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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, this problem has really got me pulling my hair out, so hopefully someone out there can shed some light...

Here is the best way I can describe what is happening: My 1980 280zx's engine will randomly and suddenly shut off. I'll be crusing along, and I'll kinda lurch forward because the engine is no longer powering the car. The tach will say 0. Then, just as suddenly, it will start back up, and continue along as if nothing happened. It happens at freeway speeds (2500 rpm), highway speeds (1800 rpm), and at idle (700 rpm). The only time I have noticed it won't do it (or hasn't done it yet) is when it is cold. Either just started up or in the morning. (I live in Phoenix, so my version of cold is like 50 degrees F.) I have been able to duplicate it a couple times in the garage. At those times, there is spark, but all other indications lead me to believe that the problem is electrical, based on the fact the the tach will jump to 0, yet the engine is still turning. Just to clarify, the engine doesn't sputter, just dies, then comes back. Sometimes, it will cut in and out several times in a row, sometimes it will completely die, but then I'll wait about 10-15 seconds and it will start right back up. Makes no sense to me. A very grateful thanks in advance to anyone who can shed some light.

a very confused and now somewhat bald jA
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I bought an '82 that has the same problem. I also live in the Phoenix area, so our problems are remarkably similar. With good gas & TLC the problem is going away (or is it just coincidental?). My machine only quits when at operating temperature after the tach bounces around for 15 seconds or so. Unfortunately, it does not always happen with every tach tantrum, but my best guess is the brain box on the distributor has a wiggle contact that is only loose with heat. I must reset the brain box after the car dies because I get no spark after the ignition cut out. This wiggle contact creates a short in the brain box which is sometimes recoverable (my theory only). Check your wire connections at the coil & distributor just in case. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
> I bought an '82 that has the same problem. I
> also live in the Phoenix area, so our
> problems are remarkably similar. With good
> gas & TLC the problem is going away (or
> is it just coincidental?). My machine only
> quits when at operating temperature after
> the tach bounces around for 15 seconds or
> so. Unfortunately, it does not always happen
> with every tach tantrum, but my best guess
> is the brain box on the distributor has a
> wiggle contact that is only loose with heat.
> I must reset the brain box after
> the car dies because I get no spark after
> the ignition cut out. This wiggle contact
> creates a short in the brain box which is
> sometimes recoverable (my theory only).
> Check your wire connections at the coil
> & distributor just in case. Good luck.
Norbert is got that possum treed I think! Your ECU gets a signal from the distributor telling it engine RPM. No signal-no fire injectors. Could be your connectors or a break in a wire. Maybe even your reluctor. Your in the right neighborhood though.
 

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IGNITION MODULE

Both me and my buddy danny have a 81zx.
His Car did the EXACT same thing. It would just suddenly shut down with
no warning at any giving time. me and him spent many hours under the hood
tinkering with stuff so it wouldn't do it.

Anyway, We ended up geting a IGNITION MODULE from pick n' pull and put it on (and it stoped doing it). The ignition module is the little box on the side of the distrubutor that is about the size of a matchbox. There fairly expensive if you buy them brand new, so i would suggest getting one from pick and pull. All you need is a phillops screw driver to take it off. I'm almost positive that this is the problem. I hope
this helps. Good luck...

Jamison
 

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IGNITION MODULE - too hot

Jamison has it exactly right. My 83 ZX did the same thing too, and I went bezerk trying to find the problem. With my ignition module, it would get too hot, and shut down. Sounds like you're having the same problem. To see if that was the problem, just after the car quit, I would pop the hood and hold some ice cubes against the ignition module till it cooled down a little. Then I would try restarting the car, and it worked every time. I went to a junkyard and pulled an ignition module from another ZX, paid $3 for it, and it worked great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: IGNITION MODULE - too hot

> Jamison has it exactly right. My 83 ZX did
> the same thing too, and I went bezerk trying
> to find the problem. With my ignition
> module, it would get too hot, and shut down.
> Sounds like you're having the same problem.
> To see if that was the problem, just after
> the car quit, I would pop the hood and hold
> some ice cubes against the ignition module
> till it cooled down a little. Then I would
> try restarting the car, and it worked every
> time. I went to a junkyard and pulled an
> ignition module from another ZX, paid $3 for
> it, and it worked great.

The two people above is right but it could also be the iginition coil. I had the same problem w/ my 82ZX and replace all other electrical still not fix so I replace the coil from Nissan. Why Nissan part , because I bought a coil from Kragen first but didn't fix the problem , that's is why I bought all the other electrical stuff and found out that I got a defective coil from Kragen, so I got a Nissan coil and fix.
Hope this help
 
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