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So I recently bought a 280zx for a very low price considering the condition. The interior is nearly perfect with some bumps and bruises but everything looks good besides that. The only thing is that it doesn't start. I have gotten the interior lights to turn on once, not head lights or any crank. After that I couldn't get them on again. I am in the process of cleaning the gas tank and replacing all fluids but is there anything else It sounds like I should do? I have a new battery and I know the ignition is bad right now but lights should still turn on regardless. Besides electrical problems what could it be. The previous owner just parked it in his garage one day and never drove it again so I know there isn't any "major" problem. Also the clutch is limp, I know that can be low fluid or the piston though. Would I have to replace it?
 

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I'd check the vehicle grounds and make sure the connections are clean. Fusible links would be a good thing to check. They are in the black box just in front of the battery on the passenger side fender. You could make sure the starter is good by jumping it directly from the battery. If starter is good, get the ignition problem sorted and work from there. And rodents like to find their way into old cars and nibble on that tasty insulation around the wires. I'd be shocked if you don't have a frayed wire somewhere.

Check fluid level in the clutch reservoir. My clutch pedal is light, but it's always been that way. Haven't had any issues.

Also, head over to xenonzcar.com for the factory service manual for your year ZX.
 
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The clutch master cylinder has gone bad. Very common in all the z's from 70-83. The brake fluid breaks down and turns to more water than brake fluid which causes the seals to fail. I carry them in stock and for zcar.com users the price is 36.76 each. I also sell clutch master rebuild kits for less than that. The clutch master failing even happens when a car is sitting in a building and not being used. Brake fluid should be flushed out every 3-4 years. As far as your ignition goes, I can usually rebuild them as well as your door locks. I can usually recode the rebuild so it uses your existing key code. I usually carry the parts in stock to do that job and I also have cores I can rebuild and you can send me the old one when you've installed the new one. By the way if you can pull the key out of any z ignition with the car running the lock is bad. Contact me at [email protected] for more information and be sure to let me know you use this forum for a better price. To go a step farther on jumping the starter that tokuzumi mentioned, you can jump the starter right on the solenoid. Unplug a small wire hooked to the front of the solenoid. That is the energizer lead. Jump from that spade terminal to the terminal next to it that has the battery cable hooked to it. You can use anything metal to connect the two, just be careful not to hit the starter case or any other ground. A screwdriver, pliers, remote starter switch, etc. will work. It may startle you but it won't shock you. You should also check the battery cables at both ends and clean the connections thoroughly.
Z man of Washington
 
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So I recently bought a 280zx for a very low price considering the condition. The interior is nearly perfect with some bumps and bruises but everything looks good besides that. The only thing is that it doesn't start. I have gotten the interior lights to turn on once, not head lights or any crank. After that I couldn't get them on again. I am in the process of cleaning the gas tank and replacing all fluids but is there anything else It sounds like I should do? I have a new battery and I know the ignition is bad right now but lights should still turn on regardless. Besides electrical problems what could it be. The previous owner just parked it in his garage one day and never drove it again so I know there isn't any "major" problem. Also the clutch is limp, I know that can be low fluid or the piston though. Would I have to replace it?
Try using Starting fluid into the airflow meter and see if it starts. If it does, your injecctors. are frozen and will likely need to be replaced are
 

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Never use starting fluid to resurrect an engine that has been sitting for long periods of time. I've seen people ruin engines from doing that. It should only be used as an emergency item, only IF the engine has been running recently and won't start. Even then it has to be used sparingly. Very dangerous stuff. lillias280zx hasn't gotten that deep into the diagnostic procedure to be looking for a shortcut and under no circumstances should he be using ether on that car. ZMOW
 

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Pull the plugs and squirt some engine oil into the cylinder BEFORE you crank it over. The clutch pedal has a safety switch on it to keep the car from cranking if the pedal is not pushed in, it could be bad and it can be bypassed. Just use a wire to jump from one wire to the other. Electrical part of the ignition switch could be bad, but rare. Fusible links could be bad in a no power, no crank situation. If you "jump" the starter like zman describes or bypass the clutch safety, make sure the car is in neutral! Turn on the ignition switch and listen for the fuel pump or check fuel pressure. You have to splice a gauge into the fuel line as there is no schrader valve to put a screw on gauge to.
 

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The ZX does not have a switch to prevent the car from starting if the clutch is not pressed in. If you start the car in gear, it will move forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'd check the vehicle grounds and make sure the connections are clean. Fusible links would be a good thing to check. They are in the black box just in front of the battery on the passenger side fender. You could make sure the starter is good by jumping it directly from the battery. If starter is good, get the ignition problem sorted and work from there. And rodents like to find their way into old cars and nibble on that tasty insulation around the wires. I'd be shocked if you don't have a frayed wire somewhere.

Check fluid level in the clutch reservoir. My clutch pedal is light, but it's always been that way. Haven't had any issues.

Also, head over to xenonzcar.com for the factory service manual for your year ZX.
. Thank you so much I really appreciate it!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The clutch master cylinder has gone bad. Very common in all the z's from 70-83. The brake fluid breaks down and turns to more water than brake fluid which causes the seals to fail. I carry them in stock and for zcar.com users the price is 36.76 each. I also sell clutch master rebuild kits for less than that. The clutch master failing even happens when a car is sitting in a building and not being used. Brake fluid should be flushed out every 3-4 years. As far as your ignition goes, I can usually rebuild them as well as your door locks. I can usually recode the rebuild so it uses your existing key code. I usually carry the parts in stock to do that job and I also have cores I can rebuild and you can send me the old one when you've installed the new one. By the way if you can pull the key out of any z ignition with the car running the lock is bad. Contact me at [email protected] for more information and be sure to let me know you use this forum for a better price. To go a step farther on jumping the starter that tokuzumi mentioned, you can jump the starter right on the solenoid. Unplug a small wire hooked to the front of the solenoid. That is the energizer lead. Jump from that spade terminal to the terminal next to it that has the battery cable hooked to it. You can use anything metal to connect the two, just be careful not to hit the starter case or any other ground. A screwdriver, pliers, remote starter switch, etc. will work. It may startle you but it won't shock you. You should also check the battery cables at both ends and clean the connections thoroughly.
Z man of Washington
Aright I will check it and then I will contact you about the seals or the rebuild kit if I do have those problems. Thanks!
 
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