1948 Mk IV Manette steering wheel

Hi. Just restoring the dash area of my car now and noticed that the manette steering wheel section on my 1 1/2 litre Mk IV can spin around and not staying in the upright position when turning the steering wheel itself. It has Advance control on the car. I’ve disconnected the engine bay wiring and released the clamp for the Advance lever at the end of the steering block, withdrawn the manette complete with cables, and got it on the bench.

I understood that the long tube should rotate with the manette Advance control lever, but the shorter outer tube should remain fixed to hold the horn, etc in the upright position within the steering wheel. I cannot work out exactly how the tubes locate into the manette “hub” or if anything had broken off - but the fact that the manette turns within the steering wheel and the longer Advance tube does not rotate every time when the Advance lever is moved suggests a mis-alignment or broken part at the top end.

Does anyone have a drawing or photos please of how this is supposed to be assembled? I don’t want to dismantle it on the bench before I know how to correctly assemble it.


Looking at Plate Q in the 1.5 parts catalogue, it appears to be the same principle as on Mark V and XK120. Item 22 is a clamp which tightens on the stator tube 42 with bolt 24, nut 25 and washer 26 so it won’t turn.
A word of caution, if the stator tube is two pieces with a sharp edge where the one enters the other, the wiring through there can get chafed and worn through at that point due to moving the wheel in and out. My 120 was blowing fuses on signaling left turns and it took me ages to find it was grounding out inside that stator tube.

The main tube is the stator tube , 1/2 "from memory This is clamped at the bottom of th steering box
It engages witha similar shorter tube on the manette by a groove on the longer lower tube and "bumps’in the one attached to the mannette. This allows it to slide in and out
The slot is 1/8"and suffers from being cut with a horizontal mmill, and so has a square end to the slot [ See de Haviland Comet windows, air crash .]
They should be cut witha 1/8"slot drill to achieve a semi circular end to the slot , If the manette rotates is often because the stator has fractured/ broken at the end of this slot

Solutions are find new tube of the correct ID and OD . Or a stator tube from a 21/2 , 3 1/2 , Mk V , Mk VII will be longer and can be cut down to desired length.

The little screw in the arc slot is to limit the amount of rotation of the adv/ret lever.

Thanks Rob and Ed. I will investigate over the next few days. Is the Parts Catalogue for the Mk IV available to download anywhere as this would be most useful if only to check parts on the whole vehicle strip down I’m doing?

I’ve got the steering wheel off and the manette out of the main steering column. The inner Advance tube has retracted OK with the cabling, but the outer tube remains stuck in the column (even though I’ve release the lower clamp at the steering box end). I’ve put some WD40 down to leave for a couple of days to see if that will ease it.

However, I suspect a problem from reading your earlier advice. The stuck outer tube (I can see looking down the steering column from the spline end) has a grove cut down it, but the end of that tube would be about 8" down from the end of the splined steering shaft (probably where the removed lowest part of outer tube section on the withdrawn manette goes down to). The outer fixed tube on mine (below the manette hub) seems to have a smaller tube section on the end, and there are no signs of any bumps or pegs that I would think need to locate into the slotted grooves. I can’t work out how the outer tube when clamped at the engine end would stop the manette rotating (as was my problem) and allow the steering wheel to be pulled in and out for driver adjustment. Even if the outer tube is presently too short for some reason, how should the slots in the inner and outer tube locate and engage with the manette ?

The Parts drawing in the earlier post does not show this, but does anyone have any suggestions of what is missing or is the problem please (with any photos or drawings of this aspect) ?

I’ve taken some photos to show the removed manette and inner tube. The smaller (about an inch) section of outer tube is free to rotate around the inner tube, but will not move down the shaft for some reason - its position is shown by the screwdriver on the photo.

If I need to obtain new inner and outter tubes can anyone please help with advice on how the dismantle the lower part of the manette to fit these tubes in the correct alignment, etc.


I think there should be three or four depressions in the section of tube on the manette between your screwdriver and the end. The cut where your screwdriver is resting does not go all the way round and the depressions are on the side without the cut. These locate in the slot in the stator tube to prevent the manette rotating but still permitting the steering reach adjustment to operate.


On mine Peter there are NO depressions or bumps on any of the tubing, and the smaller end piece of tubing where my screwdriver is positioned is cut ALL the way around (it spins freely around the inner Advance tube). The tube presently stuck inside the steering column - which I hoping to get out - seems to be exactly the same diameter as the outter fixed tube at the bottom of the manette and the same diameter as the smaller odd bit of tube that spins around. I can’t see how one tube can slot or locate into another, as there appears to be no “overlap” positioning for depressions or pins to locate into the milled slots, or a difference in tube size. I’ve measured to the end of small spinning piece of tube from the manette hub and it looks like this will touch the end of the tube stuck in the steering column, but it will not go beyond to the slotted part of the tube (be that it can’t because it would have to be a different diameter to slot inside or outside of the stuck tube !!).

I have noticed that one of the wires running up the inner Advance tube has been repaired (taped over a solder joint), and just wondering if the whole tubing and manette has been mis-assembled.

Any photographs of how this should look and how it locates together would be very much appreciated if anyone can help please.

Just been measuring the tube lengths - and they don’t add up to reach the 48 inches of the steering column !! The fixed tube from the Manette is just 3 5/8 inches long, with the smaller rotating bit of tube an extra 13/16 inch. The inner Advance tube is 45 5/8 inches long with a 4 1/4 inch slot in the end. The tube stuck in the steering column is 43 1/4 inches long (some 3 inches short of meeting the upper Manette fixed tube) and I can see a slot cut into it.

Clearly something appears to be missing or perhaps the stator tube at the manette end cut down incorrectly. There certainly aren’t any locating bumps or key ways for linking the upper and lower stator tubes together. With the lower stator tube (which is stuck in the steering column) and the stator section at the manette end being the same size (and a snug fit around the inner Advance tube), should the “linking part” be a larger diameter tube to go over these stator tubes (with the bumps/locating pins inside) - there appears to be some clearance in the steering column shaft as the stator tube wobbles around in it at the moment.

Question - if I have to replace both the Advance and Stator tubes - can anyone tell me the exact lengths of each needed for the 1 1/2 litre engine, and what are their internal and external diameters. Any ideas on how to recreate the missing tubing or bits that should have the locating bumps/pins to enable the steering wheel to move up and down the spine of the adjustable steering column.

Also if I am removing the lower stator tube (which is presently clamped at the end of the steering box) - what is the easiest way of removing this and getting it back in? There are 3 bolts holding the clamp/end plate to the steering box - I guess the stator end clamp has some form of oil seal, so if I take this off is the steering box oil retained or is it going to come out?

All suggestions and any photos/drawings would be very much appreciated. Thanks

OK I have here pics of a manette base , Not a 1 1/2 litre but i don’t think that has any effect.
The tape next to it gives scale
Noticeably it has two slots across half way round the circumference{ no I have no idea why] and these may coincide with the loose part on Davids stator tube

I would suggest you won’t be able to repair the broken end of the stator tube so will have to replace it
It is pretty straight forward
1 /2 steel tube of the correct ID[ wall thickness can be sourced from a K VII, V < VIII< or MK IV 6 cylinder car . which is soldered into the round base plate [ silver soldered I’d suggest .]
The slot cut with a 1/8"end mill so as to have a round end

Fantastic - thanks Ed. Certainly mine is too short, and as you suggest the end piece loose on mine might be where a slot around way cut. Maybe it was shortened at the top end and re soldered on the Manette plate.

On your second picture are there raised bumps I can see - which I guess locate into the lower stator slot.

Any advice on releasing the bottom clamp and plate off the end of the steering box please.


If you disconnected the clamp from the steering box and jacked the car up at the front you might be able to withdraw it from the front. The clamp plate would give you something the grab hold of.



The bumps aren’t raised but depressed , which I think is why looking for a donor tube will be the easiest,

Releasing the clamp and withdrawing the tube . Most importantly … an oil catching tin or similar . The tube is sealed to the end plate by a felt seal , which forms into a. 'flying saucer 'shape. If you under the nuts for the whole plate , you should be able to withdraw it and the tube forwards to some extent. Then you may be able to free it .

These days I use an O ring instead of a felt seal

Thanks Peter and Ed. I think I can work on it now and do the repair with confidence.

Here is the upper end of a stator tube from an XK120.

The tube is 1/2" OD x .035" wall steel with some sort of silver coating on it.
The overall length is 63-1/2". The slot is .077" wide x 4-1/4" long. Looks like it was cut with a Woodruff key cutter.
The depressions in the manette engage in this slot.
The sharp edges of the end of this stator tube is where mine chafed and wore through, causing a ground short.
Mark V uses a similar but shorter tube.
You can loosen the clamp bolt and pull this tube out the upper end, if you have clearance inside (not in a 120 Fixed Head), but be prepared to catch all the oil that will flow out at the clamp.

Thanks for this advice. I will attempt to get the “stuck” lower stator tube out of the steering column first, then have a go at making a new top end section (which is wrong on mine and too short in length) and fix this to the manette hub. I’ve searched the internet and can’t find at the moment a replacement stator tube off any of the cars Ed suggested, but then again I don’t expect they will come up for sale as a spare part very often. I don’t really want the buy a new or complete manette (which are available) when it’s only the top tube section which is “defective”. I’ll keep looking for an original spare, but in the meantime will try to source the tubing and engineer a DIY job if possible.

Please let me know anyone if you happen to have a spare one or know of one available.

I think the obvious search is for a damaged manette or just the base, Certainly second hand It’s pointless buying tubingstack as you won’t have the [ complicated] tooling to impress the bumps.

A starting point might be Worcestershire Classic spares or Cordell Newby

Ok. I will give them a try and keep searching. I have plenty more jobs to do on the car restoration, so may be the use of the steering wheel is something to do later when I find the part. Thanks.