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79 280zx shuts down when driving

1235 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  vorabona
Hey everyone,

I recently picked up this 79 280zx from an inpound yard. Most of the car is in good shape, Engine runs strong.
The biggest issue I found was the car dies while driving at random times. Yes the Tach drops dead immediately and sometimes it comes back with in 5 seconds, but mostly not. I can while the car is still moving switch the key back one click and on again and it comes right back, well sometimes it takes a couple of tries to keep it going and then it runs for a while again.
I did search all the posts and tried everything I could find(i.e cleaning all connectors, checking EFI relay, Jiggling key when dies) none of these have worked.
I have not changed the Ignition Module yet, because of cost and can't find any outfits that have the equipment to test it. My journey to the junkyards to find a used one is this weekend, but from what I hear these are the first to go.
What are my range of vehicles to look for that have the E12-80 in them?
Any suggestions on testing?
I did see a post to avoid the new ones from AutoZone for around $130, why would they not work?

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Ignition module is problem 99% sure

79/80/81 has them.

Just get the whole distributor from a junk yard. It is easier to swap.
1980 Nissan 720 L20B

1980>82 Datsun 210 A14/A15

1979>80 280ZX

1980 Nissan Maxima L24

1979 200SX/New 510 L20B

Here are a few that come to mind.

You have to "BELIEVE". There ain't no reliable test........That's why all the remans are bad....they got turned in as cores with bad modules, and the rebuilders passed them after sandblasting/painting, because, if they were tested at all, they usually tested good.
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Thanks Guys for the input.
A junkyarding we we go.
just be careful not to follow both of our bits of advice. Some of the distributors in Dr Z's great list are 4 cylinders.

You can easily remove the iginition module

2 philip's screws
2 stake-on wire clips on back (use needle nose pliers)

the rubber seal around the wires even has Red and Green labled so you can't mess up!

Post Edited (Oct 6, 3:44pm)
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I'll chime in again and advise that you check your EFI relays before you junk a good ignition module.

This little bugger right here:

If it's going bad, you'll get the same symptoms as a bad ignition module. Guess what? Those little sh!ts were notorious for going bad on the '79 - '80 models. So check it out.

Also, let us know what fixed it when you figure it out. Then people who search the archives might find your problem and solution.

Like others said, it is very likely a bad ignition module (they're notorious too) but it costs nothing to check other things too.

Update: I just re-read your post and noticed you said you checked your EFI relays. Oops, I'll shutup now.

Post Edited (Oct 6, 8:34pm)
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I did try the EFI Module first thinking I found the fix. It tested fine and then I did open it up and shimmed the contacts shut while driving home, about 45 minutes into the drive it dropped again. So I believe I eliminated that relay.

Thaksk Blue on that.
I did have a friend dig up a book on the Modules made by Nieoff and crossed referenced them. The only other cars we could find was the Maxima and I believe there wasn't a whole lot of them floating around in 80.
Yeah, I found the module very easy to pull off when I cleaned all the connections.

I will post my findings once the change good or bad.
Ok, so no luck in any of the junkyards. Had a few vehicles to choose from 280zx's and Maxima's. Of course all modules have been taken. If nothing else on the whole car.

I did see plenty of the E12-92's available.
Any chance these could work???

Not a total loss though. I did pickup a nice set of factory '82zx Rims with good tires for $120.
They are replacing the "Hoochie" looking 15x10 centerline type rims that scraped on every little bump.
Problem Fixed!!!!
Unfortunately I do not have an exact solution. It turns out to be one of two things. I did pull the Ignition module off a second time when trying to find a place to test it. At that time I did a second cleaning of the trminals and added some WD-40. The second thing I did from time of problem to time of fix was clean the bullet connections on each end of the resitor thing by the coil, this I saw in one of the post.

Author: usagi_momiji
Date: Sep 20, 12:48am

I had this same problem when I changed my spark plug wires.

Above the coil, there should be a wire with a resistor of some kind and two bullet connectors.

looks like this:


seperate, clean, and put dielectric ("spark plug boot") grease into each bullet connector.

Amost 2 weeks with nothing but smoothe cruising.
Got a love it!
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