Jump to content

IGNORED

77 280z Restoration


Recommended Posts

I got lucky and have ZX full shrouds on both mine. The 240 has a 280 radiator which sits a few inches closer to the ground but so far and lack of driving it I've never had a problem. Actually the front spoiler is a hair lower than the larger radiator. Also have a belly pan on the 280. That car flows a lot of air over the motor. 240 belly pans are unicorns in my experience.

I followed blues tech tips and put an e12-80 on my '77, never had a problem. That's what I like about these cars, I've been damn lucky so far. Sit down in Harrah's in new Orleans and I'm broke in 30 minutes. 

Lucky at love I guess. LOL

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I think that there might be a Pathfinder thermostat that fits, it's just not official.  But it is Nissan.

On the GM HEI module the supposed 4500 RPM limit is really just a red herring that David Vizard created, based on his interpretation of the design.  He never verifies what he thinks happens.  He just didn't like it and voiced an opinion.  It's in one of his books.  And, 4500 V8 RPM = 6000 six cylinder RPM, spark-wise.

There are many options out there.  You have to be careful on the old brand names.  The companies are long gone, most of them consolidated under one corporation and parts made in Asia.  MSD is part of Holley and Holley just got "owned" by private equity money.

https://www.empowermidocean.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holley_Performance_Products

"On September 22, 2015, Holley acquired MSD Group, which includes brands MSD, Mr. Gasket, Lakewood, Accel, Mallory, Hays, and SuperChips.

On March 12, 2021, Holley announced they had entered into a definitive merger agreement with special purpose acquisition company Empower Ltd (Tkr: EMPW) that will result in Holley becoming a publicly listed company on the NYSE under the new ticker symbol “HLLY”."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The GM HEI is a cheap reliable option. I've not heard much negative feedback about reliability. But before you consider my opinion, know that I still like points and a condenser. I like mechanical things.

  • Agree 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

From my years in GM world, there were many HEI module failures, but those were attributed to mounting the module under the distributor cap and dealing with all the engine heat. 

I never personally studied the failures, but that's the belief. Keep it cool, and it'll be fine. Put it on top of the engine, and it won't last nearly as long.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Mark Maras said:

know that I still like points and a condenser. I like mechanical things.

Just before 2000 i put in a new pair of contacts and capacitor and.. last year after about 25-30000 km i renewed the contacts just because it was time, they still worked and looked good..  I like that very much, a lot more than all that stupid electronic $^!# that you find in today's cars hahaha..

I still have to put my 280zx engine back.. and if i have any trouble with the electric stuff.. then i throw it all out.. put some carbs in it and a 240z ignition, it's much more reliable then that '80's ignition stuff! :pow:

  • Agree 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great responses gents,  thanks,   
 

ZedHead and Captain Obvious regarding GM HEI.   Yes, I agree the placement of the HEI under the distributor cap was a bad location causing premature heat failures.  Heating and cooling of electrical components over time isn’t good nor the constant vibration. I know people,have successfully put these in.  There are so many manufacturers of these.  Unfortunately, you never know what you’re getting anymore.  So many companies rush off to China to save money and end up with inferior products.  The problem is you can never tell what you are getting.  Even the Delphi ones are probably made there in the same couple factories.  Go on Amazon and look at the review for these GM HEI modules….they are not good.   
ZedHead, I did some research and you’re correct.  MSD was bought out and now has moved its production from El Paso to China.  Many unhappy customers with the later Chinese models.  Same reasons stated above.   It’s hit or miss it appears.  I can go on a long rant about what Chinese production has done to America.  The bottom line overseas production has benefited companies balance sheet while killing US jobs and undermining our national security.  I resist to say more.  
So after some research I’m considering another option.  Pertronix has a product called the Digital HP module.  Saw only one short thread on here from 2017.  Again, I’m not trying to get power increase.  I’m looking for reliability.  ZedHead commented on the 2017 thread but the price had just hit the market and there was little to no feedback from car owners.  After 5 more years the reviews are good.   This product is made in the US, had good reviews and wires up exactly like the MSD at almost 1/2 the MSD cost.   Amazon sells it and had free returns.  I might test it and report back my findings.  95% 5 star reviews on both Amazon, Jegs and Summit.  Haven’t read a bad review yet online, 
Right now I can’t confidently drive the car any distance from my house and while it’s running fine now if I drove 25 miles from home and I had another failure again i won’t be happy and it would be a major inconvenience .   If the car is not reliable then it defeats the purpose of what I’ve done to this point.   
I’m willing to be the 280z  Guinea Pig.   If it’s not good I’ll return it.  
 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My project combining one complete rust bucket with one no rust, but missing stuff 78 Z isn’t running yet, but in both the OE electronic ignition were making a strong spark.  Tested it by powering up the system and spinning the distributor. Their idea of putting the control box in the cabin make have been a good one.  For now I’m going w the OE and time will tell if I made a good choice.  

I grew up with 60’s vehicles when break point ignitions and carburetors were the standard and both are not without their problems. It almost seemed like a miracle to me when I bought my new 76 Z with it’s ‘advanced’ systems.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree, I want to go to carbs too at some point.  I may start rebuilding my other L28 (one that came out of my car) and go the SU carb route there.  Would probably forgo the old points approach just because the newer systems are better and more reliable.  I have a set of SU carbs that I sent out to a forum member to do some refurbishing.  I’d honestly rather have carbs on this car now.  EFI was the fastest route to getting it driving,  I’d be interested in doing this mod over this winter.  He’s a busy guy so not sure if those carbs will be ready that soon, but definitely want to go with the carbs 100%.   I may be opening a can of worms but I don’t think the whole world would have changed to electronic ignition systems to if it were a worse technology.  Points require more care and maintenance.  
With my ZX distributor I don’t think I can go back to he 77 ignition?  I’d need another distributor and I think the general consensus is the ZX distributor and ignition system is an upgrade to my stook 77.   The faster and cheapest way forward is just getting a solid module that isn’t 35+ years old.  Hopefully the Pertronix Digital HP is the answer and it will also work with my future carb set up. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem is the American owners ripping off their American customers.  Not the people who make the product.  The owners love it when people bash "China".  It's their cover.  They just keep raking in the easy money while everyone complains.  The owners are the ones that set the low standards and accept the low quality product to pass on to the disappointed consumer.

Anyway, you'd hope that a company introducing a new product would put the effort in to using the best design elements.  But I wouldn't be surprised if there was just a tiny ignition module inside that big shiny Pertronix box.  Probably assembled in America but the parts made elsewhere.  Sorry, it's just today's reality.

If I was looking for reliability I'd try to adapt a system from a modern car.  Today's cars are designed for low maintenance and low emissions.  They can't have ignition systems failing.  Most cars have computer controlled ignition but I wonder if some don't have the older style still.  I tried to find an OEM GM HEI module but it looks like they're all aftermarket now.

  • Agree 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I I was starting over I'd probably mount three AC Delco modules in the old ignition box and wire them up with a switch that allowed me to change from one to another.  AC Delco is OEM for the time I believe.  More expensive too, $36 versus $21, although that could just be name recognition.

The Pertronix box looks interesting though.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/chevrolet,1977,camaro,5.0l+305cid+v8,1035111,ignition,ignition+control+module+(icm),7172

https://www.acdelco.com/

image.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I may be sorry later, but for fuel I bought the Fast fuel injection control system designed for the Z and aftermarket injectors.  That system has oxygen sensor feedback in the exhaust and can handle a variety of setups.  It does away with the cold start valve and a number of other devices that were part of the OE fuel injection system. 

I don’t know if anybody else is having this problem, but my camshaft kit bought through Motorsport Auto (a Schneider cam) is being held up because Schneider’s magic formula that goes in the break in oil is on back order.  I promised I wouldn’t start the engine w/o the formula if Motorsport would send me the cam kit so I could get the head to the machine shop.  They won’t budge.   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I called the and spoke to a Pertronix Rep today on the phone to ask questions about their Digital HP Ignition unit.  The rep was super nice , very knowledgeable and said the ignition unit should work just fine on the Z.  I was worried about the tachometer having indication problems but he assured me there a 2 different wires to use based on what type of signal the tach gets.  Worst case he said call us and we’ll walk you through it and find a solution if in the rare circumstance it doesn’t work. 
I was impressed with the guy’s knowledgeable and amazed I could call a company and within 2 mins be on the phone with a tech rep.  He also said the product was released in 2016 and they spent 18 months engineering this unit after asking what customers wanted.  He verified is was built in the USA.   I don’t expect all the components to be made in the USA.  When I was 21 I worked for Bose, the speaker manufacturer.  I worked at the factory in Framingham, MA.  Almost all the electrical sub-components were from Asia but we made the speakers right there in MA.  That’s not unusual in the electronics industry.  
So I have one of their boxes on the way as well as a new .32 ohm coil.  He said it was designed for that coil in mind and that the tach signal won’t come from the coil anymore but the ignition unit itself so i should not have any tach issues. 
I plan to put it in the passenger footwell where the stock Ignition Unit went.   Safer to be in the cabin vs the engine.  
I’ll report to you all my findings, detail the install and all the pros and or cons I run into.  

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, SteveJ said:

Looking at the wiring diagrams:

For the 280Z, I would think the grey wire would connect to the blue wire that goes back to the TIU and tach. 

That seems right.  You'd have to guess that they were aware of the tach problems with the MSD boxes and engineered a "tach adapter" right in to the system.  Looks like the same signal that the old ignition module would deliver.  On-off-on-off...12 volts.

The blue wire is branched at the ignition module.  You might be able to just attach the old ignition module blue wire at the Pertronix box, since it's there, (Edited >and cap the blue wire end in the engine bay.)  Not clear if the 2200 ohm resistor is needed.  Probably won't hurt, it's good insurance against shorts.  Stuff to think about.

image.png

Edited by Zed Head
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Zed Head said:

That seems right.  You'd have to guess that they were aware of the tach problems with the MSD boxes and engineered a "tach adapter" right in to the system.  Looks like the same signal that the old ignition module would deliver.  On-off-on-off...12 volts.

The blue wire is branched at the ignition module.  You might be able to just attach the old ignition module blue wire at the Pertronix box, since it's there, and cap the blue wire end in the engine bay.  Not clear if the 2200 ohm resistor is needed.  Probably won't hurt, it's good insurance against shorts.  Stuff to think about.

image.png

Agreed. I'm going to write up my suggestions. 

image.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm thinking this is right, but I'm open to critiques. This is how I would see it going for the wiring. You would need to make sure you lift the wire between the ballast resistor and coil positive. Could this be done without running a single wire out to the coil? sure, but that would require more wire modifications between the dash harness and engine harness.

image.png

Edit: Yes, it could be done without running the wire out to the coil, but it would require buying 2 sets of connectors to make jumper harnesses between C-2 and C-3 to intercept the BW wire at those junctions.

Edited by SteveJ
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, SteveJ said:

If I'm correct, these are the same style connectors as C-2 and C-3, though photos of those taken apart would be helpful to confirm.

Connector Part Numbers.jpg

D'oh, Mouser doesn't expect to get any of the 172508-1 until mid December.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My comment about capping the blue wire in the engine bay wasn't right.  You need it on the coil.  So you'd just cut the tach branch off of it and use the branch for the trigger wire.  Seems like all of the needed wires are almost ready to go.  It will all make sense once it's in hand.

Looks like SteveJ is trying to get to plug and play, with connectors and all.  I'd probably just set up a terminal strip. 

Anyway,  don't forget to position it so you can see the adjustments.  Good luck.

image.png

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

51 minutes ago, Zed Head said:

My comment about capping the blue wire in the engine bay wasn't right.  You need it on the coil.  So you'd just cut the tach branch off of it and use the branch for the trigger wire.  Seems like all of the needed wires are almost ready to go.  It will all make sense once it's in hand.

Looks like SteveJ is trying to get to plug and play, with connectors and all.  I'd probably just set up a terminal strip. 

Anyway,  don't forget to position it so you can see the adjustments.  Good luck.

 

It's not exactly plug and play. I just don't like cutting factory wires if I don't have to.

One could back out the BW wires out of C-2 and C-3 and put them into smaller AMP connectors. The dash harness side would go to the key source on the Pertronix. The BW on the engine harness side would go to the BW on the Pertronix. That would save running a wire all of the way from the Pertronix in the passenger footwell to the coil.

  • Agree 1
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.