Steering rack mod question

Steering is pretty good. Got under the front end and had a friend turn the wheel for me. There is about a 1/4 inch of movement in the rack on the bushings. I want to add the washers into the space on either side of the rack. I plan on using enough washers to fill the space with a rubber washer sandwiched in between two of them. My question is - Can this be achieved without dropping the rack itself. Can I simply remove the nut, slide the bolt back far enough to get the washers into the mount and onto the bolt. I am hoping someone will chime in with a positive answer. If no answer then I will attempt to do this and will post the results.

Betty is a 1993 4.0l convertible.

And why you want to remove this movement? Bushes are designed to move slightly, unless those are totally trashed - this is the way it should be.
Anyway, you can do it with two lower bushes, no chance to do it with the upper one. I suggest to undo the bushing bolts and throw away heat shields and holding brackets… Rubber washers won’t last long and it will be impossible to retain those correctly, I use to try square sheet of rubber witu U sliced in it, those were making no difference at all.

The stock bushes can fail from all the movement, leading to dangerous handling. Highly recommended to change out original bushings to polyurethane. This has the added benefit of more precise steering. It’s all documented in Kerry Palm’s Book.

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Damn autospeller - Kirby Palm, aka Kirbert :-))))

Lol, yep!

Mandatory 20 characters…

I am installing the washers to keep the bushings from failing. They are still in good shape and I am trying to extend the life of them. I will eventually change them out with polys. I have been researching this for quite a bit. There are posts suggesting and describing doing this but no one has mentioned whether or not they can be done in the manner I described above.

The answer to your question is no. There is a metal sleeve in the center of the OEM bushings that will prevent you from installing washers that way. You must drop the rack, although you don’t have to drop it far; you may be able to do the job without disconnecting the steering column, tie rods or the hydraulic hoses.

Sounds like carving in shit. Genuine bushes will last as long as those will last, then must be replaced. Adding pieces of rubber won’t help much. Tried this at someone’s XJS - this won’t work. The much better emergency would be a tube of RTV silicone to be squeezed into the cavities/gaps between the bushes and the brackets (tested, worked somehow-ish for 5 years, were meant to serve few weeks), then shaped nicely, but again this is carving in shit afain - and can be used for emergency only.
Still got genuine bushes on my XJS 65k miles and 31 years, still no sign of cracks or excessive movement. The problems is - genuine design is these days is being made to blueprint and those are crap. Genuine are still seems to be better solution, but time-consuming to replace/install.

The bushes are designed to absorb vibrations and they can indeed move slightly, but 1/4 of an inch is much me thinks.

Yaps, not a good idea.

Your existing bushes must be in good shape if you want to do this.
You could also change the two bottom ones with the rack in situ but you will need to get , or make, the special extractor.

I just got finished installing poly bushings in my rack last week. It was a bit perplexing, though. All of the washers that came out would not fit back into their respective places and the metal bracket on the left side had to be eliminated because the space became to small to refit it. I ended up having to jockey some washers around as well as add one or two different ones.

Where there is a will there is a way, but from what I had to go through in order to fit those washers, I was super grateful that the front subframe was on the bench and not mounted on the car.

You can replace the bushings without disconnecting lines and steering shaft- I highly recommend the tool offered by the usuals ( I did my own which lasted through the 1st two, fortunately I started with the top). I did poly, which definitely tightens up the steering, but also transmits more road noise. If doing again I would probably go with the Jaguar Sport ones…
If doing in the car, be sure to unbolt the p/s cooler to prevent damage, and to tighten the lines at the cooler when finished.

I bought poly bushings and the tool from John’s cars…Dallas Texas…half hour job to do… really straightened everything out…no more violent shaking when applying brakes…no need to modify… just replace.

Your mounting bosses had probably been distorted by the tightening of the mounting bolts in an earlier assembly. This is why I recommend straightening those bosses as much as possible prior to trying to reassemble. One way to straighten the bosses is to insert a bolt or threaded rod with washers and nuts between the sides of each mount, and then turn the nuts away from one another to push the sides of the bosses outward. Ideally the sides of the bosses should end up flat.

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This thread is reliving a process I went through more than twenty years ago. First some content.
My brother lived in upstate NY and I lived in Rockland. He had purchased an old Colonial house and I would go up on weekends to help him fix it up. I could either travel via the NYS Thruway or over the back road hills, (rock wall on one site, and steep drop-off on the other). I always chose the hills and back roads.
One evening, after leaving rather late I was pushing the XJ-S rather hard. Up over the hill and on the downward side, moving rather rapidly (no traffic) I approached a right-hander at speeds higher than I normally have. The initial turn in was hesitant. Then abrupt. Now heading directly into the rock wall. I corrected instantly (overcorrected as it turns out) and breathlessly regained control of the car.

As I drove home (slower) I wondered what the hell happened. The next morning the car was on jack stands with the wife turning the steering wheel while I crawled under it.

What I found out was that the rack bushings allowed the steering rack to move laterally, this movement magnified as it encountered resistance from the wheels. A piss poor design meant that when it was needed most, under heavy corning loads the rubber bushings should be under compression it was actually stretching.

Note that this was not news to some long time XJ-S owners; it was just news to me

I change the bushing to aftermarket Polyurethane bushings and subsequently had to change the rack due to it leaking which brings me to this thread.

The rebuilt steering rack had new original Jaguar bushings installed. I was about to remove them and install aftermarket bushings when I had an idea. Why not keep the perfectly good Jaguar bushings but modify them to remove any lateral movement?

I purchased three shock absorber bushings (regular rubber washers will not work) and cut off the ends making sure they were the exact diameter and length that I needed. I used them as “washers” to pack the space between the Jaguar bushings and the rack mounts. The rack must be removed for this to work.

As Kirby noted there is a metal sleeve inside the original bushings.

These interested see link below:

In other words. If you have genuine bushes. If you look under the car and ask someone to turn the steering wheel on idle both ways, if you see the movement of the rack- your bushes are trashed. There can be only as much movement allowed as the gap between the rack mount and subframe bracket allows.
Mine are slightly moving with the wheel jammed against the kerb. Not sure what was different in US version… (235 tyres width)

Hi Bernard,
It was your modification on your great website that inspired me!
And we all thank you.
All the best,

There are two kinds of OEM bushings, the normal and sports pack.
The normal allowed quite a lot of movement by default, en plus the way they are designed they work only on shear forces and no compression forces, and if the bushes give up the rack is free to walk in the park as there is quite a lot of space between the rack mount and the bracket.

The sports pack are much better, they have an extra piece of rubber on the one side and a washer so there is some compression involved, but there is still some movement as the rubber is a quite soft.

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Ahh! Now I see. Yup, definitely got the one with rubber and thick metal washer from one side.
Just out of curiosity - what else I can expect with factory sport pack???

First let me thank everyone for their input. I should have mentioned in the original post that the bushings installed on my car are the SPORT PACK bushings. Looks like I have a lot to consider in this matter and will be giving it some more thought over the next couple of weeks.