When it comes to building an engine that makes gobs of horsepower, you need a spark hot enough to correctly burn that additional fuel and air in the combustion chamber. The racer needs a system that is not only robust and easy to install, but it has to be easy to adjust once installed in the car to allow the racer to change things like rev limits and launch RPM settings at the track.
Among the best-known companies in the racing world is Crane Cams. Crane may be best known for its line of camshafts, but the company has some of the best ignition systems out there. For this tech feature, we are going to be installing a full Crane ignition system into our 666 Mustang Project car. The gear we will be using inside our devilish project car includes:
Our complete Crane ignition system before installing into Project 666
Crane Cams Race Billet distributor for 351W/5.0HO engines PN #1000-1612
• Locked out timing with magnetic trigger
• Stainless steel shaft with billet lower housing
• Large or small cap design available
Crane 8.5mm Sleeved Fire Wire spark plug cables PN #295-2426
• Double-silicone reactive core spark plug wire sets.
• “Silicone-on-silicone” design resists high under hood temperatures and insulation breakdown caused by abrasion.
• Filter out RFI and EMI noise generated by ignition systems
• High performance 550 degree boots
Crane HI-6DSR Box PN #6000-6424
• Dual stage rev limiting from 600 to 9900 RPM
• Multi-spark CD for race or street, up to 14.5:1 compression, nitrous, supercharged or turbo
• Sequential rev limiting stop engine damaging “popping and banging” at rev limit
Crane FireBall LX-92 coil PN #730-0892
• Recommended for maximum performance with Crane HI-6 systems
• Up to 70% higher energy at the spark plug than stock
• E-core design with closed magnetic path reduces leakage
The HI-6DSR Ignition Box
The first part is our HI-6DSR dual stage rev limiter CD ignition box. This little rectangular box measures in at 8″ L x 4.5″ W x 2″ H and it weighs 4.5 pounds. Those small dimensions should make it easy to pack under the hood of a racecar with little room to spare. The HI-6DSR has dual stage rev limiting from 600 to 9900 RPM. The rev limiter adjustments are made using big rotary switches that have click-in detents for adjustment. You don’t need to keep a toolbox full of chips to set the RPM based on track conditions. Crane claims that the HI-6DSR we are using delivers a higher spark-gap current than any other comparable digital CD ignitions.
We needed an ignition system that was going to be able to keep up with our 13:1 compression ratio in our 427, and Crane boasts that the multi-spark CD is for race and street applications up to 14.5:1 compression ratio with nitrous, turbos, or superchargers. The ignition promises more horsepower, torque, and crisper throttle response.
A fabricated aluminum plate installed in the front right fender would house both our new Crane ignition box and coil.
Virtually every car you hear at the track creates some sort of backfire through the exhaust when up on the rev limiter. Cranes sequential rev limiting is a nice feature that keeps that from happening by firing each of the cylinders evenly during a rev limit situation. The HI-6DSR includes the adapter harness and is surface mountable with fully digital components. It also has potted soft urethane feet to resist heat, dirt, and to offer moisture protection. One of the most important things about the HI-6DSR for those living in a CARB state like California is that the HI-6DSR has a CARB number with E.O., D-225-63, though we have no plans to take our Mustang on the street any longer.
No more pills here; all rev limits are set with a dial knob that will click in place to ensure that the proper RPM point has been selected.
The HI-6DSR operates on 6 to 18 volts, so regardless if you have either a 12 volt or 16 volt system, this box is works perfectly. It draws seven amps max at 10,000 RPM, and the RPM limiter accuracy is plus or minus 30 RPM.
The timing accuracy is plus or minus 0.5 degrees from 500 to 9,900 RPM. Primary voltage output is 450 volts and primary energy output is 1200 millijoules/sequence. Though when used with our LX 92 coil, the system has a peak spark gap current of 510 milliamps.
Wiring the ignition system couldn't be easier. When coupled with a complete Crane ignition system, the components utilize color coded and matching weather pack connectors for a headache-free install.
Crane’s LX 92 Ignition Coil
The next component of the system that is going to ensure we receive the strongest possible spark is the LX 92 FireBall coil. This coil promises 70% higher energy at the spark plug than a stock coil, while its E-core design uses a closed magnetic path to reduce leakage and improve energy transfer. Though life should be pretty simple on the fender panel, the LX92 is designed to resist harsh vibrations with a solid epoxy-encapsulated design. The coil is also designed to be very safe with no exposed high voltage primary terminals.
Crane Billet Race Distributor and 8.5mm Plug Wires
After the LX92 coil, the next part that we will be installing into Project 666 is the Crane Cams Race Billet distributor. Crane makes these distributors to fit just about anything you can imagine and the model we settled on for our project is the large cap 1000-1612 for the Ford 5.0HO and 351W. The distributor uses an analog design with locked out timing, and it has a stainless steel shaft with a billet lower housing. Crane promises no maintenance and this distributor is aimed at drag racers and circle track racers. To set ignition timing, the distributor rotates counterclockwise and uses a male/HEI cap style.
Before we installed the new distributor, the rotor was set back to the number one firing location to eliminate firing headaches when the 427 is ready to fire back up again.
When you are building up a racecar, it can be easy to overlook some of the details that can hurt your performance on the track. Things like your spark plug wires for instance. For Project 666 we are also using the Crane 8.5 mm Sleeved FireWire spark plug cables. These cables are some of the toughest that you will find on the market today. They are designed specifically for racing with braided fiberglass sleeving for an extra barrier against damage.
That design allows the cables to resist abrasion and extreme heat up to 1200-degrees F. These wires are aimed at the racer, but can be used on the street as well. They have an exclusive Reactive-Core design that filters RFI noise for the highest output electronic ignition systems, the braided fiberglass mesh is also Kevlar reinforced, and they have a pure silicone outer jacket.
Not only is it important to have a good aftermarket system, it’s equally important to have an ignition that has all the features you need.
A quality ignition system is one of those components that cannot be overlooked in a vehicle build. Not only is it important to have a good aftermarket system, it’s equally important to have an ignition that has all the features you need. While HI-6DSR ignition box will support anything from nitrous to superchargers, we simply needed an ignition that was going to accurately light our fire on our high compression, naturally aspirated mule. Coupling Crane’s quality ignition box with their coil, plug wires, and distributor will leave you with an ignition system you can depend on run after run. That’s all for this latest segment of additions to Project 666; tune in later for more updates and details on our wicked project car.