Very sloppy steering on 1985 XJSc

My 1985 Jaguar XJS-C has extremely slopping steering, so bad that is is impossible to drive.
The vehicle wandering all over the road and in slow to react when I turn the wheel.
I parked the car with both front wheels on the driveway and looked at the steering column passing through the floor. To my surprise, with the engine off, the steering wheel turns, the steering rod turns, but the wheels do not. I jacked the car up with both wheels off the driveway and turned the steering wheel and both wheels turned as they should. I started the engine and turned the steering wheel again. The wheels turned as they should. I checked the bushes and ball joints which all appear to be in good order. My question is… is there anything in the lower steering column that could be causing this? Cheers… Peter

Replace the steering rack mounts with aftermarket poly or delrin mounts.

I will look into that, thanks Kirbert.

Welcome to Jag-Lovers! You have experienced one of the most common problems with the XJ-S, perished steering rack bushings. This subject comes up regularly and as a result there are probably hundreds of posts in the archives. Search “steering rack bushings” and you will find lots of helpful posts from others who have experienced this and resolved the problem. I have removed and replaced old tired steering rack bushings in our XJ-S, XJ12, and two XJ6s (they are the same parts). It is a somewhat challenging Do-It-Yourself project, so if you are handy and have the right tools ot is a good project to do yourself.


Thanks Paul, I have read many posts about the steering rack bushes being “A” problem. I just can’t believe the car almost running off the road and taking 1/2 turn of the steering wheel to get it back could simply be the bushes. BUT, as you and Kirbert have both suggested the same remedy, I will most certainly listen to you guys and give that a go. Manyt thanks…Peter Carey

That’s the bushes and the top hat like poly ones are the ones to get. The original design is no good.
You‘ll need a large socket and a smaller one and some threaded rod to press it out. Two bushes on the drivers side and one on the other, play is about half an inch if the rubber shims left and right of the bush are gone, and believe me, they are.
Welcome by the way.

Even with standard, working bushes, the poly tophats are a marked improvement. There is an official JaguarSport bush that is half metal, half rubber, and also works - but at very high price compared to after market poly bushes.

Thanks for the picture and advice David. Nice garden you have growing there by the way… Regards

Cheers Cosmo… Much appreciated…Peter

Absolutely agree about rack mounts…makes a world of difference

John’s cars has the kit and the tool…1/2 hour job.

I agree about the bushing removal tool from John’s Cars in Texas. I got one several years ago and it makes bushings removal a “piece of cake”. Before getting that tool I was able to remove the old bushings but it way too much work.


Not knowing the history of your car, I suppose there are other more remote possible causes for your problem. Since old perished bushings are a very common cause and easily checked (if you have access to a lift) they would be the first thing I recommend check. If new bushings do not fix your problem then more evaluation will be needed.
I am a strong believer in “Ockham’s Razor” philosophy when it comes to working on my Jaguars, the simplest explanation for a problem has usually been the correct one. That has not always been true as compound or more complicated failures have occurred, but while working on our six Jaguars over the past 20 years, in the end the problems were most often caused by the simplest and most common explanation.


My rack was so loose the front end shook extremely sometimes when stopping at a stop sign…scared the xxxxx out of me

Thanks again Paul. If I don’t sell it and go ahead with the work, will let you know if the bushes did the trick…Peter