280ZX Turn Signal Repair Advice

There seem to be two different turn signal systems used in the ZX; the older models used the same system as the Z, in which there were 2 flashers, one for the 4-way flasher and one for the turn signal, whereas the later ZX used a single flasher unit for both the 4-ways and the turn signals.

My blinkers and signals aren't working, so here I am again trying to understand how this thing works. Again, this is a ZX I am working with and it has only one flasher and it is located above brake pedal.

    Here is how this system works, examining the 4-way blinker switch:

  • Blue wire - Ignition input into the switch to feed the L/R signals
  • Red and white wire - 12V input to the switch to feed the 4 ways blinker
  • Green and yellow wire - 12V output to the flasher
  • Green wire - coming back from the flasher and it also branches out to the L/R turn signals
  • Green/Red and Green/Blue wires are output to the L/R signals.

The turn signals function as follows: When the emergency blinker switch is OFF and the ignition key is ON the 12V ignition is fed to the Blue wire and goes out to the Green/Yellow wire to the flasher. The 12V is fed to the L/R turn switch so it only powers the L or R turn signal. Note: In this case the power is being drawn from the Blue wire.

This is how the 4-way flashers work:

    When the emergency blinker switch is ON, the switch does 2 things:

  • Connects power from the Red/White wire to the Green/Yellow wire and disconnect the connections between the Blue and Green/Yellow wires at the same time.
  • Connects the Green wire (coming back from the flasher) to both the Green/Red and Green/Blue wires.

Basically, when the 4-way switch is ON, the 12V constant power is fed to the Green/Yellow wire from the Red/White wire, which goes to the flasher, then 12V coming out of the flasher through the Green wire back to the emergency switch. The switch distributes the 12V from the Green wire to both L and R side blinkers.

So, what did actually cause my turn signals and flashers to stop working?

Using the information above, I disconnected the switch and checked for continuity between the wires and found there was none. I had 3 extra emergency switches, and tested them only to find all non-functioning as well. I disassembled one and examined the inside, and all that exists inside is a ball and a few contacts and some dried-up contact grease. I cleaned the contacts with a bit of sandpaper and applied new contact grease, then reassembled the unit. After checking the continuity, the unit checked out fine, and everything worked great once the unit was reinstalled in the car.

Sources used on this page:

  • Original Article by Vinh