Jump to content


My '77 Z Coupe dies on the road when I see the tach jumping between Redline and Zero


Recommended Posts

This has happened at 50 MPH and when slowing down at a redlight. The tach goes crazy and then the car quits.

If the car is moving, it restarts itself.... when I slow down for a redlight and it quits, I am able to restart the car and continue on.

I have been told this means the Ignition Module is dying.

Do ya'll agree? If so where can I get an Ignition Module for a 1977 280Z Coupe, base model.

Thanks for any help




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, those are all typical signs of a failing module. Some of the auto parts stores can get replacement modules, or try Black Dragon, Motor Sport Auto, or Zpecialties.com. They're expensive though, in the high hundred or two hundred range.

The wrecking yard is another option, or an aftermarket ignition module, like the GM HEI module. Or you could swap to an early ZX distributor with an E12-80 module. But you will lose the temperature controlled 6 degrees of timing advance, since the factory module is designed to use the two pickups in the distributor. Unless you have a California model.

Quickest might be a wrecking yard 75-77 module, if you can find one. They're mounted up above and in front of the fuse box.

Edit - Got curious. Change the hundred and two hundred above to three hundred and four hundred - http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/search/Ignition+Module!s!Control+Unit!s!Ignitor/02801/C0334.oap?year=1977&make=Nissan&model=280Z&vi=1209248

Edited by Zed Head
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have either a loose connection somewhere in the ignition wiring to and from the ignition module, at or in the distributor, or from the power supply wiring that feeds it all. More likely, you have a bad ignition module internally. Pretty tough to diagnose an intermittent problem like this.

Could even be the tach itself. If its shorting its sensor line to ground internally, it would kill the ignition. So step one, disconnect the tach from the circuit by unplugging the in-line resistor in the harness below the glovebox against the fire wall (blue tape around a black rubber nubben about the size of your thumb), do without the tach for a bit and see if the problem persists.

Put a want to buy add in here for a module. Lost of folks have replaced there stuff with later dizzy's from ZX's and other aftermarket solutions. I have one, but I'm not likely the closest person to ya!

Edited by zKars
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pretty sure the engine won't start without the inline resistor. I had mine unwrapped and it fell out once. Not even a pop until I put it back in (no CSV, so no fuel supplied at all without the injectors firing). Fun to try though.

I've had two engines, also, that wouldn't start without the tach connected.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it does turn out to be a bad module, a 77 module might be a tough find and somewhat pricey. You could do the GM HEI module conversion for much less money. I believe Sarah (FastWoman) converted hers so she should be able to supply the info.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have had a similiar problem with 1977 Datsun Z's before. Check the ignition relay up underneath the fuse block on the passenger side interior. Either try to repair the old one or buy a new one for 100 dollars or more.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Monkey see, monkey do...


It's a funky diagram, but clear enough. My module was about $11. I mounted it on the fender where the distributor pickup coil connects.

I'm betting on a bad connection or short, though. The fact that it happens when you're rolling to a stop is very suspicious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If he pushes the clutch in when slowing down then it fits my module's symptoms.

When mine was dying I could make it go bad by winding the engine up to ~3,000 RPM or greater. Then the tach would start jumping around, and reading a much higher RPM than estimated by road speed and gear. It wouldn't idle well or would just would die if I pushed in the clutch. But it would still go down the road if I stayed in gear with the gas on, tach needle vibrating and reading wrong. If I stopped and let it die it would start right back up and be fine until I revved it over ~3,000 RPM again.

Just a few more signs to compare.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Guidelines. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.