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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I have a 1981 280zx non-turbo and I am currently having troubles where my engine would stutter and in some cases completely turn off in the middle of cruising, no sudden step on the gas, brake, or shifting, just going about around 30mph and engine would cut. While running the engine feels normal and accelerates fine. I have asked around a few different people and they all say a different thing, so far I have cleaned the MAF sensor (that didn't fix it) and I replaced the ignition coil, that initially seemed to fix as the first drive went flawlessly but the seconded drive it cut out about 4 times in 20 minutes. However on the same drive back, it went flawlessly. Before the ignition coil replacement the engine would stutter multiple times each drive. So I am hoping someone has any recommendations on what to try next.
 

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Alright mate, here we go. So, this is a common issue on N/A zx cars.

1) What MAF sensor did you clean? Unless you got a Z31 (300zx), you ain't got a maf sensor. Did you mess around with the Airflow meter?

2) No reason to replace the ignition coil. if it's not working, your engine will never start. chances are your coil is good.

3) Fuel: was your car doing any bucking or jolting when it cuts out? failing pump maybe, bad fuel delivery perhaps.

4) Ignition control module (little matchbox on the side of the distributor. When it gets hot, your engine will die mid-drive.

Though there are several possibilities, I'm willing to bet your ignition matchbox is failing. when it does this, your tachometer will fluctuate and act weird in the few seconds that your car shutting down... next time it does it, pay attention to the tach and see if it jumps around. my 83 does this all the time... at stop lights, in mid-drive, in traffic,. you name it.
Typically when it does shut down, after it cools off, it will start up again and drive for a bit.
It's really frustrating and so I understand how annoying it can be.

But, also keep in mind there is a possibility that the problem is something else.

read up @ www.xenonzcar.com in the S130 section. lot of good troubleshooting data in there. and its all free.

Bon
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Alright mate, here we go. So, this is a common issue on N/A zx cars.

1) What MAF sensor did you clean? Unless you got a Z31 (300zx), you ain't got a maf sensor. Did you mess around with the Airflow meter?

2) No reason to replace the ignition coil. if it's not working, your engine will never start. chances are your coil is good.

3) Fuel: was your car doing any bucking or jolting when it cuts out? failing pump maybe, bad fuel delivery perhaps.

4) Ignition control module (little matchbox on the side of the distributor. When it gets hot, your engine will die mid-drive.

Though there are several possibilities, I'm willing to bet your ignition matchbox is failing. when it does this, your tachometer will fluctuate and act weird in the few seconds that your car shutting down... next time it does it, pay attention to the tach and see if it jumps around. my 83 does this all the time... at stop lights, in mid-drive, in traffic,. you name it.
Typically when it does shut down, after it cools off, it will start up again and drive for a bit.
It's really frustrating and so I understand how annoying it can be.

But, also keep in mind there is a possibility that the problem is something else.

read up @ www.xenonzcar.com in the S130 section. lot of good troubleshooting data in there. and its all free.

Bon
Hello, Thanks for the reply.
1. Yeah I was cleaning the Airflow meter, thought it also had a MAF sensor.
3. The fuel system I believe is ok, I did a pressure test a few months ago seemed ok.
4. I think this might be the problem, I'll see if replacing it would help or trying to cool it down when it does start acting up. I was experiencing weird fluctuations with my tach when the car turns off.
 

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I agree with everything bonfire said, especially about the ignition module quitting when it gets too hot...EXCEPT...an ignition coil can indeed do the same thing...quit working when warm but work again when it cools down. it's frustrating too!
back when these cars were made, ignition coils were replaced periodically just like spark plugs and points and distributor caps. The expected service life was around 60k miles.
 
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I've never had that happen... but then again maybe I just have a really good ignition coil haha. I figured if one failed, then that would be it and wou'dn't start again. Thanks for the correction.
But if cosmart is seeing fluctuations on his tach, it definitely sounds like the ignition box.

Bon
 

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My 1979 non turbo zx would do the same thing when I drove it. It would stall out around 2500-3000 rpm while driving. I replaced the coil but it didnt resolve the issue but at least I knew I was getting spark. I checked all my fuel lines and blew them all out with compressed air to clean them. I then went to replace the fuel pump and noticed rust/sediment buildup on the inlet side of my pump. After I replaced the pump the car ran perfect and didnt stall. The fuel pump should have a small filter inside the inlet barb. Sediment from the gas tank likes to clog the tiny filter. It isnt an issue at idle or while rev'ing it until you put load on the engine. Hope this solves your issue :)
 

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Hello, I have a 1981 280zx non-turbo and I am currently having troubles where my engine would stutter and in some cases completely turn off in the middle of cruising, no sudden step on the gas, brake, or shifting, just going about around 30mph and engine would cut. While running the engine feels normal and accelerates fine. I have asked around a few different people and they all say a different thing, so far I have cleaned the MAF sensor (that didn't fix it) and I replaced the ignition coil, that initially seemed to fix as the first drive went flawlessly but the seconded drive it cut out about 4 times in 20 minutes. However on the same drive back, it went flawlessly. Before the ignition coil replacement the engine would stutter multiple times each drive. So I am hoping someone has any recommendations on what to try next.
I sounds like the ignition module (on the side of the distributor), I have had 4 Z's 81-83 and several abrupt stalling/RPM issues were solved by replacing it, but on my '82 it was solved by just taking if off and reseating the wires - might be worth a try before buying, available on Ebay, image attached but check to make sure yours matches the picture, different connectors.
 

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