the other ring terminal to the black/red wire of the module and connect this to the Coil+ terminal.
11. Replace rotor and distributor cap. Next start your engine and set ignition timing according to manufacturer’s specifications. Note: Dwell meter readings are meaningless with electronic ignitions and should be ignored.
530 Fentress Blvd
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
From the October 2003 Issue of Kit Car Builder Magazine
Printer Friendly Page
|| Send this story to a friend|