[xk] Front suspension

Fred, I got a complete kit from Welsh Jaguar; the price was better than Moss for that particular kit, which is why I bought it from them. Two things I learned; the sway bar bushings in the kit are for the 3/4" sway bar. And, the upper ball joint studs may or may not require shortening by a few millimeters, as they can foul the steering arms.


Thanks All!
Well, I seem to have all the parts I need (I hope anyway) by juggling between some of the vendors to fill the gaps. I opted for the OEM style rubber bushings with the steel “top hats” for comfort, as opposed to the stiff poly bushings for performance. I did go for the larger diameter sway bar however, and it comes with some poly bushings. Hopefully this is a good combination for me? I also sprang for the middle of the road Spax front shock absorbers; they are adjustable whilst on the car, and expensive!
So far, I’ve managed to get the undercarriage Dry Ice Blasted, and have removed the torsion bars, and separated the tie rod ends with the use of a pnuematic pickle fork with my air chisel. It still required plenty of beating on the eyes where the tie rod end seat though.
Of interest was that the hardware involved with anchoring the rear portion of the torsion bars are dyed RED somehow! Was this a special coating, or identifying process?
I plan to bead blast all the components, then spray paint with Rustoleum Gloss Black. Any suggestions or advise is always welcome!


Excellent proof that the steering box housing was originally painted black, not bare aluminum.
Red bolts and nuts on the suspension parts have been noticed especially on XK120, Mark V and early Mark VII, and we have had discussions about them here.
My belief is that it was a distinguishing marker to indicate ANF threads, as opposed to BSF threads, which were still in use on body panels, gearboxes and Mark V pushrod engines, and there were undoubtedly leftover stocks from the Mark IV, which was all BSF.
The red bolts seem to have disappeared by about the time the XK140 was in production.

Be aware that the torsion bars are pre-stressed for LEFT and RIGHT, and are marked on the end NS and FS for NEAR SIDE and FAR SIDE. Don’t make the mistake of putting them on the wrong sides or they will break.

Plenty of red bolts on my 1955 140DHC on dismantling, Rob. Mine is June '55, and still has BSF rear wing bolts - definitely original as the cage-welded captive nuts are BSF. I think body fasteners changed to UNF soon after my car.

Whelp, as Rob said, it took a guy pulling out the bottom of the front fender to release the steering box & column. Thanks for the advice; it wasn’t really that bad of a job, once I knew what was going to face. The hardest part was getting the large bolt out from the trunnion/upper Arm pivot.
So now the bad news. Good thing I took the steering box out, as the lower seal was badly damaged. It must have been done during original assembly? I was wondering why the entire underside of the car hada thick layer of goo! The worst part of this steering box rebuild is the fact that the “doughnut”, or part that retains the ball bearings that ride on the actual worm is chewed up! This is a cast piece that has a steel, half-round tube bolted to it. The casting has a conical tower that is dictated by the fork of the steering sector shaft. This “Doughnut” also serves as a race for the larger, worm shaft balls. I need to replace this part! Any leads or suggestions to source this?
A shame, as this low mileage, original car is very good condition, and the only thing on the suspension that I see any wear besides this bearing race, is the shafts that harpoon the ends of the tie rods, and accept the pitman arm, and idler arm. BEWARE, as the current “replacement” pins offered by Moss require machining to the original part to accept them! Hopefully I have a better replacement pair on the way that will fit.
So any leads on the steering box parts, or perhaps a replacement box?

Thanks for the report of red bolts on a 140, Roger. We’ll add it to the research notes. :grin:
Fred, the Mark V, Mark VII and Mark 1 all used variations of the same steering box from Burman Douglas, so any of those may be able to supply parts.

You might try ICS steering here in the Uk

Hello All, I’m still moseying along with my front suspension rebuild. It seems that the availability and quality of some repro parts are questionable. I inspected another 120 the other day, and noticed large spacers at the lower ball joint retaining caps. I thought this was odd, until I went to install my own new replacement ball joints! They come with a plastic cup that is much too tall, and a stem that is too long. I’m pretty disgusted that these parts are passed onto us w/o any explanation.
I’m wondering if anyone may have a cure, or method to get the plastic cups down to the correct size? Here’s a photo of the car I witnessed.
DRAT, I can’t seem to download this photo. It comes across as a compressed zip; what ever that is.

The plastic cup that appears to be too tall is the replacement design for the original which was a shorter bronze or Ferrobestos cup and a ring known as a spigot. You pull out both and the nylon cup should fit fine.

Fred…see info here…Steve… XK120 lower ball joint replacement