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Distributor questions- 280zx Turbo


vectorsprint

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I have a pretty stupid question, but I want to avoid breaking anything. I recently got an '83 ZX Turbo, and it ran when I test drove it, then wouldn't start again. I checked it, and I plan on doing the GM HEI ignitor swap, but I also noticed one of the screws holding the distributor cap had it head twisted off. I want to get a pair of vice grips in and try to thread the old screw's remains out, but the rotor head is in the way.

 

Now comes the stupidity on my part- My FSM, which I got from Xenon S130, has no procedure to remove the rotor head. I noticed it has a mark that says 'screw' but where it points, is just the electrical contact. So, is there a screw under the contact? Does the rotor head screw onto the shaft? Or does it pull off like other rotor heads? I want to ask before I start yanking on things inside a 33 year old dizzy in the cold (brittle plastics are brittle.)

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The turbo zx doesn't have a distributor, (as such) rather it has a CAS (crank angle sensor) This is a photo electric sensor and a wheel with 360 marks on it. The ECU uses this information to know precisely where the crankshaft is and compute and set the spark advance. Only the non turbo has a module like the matchbox.

 

Both the CAS and the distributor have a rotor and cap but that is where the similarity ends. The ECU on the CAS engines fires the coil.

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Uhm ,,  the crank angle sensor is INSIDE the distributor ,,,,,,,,,,, the thing that spark goes into the center of ,,,,,,,,,,, then rotor turns ,,,,,,, THUS distributing the spark ( hence the name "distributor" )  to the correct cylinder ,,,,,,, but yeah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burp..

 

 

.

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Yes it does distribute...

 

Both the CAS and the distributor have a rotor and cap but that is where the similarity ends.

but it is more accurate to call it a CAS. The OP plans an HEI swap which I don't think will work as the CAS doesn't have a module to replace.

 

 

I have a pretty stupid question, but I want to avoid breaking anything. I recently got an '83 ZX Turbo, and it ran when I test drove it, then wouldn't start again. I checked it, and I plan on doing the GM HEI ignitor swap, but I also noticed one of the screws holding the distributor cap had it head twisted off. I want to get a pair of vice grips in and try to thread the old screw's remains out, but the rotor head is in the way.

 

Now comes the stupidity on my part- My FSM, which I got from Xenon S130, has no procedure to remove the rotor head. I noticed it has a mark that says 'screw' but where it points, is just the electrical contact. So, is there a screw under the contact? Does the rotor head screw onto the shaft? Or does it pull off like other rotor heads? I want to ask before I start yanking on things inside a 33 year old dizzy in the cold (brittle plastics are brittle.)

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Pretty sure it's hosed. Car started and ran, then wouldn't start again, occasionally with act like its trying to ignite the vapor. Feels like it's the ignition system. After a new battery, checking the voltage at the coil, ensuring the ecu has a light, reseating the connectors,  I cam to suspect the power transistor.

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  • 1 month later...

After the awful weather subsided here in Oregon, I've got an update. Still a no-start condition. I took out the CAS, cleaned up all the electrical connectors, brushed them all with a brass brush, disconnected and reconnected the computer connectors multiple times to clean them up, replaced the battery and cleaned up the grounds. Tested the coil, 12.87 volts at the coil with the key on, tested spark, I have spark, it's an amber-gold color if that means anything. Fuel pump primes, and after it cranks a while, I do smell gas. But still no start.

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Spark plugs can go bad quickly if they are soaked in fuel. Maybe earlier you didn't have spark so they got got fuel setting on them.

 

Mike's suggestion is good. You could also get some starting fluid and do a quick spray into the intake manifold with the throttle open. Then put the boot back on and crank it over as soon as you can before the mixture settles.

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  • 2 months later...

rather than let this thread die like so many other "I have a question because X doesn't work", I have an update. She converts gasoline into sound now.

 

After oregon's awful winter broke, I set to working on her. Plugs got replaced, and found she was badly out of time. Static timed her, and now, she fires right up. Still runs badly; Plugs on idle look like it's running rich, on revving, it wants to stumble and pop through the intake. But, she fires so, now starts the process of replacing every fuel and vacuum line, and the fuel filter.

 

Just as a question, since I have a P90A head, and a soft tick that seems to speed up with revs, my last ZX being solid lifters and so considerably more noisy than hydro lifters, are the injectors in these cars a bit loud, or should I go ahead and plan for a lifter rebuild session?

 

Also, given the flat tappet nature of the cam, and given what Maximum Boost has to say about oil weights, diesel oil such as Rotella-T, which falls in the user manual's recommended range and will have a lot of ZDDP should be fine, yeah?

 

Oh and an edit: I figured I might as well include a walkaround video of the car. Just as a warning, I use some mildly crude language in a couple of spots, and I am the word's worst cameraman. But here:

 

Edited by vectorsprint
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Popping or back firing through intake...

 

Lean mixture on at least one cylinder.

Bad intake valve and or seat.

 

 

Plugs should be 'read' after running warm for an extended period. If too soon after starting it will simply show cold idle enrichment. 

 

Poor idle can be from wear in the MAF.'s carbon track....

 

 http://www.kamikazeracing.org/dl/JsAFMRebuild/

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Don't care for synthetic. Too pricy, leaks from almost any worn seal,(front/rear crank seal, valve seals) valve cover gasket and the fuel pump. What a fucking mess. No real advantage on an L series anyway.  

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I used synthetic oil in my turbo Z's. I was mostly concerned about the turbo itself as it gets really hot and relies solely on oil cooling.

If you don't stick to the exact same brand on each oil change, you can usually find synthetic on sale for $3-4 / quart at Napa each month.

 

Popping I would guess is possibly from a vacuum leak / boost leak. Injectors sometimes leak at the seal where they mount on the intake manifold.

 

The valve noise doesn't sound too terribly bad in your video. It may get better with time as you drive it and change the oil a couple times. Use cheaper regular engine oil and maybe change the oil and filter every 2,000 miles the first two times.

 

Overall the car looks pretty good. I'd buy that for a dollar! :D

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  • 3 weeks later...

I should probably make a new thread for this, since my distributor questions were all answered. But the Turbo Z moves now. I have 24 pretty pictures per second on this:

 

 

I'm having digital gauge issues. It flickers, wants to shut off. I disassembled the cluster, and I traced issues down to the black multipin connector on the back. It supplies power and RPM/Fuel Data. When I play with that connector, the cluster goes in and out, despite it being plugged in securely. I'd like to avoid tearing the dash out to replace the cluster for now, so does anyone have a pinout of that connector, or any experience on how to secure it and make it less apt to screw up?

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Well, everything's in order, now I just need to time it. I know this question has been done to death, but I have no idea how to use my timing light. It's an old craftsman model that I inherited. It has a dial on the back. I presume I set the dial to 24 btdc on the light, then mark 24btdc on my timing tab, mark the timing chip in the crank pulley in white, start the car, let it warm up, then turn the dizzy/CPS until the mark on the pulley and tab seem to not move relative to one another, then tighten down the dizzy/CPS bolts and the computer will handle advance and retard as I go, right?

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If you use the adjuster on the light, then your crank should show 0 degrees.

 

Set the adjuster to the degrees retarded you want, then adjust motor till it shows TDC when flashing.

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Cool. I almost got it. I just need to clean up my timing mark; I smeared the paint like a nub. If you face the car from the front, turning the dizzy right is advance and left is retard, yes? Or is that reverse? I plan on timing it as soon as it's dark enough in oregon to see my garbage timing light.

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