Front end suspension again

Now that I’m getting ready to park the car for the winter, I thought I would go through the whole suspension, and replace the tires whilst I’m at it. I spent a lot of time under the car the past couple of weeks wrestling with that lower radiator hose. A couple things became clear, my left front tire is wearing uneven and the front tie rod steering bushings looked fairly compressed and worn. I’m likely going to replace the front springs at the same time. I’ve already done the dampers.
My question is when it comes to alignment or setting camber and castor is this something any reliable suspension shop can manage or is there something different about these cars they wont know about or understand that I can flag. I can have a go at the bushings myself but its not like I own an alignment machine.
Thanks in advance any information is much appreciated.

The majority of people having alignments done do not have the mid laden tools that Jaguar requires, but they don’t seem to have problems.

Since all of the springs are aftermarket there is no sure way of knowing what ride height your going to end up with and this is where the spacers will come in handy, but it may also require removing the springs several times before you get the stance that your looking for

There are no bushings on the tie rod… what do you mean?

I agree with A.J Gary, front springs is a major can of warms… not an easy task.
Had to take the springs out three times to make my car sit straight.
Is the suspension uneven/sagging, undertrays rusting?
It’s one of the most definite “if ain’t broken don’t try to fix it” things.

As for the alignment, I trust no one, at least at my neck of the woods, I do it my self.
All you need is something to measure camber, strings and a ruler.

Regardless, you must have the mid laden tools, but also very easy to build your own.

Gary, yes there is “Something different” that you will need to remember.On an older American RWD car, by moving the position of one or two spacers around the upper control arms, camber and caster can be changed all in one operation.On our Jags, camber change and caster change takes two completely separate procedures. If your mechanic attempts to align your car like a Camaro, you won’t like the result. 6

1 Like

Agree with Dave, don’t think that the tech will automatically know, because it look similar to many US cars. There are no shims required to set caster in the front; adjustment is made by moving shims from one side of the upper ball joint to the other. Camber in front and rear requires adding or removing shims; in the front equally on the 2 pivot bar bolts, in the rear on the half shafts. Good idea to order a few shims in advance so you have them if needed.
What I did was have the shop measure the alignment, then I changed the shims as needed. Then had shop verify the alignment and set the toe.

In the past some people have reported being able to adjust caster and camber while working with an alignment shop. Theoretically I guess it’s possible, but in my mind that has got to be one hell of a time consuming event, and not at all practical.

Before arbitrarily purchasing new springs I would suggest taking the time to meticulously measure and establish a baseline of how the car currently sits according to the proper weight load and tire pressure of the car. This is a PITA procedure for sure, but necessary in order to find out where your at.

In my case I chose to order new springs without much of the measurements that I suggested for you. My front end was so low that I often had to slow to a crawl and figure out the best angles of approach for pulling into driveways, and petrol stations.

Only you know the alignment camp subscription to which you’ll hitch your wagon to, but I am firmly with Aristides on this when he say’s “Trust no one” do it yourself.

As far as I’m concerned, this whole spring change, alignment thing is a major can of worms and not for the faint of heart. Determine how far down the rabbit hole your willing to go.

I will offer this tidbit of perspective that may or may not pertain to your particular situation. Rebuilding my front end with my front subframe on the bench, for various reasons I’ve installed, dismounted, and installed the front springs three times already before reinstalling the subframe into the car, and I haven’t even gotten to the alignment part yet. Vaya Con Dios

My bad Aristides, I was over generalizing, I guess I’m wondering about the outer ball joints on the steering tie-rod, the anti roll bar bushings including that inner D shaped one. And any bushings on the wishbone. I thought once I go in there I would replace what I can and forget about it for years to come. Understanding I’m far from a suspension and steering expert. I just didn’t want to go in and bugger something up. Steering, camber and castor concerns me especially when I’m out on a good shake down run at above legal speeds, if you know what I mean. The anti roll bar bushings replacement looks fairly straight forward.

Thanks Dave, that’s my concern, i’m a little nervous I’d be in over my head and might leave that one to my Jaguar guy.

It is a PITA indeed because it’s practically impossible to adjust either Camber either Caster without removing the wheel. Alignment shops hate that.

All are easy to do except the lower (inner) wishbone bushings (you have to remove the springs), but you might not have to bother with those (mine are original and still ok).

This is the second best solution, but you must trust that the shop can take correct measurements.
There are known thicknesses of shims with known effects of the angles so it’s relatively easy.

And don’t forget the rear, equally important as the front.

Is it Caster or Castor? Can’t seam to find a definite answer…

It’s caster. Castor is an oil.


@Aristides Is correct about dropping the springs for the lower wishbone bushes, but you’ve also gotta raise the motor about 2 inches to get the big bolt out. That was something I came across when replacing mine. Totally sucked when I got everything ready to go just to realize the dang bolt doesn’t clear the oil pan.

Post if you go for it and I can dig up the links and such of how I did it and the bushes I used.

And I’m sure you’ll get a great response of all the pros and cons of the available bushings you can choose from by the group😁

Caster- like caster on a shopping cart. You will note that the wheel axle is not centered under the vertical pivot and this is what allows you to go straight. Same principle and spelling.

It’s also a small town in Alberta, funny enough I was there two weeks ago because of work.

Or a bicycle or motorcycle, Caster clearly shown.

Just thinking out loud here. I probably run larger wheels and wider tires than most XJ-S owners on the forum but with all that and a combined weight of over 800lbs of a V-12 engine on a 4000lb car the front end of these cars must take a heck of a pounding. Good time to go through all the bushings and steering rack. Not looking forward to it but it could turn into a huge safety issue left unattended I would imagine.

I’ll try to keep this as short as I can. Currently replacing front lower wishbone bushings and rear trailing arm bushings. I replaced all these about 10 years ago with upgraded poly bushing BUT this project has been on jack stands that long. And they totally fell apart under the stress of full droop . The rear arms are not to difficult to remove but pressing out the large bush can be a little time consuming because of the limited lip area.
Now the front. First be very careful of how you remove the front springs. Jaguar made a tool that was inserted up through the lower spring perch and fastened through a hole behind and low of the upper wishbone mount. That tool is like finding the Holy Grail. So one of the other members had made his own and just copied his idea and made it more robust. For the threaded rod I used 3/4" acme rod ( has heavy machined threads not die cut ). This spring has some serious energy and I have seen what poor planning will do.
The upper wishbone stock bushings are really very well made ( so if replacing I would go with stock). The lower are just sleeved rubber. I am currently replacing the upgraded ones ( that fell apart ) with stock rubber. The challenge with the lower is the arm is one piece and the " fulcrum pin" is about 10" long and is angled rearward towards the centerline of the car. Thus the steering rack has to be removed and if I recall the motor has to be jacked up to get this bolt out. And of course you have the steering rod, lower ball joint, sway bar and shock.
Best of luck. Any questions feel free. God knows there is not a thing on this car I haven’t messed with ( for better or worse).

Absolutely, and OEM only, even if they are more expensive it’s really worth it. The aftermarket ones are not good.

Thanks all for the replies. I was just reading Kirbys book to refresh my memory. I’m going to start with the anti roll bar bushings and go from there. I’ll take a good look at the condition of everything ( up on a hoist) and evaluate from there. Sounds like some of this is not a fun job or easy to get at. Also the approach is if you’re to rebuild the steering ball joints you’re further ahead to replace with the XJ40 versions if I read that right.