78 280z alternator replacement - Nissan : Datsun ZCar forum :Nissan Z Forum: 240Z to 370Z
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-13-2016, 01:52 AM Thread Starter
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78 280z alternator replacement

Hi guys, a few questions for you

My alternator died (the AAA guy tested it when the car was towed). I am seeing a lot of hooplah around the word "internally regulated" with some folks saying that the 78 280z can use the 1983 280zx alternator right out of the box (no need for a 1978-80 one) but some folks say i have to fiddle with wiring because the 78 is "externally regulated."

Basically im finding a lot of conflicting information for strictly the 1978 280z

any information would be appreciated!


PS whenever the car was running (since i got in in july) the charge light on the voltmeter was on dimly, does that mean the alternator was perpetually dying?


-Jason

Last edited by chaseincats; 10-13-2016 at 02:26 AM.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-13-2016, 02:37 AM
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1978 was the first year of the internally regulated alternator for the Z cars. The 78-83 alternators you'd get at a parts store will all be the same part. Same specs, same output, same bolts, same belt.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-13-2016, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pdx280 View Post
1978 was the first year of the internally regulated alternator for the Z cars. The 78-83 alternators you'd get at a parts store will all be the same part. Same specs, same output, same bolts, same belt.
This is slightly true, slightly false. Yes, the 78-83 NA Alternators are the same. Key is NA. Do not get a turbo alternator, unless you have a reason for the extra amperes. The NA is a 60 Amp, turbo is 70. I have the 60 from an 83zx on my 77. I redid the wiring, however you won't have to. The connectors are all the same, same bolts, same belt. I ordered mine from partsgeek. Works fantastic. I did however have to grind some extra metal off of my alternator to get it to fit into the housing. Not much, may or may not be a problem for you.

Southern Indiana

1996 Z32 300zx Twin Turbo - SOLD!
1977 280z
1984 AE 300zx Turbo
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-13-2016, 01:17 PM
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1978 was the first year of the internally regulated alternator for the Z cars. The 78-83 alternators you'd get at a parts store will all be the same part. Same specs, same output, same bolts, same belt.
Sorry Ech, but it's right. You can't get the 70 amp version anymore. The parts store will sell you a 60 amp, even if you specify turbo.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-13-2016, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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Hi guys, thanks for all the info

BTW regarding the voltmeter's "charge" light - whenever the car was running (since i got in in july) the charge light on the voltmeter was on dimly, does that mean the alternator was perpetually dying?

I've seen some posts where on 78s the light is always on for some reason
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-13-2016, 02:02 PM
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It's a warning light. It worked but you did not heed the warning.

Put the replacement alternator in and if the light is still on you'll know more.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-13-2016, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pdx280 View Post
It's a warning light. It worked but you did not heed the warning.

Put the replacement alternator in and if the light is still on you'll know more.
Fair enough, I'll put it in this weekend and report back
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-13-2016, 03:24 PM
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The light's function is described in the Owner's Manual. Maybe also the Service Manual. Glowing while engine running is bad.

http://www.xenonzcar.com/s30/ownersmanuals.html
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-13-2016, 04:18 PM
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Sorry Ech, but it's right. You can't get the 70 amp version anymore. The parts store will sell you a 60 amp, even if you specify turbo.
Guess you're right about part stores. Long story short, they made a 60 amp, and a 70 amp. Make sure you're using the 60amp. I remember seeing 70 amps floating about when I was searching for mine.

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1996 Z32 300zx Twin Turbo - SOLD!
1977 280z
1984 AE 300zx Turbo
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 10-13-2016, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdx280 View Post
It's a warning light. It worked but you did not heed the warning.

Put the replacement alternator in and if the light is still on you'll know more.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Echutton View Post
Guess you're right about part stores. Long story short, they made a 60 amp, and a 70 amp. Make sure you're using the 60amp. I remember seeing 70 amps floating about when I was searching for mine.
Out of curiosity, why would the 70 amp be bad?
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