Steering wheel askew

More of an annoyance, but the steering wheel is not ‘horizontal’ when the wheels are straight… I tried to get the steering boss off to get at the nut to re-centre the wheel, but am not having much luck. Unfortunately the service manual skips over this step…

Anyone have any experience in how best to tackle this?


There should be two? Screws on the underside of the boss, with these removed it should just lift off, with tat removed loosen the nut, but do not remove completely, tension the wheel towards you and with a soft mallet give the nut a rap that should break the taper.

Take it to an alignment shop for alignment and ask them to center the wheel as they do the job.

Going by my 1965 3.8S there are four pan head machine screws on the back side of the wheel spokes. Remove these and lift off the plastic cover for the spokes, the horn medallion button and spring under it. (I replace these with similar Phillips machine screws, much easier to work with than slotted ones) Then you will find three nylon nuts (which serve as electrical insulators) that hold the chrome horn ring in a spring loaded position on the wheel. Remove these nylon nuts and collect the springs under the horn ring. Note how far screwed in the nylon nuts are as these are part of the spring loaded horn ring horn activation function. Lift off the ring. Then you will find a plate with screws holding it to the wheel. Remove the screws and plate and the nuts that hold the wheel to the column will be exposed. There are two nuts, one a stamped metal lock nut and one an actual retaining nut. I believe they are different sizes. You will need two different sockets. Remove both, and the wheel should pull off the splined column. Collect the two collets that between the wheel and column if they do not stay in place. Reset the wheel on the proper spline. Having said this however, keep in mind any major change in position will throw off the turn signal canceling mechanism, If you remove the cowlings there is some adjustment of these possible. Reassembly is a reverse of the removal process but I add a dab of grease to the splines to ease any future removal. The other option is, as stated earlier, have an alignment shop set the toe in and in so doing set the wheel straight.

you have a 420G

most alignment shops use the steering wheel centred & locked to set everything off

I had to personally show the Service Manager that on a 420G, as per the FSM, the steering is centralised with a (3/8" i think) drill bit locked in a special keyway in the steering box!!

everything is then setup from that point…this is critical

follow the FSM closely, measure the 495.3mm !

set the toe yourself, use long straight edges, 5m builders tape, and Stilson wrench

once that is done, (or if toe is ok upon initial measurement)

follow the FSM to remove steering wheel, its easy

set it upon the splines in the dead ahead position

That makes sense since with the Marles Variomatic steering box you would want the box itself in the middle of its travel otherwise the built in variation off center would differ on each side. Am I correct??


note the FSM does not show it for a 420G,it shows a MKX, which shows a Churchill tool

tip for OP; for a 420G, go to MKX FSM Chapter 15 IPL4, supplement…that covers 420G

be 100% assured an alignment shop will not know jack sh!t about what I said

the keyway is underneath…even an experienced Jag mechanic did not know

Tony is right on every point!
But you may find, along with myself, that when everything id correct, the steering wheel is at ”five to twelve, or five past twelve” (clock).)
The splines won´t let you get the wheel dead straight, 12.00 o´ click.
This is when you need to adjust the outer tie rods. Equal amount but in opposite direction, while keeping an eye on those critical 49mm
I need to do this on 2 cars.

I meant 495mm. Sorry.

Thank you all again for the advice. Yes mine is a 420G and I did not look at the supplement.

My wheel is at 20 to 2, so quite askew. But it doesn’t pull in any particular direction when driving or braking so wheels may be aligned OK.

As I have just yesterday got the car driving properly (not cold starting quite yet), I will take it for a longer spin and see if the wheels are aligned. Then I shall take it to an alignment shop along with the service manual and see where we go from there.


I had to replace a tie tod end (as opposed to the big tie rod between the wheels) as the old one was flogged out. They come with both ends of the foot long rod adjustable. I did as Tony said with a straight edge and steel rule to align. Once satisfied with the toe-in I recentred the wheel (about 20 degrees out) by moving the tie rods at the wheel “flat by flat” on the adjusting nuts. Might only be two flats inwards on one side and two flats outwards on the other side. Not good for big errors as you affect the turning circle (left and right don’t match). Paul

I have a Mk2 without power steering.

Ok, four screws at the rear to release the plastic cover and for button. Then three plastic bolts to undo the horn ring, then four screws to undo the horn centre plate, then the centre nut holder and then the centre nut. Then the wheel slides off and can be put back on in the right position. Assembly reverse of above sequence.

Only thing it did not do was re-center the turn signal cancelling mechanism… I guess that means the steering is not centred in the steering box regardless of the wheels beings straight.


I expect it’s not far out - a small error in the 4 plus turns lock to lock? If I’m remembering correctly (could be an XJ6 or Triumph memory) the shaft mounted “trigger” can be released and slid into correct position via a long slot under a screw on the shaft.

did you 1st centre the steering box with a drill bit as described in the FSM ?

did you then measure the draglink to 495.3mm ?

did you then set each tie-rod to 300mm ?

(roughly check toe with a builders tape, should be very close)

once all that is done, only then can the steering wheel be replaced upon its splines

If the steering box has been taken completely apart in the past, and not re-assembled accurately, the above procedure will not work.

I will say its fiddly to get right…the Pitman Arm should point directly to the rear before steering wheels goes back on, or it will not be correct

The indicator assembly comes of as a unit, which is collared around the steering column, and is possibly adjustable

never let an alignment shop near a 420G, until they have assured you they will use the FSM, the page printed out by you…they use the steering wheel to set everything!

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Hi Tony,

I didn’t. The car runs and pulls straight and I have desire no to ‘educate’ an alignment shop. I simply wanted to adjust everything so it does it properly.

I undid the steering column caps and found the mechanism. It is two metal ‘diamonds’ that one engages when flicking the indicator stalk. Then two plastic tabs on a ring connected to the steering ‘spring’ the diamonds back. The ring can be adjusted by undoing two screw/bolts holding a metal ring with a tab that keeps the plastic ring in place. Move the plastic ring over one tab on the metal ring and fix everything back in place… voila. Done.

Pics herunder in sequence:
Indicator stalk turn left, plastic tab can just be seen behind the large white tab, above metal ‘diamond’.
Steering wheel turning left takes plastic tab across metal ‘diamond’.
Steering wheel returns turning right and plastic tab flicks metal ‘diamond’ back and cancels indicator.
Metal ring with two bolts either side and tab engaging with plastic ring.

Hope clear.