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DoctorMuffn

1980 280ZX Distributor

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I'm considering buying a 1980 ZX remanned dizzy and new module (Duralast brand) from Autozone here in SoCal. Together they should run me a little over $300 and both units have lifetime warranty. I'm putting it into my '73 240Z.

I did a bit of research last night, and of course I'll do more, but if anyone wants to share their thoughts or even point me to the right thread by posting a link I'd appreciate it.

I'm thinking about replacing the Pertronix Ignitor because the low dwell doesn't sit right with me.

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If you haven't already seen this site, it may offer some insight.

http://datsunzgarage.com/engine/index.htm

Go to the section called "SEVENTH" and it covers distributors. I'm considering doing the same modification. The one thing to consider is that you may need to replace the factory tachometer.

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Here are some links that apply: (Self promotion I know...)

http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34559&highlight=Distributor

http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34192&highlight=Distributor

Be sure to check the actual vacuum advance of your distributor before driving the car very much.

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Oh, and you may end up having to pull the oil pump and re-aligning the distributor drive because the ZX distributor mounts at a slightly different angle than the original points distributors, which makes it difficult to get the desired timing.

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Another concern is that—lifetime warranty not withstanding—I've seen far too many E12-80 failures to be totally comfortable with their reliability. I am not aware of any method to "remanufacture" the module, so I suspect that the Duralast module is either a third party repro or a used module that has been cleaned and tested. When I had the E12-80 on my car, I always carried a spare module in the car with me just in case. I never had to use the spare personally, but it was used in a friend's 240Z after a sudden module failure without warning at a Datsun show.

I wasn't happy with the advance curve and total advance when used on a stock L24, either.

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You could spend less than a $100.00 and put a Pertronix in your car. Bullet proof really and I am the running stock coil and ballast resistor. One of the very best things I ever did for my 72. And yes, it was after two (2) E-1280 failures. That was just a pain in the behind. You can still buy them new at a Nissan dealer,but it will give you a heart attack for what they want. Pertronix has been in my car for over three years and absolutely no issues whatever. Just my opinion.:classic:

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I'm considering the Pertronix myself as an alternative to the 280zx distributor. I'd be using either unit with an aftermarket ignition coil (something like the MSD Blaster2 or equivalent), but I don't plan on using a capacitive discharge box.

All this said, my '72 is already equipped with an L28, so maybe that changes the research I've done a bit...maybe not. I'm a novice to ignition systems, so the more I can learn the better.

You could spend less than a $100.00 and put a Pertronix in your car. Bullet proof really and I am the running stock coil and ballast resistor. One of the very best things I ever did for my 72. And yes, it was after two (2) E-1280 failures. That was just a pain in the behind. You can still buy them new at a Nissan dealer,but it will give you a heart attack for what they want. Pertronix has been in my car for over three years and absolutely no issues whatever. Just my opinion.:classic:

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You could spend less than a $100.00 and put a Pertronix in your car.
He already has one......
I'm thinking about replacing the Pertronix Ignitor because the low dwell doesn't sit right with me.

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That was QUICK!!! Thanks so much for all of the responses. I'll be doing some research soon. And when I decide what to do I'll use this thread to keep everyone posted (everyone who's interested that is).

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AWESOME!!!

That was an incredible thread of just straight forward swaps and how-to's, BTF/PTM. I'll definitely be looking into that quite a bit more for many of the change overs.

And thanks, Walter Moore. Before I decide between the 280ZX and buying another Pertronix I'll be looking at your curve data and comparing it to that of the dizzy I'm currently running.

Ultimately I just want a reliable runner that I can drive hard on occasion until I swap in the Lexus 1UZ-FE. This is way down the road, but it will happen. It's been my "5 years from now" plan since I blue-printed and rebuilt my 4.0 liter Lex engine in class 3 years ago. It's still my 5 year plan, but the more I learn the closer I feel I'm getting... I even have a decent 220V Harbor Freight welder now. I still have to learn how to use it, but that's the easy part from what I hear. :stupid:

So now I'm waiting to hear what dwells Pertronix users get from their ignitors. This way I might be able to see if I just got a shitty ignitor from the factory or if they all run about half as much dwell as factory specs call for. Apparently I'm not the only one on this forum who's experienced the 4k rpm ceiling dilemma.

Oh, and by the way, I'm running a Frankenstein L28 F54 with an N47 head fed with 4 screw round-tops and all smog equipment blocked, removed, or rendered ineffective.

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Okay I pulled the trigger and picked up a 1979-'80 280ZX dizzy (which fortunately came with the E12-80 module saving me some cash).

So far I've white-trashed the install. The wiring is clean: A blue jumper with spade and eye-lit connecting the negative side of the coil to the C terminal on the module and a red jumper with like hardware from 12-Volt switched side of ballast to B terminal on the module; simple.

http://www.jrdemers.com/280ZX/distributor/distributor.html

However, without a pedestal I went ahead and zip-tied the distributor in place temporarily to the old pedestal so it keeps somewhat consistant timing and doesn't pop out; nigga-rigged I know. The pedestal is ordered and hopefully on it's way from Memphis to the dealer here in Irvine, CA.

Oh my tach works!!! And the intermittent hesitation I was having which prompted this very recent endeavor is gone... For now anyway.

Thanks again to all. I'll post pix.

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....white-trashed...nigga-rigged....
Nice touch....:stupid: Edited by sblake01

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Nice touch....:stupid:

He said he's a student so hopefully he's just young and ignorant, and doesn't realize the racist origins of his remark.

It is sad though that I'm hoping for ignorance...

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Drop this line of discussion folks.

No explanations, no preaching, nothing further.

The poster has received an infraction and further commentary can only be inflammatory.

Further comments will have infractions assigned.

As Moderator

E Scanlon

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I'm not entirely ignorant on the matter, and I'm well aware of the risk I took in gauging the social response.

But I do apologize if I offended anyone, as that was not my intention.

And now I better recognize the limits imposed by this board and the consequences to follow when I push those limits.

As I said before I intend to include pictures, and I'd like to refocus the thread on the upgrade performed. It was a cinch and a pleasure to do, and I did ultimately make good use of the others' comments and redirects to threads entailing the research they've done.

And regardless of the outcomes I greatly appreciate CZCC and its membership for all of the help it has offered to date while I tinker with my little car.

Regards,

Sean Molle

Lake Forest, CA

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If someone wants to tell me how to post pics I'd be happy to show the progress. Thanks in advance.

Nevermind... I figured it out. It's "attachments" not "insert picture."

Edited by DoctorMuffn

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In these pictures we can see the 4 components I own now that I've received the pedestal or base for the 280ZX distributor. From left to right in picture 001 we have the dry timing plate for the 240Z distributor (I believe that's what it is but my engine bay is completely Frankensteined and I can't be sure unless I've done it myself). Nevertheless it was the plate between my old pedestal and old distributor. The pedestal to the right of that plate is the old 240Z pedestal (I guess). The one to the right of that is the new 1980 280ZX pedestal which Jack at Irvine Nissan helped me special order; good guy. And finally you can see the 280ZX distributor (PN 22100-P8102 I believe) which I picked up rebuilt from Autozone for $104.99 and a core fee of $38.00. I ordered the ignition module for an extra $135.99 because I was told the dizzy wouldn't come with it, but low and behold it did at which point I returned the module.

That's odd... The dizzy is less than the module; but if we factor in the core fee whereupon I don't have a core to return and compare prices the remanned dizzy is only worth $7.00 when I take away the new module cost of $135.99 from $142.99. But I digress... And don't tell Autozone.

The remaining pictures are close-ups of the two pedestals placed as parallel as eye-engineering will allow for comparison sake. And the timing plate superimposed on both pedestals to show its incompatibility with the new 280ZX pedestal I have.

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So here is the receiver for the dizzy on the front cover indicating the engine is at TDC between compression and power for cyl 1. The next picture shows roughly the proper orientation of the 280ZX dizzy when installed with the secondary ignition rotor pointing toward the radiator. The next picture also shows the outlet from the cap for the number one cylinder high tension wire and its index mark. The next pictures show the cap on as well of a close-up of the cap showing another index mark identifying the first cylinder's high tension wire outlet.

The engineers really made this easy for me and I still managed to boggle myself. Thank goodness I couldn't change the phasing of the reluctor wheel for the primary ignition circuit and the dizzy shaft (hence dizzy rotor) or I really would have messed this stuff up for myself.

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Finally here is the "rigging" I did to make it work temporarily.

The first picture (014) shows the OLD pedestal mounted below the dizzy and a blue zip-tie routed through a "lucky" hole on the dizzy body. The locking end of the zip-tie serves as a stop to provide "resistance" to the dizzy rotating any further counter-clockwise (when viewed from above) which would retard the timing.

Notice the extension of the dizzy body with all of the letters on it. This is the bracket where I would fasten the appropriate timing plate to the dizzy. That plate is then fastened with another bolt to the appropriate pedestal almost exactly opposite (roughly 150deg away). The appropriate plate is shown in the final picture.

The second picture (013) shows the OLD pedestal again mounted below the dizzy and a yellow zip-tie routed through another "lucky hole" and it serves two purposes. It simultaneously prevents rotation of the dizzy clockwise (when viewed from above) which would advance timing, and it holds the distributor down into the pedestal. This zip tie can be seen in pic (014). And the mounting tab on the dizzy body is seen in (013) just to the right of the yellow zip-tie.

Note that this is a very temporary arrangement and I am presently seeking the appropriate plate. I presently have variable spark timing and it's nothing I'd advise for anyone else. I'll post pics when I locate and install the appropriate timing plate.

And many thanks to Joseph R Demers (http://www.jrdemers.com/280ZX/distributor/distributor.html) and many others who frequent this forum and share their knowledge. My Z runs very well now and no longer hesitates or caps my revs; albeit true I haven't really stepped into her because zip-ties just don't inspire confidence.

And the electrical hook-up was sound for my install; I followed Mr. Demers DIY. The red wire comes from a 12-volt switched source on the appropriate side of the ballast resistor (do not include ballast resistance in series in this circuit) and attaches to terminal B on the module (B might stand for Battery; at least it does in my mind). The blue wire goes from C on the module (perhaps Contacts) and connects to the negative side of the coil. I still have complete function in my tachometer.

Thanks again. See you all soon.

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Done and done!!!

Here's a pic of the plate I got from a yard. You can see the 240 setup on the left compared to the 280 setup on the right. And after installing it I set base timing with the vacuum advance disconnected to between 10 and 15 deg BTDC. If I had to guess it's roughly 11 deg. I also checked the dwell for shits and giggles and found it to be base-lined upon start-up at around 24-26 deg. When I get into the throttle I see the dwell rise to a peak of 39 deg. My car runs amazingly well so far! She has no hesitation, ceilings, or misfiring all the way to 7k rpm, but a shift feels appropriate around 6.5k (maybe that's due to the larger displacement of my L28 as opposed to an L24). I also picked up an old E12-80 module off of the same 280ZX which donated the plate for about $25. I remember reading a few stories about failures so I figured why not have an extra one.

So far so good, and no more variable ignition timing.

Thanks to all

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If you haven't already seen this site, it may offer some insight.

http://datsunzgarage.com/engine/index.htm

Go to the section called "SEVENTH" and it covers distributors. I'm considering doing the same modification. The one thing to consider is that you may need to replace the factory tachometer.

I did the same install 8 years ago in my '73 and am still using the original 240 tach. You will need the bottom part that actually bolts to the block that the dist bolts on to. If you try and use the 240 part you will have problems setting the timing. The two parts look alike but are not. I have installed several of these in 240Zs . All the best, Gary

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I just put a remanufactured 280zx dizzy on my 72 240Z. It seems like everything is fine, but I haven't tightened the adjusting bolt yet because I want to get the timing right. When I turned it over, it sounded like a preignition or pop inside engine, and then today when trying again, it just backfired hella loud. I'm thinking its just not timed right? I was going to take #1 plug out and make sure its TDC but didn't have the tool with me. Any ideas?

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