Beware of cheap Z power steering imitations!

It’s been brought to our attention by a couple customers that some “knockoff” power steering conversions exist for the S30 Z car. As a business owner, I’m a firm believer in “building a better mousetrap.” However, my loyalties lie with the Datsun community and the people that we interact with. In these instances, here’s what you need to know.

Some of these systems utilize an inferior motor setup. Typically, the electric steering motor being used is referred to as a “EZ-Steer,” and while it’s great for ATVs, farm implements, and go-karts, it is NOT designed for automotive use. Period. Zpowersteering uses a steering motor that is designed for, and used in, modern automotive applications. We’re flattered that they like our design enough to replicate it, but be advised that you get what you pay for. The motor alone (new, not refurbished or junkyard-sourced) for our unit costs over $600. If you see a slotted column with a pinch-type clamping system, think about whether that’s something you’d see on an OEM application (the answer is, quite simply, nope).

We receive frequent inquiries about speed-sensitive power steering. Great question, and one that should be addressed honestly and thoroughly. In simple terms, it is unnecessary. Here’s why: Speed-sensitive systems rely on a wheel sensor (such as those used for ABS and TCS on a modern car). The Z never had these, so they’d need to be retrofitted. Aside from the extra work involved, what happens if you experience wheelspin? How about a sharp curve, where the inside wheels are rotating much slower than the outside wheels? Your readings will be inaccurate, and should not be relied upon. Furthermore, above a certain speed, there is no need for power assist… so why utilize a speed-sensing system?

ZPS uses a much smarter solution. Our proprietary system continuously senses and measures the torque differential between two inputs: Your hands on the wheel, and the tires on the ground. When there is a disparity between these values, our system applies electric power to the motor, creating steering assist, and allowing consistent, smooth steering input that remains constant and linear. It is a “need-based” application of power, rather than being based on an irrelevant value such as vehicle speed. When you need it, it’s there. When you don’t, it’s not.

Before we ship each unit, we test the completed system on a test bench that simulates YOUR particular car. Each control unit is calibrated to the specific motor and steering column that it is attached to, and the potentiometer is adjusted accordingly. No one else does this. Voltages are tested and torque output is measured in order to ensure trouble-free operation after installation. These processes add time and complexity to the finished product, but ultimately, we believe the ZPS kit deserves the same care and attention to detail that your Z deserves.

When it’s all said and done, we’re confident that the slight additional expense is money well-spent on a far superior product. Again, I’m not just the company owner, but I’m also a member and supporter of the Datsun community – Restoring, driving, and showing these rare cars along with you.

Thanks for your support, and if you like what we’ve done here, please tell your friends.
-Greg

Another happy Z Power Steering customer – V8 Powered 240Z!

Mike reached out to us for some assistance with his gorgeous custom V8-powered 240Z. When the install was done, he actually asked if we’d share his testimonial with other customers. We’d be crazy to turn down an offer like that, so without further ado, here’s Mike’s comments!

Greg,
I just got your electric power steering system installed in my V-8 240Z. I really can’t believe the difference it made. Being able to adjust the amount of power assist is truly amazing. No more wrestling with the wheel in parking lots.

240Z_V8_power_steering_1
The installation went just as you stated it would. I didn’t have anybody to help, and was still able to get it completely installed in an afternoon. The wiring is extremely easy and the high parts quality is obvious.
240Z_V8_power_steering_2
Please use me as a referral as being an extremely satisfied customer. I would also be happy to be contacted by potential customers to give hands-on feedback as to how easy the system is to install and operate, and what a positive performance benefit is achieved by its use.

Please let me know if I can be of any help in the future. Thanks for a great experience.
Mike Anderson, Phoenix, AZ
mra1958@cox.net

We’re ready and waiting to make your Z power steering experience as awesome as Mike’s – Thanks for reading, now go drive your Z!
-Greg

Just released! Electric Power Steering for Datsun 510

Well, almost a year to the day after we released our power steering setup for the Datsun Z, we’ve completed an equally-awesome power assist kit for the Datsun 510!

240Z_v_510_sm

Same great quality, same precise machining, and best of all, it’s a simple installation that you can do in your garage in about 3-4 hours. We’re well aware that the 510 does not have the same issues with heavy steering as the S30-chassis Z car, but we designed and built a system for one of our customers who has two surgically-repaired shoulders, and he’s able to drive his beloved Dime again.

All features of our popular Z power steering kit are retained, and the only difference is that we’ll need your steering column (or a spare column) to build your kit (until we obtain a stockpile of good column cores).

Pricing is the same as the Z kit at $1550 ($50 refundable column core charge), and we’re running about 3 weeks from order to delivery.

Thanks for all of your support of Zpowersteering.com, and we’re looking forward to seeing you at the next Datsun event!
-Greg

Looks Like $10 Million Bucks! Ferrari 250 GTO Replica gets Zpowersteering

Russ Brown’s phenomenal Ferrari 250 GTO replica is a gearhead’s dream – A phenomenal VQ35DE engine swap, timeless McBurnie-designed replica bodywork, and a period-correct set of true chrome wire wheels with knock-offs. Zpowersteering was fortunate enough to provide one of the finishing touches to this homage to the most legendary racer of all time.

240Z Ferrari 250 GTO replica

240Z Ferrari GTO replica VQ35DE

We’re guessing Russ will be putting tons more miles on his pride and joy, with its newfound maneuverability!

Track Tested, Track Approved!

Here’s a great piece of video from one of our recent customers who regularly tracks his LS6-powered 240Z on road course in the southwest.

Here he is flogging the Z during a NASA-sanctioned HPDE event on Firebird West in Arizona… we’ll have his review and impressions on our “Testimonials” page soon, but we wanted to share this awesome video with you first!


New Photos of the 240Z / 260Z Power Steering Kit!

We’ve been so overwhelmed with the day-to-day operations of production, marketing, and filling orders, we realized we didn’t have any good photos of the new and improved ZPS power steering kit… So, without further ado, here it is!

ZPS_1

More detailed photos are available here: http://zpowersteering.com/photos


Right-hand drive Fairlady Z owners, you’re in luck!

We’ve gotten a TON of emails here at Zpowersteering asking if our conversion will work on a right-hand drive Fairlady Z.

RHD 240Z

The short answer is, ABSOLUTELY!

There’s really no difference, with the exception of rotating the column around so the motor unit faces the other direction.

If you can remove and reinstall a Z steering column, you can install the Zpowersteering unit – No matter WHICH side of the car you sit on!

Contact us today at info@zpowersteering.com or simply order directly from this site – We look forward to helping you fall in love with your Z again.

-Greg

More improvements to the Zpowersteering.com kit!

As the high demand for the Zpowersteering.com conversion kit caught us by surprise, we found that there wasn’t a whole lot of time to prepare a fully-detailed installation manual for our customers. Granted, the system is easy to install, but there’s something about having an instruction manual to refer to when you buy a new goodie – Even if you’re one of those people who takes pride in NOT reading the manual!

At any rate, we’re currently working on developing a pdf-based manual for our customers. But in the meantime, we’ve also made a few improvements to the kit to make it even better!

  • We’ve redesigned the rheostat settings to allow us to eliminate the on/off switch and related wiring. Now, simply dialing the rheostat all the way down gives a minimum of steering assist.
  • Also, we’ve incorporated the ground terminal into the ‘brain box.’ This means when you mount the box to the firewall, the system is grounded, and eliminated one more wire!
  • We decided that we’d let customers get creative with where they want to mount the rheostat control knob, so we secured a unit with a longer shaft that can be trimmed to fit for shallow installs, or it can remain long for a more “remote” installation.
  • Lastly, we eliminated the need for an external fuse by incorporating an internal circuit breaker in the brain box. Some customers may still want to run a fused power wire, so in that case we recommend a 40A in-line fuse.

To our past, current, and future customers, we’d like to say “thanks” for making Zpowersteering such a quick success. We look forward to meeting you at the next Z event in your area!

-Greg Childs
Zpowersteering.com

Power Steering for your classic Datsun Z is here!

For years, owners of early Z-cars have struggled with the lack of power steering options for the classic Datsun 240Z / 260Z / 280Z.  Those of us with lowered suspension and wide tires, or engine swaps, know all too well that the Z can be a challenge to maneuver at low speeds.

How would you like to find a Datsun Z power steering solution that offers smooth, responsive steering feel, none of the steering shudder or intermittent pulsing that you get from an older hydraulic system, less strain and drag on your engine, no hydraulic lines or power steering fluid to deal with, and a clean, uncluttered engine bay?  Can you imagine parallel parking your Z with one finger?

Enter the Zpowersteering solution!  We believe this system to be the most affordable, practical, reliable and unobtrusive option for the Datsun Z, and it can be installed quickly and easily by the average owner.

Benefits of this Power Steering Conversion for your Z-car:

  • No Major Modifications:  are made to your vintage Z-car… Everything is designed to be located under the dash and is almost completely invisible. That’s a definite plus, considering our early Z’s are really climbing in value.  This system retains the original steering ratio, as designed by Datsun – and the system can be completely removed without a trace.
  • Simplicity of Installation:  The Zpowersteering system can be installed in your Z in a few hours, using common tools.
  • Reliability:  Designed to last – It’s silent, maintenance-free, and can’t leak!  The Zpowersteering system uses the same reliable mechanism used by major auto manufacturers, and although the Z conversion is new to the market, our development team has been outfitting other classic cars for years.
  • Compatibility:  The 45-amp electric motor will function fine with a standard Z alternator in good health – although, if you haven’t already done it, we highly recommend all early Z owners upgrade to a more modern alternator solution: Datsun 240Z / 260Z alternator upgrade.
  • Adjustability:  You may prefer a little less assist, while other drivers may like to dial it up a bit… it’s as simple as turning a dial!  You can have maximum assist in the parking lot, and less on the highway.  The Zpowersteering computer senses steering input torque, so that it’s not over-boosting your steering effort.
  • Affordability:  The Zpowersteering system is THE most affordable way to add power steering to your Z.
  • Quick turnaround:  We know you don’t want to wait, and no one wants their Z to be out of commission.  Simply install the power steering system, place your old column in the box, and ship it back to us.  We’ll even cover the shipping!
  • Safety:   I’ve had a couple people ask me, “What happens if the electric motor fails? You’re gonna have no steering!” … Well, no. In fact, if the electric power steering system ever failed (highly unlikely), the car would steer exactly like it did prior to the power steering conversion.  However, when a hydraulic power steering system fails, the steering instantly becomes extremely heavy, and potentially dangerous.

We hope you’ll browse the website – Read the installation article, view the testimonials, and check out the photos… Ultimately, we hope you’ll join us and give your Z the steering ease and precision it deserves.

Thanks, and Happy Motoring!

Other power steering alternatives for the Datsun 240Z / 260Z / 280Z

Let’s look at some of the currently-available options for converting a Z to power steering…

Hydraulic Power Steering:  A traditional hydraulic power steering system can be cobbled together from junkyard parts. You’ll need to scour the wrecking yard for a suitable rack, some end links, a modern power steering pump and reservoir, plumbing, and other tidbits.

This will require removal of the front subframe, welding tabs onto the crossmember, sourcing lines and fittings, fabricating an engine bracket, pulley, and tensioner, and routing the plumbing. When you’re done, you’ll have power steering – But you’ll also have a cramped engine bay, a heavier car, more drag on your engine, and multiple new points of potential failure and leaks.

Here’s another downside of hydraulic power steering: The hydraulic pump runs continuously when the engine is running, and generally requires about 4 hp – Not only are you losing horsepower, but you’re using more fuel – even when you’re simply driving straight!

Electric Rack and Pinion Steering:  Commonly referred to as drive-by-wire, a complete electric steering system can be sourced from a modern car, and a few Z owners have done this. Again, however, there’s a lot of fabrication involved – and good luck figuring out the can-bus wiring setup from a modern vehicle.

The steering is integrated into the ECU and incorporates input from wheel sensors, body control module, and other sensors. This option is also fairly expensive, and components from a wrecked car may contain unseen damage from collision or the weather.

Electric Assist Steering:  Not quite a full drive-by-wire, these systems supplement driver input, and are available on some modern vehicles. Unfortunately, some electric power steering assist systems fail to accommodate vehicle speed or steering input (torque). They simply function as an “on-off” switch, and have no provisions to modulate the amount of assist.

These units are typically larger and more obtrusive… and we won’t even get started on the price. A recent review of Japan-sourced electric power steering conversion units were priced higher than the original price of an early Z!

The ZPowerSteering system is, without a doubt, the best option for ANYONE who wants to enjoy the comfort and convenience of power steering in their classic Datsun Z.