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Another starter help needed 280z


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I am trying to start up my Datsun 280z model 1976 (1975 built), and am having some issue (I think car was last driven in 2013).

Items checked:

1. Battery, full, 12.6volts

2. Positive (and negative) wire to starter is not loosing volts

3. Starter positive side to engine body gives 12.6 volts (my conclusion, grounding is fine)

4. When i engage the ignition switch, I clearly hear a click in the passengers leg area (repeated trying did not make it start)

5. I have checked fuses in the fuse box (passenger leg area), and all seem fine

6. I checked the starter engage wire, at the starter, and when the ignition is engaged, I do not get a 12volt reading there.


Conclusion, it must be somewhere between the ignition switch and the starter on the engaging wire.


What is the most probable issue here, and how do you recommend I follow a step by step analyses to find the problem.


You guys are great, any help is welcome!!!!


Cheers, Joost

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Couple of easy diagnostic tests you can perform to help narrow down the issue.

1) Test your ignition switch module according to the attached schematic.  Not uncommon for these to fail, but can be easily replaced.

2) Does the starter motor crank when you apply 12V directly to the hot post?  If not, there is a problem with the starter.  (It can be easier to conduct these tests with the starter removed from the engine bay, but not necessary.)


Finally, do you have the FSM for your vehicle?  If not, you can download it free from here:  http://www.xenonzcar.com/


IG switch wiring schematic.png

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Hi Jhm,


thanx for your fast response. Yes I do have the FSM for the car, and checked out the system. In the BE page 26 i did notice the version I have for the 1976 model does not have the "A" compared to the one you added (I have a manual gearbox, is that related?). Not sure if that makes any sense. My new ignition switch also does not have the "A" and seems to have the correct pins for my 1976 model. The back side of the switch has the letters IG, S, B and R on it and the connector also has one empty spot. So I do feel confident that that part, switch and connector is ok. 

I do need to do to testing on it, based on the schematic.


I also applied the 12volts on the hot post directly, and the starter des crank, so starter is working.


It's somewhere between the switch and the starter hotspot. I will do the testing you proposed. What about the Ignition solenoid. What is that all about? Is that solenoid the same as the ignition relais? I do hear the click sound when i start.


Lets see, in te mean time, any other advise is always welcome.



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just tested the switch, and in "START" position,  "B" , "S" and "IG" are all connected as per the schematic and they are all closed from "A". 


I think this rules out any issue with the ignition switch, right?


7. I checked all fusible links (all 4 right side in engine bay) and they are all connected.


I think I will check if the voltage to that point (past the fusible links) when I engage the starter switch.





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Ok, sounds like you have a good ignition switch and functioning starter.....so the next step could be to test if you are getting 12V to your starter solenoid when the key is in the "Start" position on your ignition switch.  If yes, then either the solenoid is failing or there is a problem with the connection between the solenoid and the starter motor.  If no, you probably have a breakdown in the wiring harness between your ignition switch and the solenoid.


Good luck with it.  Electrical gremlins can be very frustrating, but usually readily resolved with a logical, systematic approach.

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Thx for your support. The issue I am facing, is this solenoid the same thing as the ignition relais?


On the relais board in the passengers leg space (I can hardly access that thing there)? If so, from the manual I was seeing that the same signal passes the fusible wires which are in the engine compartment. My plan was to measure there, in the starter position and see if I get 12 volts there. Somehow I get the feeling the issue is between the fusible wire and the connection to the starter.


I will keep you posted on my venture!



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No, the ignition relay and the starter solenoid are two separate units.  The ignition relay is on the relay panel in the passenger footwell.  It's discussed in the first chapter of the Body Electrical section of the FSM. 


The starter solenoid is the small cylinder adjacent to the starter motor -- it performs a similar function as a relay, in that it responds to a small signal and passes on a large current to the starter motor.  If you hear a clicking noise from the engine compartment when you turn the key to "Start" but the starter does not engage, that can be a symptom of a bad solenoid.

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thx for the explanation. It had me confused before. The fact that my starter does crank when I apply 12volts directly to the starter where the signal from the ignition switch goes, means that that the ignition solenoid is functioning, right?

Tomorrow I gonna get that thing to work, with all this advise.



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Well things are getting worse (at least for me, as I wonder which way to go now).


- I had the car off battery, installed back the starter switch after checking it. Put the battery back on. The head lights actually suddenly worked!!! They never did before.

- I put the starter which into start, and the starter engine actually cracked. I did it again, and it cranked again. 

- Somewhere I put off the headlights.

- I started again with the starter switch, and it crancked

- I figured i press gas, and put the starter switch back on, .... and nothing, just a click

- Put the headlight on, nothing.........


Anyone have any clue to what could be the issue here? 

-After this, i checked the Mass connections and cleaned them near the battery (2 of them). It didn't put my headlight back on. I have a feeling I have a ground issue, causing also my starter not to crack, and also issue on my headlights.


I noticed my battery also lost some power over night, as I had it connected. I did reload it back to 12.6volts.


Does anyone have any clue what is going on here, and what are the best steps I can take to solve this issue?

- Rear lights work btw

- dashboard lights work


thx in advance guys!!





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Joost, as I mentioned previously, it sounds like the starter solenoid is failing.  


The problems with the lights are separate issues, and will need to be diagnosed separately.  A systematic analysis of each circuit end-to-end is the surest, most thorough approach to trouble-shooting electrical problems.  The FSM is invaluable throughout this process.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well guys,


I finally solved the issue

- Since I got my car without any keys and ignition lock and switch, I had ordered a replica version on e-bay. Once it arrived I looked at the connector and the switch (5 pins,1 missing) and figured that it was all correct. I also checked the details in BE-26, with the B,S,A,IG pins, and the one not named in BE-26, marked as "R". Measured the signals and all seems correct.




- After having run through the fuses, relais, and wires, i went back to the switch again. After studying the schematic below, I figured I better measure the signals with the connector in the switch. There I found out there was no voltage signal on the "S" with ignition on START. Checked the schematic below again, and found out that when I would swap out 2 wires in the connector, all would be fine.




So thats what I did, I swapped the White Red wire, with a Black Blue one, and starter cranked up right away. Issue solved! So for people getting replica ignition switch watch out for this mix up between R and S.


-  btw, anyone know what the Black/Blue wire is for?

as I have now switched that one in the ignition switch connector.



Thanks for the help jhm!


cheers, joost

Edited by Sjoost
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