More improvements to the kit!

As the high demand for the 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

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.