Workshop manual for assembly order?

At long last, I’m about to start assembling my freshly-painted XK140DHC.

I’m starting with the suspension, followed by the wiring harness, hydraulic lines etc. - but it’s the suspension first. I have the reproduction factory workshop manual, which states it is for XK120, 140 etc. and MkVII - IX saloons. The 140 section is a supplement, with no section relating to front suspension (but obviously steering is included).

My question is, I presume the XK120 suspension section is the one to use. Should I assume that I work through this in order? The book starts with torsion bars, then moves on to wishbones etc. I dismantled the car, and am no stranger to this type of work, but would appreciate any tips on what order to do this in. Usually, I rely on the shop manual’s layout to indicate what order to follow, but as this is my first Jaguar I thought I’d check.
As a side issue, can the petrol tank be fitted after the rear axle, or is it best done before?
The body is on the frame and aligned, so I won’t be lifting it to make life easier. I should add that the principal aim is to get the car ready for the trimmer to fit the new hood, so the order of priorities may seem odd - for example I need to assemble the doors and windows completely for the trimmer to align hood frame etc.

So, do I follow the book order for the suspension components?


Hi Roger…im in the reverse to you with my similar to your 140 hut not necissarily the same …just stripping down…but only on the rear so far not started on front…fuel tank came out with axel in place but spare wheel extension pannel in boot needs to be removed…just noticed this in my reading thats worth you noting re lower wishbone…again not sure if it applies to 140…Steve…moderator please delete photo if me posting it causes a problem…thanks

Hi Roger,
By any chance, do you happen to recall whether your BD.8428 Mounting Plate Assembly for Bonnet Catch was attached to the body ( or to the chassis) before the body was mounted to the chassis?

Thanks for any information.

Hi Gary,
As I did all the metalwork, I can tell you that the main panel in your photo (with the arrows) was attached to neither and is still in a separate box of parts. From memory, it’s waiting to be painted black, as I don’t think it attaches to the body but is fixed only to the chassis.
Apologies for the vague reply - I’m in the middle of replacing the front springs and master cylinder on the '68 Mustang, fixing a duff distributor on the GT6 and sorting out excessive endplay on the O/S rear hub on the Riley. This hobby is feeling more like unpaid work at the moment, I’ve never been so busy! And I’ve a complete refit on an XK to do…

@Nickolas, I thought you might have words of wisdom.

Not this time, Wiggs. The receiver plate at the top of the photo is the same but everything else is different from my XK120 OTS.

Ok all this stuff would be easier with the body off, but here is the front suspension assembly order.

Steering rack first, with adjusting shims
Shaft supporting lower wishbone levers (there is a front and back, they should align with the torsion bar rear ends, don’t get them on backwards, and some of the bolts are shoulder bolts, made for accurate alignment, so put them in the right holes.)
Two rubber bushings on shaft (I like to use liquid dish soap to lubricate them as I assemble them)
Lower wishbone lever rear (there are left and right, be sure you know which)
Rubber bushing, flat washer, nut and split cotter pin (I like to use anti-seize on the threads, some body some day will bless you if you do)
Lower wishbone levers front
Rubber bushing, flat washer, nut and split cotter pin
Shaft supporting upper wishbone levers
Two rubber bushings on shaft
Upper wishbone levers front
Rubber bushing, flat washer, nut and split cotter pin
Upper wishbone levers rear
Rubber bushing, flat washer, nut and split cotter pin
Assemble lower ball pin into stub axle carrier, measure the gap in the cap, add that amount of shims, tighten the bolts and feel the movement; it should be fairly snug, not tight and not a lot of free play.
Notice there is a left and right stub axle carrier. The difference is a pair of flat spots provided for doing caster alignment. They should be on the opposite side from the steering arms.
Assemble steering arms to stub axle carriers
Assemble upper ball joints into stub axle carriers
Assemble stub axle carriers to lower wishbone levers
Assemble upper ball joints to upper wishbone levers, duplicating the “as found” caster alignment shims if you took note of them, otherwise caster is just a guess at this point.
Work the rubber bushings up and down so the neutral position is more or less at normal riding height. That’s what the dish soap is for.

The factory boys probably had a way to do caster and camber alignment on the chassis before the body was on; you could do it with the chassis on 7-1/8" blocks and raising the axles to half a tire diameter, before the torsion bars were on.

Connect tie rod ends to steering arms
Flanges for front end of torsion bars
Torsion bars (rear ends are stamped NS for left side and OS for right side which is a secret code intended to confuse and mystify Americans :wink: who have no idea why they are called near and off) Be absolutely sure you have them on the correct sides as they are pre-stressed to be twisted in only one direction, and if you put them on the wrong sides they will be twisted in the wrong direction and soon break.
Levers for adjustment of torsion bars
Special T-head bolts for torsion bar tension adjustment
Long brass nuts for torsion bar adjustment, but leave them loose for now, the adjustment comes after the car is fully assembled.
Brackets for anti-roll bar links
Anti-roll bar links, bushings, flat washers, split cotter pins
Anti-roll bar, rubber bushings, flat washers, split cotter pins
Anti-roll bar chassis bearings, saddle brackets
Shock absorbers
Brake backing plates
Wheel hubs
Brake cylinders
Brake fluid lines
Brake shoes
Brake drums

I don’t think I missed anything.
Press on.


Thanks Rob, that’s really helpful.

Just fyi, ‘near’ and ‘off’ sides relate to a car parked at the side of the road. When standing next to a car in the UK, i.e. RHD, the pavement is on the left side of the car. Therefore the left side is the ‘near’ side, and the right side of the car, furthest from the pavement, is the ‘off’ side. It’s an old term and is used less these days, but I’ve often wondered if it was considered an ‘absolute’ term for all markets, or if LHD cars ‘near’ and ‘off’ sides were reversed - the pavement would obviously be on the opposite side. I guess not, if the manual sold in both markets uses the same terms for both.

Hi Roger,
The BD.8428 Mounting Plate Assembly for Bonnet Catch is somewhat unusual in that it attaches rigidly by three bolts ( indicated by the holes pointed out by the green arrows) to the chassis, and also attaches rigidly by two bolts to the body (red arrows).
According to the XK140 Explored book, the Mounting Plate Assembly should be painted body colour.
I am trying to determine if any of the five bolts would have been painted body colour.

If anyone would happen to know if any of the bolts ( or just the bolt heads) should be painted, I would really appreciate it if you could share that information.
Thank you in advance.

That, my friend, is an impressive recitation of a process, that is extremely well detailed!


My understanding is that it is indeed a universal reference, not determind by which side of the road a country drives on! Origins are in horse riding.


Clive is 100% right - the terms “Near Side” and “Off Side” are pre automobile, from horse riding and carriage origins where there was no such thing as Right-Hand-Drive versus Left-Hand-Drive…

And also bear in mind, the original USA automobile industry was almost totally central steering or indeed Right-Hand-Drive steering, and it was only Henry Fords dominant LHD T-Model Ford that was the catalyst for USA becoming a LHD car manufacturing/regulated market when laws started to be introduced… Henry certainly has a LOT to answer for… I always say, if you do not drive on the RIGHT side of a car, you must be driving on the WRONG side :crazy_face:

Ha, ha. Not to start any arguments over driving side preference, nobody’s going to change. It’s just that we never use or hear the terms near side and off side here. I’ve seen it in very old books relating to horses pulling coaches, but always by English authors such as Dickens.

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I don’t know if any left hand drive countries use the terms nearside/offside so the point may well be moot.

However, Jaguar does identify offside with right and nearside as left - they define it as such in the Operating & Maintenance section of the Mk VII Service Manual.


What page? I don’t find it in my copy.


In my copy it is on Page A.11, section headed Accessories, describing Petrol Fillers.

Also in J.8, adjustment of torsion bars, it makes the same association.


But why then is it that when riding a horse you get off on the near side and not the off side. I smell some sort of conspiracy.


Its all straightforward. From the country that invented cricket:


I only referred to RHD and LHD to illustrate my meaning from an automotive point of view, seeing as the question arose out of the markings on XK torsion bars… I know the usage predates our bits of metal, and not just Jags, obviously - the entire British motor industry used it, and still does.
‘Near’ and ‘off’ must refer to something being close by and something further away. I’m going to suggest it’s down to the predominance of right-handed humans. Thinking about mounting a horse, or a bicycle for that matter, I’d always mount it from the left-hand-side, as a right-handed (right-footed?) person. So for me, I’d stand on the left side and then swing my leg over. So the left side is the near(est) side, and the ride side is further away from me. With the majority right-handed, this becomes a convention.
Probably rubbish, but the best I can think of!

Cricket is a whole different world, Clive. I remember at school nobody wanting to field at the position named ‘silly mid off’…

As far as im aware it dates back to sword carrying…most people are right handed so would carry their sword on their left side…thus to mount a horse you would need to mount from its left side…convention soon set in and the left became kniwn as a horses nearside