S2 Steering Rack puzzle

I decided to strip down my steering rack since I discovered a bit of play at the long end (where there is a bush inside the tube)

I ordered a new bush (C15210) which arrived today and so I started dismantling.

What I’ve found is a bit of a puzzle, as it doesn’t match the drawings in my workshop manual.

Firstly, at the pinion end, there is no grease nipple and the cover is an oval plate held down with 2 bolts, rather than a circular plate held in with a circlip.

Secondly, and more worryingly, at the long end instead of a pressed in bush there is something completely different - what appears to be a removable sleeve held in place with a pop-rivet (which I have drilled out and am now attempting to remove).

Thirdly, the diameter of the rack itself is 1 inch exactly, according to my calipers, and the internal diameter of my new bush is approx 1.1 inch - way too big for the rack.

I can only conclude that this rack is NOT originally from a Series 2 E-type, but something else modified to fit.

I’ll attach pictures when I can work out how (bear in mind this is a right-hand drive rack)

Hi Tim I’m not familiar with right hand drive steering racks. If your rack were off a left hand drive car it would be a replacement unit I believe. The give away is the bolted on cover over the pinion. All original racks, l or r, AFAIK had a circular casting there with a cap held in with a circlip. These are shown in all drawing of parts manuals I have access to - but my collection is not exhaustive. I suspect it is a later aftermarket replacement because five years or so ago I bought a new rack from SNG that has the same bolt on cap. I can’t determine the measurement of the rack on it without pulling a boot off.

Bushings are not usually difficult to obtain. Take the old one to a bearing shop and see if they can help you.

Equally confusing is that Clausager says the cars got a new rack including housing SPB 1 .56 in June 1965. No mention is made of this in my official Jaguar parts book published in Nov 65 or anywhere else I have access to.

Was your car a LHD to RHD conversion? Or (more difficult to tell) has it had front end accident damage?

Thanks for the replies. Yes, it was a LHD ro RHD conversion, carried out by myself in 1991. The rack was supplied by M&C Wilkinson in the UK, I think (I have lost the original invoice).

It worries me that the diameter of the rack is obviously different from an original (assuming I have been given the correct bush for an original). Does anyone have a dismantled rack that they could measure for me to confirm?

There was a time when RHD racks were not available and modified racks from other cars were used for conversions, which is what you have.

Your options are to identify what yours came off (difficult) or to buy a new RHD rack, which is what I would do.

I have now removed the bush from the end of the rack tube. From the pictures you can see that it is totally different from the standard - different length, different internal and external diameters, and even made of different material.

If anyone can identify what this bush is from, I’m happy to replace it and put the rack back together. Otherwise, I have no choice but to buy a very expensive new rack.

The original rack is 1.125"

In 1965 or when the 4.2 came out, the rack went from a 8 tooth pinion to a 7 tooth pinion which remained until the last of the 4.2 cars. The rack in the picture is an aftermarket rack. If you know who made it, you might be able to source the parts needed. Otherwise, a good used one and then rebuild it as necessary.

Used RHD steering racks are like hen’s teeth!

I am going to attempt to replace the bush with a standard sintered bronze item, which I have ordered. If that fails, it will have to be a new rack.

I’ll report back

Hi Tim.
I converted a series 1 E Type to RHD in 1990. If I remember correctly there were 2 options for a RHD rack at the time, an exact replica and excellent quality rack by Jack Knight Engineering. And a much cheaper converted MGB rack supplied by the usual’s. Yours could be a converted MGB rack.

Cheers Phil.

Used RHD steering racks are like hen’s teeth!

Have you seen this. It’s on Ebay at the moment.

Cheers Phil.

Thanks, well spotted!

The bush in the end of my steering rack remains a puzzle. It’s definitely not from an MGB, though the rack itself might be. None of the rack specialists I sent pictures to bothered to reply.

I purchased a standard, off-the-shelf oil-filled sintered bronze bush, dimensions 25mmx35mmx25mm.which is not quite the same dimensions as the old bush but very close.

The outer diameter was about 0.5mm to big, so the bush would not fit in the tube. Also, the inner diameter was a fraction of a mm too big, so it was a loose fit on the rack (though not as loose as the old bush)

To compensate for both these discrepancies, I cut a very narrow section along the length of the new bush, enough to allow it to be squeezed up and make a tight fit inside the tube.

The inner diameter was then too small, of course, so I reamed it out very gradually until it was a tight fit on the rack, cut a few slots internally to allow the grease to move about, and installed it in the tube. It’s held in place with a screw through the hole in the top (not fitted in this picture)

I have now reassembled the whole rack, and it is absolutely rock solid - no detectable movement around the end bush, which was my original problem.

Other than replacing the bush, I haven’t had to do anything else to the rack apart from tighten up the ball joints. There was no detectable movement at the pinion end.

Once it’s installed back in the car, and the weather improves enough for a test drive, I will report back.

1 Like

Nice bit of McGyvreing there Tim.