MK V 1951 Tight Steering

Dear All
Your valued advice please.
We recently purchased a 1951 MK V Drop-head Coupe’, early torsion arm suspension.
We have been working through the cars mechanical system now up to the front end, brakes, suspension, steering.
With the car on a hoist /lift and the suspension hanging, the car appears to have very tight steering.
Dismantling the right hand side components, removed the brake drum, hub, backing plate, outboard tie rod end and the lower ball joint (swivel) cover plate, still very tight to move.
Lower ball joint appears to have been renewed with the later “plasticy” insert to the cover plate.
Should I put the car back on the ground and jack up the suspension only to see what effect that has?
Any suggestions would be appreciated or alternatively is this normal?
Definitely seems too tight to me.

Hi David,. I’m pretty sure the steering binds in the lower ball joint when it is fully extended.
I would do as you said and lower the car and see if this eases up the steering.

Thank you Jon - very much appreciated.

Yep lower the car down onto jack stands supporting the lower suspension arms so that the steering is at a normal ride height and see what’s its like, that should take out any stiffness from binding or tyre friction.

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Cheers Robin - I will report the results.

If, when it is on jack stands as Jon and Robin have said, it still is tight, the problem may be in how the nylon insert was fitted. There should be shims in there so the ball does not bind in the socket.

Or you could have this problem.

Or it could even be the wrong insert made for a later model.
All the parts are exactly the same as XK120, and there have been many discussions about this on the XK forum over the years. Search ball joints.
lower ball joint

Can’t say I have ever seen a pin bent like that before!

Thank you Rob - great photos.
I’m about a week away from having the car back on the ground, I’ll report then.

That pin was in an XK120, which I imagine hit a big pot hole or something in it’s murky life.

Dear All Update from me regarding the steering.
Car still not on the ground, other issues have arisen.
All connections now separated, all tapers VERY tight, a thin plate hydraulic puller sorted that.
I was expecting to see the threaded pins and bushes in the track rod ends, instead the “updated” rubber bush arrangements are fitted, no wonder the steering feels tight
The drop arm is not tight on the drop shaft, even with the nut up tight, still some play, that will have to be sorted next.
Question - what is verdict on the rubber bush arrangement on the track rod ends? Good or Bad? your thoughts would be appreciated.

My understanding is that they need to have the rubber as there is a slight inconsistency with the way the control arms move.

Mark V and XK120 use the same exact parts.
The rubber bushings replaced the threaded bearings after about 4000 Mark V cars had been built, and about 500 XK120s.
I went through that about 13 years ago.
Are you using the Service Manual?

It tells about the threaded type, but not how to replace the rubber bearings in the later type. I suppose they never expected anyone would want to try, they would just replace the whole part.
Here is the threaded type. Apparently it wasn’t all that good.

Robin and Rob
Thank you for your replies, very much appreciated, I will install the new “updated” bushes, they are available here in Australia.
I have the workshop manual, speaks only that the wheels are in the straight ahead position when installing the original rubber bushing type, not the “updated” version.
I will also take your advice on board regarding checking the diameter before installation.
Report to follow.