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


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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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Thanks Steve , 

 

 I do have the FSM and have used it extensively that's how I got it running in the first place. I will post some more pics on the issues im running into . Im glad that I have a forum to communicate in.  

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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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Thanks for the information Zed, 

 

Here is where i am today , I pulled the Dizzy and looked it over I figure welp at the very least I need to get the moister and dirt out of there. 

Below are the pictures of what it looked like , as I started to dissemble it I noticed it had been messed with the screws were rounded and the bottom pin was burred. 

After taking everything apart  and cleaning all the parts put in the new ignition module i purchased in anticipation of this issue , I resembled it to see if it helped , or at the very least to send out to get rebuilt. 

 

when I put it back in the car voila I GOT SPARK! I have fuel pressure ....... but its still not running . a little fuel in the intake manifold and hot dog shes running . so now i have to chase down the fuel issue. 

side note the dizzy did have a broke magnet and it will need to be replaced the little bearings also were cruddy, once i get her up and running again I would take her on any long trips with out fixing those parts better. 

 

Again thanks for all the input guys . 

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I've wondered if the broken magnet was a show stopper.  Apparently not.

Make sure the blue wire is connected to the negative terminal.  It's Pin 1 trigger to the ECU for the injectors.  Counts sparks then opens them up.

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1 hour ago, Zed Head said:

I've wondered if the broken magnet was a show stopper.  Apparently not.

Make sure the blue wire is connected to the negative terminal.  It's Pin 1 trigger to the ECU for the injectors.  Counts sparks then opens them up.

LOL yea im was wondering about the magnet as well . I wonder if that part is available anywhere .  I will double check that on the blue wire . I believe i put them back the way it came off , but i could have mixed them up as well . 

 

Have a Blessed night 

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Your distributor looks like it's in rough shape and needs attention.  Good luck finding that magnet.  I searched from here to Japan and only found it to be "nla".  I located a good 78 280z distributor along with the GM, HEI parts.  It's an easy install and it all worked well.  There are rebuilt 280z distributors out there, for not a bunch of dollars, if you do some digging. 

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Greeting all. I joined this forum but have not spent much time on it. I have re-designed the plastic bearing retainer that is broken in your distributor. I sell them for 2.00. Here is a picture of my broken retainer, an origional and my re-designed retainer. I removed all the week spots and beefed up the holes where the ball bearing sit. This will fit any 4 or 6 cylinder matchbox distributor. HAS TO BE A MATCHBOX DISTRIBUTOR. I have these posted on another Z site or if you search 280zx distributor repair kit you will find my story. Good luck.

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Edited by kickstand80
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My bearing retainer is 3D printed out of hi temp ABS by a small specialty engineering and production facility, Gizmonics.biz  . If anyone is interested you can just send me an email at:

chaug@bis.midco.net OR text me at:    seven,sero,1-4,7,one-one,5,THREE,4

My paypal is my above email address and is the only way I accept payment. 

25.00 includes shipping

I had a batch of 100 made and have sent them all over the country. Comes with the retainer and 3 new bearings.

Craig Haug 

Mandan, ND

 

Edited by kickstand80
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thanks so much for the post Kick , I may be mistaken , but the retainer on my Dizzy is made out if metal. it hold two bearings in each arm. the little piece of gasket material in my pic was in between the magnet housing and the vac advance plate. 

I looked on your post as well , do you have any magnets left?

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There is a metal one on the bottom of the bearing plate and a plastic one sandwiched between the plates. I do have a few magnets. My Japan magnet source dried up thou. I am pursing a possible method of making them but everything takes time and $$$$$$$$$$$$. 

There is currently a broken magnet on ebay for 19.00 plus 12.45 shipping in Ft. Lauderdale.

30.00 for the magnet and 25.00 for the bearing retainer. Shipping included.

 

Edited by kickstand80
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49 minutes ago, kickstand80 said:

Here is a link to a really good procedure

Already posted.  Where's the link to your store?  Not enough info here to buy...

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I dont have a store, I just sell them thru the various Z car forums

 If anyone is interested you can just send me an email at:

chaug@bis.midco.net      OR text me at:    seven,sero,1-4,7,one-one,5,THREE,4

Payment is:

My paypal is      chaug@bis.midco.net      and is the only way I accept payment. 

25.00 includes shipping for the Bearing Retainer and 3 new bearings

I had a batch of 100 made and have sent them all over the country. 

Craig Haug 

Mandan, ND

Edited by kickstand80
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