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So many problems , Don't know where to start ....


PastorKB

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Good day everyone , 

 

So if your into Sherlock Holmes mysteries this will be a fun one for ya. 

 

2 years ago my wife purchased my second z car a 1979 280zx . WE purchased it off a guy who said he was into "tinkering" with race cars. I looked it over and all seamed good as compared to my 1977 280z, some little issues but nothing to terrible . the only thing he commented to was they couldn't get it to stop running rich. 

 

 we trailered it home and that afternoon I had it running , all be it there was lots of work to do to it as it had been sitting for a few months after he was "tinkering" with it . 

 

Right off the bat I noticed that almost every connector to the fuel system was toast. I mean the connectors were rotten and falling apart . so naturally I replaced them all . This is when I started to see the depth of his tinkering . It was very obvious that the engine was replaced at some point because there were multiple connectors that did not have a wiring harness for them on the engine. He /or someone had removed the whole heating system as well .I replaced the injectors , fuel pump , all wiring connectors, plugs wires and finally got it running enough to have some summer fun .  

Jump ahead , after a year working on this car to get it Running , i still was chasing the running rich problem , ( i was getting about 12 mpg) I put a fuel pressure reg on it and dialed it down to 35 psi from 55 psi .  This made it run much better and  I had really good power up to red line, all thought it would sputter once in a blue moon. It appeared i had the running rich problem abated!  YEA ME THE MASTER MECHANIC!!!!

Not so fast there big guy ! Welp i go out in the morning to go to work and  Charlie wont start ..... it tries sputters and then dies. OK so ill look at it when I get home from work. ( i know the story is interesting but hell man get to the point ) 

OK , Yesterday , I finally diagnose the problem is no spark, coil tests fine , new plugs and wires cant be the problem . lets check the Dizzy ...... BINGO!!! there's issues there. while trying to find a replacement , I notice the engine that was replaced as per the block and head  markings is from a 81 280zx. the distributer is from a 80 Canadian model and the car itself is a 1979 . i haven't looked at the ecm to see what year that's is from yet . 

 

I just dont know where to go next as it appears after 2 days of searching that Dizzy's for 280 are scarce as hens teeth to find . You would figure there would be a quality replacement at a reasonable price .... but NOOOO.  At this point im thinking of going Carbs and taking out the efi abut that still doesnt resolve the problem of the Dizzy . 

So what do you guy's think ? Ya gotta love the "tinkering " I have had to deal with, I would be grateful for any suggestions you may have or perhaps easy fixes , like knowing of a resource i haven't found for replacement parts at affordable prices.  

 

Have a blessed day    

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Good luck finding a distributor. I just discovered excessive play in my distributor shaft in my '80ZX.

I'll likely be going the 123 distributor route.

I run FAST EFI from ZCarDepot. The engine is a F54 rebuilt/P79 with a .480 lift cam and shaved 0.80. FAST runs it just fine. There are a lot more tuning options with MegaSquirt or Haltech, but I'm not all that smart to use those haha.

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Thanks for the comments Reptoid , 

Im thinking getting away from anything electronic , just too much of a pain chasing down all the old issues . I think a 390 would be good option at this point and maybe a 123 ( although I dont know much about them yet ) but heck those two upgrades are close to $2k . not sure if i want to take that much money away from the other restoration . 

 

Thanks again

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Thanks for the comments Reptoid , 
Im thinking getting away from anything electronic , just too much of a pain chasing down all the old issues . I think a 390 would be good option at this point and maybe a 123 ( although I dont know much about them yet ) but heck those two upgrades are close to $2k . not sure if i want to take that much money away from the other restoration . 
 
Thanks again
Yeah I can totally see the merit in going away from electrics. We are about to do triple Webers on my friends '77 280Z. Same story. . Butchered EFI parts.

Best of luck. You'll get it sorted.@AK260 can tell you all about the 123 distributor.
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My first piece of advice is don't take wild swings on changing things unless you really know what you're doing. When I did that in the past, it typically didn't end well for me. 

My second piece of advice is don't stray away from electronics. They are SO much better than mechanical once you understand them. Certainly don't consider doing a points distributor.

As for rebuilding the distributor, consider contacting someone like this: http://advanceddistributors.com/wordpress1/. A small shop might charge more, but I bet you could trust someone like this better than the rebuild services used by RockAuto and the chain stores.

A friend who drives his 280Z EVERYWHERE (over 600,000 miles on the chassis) uses the FAST EFI. I haven't heard him complain about it. 

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5 minutes ago, Reptoid Overlords said:

Yeah I can totally see the merit in going away from electrics. We are about to do triple Webers on my friends '77 280Z. Same story. . Butchered EFI parts.

Best of luck. You'll get it sorted.@AK260 can tell you all about the 123 distributor.

So on the flip side, I converted the 260Z to TBI with a GM ECU. I would do it again tomorrow. Heck, I'm tempted to do it to the 240Z, but I would also get headers for it if I went that way to better accommodate installing an O2 sensor.

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THanks Steve for the comment , 

 

 I have a 77 280z that runs like a race car. I love how simple that EFI system is . However the difference between ( Sheila 77,280z and Charlie 79 280zx ) is that I honestly dont know how far His tinkering went . Im worried that I will have to replace wiring harnesses and more electronics to get everything to match up . 

I have considered advanced D and will most lilkly give them a buzz this week . 

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6 minutes ago, PastorKB said:

what did that conversion cost ? 

The TBI conversion was about $2000 for me, but that takes a couple of SU carburetors and converts them to throttle bodies. It would be much more involved to do that on a 280ZX and a step backwards to me. 

As to the "tinkering" start getting photo-happy and post the pictures here. We may be able to help with the mechanical changes. Also start downloading the factory service manuals for the 79-81 280ZX from Xenonzcar. It takes more effort since you have to do it section by section, but it may help you identify electrical and mechanical changes made to your car.

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1 hour ago, PastorKB said:

lets check the Dizzy ...... BINGO!!! there's issues there.

What are the issues?  Might just be the module.

You can wire in a GM HEI module for about $25.  Or buy a ZX module for $134 (ouch).  The HEI module will work as well or better.  You could also convert to a 280Z distributor if you happen to find one.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/nissan,1981,280zx,2.8l+l6,1209338,ignition,ignition+control+module+(icm),7172

Here's a detailed, make-it-look-right example, but you can also just extend the wires out to the fenderwell.

 

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