XJ6 1982 steering failure

Yesterday fortunately driving at low speed suddenly the left front wheel no longer follows the steering; I stop and realize that the arm between the steering and the wheel is no longer attached but hangs on the ground supported by the bellows only; I remove the bellows and find the arm completely unscrewed from the seat on the steering; the piece consists of two bolts n. 32 or 33, perhaps in inches, therefore with two anti-slip harpoons and a spring that works on the steering pinion; I screwed it up again and managed to go home; if it had happened to me on the highway I wouldn’t be here to tell you about it; the steering was entirely replaced last year with a piece overhauled in germany; what do you think could have been the cause of the complete unscrewing?
Thank you and greetings

Lousy workmanship immediately springs to mind.


That’s really scary…
And that’s why Jaguar was so meticulous on putting safety wire in all those important places.
I guess yours were put together with out ?

Yes everything was in order both the thread of the bolts and the anti-slip; the only thing I suspect is that in the reconditioning of the steering in germany they have taken very little or tightened; now

I will also dismantle everything on the right side when I put the car in the workshop on a bridge

I’m a bit confused as to what became unscrewed and where, Briciola…

Was the inner balljoint assembly (track rod) detached from the rack - or from the track rod end? The only thing that prevents the parts from unscrewing is the lock nut at the balljoint. If not tightened the whole assembly is free to rotate - which is how the toe is adjusted…

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

The two nuts on the steering rack were completely unscrewed and therefore the arm dangled attached to the wheel covered by the rubber bellows seal; I do not understand how it could have happened except for not having been screwed sufficiently during assembly in Germany.

Continuing the discussion from Xj6 1982 sterring failure:

Between numbers 12 and 13, to understand, there are two lock nuts with stop

Too small for me to see the detail. My Zoom fails to enlarge.

But, I think I get it. As you say, two lock nuts. Nuts not locking!!! Why ? Most logical answer is "sloppy assembly!!! Which failed to lock ? At the rack or at the tie rod end?

Thusly, who was the sloppy mechanic?

Carl , .

Oh, my!
Well I’m glad you’re here to write about it. I imagine some poo came out when that happened. I know it certainly would’ve gotten my attention; and a quick check of the shorts while nobody was looking.
Damn, that IS Scary!

I more or less concur with @Robin_O_Connor and @Aristides.

1 Like

Actually I have experienced this with my Series II pulling out of the garage. the inner tie rod. on mine the bushings where completely shot, which I replaced and the tabs had gone missing from the tabbed retention washer where end bent over the nut keeping it from backing out. busted out the band saw drill press and a bit of Steel and made new ones.

short of going outside and looking under the bonnet; that looks like a Series II steering rack. aka high top.

Yes on the rack; I was going less than 20km now and I thought at the first moment of having punctured a tire then got off the jag looking at the position of the left wheel with respect to the right I understood everything; as for the company that sold me the steering is the one that overhauls (sending the old steering in exchange) these pieces for almost all dealers (not just vintage jag) in europe!

Ciao Briciola,

che fortuna hai avuto! Tutta la macchina piena di angeli custodi!

Of course, if you send in the steering rack to be overhauled you may expect the inner tie rod end to be fixed safely. If they messed it up it’s their fault.

That being said, if you connect the tie rod end - which is what you have to do after the installation of the steering rack - and fix it safely with bolt 5, I don’t see a point where the tie rod can move - after all it is fixed on both sides! It just cannot work itself loose and turn and turn at the inner fixture while being fixed at the outer against the tie rod end. So there might be a chance that while you were fixing the tie rod end you might have worked loose the inner tie rod end. On some cars the tie rods have flats to hold them in place with an open box wrench while you exercise pressure on the bolt fixing the tie rod end when exchanging the latter. Jaguars don’t have such flats making it a bit more difficult to hold the tie rod in place … I hope I’m not mixing things up with the Spitfire’s rack that I’ve worked on last time, so just some points to think about …

We all like to drive safely and appreciate any insight to possible causes of failure of such essential parts.

Keep the spirit


75 XJ6L 4.2 auto (UK spec)

in the figure the two bolts that form the joint with the steering (not on the wheel) and it has loosened and then detached

You are a lucky boy, Briciola!

With some luck you found the three pieces; tab, spring and washer collected in the bellows. This is a ball joint, and while you may safely reattach it to the rack you should also check the toe - as a matter of routine…

As an aside, in this situation, at speed; coasting straight ahead to a stop, using the parking brake, would work - footbraking would likely be disasterous - and steering would be very iffy. That’s neither here nor there - you were very, very lucky…

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

yes I was really lucky, think that last week I made a trip on the highway at 130 140 km / hour; when it happened I removed the accelerator and pulled the manual brake on the rear wheels and luckily the wheel that became free always remained straight otherwise everything would have broken; but still now I do not understand with the tabs of the fasteners folded on the nuts how they could have been unscrewed!

Neither do I, fully, Briciola - but that is the obvious cause…:slight_smile:

Basically; the tie rod end cannot turn, and with the locknut tight the assembly cannot unscrew. However, a loose locknut will likely gradually unscrew - and with the locktab at the rack end incorrect; nothing prevents the assembly from unscrewing.

As the tie rod end (ball joint) has much longer threading - the rack end will detach first. Two points; there must be a double fault, inner and outer - and a gradual unscrewing will alter toe before detachment. Which may be noticeable, either by the steering pulling or some car wandering…

Less obvious; carefully check for damage to the threads at the rack - however unlikely, the threads may have let go? As all this may have happened over time; check for abnormal tyre wear. And certainly; make sure the assembly is put together properly. And of course, check/adjust toe…:slight_smile:

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

1 Like

Thread present without alterations the only thing to note the stops were not fully riveted on the nut; perfect tire wear and always straight steering wheel; now obviously that I have tightened the nuts to the bottom look slightly to the right; once double checked, everything will converge on the wheels.
Thanks Briciola

I ‘think’ you will be OK, Briciola - but it is a bit of a worry not being able to pinpoint the reason for the parts detaching…

xj6 85 Sov Europe (UK/NZ)

I think no good assembly.
grazie briciola

it sounds like the inner tie rods weren’t assembled correctly That is what it sounds like to me. Since it’s a new part / rebuilt part; I would think there would be some sort of warranty to be addressed.