77 280z starter issue - Nissan : Datsun ZCar forum :Nissan Z Forum: 240Z to 370Z
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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77 280z starter issue

Hi there. I have a 77 280z. It has ran great until recently. The car sat for about 4 months in my garage due to fuel pump issues. Found out that was just a bad connection. Ran great for the next 2 days. Went to start it the next afternoon and it started fine, but the fasten seat belt light started flickering on and off. Then the car cut out for a second, but didn't die. It's almost like I lost all power to everything in the interior when it did this. Looked at fuel gauge (aftermarket) and it showed empty. I thought the gauge had read a quarter tank the day before, but then I figured I had imagined that since the gauge was on empty. Grabbed a gas can and put 5 gallons in it. Fuel gauge then read a half a tank. Now I knew something was wrong. Went to start it and all I got was a click.

Trailered it into town. Shop said it was a bad starter/starter solenoid. Replaced starter assembly and it ran great on the way home until the driveway. Cut out again, but stayed running. Shut it off. Now it just clicks like it was doing before. Any ideas?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 06:39 PM
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Check your battery cables at both ends - a loose ground / positive connection or a broken cable could do this.

Dirty battery terminals seem to be unlikely, but checking them is easy.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 07:21 PM
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Check your battery for a stable voltage. If it's dead, charge it and leave it on a high amp setting and start the car. If it continues to run it might be your alternator on its way out, or your voltage regulator. Most part stores will bench test them for free if you want to take the pain of pulling it out. If you need to replace it, I would go with the higher amp 280zx NA alternator. It's basically a bolt in and gets rid of the external regulator.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Battery is good. Starter has 12 volts going to it. Good ground. Tried to jump it using a screwdriver across the starter. Starter would spin freely, but wouldn't crank the car over. Almost like a bad bendix, but this starter is brand new. Tried to bump start it but it never would start.

Sadly, the car has an alarm system on it. Probably installed back in the 90s. The previous owner said he had disconnected it, but I am starting to question if he really did. I am afraid this may be my problem. Any more suggestions?
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 10:38 AM
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Battery is good. Starter has 12 volts going to it. Good ground. Tried to jump it using a screwdriver across the starter. Starter would spin freely, but wouldn't crank the car over. Almost like a bad bendix, but this starter is brand new. Tried to bump start it but it never would start.

Sadly, the car has an alarm system on it. Probably installed back in the 90s. The previous owner said he had disconnected it, but I am starting to question if he really did. I am afraid this may be my problem. Any more suggestions?
Teeth missing on the Flywheel, flex plate?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 01:30 PM
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Battery is good. Starter has 12 volts going to it. Good ground. Tried to jump it using a screwdriver across the starter. Starter would spin freely, but wouldn't crank the car over. Almost like a bad bendix, but this starter is brand new. Tried to bump start it but it never would start.

Sadly, the car has an alarm system on it. Probably installed back in the 90s. The previous owner said he had disconnected it, but I am starting to question if he really did. I am afraid this may be my problem. Any more suggestions?
Yes. My general rule is to remove ALL aftermarket installed systems when buying a used car. Most are chop jobs that screw up the car's wiring harness. You will probably benefit by removing it and returning the car's wiring to stock. At present, you don't know what you have.

If you want to, you can re-install it after you make sure the car's wiring is correct and have it running properly.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 02:12 PM
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You said it would only click, then you said the motor spins freely. Does the motor keep spinning if you hold the key or does it spin down after you hear it jam in to the ring gear? Those would be two different things.

You probably jumped the wrong two wires with your screwdriver. You jumped to the motor, not the solenoid. The solenoid actuates the bendix mechanism, then actuates the motor at the bottom of the stroke through the relay contact.

Try jumping from the battery positive to the small solenoid wire. With your eyes and ears right there you'll get a better idea of what's going on.

If everything goes dead right after the click, that's a connection problem.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 02:45 PM
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To expand on Pilgrim's suggestion, try disconnecting, cleaning (where possible) and reconnecting ALL electrical connectors under the hood at at the ECU, including injectors, fusible links, fuses and ESPECIALLY grounds where they bolt to the body.
Also, FWIW, most automotive shops these days don't know these cars, or how to correctly troubleshoot them. They will almost always suggest something that costs a lot of money. If I had a dime for every time I've read on this forum that "the shop said it was ABC so we replaced that and the problem was still there. So they said it was XYZ and we replaced that, but it still doesn't run right..."
The best way you can run down these problems (besides asking here) is to get a factory service manual and follow their troubleshooting guides. Also - again from years of learning the hard way - check the simple, stupid, cheap stuff first. These cars are extremely sensitive to good, tight electrical connections, good clean grounds, a full-power battery and charging system - and a good, tight vacuum system.
I can't tell you how many times I've replaced pricey stuff only to find that solution to the problem was one of those things that would have cost little or nothing to fix.
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