CHRIS CRAFT COMMANDER FORUM ® .......A photo-intensive technical reference file and ongoing newsletter regarding the original fiberglass Chris-Craft Commander series. This is an independent not-for-profit and non-commercial web site, not affiliated with the Chris Craft Commander Club ~~ or ~~ Chris-Craft Corporation. Our mission here is to "have fun and share information" about the Commander series (and those associated fiberglass boats on the Chris-Craft family tree) for your individual personal use, and by doing so help promote the good name of Chris-Craft, and help preserve, restore, and appreciate Chris-Craft boats. The main reference feature is the ever expanding MASTER INDEX File which contains what we believe to be the world's largest collection of documentation photos and technical information on the Chris-Craft Commander line of boats, (like these original brochure scans, featuring the iconic first 38 Commander styled by Fred Hudson, and many of the great Dick Avery renditions that followed) , (a huge collection of Chris-Craft 427 tuning and specification information), and a few words about how to use the forum.

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December 21 2017 at 9:33 AM
Paul  (no login)

Response to Do I need 40,000 volts?

I don’t know if the motors “need” 40,000 volts but with my experience with the 427 motors in particular, they like it a lot. I have gapped my plugs open from something like a standard (from memory) .027” to a .055” with the HEI style distributors and I don’t need a choke to start them. I just prime the carbs by pumping a few times after activating the electric fuel pumps, let the fuel atomize in the intake manifold a moment, and then they jump right to life. I have run the 427s for several seasons now with ZERO issues, whereas before with the crab caps and stock fully rebuilt distributors, and then with crab caps and Pertronix pick-ups I would be eating the terminals on the inside of the cap. There are some other issues going on too, besides the poor design and construction of those expensive caps: I think moisture migrates up the shaft and into the caps when the oil heats up, and this creates a film inside the cap where particles can stick to the inside wall. I think the higher voltage in those old caps just eats them up faster too, and I absolutely would not leave the dock without a spare.

It’s just a poor design in my humble opinion, and it’s the weak link on Chris-Craft motors. If your Lancer is an outdrive model it likely has the Q motor, in which case I would send the distributor in to Performance Distributors if you are contemplating one of their marine DUI units, to be sure they match it up perfectly (and of course check physical clearances too because these things are big). If your Lancer is an inboard it could have the Q motor listed in the Essential Guide or it could have the 350K motor too because we know people who have these even though the EG does not list them, and if that is the case it would take the generic shaft length for the SBC motor.

I’m not a big fan of the crab caps, I like the appearance, they are very cool looking but after buying a box load of them for a variety of motors in the past I just swapped out the entire distributor and the savings has just about paid for itself now because those caps were in the fifty dollar range last time I looked for a 427.

Personally, if I was going to keep the boat and use it a few years, I would invest in a better distributor if it would fit, and be done with all the drama. There are alternatives on the market for marine units but since I have first hand experience with (four) DUI units I can recommend them (if they will fit).


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