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Fitting 280ZX Distributor in a 240Z


silverz
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Hi,

Now that I have fitted the new distributor.  I am extremely happy with the results, I never thought the improvement would be so dramatic. Went from poor starting, prolonged warm up required, flat spots, misfiring over 3500 RPM, to easy starting, improved responsiveness, easy accurate timing, revving out cleanly to 6000 RPM

(haven't gone any further than that, is there any need?) and dramatic performance increase. My old distributor was clearly shagged. The timing seemed to change every time I looked at it. In the end I couldn't even find the the timing marks on the pulley with the timing light. New distributor and straight away, the timing marks were close and best of all consistently in the same place every time I checked it.

 

Anyway this is easy as per the Atlantic Z website etc, although I had my own questions and was a bit concerned. I am very conservative when it comes to changing anything.

 

Anyway if this helps others, this is what I did.

 

1. Purchased 280ZX distributor (E12- 80 module) and coil from Tim (RB30Z) to upgrade my 73 240Z.

 

2.  I read up on the swap on-line and was concerned as some sites mention a 280ZX distributor mounting bracket that was required. In my case the the 280ZX distributor slotted straight in. No need for any mounting bracket.

 

3.  I took the black wire from the negative side of the coil that was connected to the old distributor, changed the connection to a spade type and connected it to the C terminal on the ignition module on the 280ZX distributor.

 

4.  I took away the old coil, ballast resistor and little blue capacitor thing? that was mounted on the inner guard next to the coil.

 

5. I mounted the new 280ZX coil using the old 240Z coil bracket (had to bend the bracket a bit as the 280 ZX coil is quite a lot larger). I connected the existing black/white wire from the wiring harness to the positive side of the coil.

 

6. I then made another wire and ran it from the positive side of the coil to the C terminal on the ignition module on the 280ZX distributor.

 

7.  I then connected the black/white and green/white wires from the ballast resistor together using a small nut and bolt through the centre of the connectors on them and taped this up with insulation tape.

 

8.  There is a terminal on the 280ZX distributor - just above the vacuum advance unit, I haven't connected any thing to this. It seems it is not needed for a 240Z.

 

9. I put the vacuum hose onto the vacuum advance unit (had to make a slightly longer hose)

 

10. I reconnected all of the leads to the new distributor cap, crossed my fingers and turned the key. At first - nothing except one backfire that convinced me I was  getting spark. Rechecked position of leads from useful picture on Atlantic Z Car site and found I was one position out on all spark plug leads, corrected this and car fired and ran as soon as I turned the key.

 

11. Checked the timing, surprisingly it was close to the right position. Advanced timing onto marks as per original 240z owners manual (had to back it off later anyway due to pre ignition)

 

12. Leaned the carbs out a little as now running too rich and went for a drive. Difference was totally amazing. Performance increase is remarkable.

 

13.  Tach is working fine at this stage. I won't change anything else unless issues arise.

 

I hope this helps

Regards

Peter

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In your #2 line in your instructions, I think they mean you can't use the base of the original points distributor on a 280ZX electronic one. Where the bolt is to adjust timing on a points dizzy is in a different location to the electronic one. One mistake I've seen others do at a wrecker is just remove the timing adjusting bolt to remove the distributor and leave the base behind. (I know, I have several here!) There are several different types too. Just make sure you have the appropriate base for the distributor you bought. Hope this is valid info!

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3.  I took the black wire from the negative side of the coil that was connected to the old distributor, changed the connection to a spade type and connected it to the C terminal on the ignition module on the 280ZX distributor.

 

4.  I took away the old coil, ballast resistor and little blue capacitor thing? that was mounted on the inner guard next to the coil.

 

5. I mounted the new 280ZX coil using the old 240Z coil bracket (had to bend the bracket a bit as the 280 ZX coil is quite a lot larger). I connected the existing black/white wire from the wiring harness to the positive side of the coil.

 

6. I then made another wire and ran it from the positive side of the coil to the C terminal on the ignition module on the 280ZX distributor.

 

 

  ??? ;D  :P  :-X

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  • 2 weeks later...

The 280zx distributor I am trying to install looks to have a different ignition module to that described. 

It is a bosch unit attached to the side of the distributor. 

There are 4 spade connections of which two are connected to within the distributor.  The other two are numbered 15 and 16. 

Does anyone know if these correspond to the B & C terminals described earlier?

cheers

Bruce

 

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I think Ive got the same dizzy as Peter...Not sure what type youve got there Bruce..mines off a 6/82 engine with the E12-80 module...see pics..

If I get time tomorrow I'll try putting mine on..also why do the balast wires need to be connected / joined ? I thought they become redundant.

& my coil is rated at 12 volts, (I dont think its the original 240z coil, therefore can I still use it ?) ok...wheres Dimitri  ;)

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I think Ive got the same dizzy as Peter...Not sure what type youve got there Bruce..mines off a 6/82 engine with the E12-80 module...see pics..

If I get time tomorrow I'll try putting mine on..also why do the balast wires need to be connected / joined ? I thought they become redundant.

& my coil is rated at 12 volts, (I dont think its the original 240z coil, therefore can I still use it ?) ok...wheres Dimitri  ;)

Chris, the ballast wires have to be connected because with a 12V coil, if you still leave the ballast resistor there, the coil will be running with only around 9 Volts. When you join them, the coil will get the full 12V and not just when starting but during "run" also. You can also get the distributor "B" terminal power from that connection too. Just run another wire from the joined ballast resistor wires to the distributor.

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I've read the atlanticz writeup also but as I've never done something like this before I'm confused, do you just put the new dizzy in the same position as the old, the Haynes manual says something about 1 piston at TDC?

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Mossy,

I just took the old distributor off, the rotor was pointing to the front and I put the new one in so the rotor was facing roughly the same way. It worked fine for me, may be I was just lucky?

 

Regards

Peter

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Thanks Peter, I think I'll just try that if it doesn't work I'll put the old one back in. I was going to take it to someone to do it but I've got to give it a crack, I mean I'm restoring my other zed pretty much myself and I rebuilt the t5 gearbox for the v8(with the help of a DVD) so a dizzy can't be that hard can it.

 

Then if it needs to recurved I'll take it to my local Z specialist :)

 

 

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It should all go real easy if the distributor / oil pump drive has been installed properly. I had an issue when I did a swap with a zed I had. Just to get it running, all the leads had to be moved over by one terminal and a few "adjustments" had to be made..

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Got my 280zx dizzy & new coil pack in today  ;D ;D ;D

thanks to Peter for the write-up...and Dimitri for over the phone guidance.

I had a mate help me at the end with the timing & setting cylinder 1 to TDC.. , but it went like clockwork. took just over 1 hour.

It started 1st go & suprisingly idled nicely and reved well. I took it for a good spin, and found it lets me rev freely to high 4000's low 5000 as opposed to a "laboured" 4000 rpm before. Tacho works fine also..

no gremlins or anything...Im very pleased.

Ive attached some pics of the wiring for future reference.

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I tried to install mine tonight, took the black wire from the old dizzy and connected to terminal C, made a new wire to go from terimal B to + on coil, connected the ballast wires together, the wires that were on the old coil were hooked up to the 280 coil and it won't turn over it just coughs and splutters, any help?

 

Edit: I checked the position of the leads and they all seem to line up with atlanticZ instructions.

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