It's true that if you want to make more horsepower in your engine, you must increase the volumetric efficiency of the engine (camshaft profile, valve and cylinder-head design, headers and exhaust system, intake manifold, carburetor). But if you are trying to find more horsepower in your engine, one way is to upgrade your existing ignition system ignition controls, ignition coils, and spark-plug wires. In other words, if you have an engine that is rated at 400 hp, and it's actually producing 400 hp, you're not going to find any more horsepower until the volumetric efficiency is increased. However, if your engine is short of its horsepower potential, some of that margin can be found by improving the ignition system. The spark energy, ignition timing, and cylinder pressure must work together to make peak combustion pressure and maximize the horsepower potential of your engine.

Cellular phones are now available that are almost as small as a credit card. Slim, lightweight televisions can be hung on your wall, and now late '90s technology is bringing us extremely powerful, lightweight ignition systems that can fit in the palm of your hand and are designed to fit conveniently under the hoods of vehicles with limited space. We watched as Steve Cole of The Turbo Shop (TTS) in Compton, California installed one of these new high-tech ignition systems from Crane in a late-model, LT1-equipped Z28 Camaro. Although this Crane ignition system is a superior replacement for stock ignition systems, this Camaro uses an Accessible Technologies ProCharger intercooled supercharger making 7 pounds of boost. This allowed Cole to also add Crane's HI-6TR timing-retard control unit and 9000-0110 boost sensor. The timing control allowed Cole to program more timing into the engine through the computer for better performance under low boost and also allows the Crane timing control to pull timing out when the engine is under boost to avoid detonation. In performance capability, this system is equally at home on the street or at the racetrack.

The ultimate goal of in ignition system is total ignition of the air/fuel mixture in the cylinder. There must be enough voltage at the spark plug to jump the gap, but after that the current and the spark duration do the work to ignite the fuel mixture. Elements such as Spark energy and spark duration are the important factors.

Spark energy does the work of igniting the air/fuel mixture. The Crane HI-6S ignition's maximum energy output is 50 percent higher than that of OE systems (70 percent higher with the Crane PS91 coil). Spark duration is how long the spark sequence occurs. The HI-6S fires for 20 degrees of crankshaft rotation. This 20-degree-duration spark sequence ensures that the air/fuel mixture is ignited and completely burned. The Crane HI-6S ignition generates multiple sparks at low rpm and a long, high-energy spark at high rpm as added insurance to completely ignite the fuel mixture, resulting in increased engine efficiency, easier starting, greater power out- put, and less lean surge in street performance vehicles.

The HI-6S also includes a two-stage rev limiter that can be set via rotary trimpots. The adjustment range is 1 ,000 to 5,000 rpm for stage limit and 3,000 to 7 ,000 rpm for maximum limit. At the rev limit, all cylinders are fired in an optimum sequence that greatly reduces engine and drivetrain stress. The lower rev-Iimit stage can also be used as an antitheft function by wiring it to a switch hidden under the dash. This switch is used to select a very low rev limit that keeps the engine from running above idle. The HI-6S is compatible with most '81-and-Iater cars and '86-and-Iater light trucks with distributor ignitions and computer engine control. It does all this in a compact unit that measures only 5 inches long, 3 inches wide, and 1 inches high and weighs only 11/2 pounds.

You can mount the HI-6S anywhere you like within reach of the Crane wiring harness. Cole mounted the HI-6S just behind the driver-side headlight assembly on the engine side of the radiator support (as far as possible from engine heat sources). Four screws attach the unit to any panel.

The Crane PS91 high-intensity ignition coil offers up to 70 percent greater energy at the spark plug. It's an E-core design with a closed magnetic path, which gives improved energy transfer to the spark plug. The PS91 also features solid epoxy encapsulation, a heavy-duty metal bracket for ultimate resistance against severe shock and harsh vibration, and a high-tension tower for improved coil-wire retention and a longer creep path to protect against high-voltage arcing.

Again, you can mount the coil any-where you like within the reach of the Crane wiring harness. Cole custom- made a bracket to mount the coil neatly to the supercharger bracket.

Timing-retard capabilities can be added via the optional HI-6TR timing-retard control. The HI-6TR adds 0 to 20 degrees adjustable timing retard and features a status LED that illuminates when retard is being applied. The LED can be mounted neatly under the dash.

The HI-6TR can also be used with Crane's boost sensor for boost-proportional retard for turbo/supercharged applications. When the boost sensor is connected, the retard setting on the Timing Retard Control then refers to a retard slope from a to 4 degrees per psi of boost. You simply divide the knob setting by 5 to determine the retard slope. For example, if the knob is set to 5 degrees, the retard slope is 1 degree per psi, and at 5 psi of boost the retard is 5 degrees. As boost rises further, the retard increases at this same slope up to a maximum of 20 degrees.


 

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