Upper Steering Column U-joint


Right now, with the steering rack centered, my steering wheel is about 45 degrees clockwise of center.
I fiddled with the steering wheel and found that it only goes on one way if it’s going to align with the turn signal cancel mechanism.
I’ve read in the manual and on here that the right place to adjust this is spline between the upper column and the u-joint, down by the firewall. Can anyone give me some advice on how to separate this joint without breaking anything?

(Paul M. Novak) #2

What year is your XJ-S/XJS?


(DavetheLimey) #3

I had to do this on my car when I first bought it.This was a few years ago, and I only had to do this adjustment once, so the memory might be a bit fuzzy.
The u-joint has two clamping bolts (and nuts) securing it to the upper and lower columns.Remove both. Not just loosen- remove.I seem to remember a machined groove in one of the splined shafts. Once both bolts are removed, you should be able to pry the U-joint on the spline so it slides and then disengages from one of the shafts. Then rotate steering wheel and pry u-joint back into place, then secure bolts and nuts.
This was an easy job, so not particularly memorable! You won’t break anything.
(Happy Monday, Paul)

(Kirbert - author of the Book, former owner of an '83 XJ-S H.E.) #4

The proper way to do this is to remove the grease fitting from the bottom of the rack and insert a 1/4" (I think) dowel. There’s a notch in the rack itself that this dowel will drop into when the rack is perfectly centered. With the rack centered in this manner, line up the steering wheel so it sits straight. Once assembled in this manner, if the wheel doesn’t sit straight when driving, you need to adjust the tie rods.

(DavetheLimey) #5

That’s exactly what I did with my car several years ago. Step by step. Hopefully the OP knows how to center the rack. I think I answered his question concerning the U-joint.

(Robert Wilkinson) #6

That doesn’t line up the turn signal mechanism unless it was correct to begin with. You can get the steering wheel straight, everything perfect except the turn signals won’t cancel. IMHO (plus the opinion of my car).

1 Like
(Kirbert - author of the Book, former owner of an '83 XJ-S H.E.) #7

One of us is not understanding the other.

(Robert Wilkinson) #8

Or both. :slight_smile:

On XJs and E’s at least, the spline on the lower end of the upper steering column has a groove, not a notch, for the pinch bolt. That’s where the adjustment is to ensure that the turn signal cancelling is symmetrical. Misalignment of the cancelling cam can occur if this spline is not oriented correctly with respect to the upper side of the upper u-joint of the lower steering column. Misalignment can also occur if the rack has been rebuilt and the pinion gear not rotated properly–so that the notch in the pinion’s spline is no longer oriented properly with respect to the centered rack. IMHO.

Here’s a thread to refresh your memory. It’s deja vu all over again! In the final post it seems like you are about to either disagree with the same point being raised now or agree…but instead you digress into some interesting historical information.

(Kirbert - author of the Book, former owner of an '83 XJ-S H.E.) #9

None of that contradicts what I said.

(Aristides Balanos) #10

No it doesn’t, but I had to read it twice to understand it.
Once one centers the rack then one must center the steering wheel is dead straight and the canceling cam to it’s correct position, IIRC at 6 o’clock.
Then you adjust the tie rods , you don’t change the position of the steering wheel, but the position of the wheels so that the car drives straight.


(baxtor) #11

It’s been a while since l did this job. If it’s only steering wheel that needs to rotate with all other components correct you may need to withdraw steering wheel complete with reach adjustment shaft, rotate steering wheel and reinsert. You need to remove both the grub screw and the pinch bolt from the clamp arrangment on the back of the reach lock knurled ring and remove with wheel complete with shaft. Grub screw in that clamp locates in a hole in later steering columns and peg on back side locates in cancel assembly.