Friday, March 11, 2011

HI-4 and the tail of the backwards distributor

and a redhead
Well, just got off the phone with Crane, well actually S&S who now owns Crane.  Turns out the Crane HI-4 ignition system, which I believe is the best you can buy for a HD of any kind, will NOT work in a motor with a timer/distributor.
    The reason for this is that distributor ignitions turn clockwise and the HI-4 id only made to work counter clockwise.  I asked them if I could set it up and trick it into thinking it was going the preferred direction but they said that wasn't going to happen.
    Interesting enough, now that S&S owns Crane, one might think that they would make an ignition system that was made to work for this application, but you would be wrong. Crane makes nothing for this application and The Kat at S&S actually told me to go to a Malory Uni-lite who makes a drop in system for all those distributors out there.
     Now I have used a lot of Uni-Lites in automotive applications over the years with great success and will probably do so again, but so far I haven't had to kick start any of those small block Chevy's, which brings me back to the HI-4.
     The HI-4 has a setting in there little box made for bikes with kick only starting.  It actually allows the motor to make a revolution before it tries to fire, giving the engine more rpm and keeping it from kicking back and breaking Victors little 125 pound body or throwing over the handlebars. 
    Here's the kicker, S&S makes a set of gears to make your distributor turn the right and proper direction and they are very proud of these gears, to the tune of around 300 bucks!! So if you Pan, Knuckle, Flathead, and early Shovel guys wanna run a HI-4 it's gonna cost ya about 500 buckeroos.  This is a price my customer is willing to pay but....if I was spending that much already I would go to a Hunt mag, lose a wire and a coil, have a cool macho look and take my chances with the backfires, but then again I weigh almost twice as much as my little buddy and think he's probably making a good choice.
    So, lets review, Crane only likes motors that turn counter clockwise and apparently S&S is in agreement with them, even though they manufacture motors with clockwise turning distributors....and offer no electronic ignition for that application....OK I guess, there ya go there.

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