I am at a loss. 1981 280zx, was running fine yesterday, last night i went to leave my house the car would not start at all. now this morning while im working on it sometimes it will fire, starts up, sputters for a few seconds and dies. Hitting the gas pedal kills it immediately. I pulled the plugs three look rich, three look lean. The plugs, wires, cap, rotor, fuel pump, fuel filter, battery and alternator are all new. I am at a loss on what the issue could be. Any ideas?
Are you getting spark from the coil? Spark at the plugs?
If it's irregular or nonexistent, check the coil. If the coil checks out OK, then pull the distributor cap and check the reluctor and stator for cracks or breaks. Also check the pick up coil for an open or short (the connections inside the cap sometimes make contact and short). The last thing to check is the IC Ignition Module.
To test the whole E12-80 ignition system, make up two lights. Use the type of bulb (3w, 12v) and socket found in the side markers. Use enough wire so that you can hook up the test lights and stick both sockets & bulbs under the windshield wiper blade in front of the driver. Hook up one of the lights to the (+) coil terminal and the (-) battery terminal, label this #1. Hook up the other light to the (-) coil terminal and the (-) battery terminal, label this one #2. When you turn the ignition key to the 'run' position, both lights should light up. When you turn the key to 'start', the #1 light should remain lit and the #2 light should blink. When the engine starts, the #1 light should remain lit and the #2 light should continue to blink. When the engine fails, if both bulbs go out, then the green fusible link or the ignition switch should be tested. If light #1 stays lit and light #2 stops flashing when engine fails, then the pick-up coil or the ignition module is suspect.
If it's some other electrical problem I suggest you get a copy of "How To Diagnose and Repair Automotive Electrical Systems" by Tracy Martin. It has been a great help to me over the years.