No spark for ignition - Nissan : Datsun ZCar forum :Nissan Z Forum: 240Z to 370Z
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-14-2019, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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No spark for ignition

1980 280zx, 135,000 miles. The car has been starting and running very well. After sitting for about a month under shed but on damp ground I have no fire going to the plugs. Canít find any moisture in the distributor or any connections. (Distributor, rotor, plugs and wires less than a year old.) any idea where I should star looking? Electrical issues are not a strong suit with me.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-14-2019, 09:18 PM
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1980 280zx, 135,000 miles. The car has been starting and running very well. After sitting for about a month under shed but on damp ground I have no fire going to the plugs. Canít find any moisture in the distributor or any connections. (Distributor, rotor, plugs and wires less than a year old.) any idea where I should star looking? Electrical issues are not a strong suit with me.
First check to see if spark is coming out of the coil (this will rule out the distributor, dist cap, rotor, and plug wires). To do this, pull the center lead out of the distributor cap (the cable that goes from the coil) and ground it out to the metal of the car. If you get spark then you know its one of the things we just isolated.

If that doesnt work, check your condenser/condenser wire & connector. If that is damaged in some fashion, the coil will not produce spark (learned this on the side of the road once).

1978 280z - stock L28 engine - Dallas, TX
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-14-2019, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by chaseincats View Post
First check to see if spark is coming out of the coil (this will rule out the distributor, dist cap, rotor, and plug wires). To do this, pull the center lead out of the distributor cap (the cable that goes from the coil) and ground it out to the metal of the car. If you get spark then you know its one of the things we just isolated.

If that doesnt work, check your condenser/condenser wire & connector. If that is damaged in some fashion, the coil will not produce spark (learned this on the side of the road once).
Let me suggest a slightly different technique. If you pull the cap end of the coil wire and hold onto it, you will get the crap shocked out of you if the coil is working. If you ground it and let go, then you won't get shocked. I'm sure that @chaseincats meant to do this, but emphasis is worth adding in case you missed the part about grounding it.

I suggest you pull the coil wire at the coil, hold it just next to the hole it plugs into, and watch for sparks between wire and coil. Doing it at that end, the spark grounds to the spark plug, not your body. Same for checking spark plugs for spark - pull the cap end of the wire.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 03:49 AM
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Look around for mice bites.

zippityzda
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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Look around for mice bites.
You are the second one that mentioned that.

In any case, I finally got back to the car today (it is out in the country) and sure enough there is no spark coming from the coil. Unfortunately, I did not have a set of sockets and was not able to remove the coil to have it tested. I'll do that on Friday. I didn't see any broken--or chewed-- wires under the hood, but I didn't spend too much time looking. I removed and relays under the hood and they all look good with no corrosion. Any suggestions for things to look for when I go back on Friday. Sure would hate to have to have it towed. Really strange that this problem seemed to come out of no where, since the last time I drove it it ran perfectly .
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 10:04 PM
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You are the second one that mentioned that.

In any case, I finally got back to the car today (it is out in the country) and sure enough there is no spark coming from the coil. Unfortunately, I did not have a set of sockets and was not able to remove the coil to have it tested. I'll do that on Friday. I didn't see any broken--or chewed-- wires under the hood, but I didn't spend too much time looking. I removed and relays under the hood and they all look good with no corrosion. Any suggestions for things to look for when I go back on Friday. Sure would hate to have to have it towed. Really strange that this problem seemed to come out of no where, since the last time I drove it it ran perfectly .
The coil won't fire unless the wire to the distributor's condenser is connected and working. I found that out on the side of the road when my fan sliced that wire in half somehow.

1978 280z - stock L28 engine - Dallas, TX
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-29-2019, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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The coil won't fire unless the wire to the distributor's condenser is connected and working. I found that out on the side of the road when my fan sliced that wire in half somehow.
Thanks, I'll take a look at all the wiring on Friday. However, all this happened while it was just sitting. Maybe a critter got to the wiring.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-04-2019, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Back to it today. Confirmed that I have 12 volts to the coil with the ignition on. Cleaned the coil connections but still no spark. There is a little black box attached to the distributor and when I removed the wire plug on the top I found corrosion on the two pins. Cleaned those, but still no spark. There is a wire that runs from the bottom of the distributor to what looks like an inline condenser or possibly a fuse and attaches to a bracket that bolts to the coil mount. Both ends are attached and clean. I removed the coil but have no idea how to test it or what else to look for. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-05-2019, 08:51 AM
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Back to it today. Confirmed that I have 12 volts to the coil with the ignition on. Cleaned the coil connections but still no spark. There is a little black box attached to the distributor and when I removed the wire plug on the top I found corrosion on the two pins. Cleaned those, but still no spark. There is a wire that runs from the bottom of the distributor to what looks like an inline condenser or possibly a fuse and attaches to a bracket that bolts to the coil mount. Both ends are attached and clean. I removed the coil but have no idea how to test it or what else to look for. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
You will not get spark to the distributor if that (the condenser/condenser power wire) are not making a good connection (so you are on the right path).

I'd recommend using a test light to see if you are getting power at the wire's connection at the pins and if you do, try the same thing at the connections at the end of the wire, then to the condenser.

It could be as simple as a bad condenser which after being replaced will fix your problem.

1978 280z - stock L28 engine - Dallas, TX
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-17-2019, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by chaseincats View Post
You will not get spark to the distributor if that (the condenser/condenser power wire) are not making a good connection (so you are on the right path).

I'd recommend using a test light to see if you are getting power at the wire's connection at the pins and if you do, try the same thing at the connections at the end of the wire, then to the condenser.

It could be as simple as a bad condenser which after being replaced will fix your problem.
I checked the two wires at the IC unit (attached to the distributor) and there is no power with the ignition on. (Forgot the check the condenser, but will next week.) My manual says to check the wiring and connections between the ignition switch and the distributor. Before I go exploring the wiring harness, etc, are there any fuses or relays, etc I should look for. I'm pretty good and turning a wrench, but pretty close to ignorant about electricity. However, I have been able to confirm that the coil is good.
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