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Hi my names jake I bought a 1976datsun 280z 2 years ago and it had a 1983 280zx engine in it with a 1979 280zx transmission. I recently wanted to take my girlfriend to prom in the datsun but I'm afraid that I'm not going to make it. It's currently april 24 2021 and the prom is may 8 but I cant get it to run I started it and drove it around town 2 days ago and everything was good but I turned it off while I was picking up some food and the car needed a jump start and after that I parked it in my garage and the next day i go to start it but it has a dead battery so I have my freind charge it and it install it in the datsun and I tried to start getting it running but it only cranked and never started when I take the keys out it says to charge the battery on the voltage meter and I checked all the fuses and cleaned the battery connectors but no luck what is my issue and should I get a new alternator, battery, or voltage regulator, distributor or something I'm completely missing
 

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sounds like an alternator, you should charge the battery with a battery charger. Then get a volt meter and read the voltage (a 76 may have one built into the dash). with the car key in the "run" or "on" position. it should be around 12-13volts. Then start the engine, while its running it should be 14v or slightly more. If its not then the alternator or the voltage regulator or a fuse link is going to be the problem. You are going to have to either read the factory service manual to learn how to work on the car OR find someone that knows about how old cars work. A lot of mechanics that work on new cars may not want to touch a 45 year old car.

Does the car have a volt meter or a ammeter in the dash. either will tell you if the car charging system is working.

Those gauges are there for a reason, you should be monitoring them all the time (glancing at the gauges while you drive). Unlike modern cars you really need to pay attention to keep from destroying the car as it will NOT just jump into limp mode or some other auto shut down like a modern car.

You should be watching oil pressure, water temp, amps or volts pretty much every few seconds while driving. Just glance down and make sure all is well.
 

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1983 280ZX Turbo
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Do a search on YouTube for "how to check your charging system" and it will show you how to use a simple digital multimeter to check the battery and alternator.

You will need to put a full charge in the battery first. If you don't have a charger, get one.
 

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sounds like an alternator, you should charge the battery with a battery charger. Then get a volt meter and read the voltage (a 76 may have one built into the dash). with the car key in the "run" or "on" position. it should be around 12-13volts. Then start the engine, while its running it should be 14v or slightly more. If its not then the alternator or the voltage regulator or a fuse link is going to be the problem. You are going to have to either read the factory service manual to learn how to work on the car OR find someone that knows about how old cars work. A lot of mechanics that work on new cars may not want to touch a 45 year old car.

Does the car have a volt meter or a ammeter in the dash. either will tell you if the car charging system is working.

Those gauges are there for a reason, you should be monitoring them all the time (glancing at the gauges while you drive). Unlike modern cars you really need to pay attention to keep from destroying the car as it will NOT just jump into limp mode or some other auto shut down like a modern car.

You should be watching oil pressure, water temp, amps or volts pretty much every few seconds while driving. Just glance down and make sure all is well.
I like your thoughts on the modern cars, Dave.... because its so true!... Heck, a lot of them now don't even have actual analog needle gauges. Its all digital computer screen crap. Looks tacky.
I like to think of our old tech Z cars the way I think of old school piston-engine fighter planes (WW2)... Simple and sensitive. Powerful machines, requiring a graceful touch and attentive alertness of the person at the controls. And new cars aren't really fun to drive. You can't feel them around you.

Bon
 
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