[xj] Straightening Steering Wheel

Dan Jensen wrote:

Question re: straightening steering wheel on 87 XJ6:

Can anyone provide insight into how to straighten the steering wheel on my
87 XJ6?

The wheel is turned about one inch to the right when I’m driving down the
road. The wheel should be perfectly centered when I’m driving in a straight

I understand that aligning the wheels is not the solution; rather its in the
alignment of the steering wheel itself.

Remove the horn “button” (two screws on the underside). You’ll see a large
nut holding the wheel on. Remove that, pull the wheel off and put it back
on the splines in the position you want. Retighten the nut good and tight,
put the horn pad back on.

  • Jan
    ** Do I straddle the fence on issues? Well, yes and no. **

This is o.k. as long as the adjustment in minor, at best. The problem is
that is does not adjust the turn signal detent system, i.e., the turn
signals will not disengage at equivalent positions on left and right turns.
It is better to remove the entire steering wheel unit from the upper
steering shaft and realign it on the shaft splines. This will ensure that
the turn signals continue to operate as designed. Note that it may not be
possible to seat the locking pin into the hole in the upper steering shaft.
However, there is plenty of redundancy to ensure the steering wheel doesn’t
come loose, and the pin can be locked against the shaft by the lock nut.
Careful review of the picture in the parts book should make this all clearer.

Dan Jensen General Atomics
Dan.Jensen@gat.com PO Box 85608
San Diego, CA 92186-5608
(619) 455-4158
(619) 455-4111 FAX

Dan: I did not have the original inquiry from Jan so I am responding to
your posting on the list. However as I see on his posting he may
straddle the fence on this any way!

I am a novice with Jaguars but I can tell you how most steering wheels
are centered. Some years ago I owned a front end shop and we centered
the steering wheel when an algnment was performed.

I used this method a couple of weeks ago to center the steering wheel on
my wife’s Lincoln Continental that was offset about like Jan said his
xj6 is.

Using the tie rod adjustments you move both wheels in the direction of
the steering wheel offset. After the “TOE IN” is adjusted correctly you
would adjust each side exactly the same amount. This is a trial and
error method as to how much to turn the adjustment, this will depend on
the amount the steering wheel is offset from center. I would suggest 1/4
turn of each tie rod to start, then drive the car and see if that was
enough or if it was too much. Mark the rods to know how much you have
rotated them. To mark them I use liquid “WHITE OUT” like you use to
correct a typewritten mistake.

EXAMPLE: Your steering wheel is offset to the right. If both wheels are
adjusted the same amount to the right you will have to rotate the
steering wheel to the left to drive straight down the street. Exactly
what you wanted isn’t it!

NOTE: If you do not change both sides the same amount the TOE IN will
not be correct.

This keeps the steering in the center of the travel when it is going
straight on the highway. Most steering shafts are indexed so the wheel
mounts in only one position. Is the Jaguar not indexed?

If this does not work on a Jaguar please advise. I am not too old to
learn something new.

Arnold Q. Lane Lane Consulting
@Arnold_Q_Lane Wentzville, Missouri

I think no-one’s mentioned one fact about wheel alignment; the manual for my
1981 XJ6
says that the first step is to centre the steering rack. If you remove the
grease nipple from
the pinion housing, you can screw in a special tool which has a spring-loaded
peg which
locks into a hole centred on the back of the rack. When the peg locks in, the
rack is centred.

This means that in theory the next step is to align the wheels straight ahead.
Next, you align
the steering wheel and the indicator mechanism. The steering column has two
splined joints.
The lower one has a bolt though a cut-out in the splined pinion shaft, so it
only assembles
comfortably in one position. The upper one simply clamps, so you can align the
wheel at any
position, spline by spline. I’d guess that if you first assemble the wheel to
the shaft so the
grub-screw enters the locating hole, and then align the wheel to straight
ahead, with the
rack centralised, you should find the upper splined joint aligning too. At
some point in this
process, you can move the indicator operating thingummybob around so that the
indicators cancel properly too. As far as I remember, the only problem with
this is that
you need to rotate the wheel by a half turn to be able to get the grub screw
in, which tends
to lose all that careful alignment!

I’ve not yet found a suitable home-made approximation to rack tool, so I don’t
know how
well this process works in practice; I’ve used a small piece of rod to find
the hole,
and hoped it stayed centralised while I moved all the other bits; it didn’t
work too well.

Cheers, Paul Gover,
1981 XJ6-III 4.2