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Thread: 83 280ZX Turbo--Won't Start-Distributor Wiring

  1. #1
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    Sep 2011
    Bluffton, South Carolina, United States

    Default 83 280ZX Turbo--Won't Start-Distributor Wiring

    I am mediocre with the mechanical aspects of the car, but I have replaced anything and everything that has to do with the startng of the car except the ECU and Wiring Harness. It turns over somewhat, but doesn't fully crank and the cap on the distributor is getting knocked around by the distributor. I am not sure if the entire Wiring Harness needs to be replaced or if it is just the ECU.

  2. #2
    Rust Free'ish zKars's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Calgary, AB Canada


    First things first. The distributor cap only goes on one way, the spacing between the two mounting screws is NOT the same. If you somehow managed to put it on the wrong way, that would dramatically off-center the cap causing the rotor to hit the inside of the cap when it turns, making it get "knocked around" as you put it.

    The distributor cap has a "1" embossed on it at plug #1, it points almost straight towards the front of the car. If it is now pointing back towards the intake manifold, you have to backward.

    Get the factory service manual here and read the section on timing and the distributor for further clarification. It also has an extensive list of troubleshooting steps for the fuel injection and ECU in the "Fuel and Emissons" section. Study study study..... Do the tests methodically and stop replacing parts until you test all the systems. It only takes a basic ohms/volts test set and a fuel pressure gauge.

    And clean every connection on every wire on the fuel injection harness, starting with the head temp sensor connector on the plug side in the head close to #5.

    Good luck. And welcome to Classic Z cars!
    73 240Z HLS30 149331
    69 510 PL510 77603
    Reference materials

  3. #3
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    Oct 2009
    Washington County, OR


    There is actually a square-shaped piece of metal mounted to the the distributor body that fits in to a square hole on the bottom of the cap. The cap only fits one way. Apparently you only got one clip to lock.

    If the cap has been beat up while you cranked the engine, you might have done some damage to the rotor or the cap. Better take a close look at it.

    zKars is right, you'll need to understand a little more about the basics of the fuel injection system before you get it started, let alone running well.

    When was the last time the engine ran?

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