280zx very hard to start after 20 minute drive - Nissan : Datsun ZCar forum :Nissan Z Forum: 240Z to 370Z
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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280zx very hard to start after 20 minute drive

First let me say, I have read many many posts on this, and have spent many hours looking for answers. I have not found anything.

My 1979 280zx has a hot start problem. I will drive it for about 15 minutes or more and if I turn it off, come back 10 minutes later, it sputters. Only when I hold the accelerator down and keep it at around 4000rpms does the car want to run at idle, otherwise it would sputter and die. About a few minutes after I do this, I can drive the car, although response is really crappy for about 5 minutes.

I replaced the Ignition Module (was pretty old) but didnt change the hard start problem.

I have reman. injectors. New filter, new fuel pump.

This problem is going to get worse as the summer comes on. The other month when it was 88 degrees outside, my car had to for two hours before it could start. (BIG PROBLEM) as it will get even hotter than that now that we are entering summer.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

If you need more information to diagnose it, please tell me.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 01:27 PM
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Does your engine have the fuel rail cooling fan? Looks like a forked plastic snorkel over the top of the valve cover, connected a to a fan motor by the oil filter. Nissan added those to the ZX's to combat that ype of problem. Not sure if it was 79 or 80 when it was added though. 1979 still used the N42 block and N47 head. They might have added it with the F54 and P79 combo.

You should tell people how long you've had the car and other details. You might owned it for ten minutes or ten years.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Does your engine have the fuel rail cooling fan? Looks like a forked plastic snorkel over the top of the valve cover, connected a to a fan motor by the oil filter. Nissan added those to the ZX's to combat that ype of problem. Not sure if it was 79 or 80 when it was added though. 1979 still used the N42 block and N47 head. They might have added it with the F54 and P79 combo.

You should tell people how long you've had the car and other details. You might owned it for ten minutes or ten years.
It does have the cooling fan but that doesnt seem to help it.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 01:55 PM
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You didn't give the "more information".

There's quite a bit on various web sites about "hot start" or "heat soak". Some people call it vapor lock, but that's really a term used to describe a fuel pumping problem.

Nissan designed and added the cooling fan to remove heat from the fuel supply system. That would be the rail and the injectors. If you use the search terms above you'll find several possible solutions, from leaving the hood propped open to replacing the fuel rail with an aluminum aftermarket rail.

Or, the factory system is known for having a high activation temperature. You could wire it to a switch and a turbo timer to make it run at lower temperature.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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yet is that the only reason this could be happening? Even when the fan would turn on for 15 minutes, the car still rough starts (badly). I dont think people would have bought the car in '79 if it did this back then, so there must be a problem that can be fixed? if they didnt have to hardwire it in '79, why do I need to do that now? or pop open the hood? the previous owner never had a problem but he wasnt a mechanic so he cant tell me anything.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Capt.Kirk View Post
yet is that the only reason this could be happening? Even when the fan would turn on for 15 minutes, the car still rough starts (badly). I dont think people would have bought the car in '79 if it did this back then, so there must be a problem that can be fixed? if they didnt have to hardwire it in '79, why do I need to do that now? or pop open the hood? the previous owner never had a problem but he wasnt a mechanic so he cant tell me anything.
are you running ethonal free gas? does the cooling fan come on?
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-11-2017, 04:01 PM
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Fuel today is not the same as fuel yesterday. Previous owners are not known for telling all of the problems of a car as they're trying to sell it. You're not giving any details about how long you've had the car or what you know about, except this last bit of piece-meal information about the PO, which may or may not be true. All of the questions you asked are covered in several threads, especially over on classiczcars.com. It's a very common problem. Nissan did not add the fan and the switch and the blower motor for nothing.

It might not be the typical hot start problem but you're not giving enough information to say one way or another.

What you're describing as "minutes" is probably just seconds. I've had the problem and seconds feel like minutes while you're waiting.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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Fuel today is not the same as fuel yesterday. Previous owners are not known for telling all of the problems of a car as they're trying to sell it. You're not giving any details about how long you've had the car or what you know about, except this last bit of piece-meal information about the PO, which may or may not be true. All of the questions you asked are covered in several threads, especially over on classiczcars.com. It's a very common problem. Nissan did not add the fan and the switch and the blower motor for nothing.

It might not be the typical hot start problem but you're not giving enough information to say one way or another.

What you're describing as "minutes" is probably just seconds. I've had the problem and seconds feel like minutes while you're waiting.
I have had the car for two years. I restored it from not working 16 years. My friends father gave it to me for free cause he said his mechanics couldnt get it working hahaha, so he had no reason to lie to me. Its a california car. Sometime the car will have to be turned over at least 20 times in about 5 minutes. Im not joking. Also, the fan will come on for 15 minutes (I believe the timer is set to that in the fsm). Ill say this, it turns on rather well at ~150 degrees. At ~170-200 degrees (when the car has been sitting for about ten minutes) the car has a hard time starting. If I keep the accelerator down, then turn the key to start, the car sometimes fires and sounds like its going to stall, then it soars into high rps (obviously because I keep the accelerator down) All I know is, the fan does not help ( I know it works because my ears hear the fan and I can put my hand in front of the trumpet and feel air pumping out). I have looked at all the threads but they dont seem to help. Maybe this is a problem none of you have dealt with. I dont know though.
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Originally Posted by Capt.Kirk View Post
First let me say, I have read many many posts on this, and have spent many hours looking for answers. I have not found anything.

My 1979 280zx has a hot start problem. I will drive it for about 15 minutes or more and if I turn it off, come back 10 minutes later, it sputters. Only when I hold the accelerator down and keep it at around 4000rpms does the car want to run at idle, otherwise it would sputter and die. About a few minutes after I do this, I can drive the car, although response is really crappy for about 5 minutes.

I replaced the Ignition Module (was pretty old) but didnt change the hard start problem.

I have reman. injectors. New filter, new fuel pump.

This problem is going to get worse as the summer comes on. The other month when it was 88 degrees outside, my car had to for two hours before it could start. (BIG PROBLEM) as it will get even hotter than that now that we are entering summer.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


If you need more information to diagnose it, please tell me.

To which Scottie replies," Capt, I'm giving you everything she's got. I'm doin everything I can but the warp core is gonna blow."


Sorry, couldn't help it

1986ZXT GLL: 56k NA motor and trans with Turbo goodies added. K & N, CM 3" turbo back, Turbosmart MBC @ 9 psi, fmic (old guy kept the A/C), Dual Fans, Maxima Alternator, ASCO plenum, Eibach/KYB, Champion 3 row
2013 Ford Taurus SHO Performance Package
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 11:55 AM
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Do you have exhaust manifold leak dumping heat under hood.
It might not be loud.

BLACK GOLD MAN OF DETROIT 78 280Z 80ZX 10TH ANV 83 ZX 2+2 GL

MOTOR CITY
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