1982 280zx cutting out - Nissan : Datsun ZCar forum :Nissan Z Forum: 240Z to 370Z
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Old 03-06-2009, 10:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 1982 280zx cutting out

Hey Everyone,

I am searching this forum for answers but wanted to post my problem to get some ideas faster. The car is a 1982 280zx non-turbo. Recently I have had issues where i'm accelerating and the car cuts out for a second but accelerates. I suspected the fuel filter so i changed it but still experience the same issue. But now its really bad to where i cant drive it. Today I started the car and it runs nicely in idle. Did some checking around to see if vacuum lines were okay and revved the engine a bit. Once the engine gets to normal operating temp, I put the RPM to 2100 and held it, the engine cuts out and rpm goes to near stall and then accelerates back up (if I dont move my foot) to 2100 and cuts out again. 2100 isnt the magic number, it does the same at 3000. This only seems to happen after the engine is warm. Need some help please...

Things I have changed recently. Spark plugs, spark plug wires, coil, main belt, power steering belt, fuel filter.
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Old 03-06-2009, 10:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: 1982 280zx cutting out

check how tight the exhaust manifold studs are around #1 and more likely #6 cylinders. Got a broken stud or leak there? Could be a boiling over fuel rail.

If the rpm drop to zero when the car's still in gear and moving, that's an indicator of the module on the side of the distributor.

If you hear clicking then check the fuel pump relay.

As well, go to www.xenons130.com and download the free factory service manual for your car. It's better by far than haynes or chiltons for general knowledge, easy use and for troubleshooting accurately.
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Old 03-06-2009, 10:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: 1982 280zx cutting out

There is a small exhaust manifold leak but its toward the back and near the bottom. My exhaust guy couldnt even see it but found it with his scope. The rpm check i did today was in the driveway but it does the same thing while in gear and driving. The fuel pump relay clicking would come from the rear? I can hear it turn on when I turn the key...

I'll check out the manual, i have the Chilton and Haynes manuals.
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: 1982 280zx cutting out

You need to do some troubleshooting to verify if it is ignition.
Could be many things - ign switch, coil, distributer electronics, bad wireing or ground, etc.
Monitor 12v at the coil with a vom when it cuts out, start from there.
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: 1982 280zx cutting out

I'm not sure its the ignition system but I will do the checks. Havent had much time this week but this weekend I need to figure it out so I appreciate the feedback. I just didnt know where to start...
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Old 03-06-2009, 11:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: 1982 280zx cutting out

Sounds like the engine is fuel starved. Check fuel pressure. Possible bad fuel pump or clogged intake screen. Need to do some diagnostic checks to narrow down possibilities. Check the obvious too. Maybe you have a clogged air filter or bad gas.
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Is this another one of those questions with the "Check the FSM" answer?
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Old 03-07-2009, 12:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: 1982 280zx cutting out

My 74 260z does this when cold.. when it "cuts out" it backfires. I've always assumed it was either the carbs or a valve slightly out of time. It happened both with my points dizzy and also my new e12-80 dizzy. Tach also dropped.
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Old 03-07-2009, 07:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: 1982 280zx cutting out

My suggestion is the ignition module on the side of the distributor, and/or it's associated "pick off" coil wiring down inside the dizzy. They are the red and green wires that come up from below, and plug into the top of the module, just even with the bottom edge of the dizzy cap. The brass spade connectors have a tendency to have sharp brass thorns, created by the wire crimping process, that puncture from one wire into the insulation of the other wire, shorting the pickoff coil to itself, which kills the signal to the ignition spark coil. Make sure the two wires have a little separation from each other. A bit of electricians tape is a good idea to provide a little extra insulation.

I had this problem bad with my 79 ZX when I first bought it. Many of us here have experienced this. Not saying for sure that this is your problem, but it is easy and free to check, and easy to correct if it is a problem.
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Old 03-07-2009, 12:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: 1982 280zx cutting out

EasyGuy and Astro Bob, I think you are on the right track. First off, the vacuum controller wire seemed to have fallen off and the wire connections were really loose on the ignition unit. Not sure if I did it or it was like that but a vacuum hose was severed near the distributor. Opened the dizzy up and after a miserable time getting the reluctor off, noticed some broken pieces under the breaker plate. was gonna rebuild it but I broke the distributor housing trying to pry the reluctor off...oops. so i'm just gonna replace the whole thing. also gonna spend some time replacing vacuum lines as they are very brittle.

Thanks to all who posted, i appreciate the feedback. I will post to let you know how it goes if anyone is interested.

Found a great how-to from this site: http://www.jrdemers.com/280ZX/distri...stributor.html

The symptoms were EXACTLY what was happening.
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Old 03-07-2009, 02:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: 1982 280zx cutting out

I've got a spare housing if you wanted to do a rebuild.
The broken parts are probably the breaker plate that allows the innards to rotate when the vac module pulls on it to advance the timing as the engine rpm climb. Zmanofwashington sells metal ones instead of the plastic housed stock ones.

Or if you can find one at a pick-n-pull, grab it!
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