XK145/150 steering rack info

Gentle listers, I am interested in finding out definitive information about these racks. Also there seems to be some confusion about the rack bellows.

I have recently acquired one of these (probably a late 140) via trade and it was very dirty and greasy. I have since cleaned it up, but have found an anomaly with the inner tie rod ends. One of them had a weakened, compromised spring in it with several thin shims and the other one had a good spring, no shims and what appears to be separate ball cup from an XKE rack.

I have done many almost fruitless hours researching just what is supposed to be in these and have finally come up with something I am not sure is correct. SO I entreat those of you who know to please verify what I am about to say.

As far as I can tell, the inner tie rod ball end is fitted to the double threaded Ball Socket (screwed into the each rack end) by the large hex nut with only the spring between them. There is NO separate socket cup like the XKE has and there are NO shims for adjustment. There is ONLY the spring between the threaded Ball Socket and the ball end itself.

The attachment of the threaded Ball Socket to the rack is by two washers - one on either side of it. One is cupped or dished and fits between the rack bar end and the threaded Ball Socket and the other fits between the large threaded end of the Ball Socket and the large hex nut that secures the inner tie rod end to the rack. This second washer is peened over to stop the large nut from turning. These washers are made in such a way that they lock the Socket and tie rod ends to the rack.

The bellows are another matter and it seems that some sell these as fitting all the rack of the XKs and the XKEs. That seems to be false as the smaller of the ends is too small for the XK140 rack by a lot. I have found one U.S. purveyor selling what I assume is the correct rack bellows. I find this curious to say the least. Usually there are a few of the many racks out there whose bellows will fit any particular rack, but that does not seem to be the reported case. So, if any of you kind folks know where I can get the 140/150 bellows in the U.S. I’d appreciate it. I am not averse to using the one I found. I am just trying to compare them since there seems to be some confusion about fitment and sizes.

TIA for any advice or help you can give me.


If you haven’t already found it, there is thread which you might find informative from 2017 (Nov, I think),
called XK140 Tie Rod Ends. It must be possible to link to it but I don’t know how to do it. I think you will see from that that there are shims for the ball socket.

I did find that Eric and in the drawing it does show shims to be present and/or used, but I have never been able to find any sort of how to use or determine the correct resistance provided by the shims. Also, it does seem like they would be wedged/crushed into the Ball Socket.

What I really would like to find out is that information about shim use and determination.

Eric, I had a close look at the shims referred to in your post (though it is a Jaguar drawing), and by the way they are arranged it appears that they fit against the ball end of the inner tie rod and not the threaded Ball Socket opening because they are positioned to the left of the spring (#42) instead of to the right of said spring. If these very flimsy shims are in the Ball Socket the would be forced into a kind of a shallow cupped shape. If they were on the ball end as pictured they would become even more cupped as they conform to the ball shape. I can see why the later rack went with a cupped thicker washer with shims behind the flat face of that thick cupped washer. It seems that this is a much better arrangement.

Someone mentioned an supplemented XK140 part of the shop manual which delineated how to rebuild the rack. I don’t have that particular item and can’t seem to find it anywhere on the internet for sale or otherwise. Do you know of someone who has that and/or, if you do, can you look at that and clear this up if possible? Having said that, I do have the very thick (Red soft covered) Jag issued manual covering the 120 - 150 cars including the sedans MKVIII - MKIX and I looked into it for any supplementary info on 140 racks. There was some, but evidently you are not to disassemble the inner tie rod ends so there is NO info on those. If that is all the referred supplement has there is no help there.

I have all manner of other book and manuals for the 120, 140 and 150, but do not have that particular one nor do any of the others have any more lucid explanation of the shim arrangement.

This is getting interesting…
I have 2 140s with a bit of movement on the right tie rod end (lhd cars).
I ordered new tie rod ends from SNG, but the don’t fit. Can they be for later racks, or modified racks (available from SNG. I haven’t asked them). Their inner ends have different ends and lock nuts.
Very strange…!


I have the XK140 Supplement to the MKVII & XK120 Service Manual (known as Part 6 in later versions).
I have uploaded a scan of the relevant pages. The shims don’t press on the ball in any way. They go between the large hex nut and the screwed socket but there is no instruction as to how to determine the thickness needed. It’s a very long time since I did this job but I probably just put back what I found. I guess that you’re looking for a feel that the spring tension is somewhere between not too loose and not to tight!

not sure it saved properly?

Don’t know why that would be but I’ve changed it to a dropbox link.

Thanks very much for your pdf Eric. Alas, as feared, it does not solve the problem.

You say that “The shims don’t press on the ball in any way. They go between the large hex nut and the screwed socket …” OK. By that statement I assume the ball end of the inner tie rod only acts on the spring with no other item in the setup. The spring, in turn, rests against the shims for some kind of preload, but it is a mystery as to how one determines that. Also, why slightly cup the Ball Socket end if the shims are to go there and stay flat? Or are they supposed to deform and be a throw away item when rebuilt?

I have an XKE and they changed it around to incorporate a cupped washer between the inner ball end and the rack end with shims between the flat side of the cupped washer and the rack end (in XK140 parlance the threaded Ball Socket). The manual even explains how to determine correct preload on the inner rod. I suppose one could use the same method for inner rod adjustment. I just wish it would explain it in the 140 manual.

It just seems weird that the 140/150 inner ball end only abuts with and acts against the spring inner diameter. Also, I tried putting an XKE thick cupped washer on the 140 rack end with the spring, but no shims and it does fit and tighten up nicely with pretty good preload, though I haven’t done the XKE ball housing adjustment procedure.



I can’t really shed much more light on this because it was too long ago. However, I do not think there is any way in which the spring was meant to bear directly on the ball. Unfortunately, the only pictures that I took before reassembling the rack were with my first digital camera, a Sony Mavica, and that had very low resolution so I can’t see clearly enough the parts concerned. But, if you look under the spring there is a part that does not appear to be illustrated in the only Jaguar drawing that seems to exist. This drawing seems to replicated everywhere I look but that doesn’t mean it’s correct.
The way I laid the parts out to photograph them would have been in the order that I took them apart so my contention is that the round item under the spring goes inside the assembly between the spring and the ball.
Surely, someone else on this forum has done this job more recently than me and can resolve the mystery.

Surely. I agree, but so far there are only four of us even paying any attention.

I tried blowing your color picture up, but as you say, it is too low-res for much of that. That “thing” you seem to be referencing looks to be hollow from what I can tell. The inner ball end is certainly bigger than either end of it and could well swivel on it. It also looks like the spring could fit inside the opening, but that might make it play against the ball end so I’d have to conclude the unnamed, undrawn part is solid as is the XKE socket.

If what we are hypothesizing is true the mystery part performs the same function as the XKE rack part I misnamed as a cupped washer, but the XKE parts blowup calls a socket. If true, then the ball (end) and socket arrangement is a bit different than the XKE SI rack. In the XKE illustration there are NO shims indicated. In your picture there are NO shims present. Maybe they are NOT really needed.

As I mentioned I took an XKE socket and used it in tentatively putting together the 140 rack and it went smoothly and felt correct for adjustment. The XKE manual states to attach a spring balance to the outer ball joint suspended from the grease nipple and “adjust the ball housing until the tie rod will articulate under a load of 7 lbs. applied to the spring balance”. I guess it is similar in concept to this one:

With no further or counter information I will assume the XKE socket that fits the 140 rack will work and will proceed that way. Thanks for keeping with me this long as I try to figure this out. Best, Brian

I thought I’d revive this thread as it seems directly relevant to a problem I’m having on the steering rack of my XK140. I am in the process of replacing some of the steering/suspension components in an attempt to eliminate a front wheel shimmy I am having which is triggered when I take a gentle curve at around 55mph. I had just completed reassembling the passenger side suspension (having replaced the lower ball joint, the upper wishbone bushings, and the shock absorber bushings) when I noticed significant play when I rocked the brake drum at the 3 o’clock 9 o’clock position. I removed the bellows over the inner tie rod joint and could see that the play was in that joint. Having bent back the tabs on the tab washer securing the large nut, I proceeded to try to undo it. It resisted strongly, and when it finally moved, the entire joint unscrewed from the end of the rack. Of course, I was expecting the nut to unscrew from the inner part of the ball joint so that I could check out the shims etc, and hopefully eliminate the play. I put down my tools, and did a JL search, and found this thread. It seems that this joint is a bit of a mystery. The Parts List and XK140 Supplement don’t help much, and it seems that there must be a cup that the ball sits in (on the inboard side) that is missing from the Parts List - presumably the part that is seen in Eric’s photo above. This is what my joint looks like currently:

To get at the internals of the joint I need to remove the cap (C.8332/1) from the body/nut of the joint (C.8322). I’m not sure how I am going to do this. I am currently trying to manufacture a couple of jam nuts to thread on the threaded part of the cap so that I can hopefully undo it. The thread is 11/16"-16, which though standard UNF, is not a common size. If anyone has alternative suggestions I would be interested. I fear that it is very tight, as it ripped the internal tang off the C.8053 tab washer rather than yield. It will be interesting to see what I find inside the joint. The design seems very odd, particularly the way that the C.10027 tab washer is sandwiched between the nut and the cap, thereby making it’s thickness a critical part of the free play calculation in the ball joint.

agree with your comments as to manual help although i think i found pics in parts book or dealer manual it was not all readily apparent and i was much younger etc. i think i was advised by pro mentor that it was like early triumph and easiest to remove ends firmly attached was to apply a little heat to nut and hit it with small blunt cold chisel and i got that off very easily. shimmy was rack wear + housing bearings (needles) & end bushes. solved by old fashioned local one man machinist cheap


not sure what happened with my post but add he had to make some tools i still have could send pics dimensions etc may remember more when see touch $.02 john


I had to replace a worn ball joint on an inner tie rod a few years ago. I got the replacement from Guy Broad, because the usuals in the US did not have what I needed. Guy’s catalogue does list the shims separately. I can’t recall if I got the complete joint, or just the tie rod and nut. I can check my used parts pile tomorrow.

I do remember finding shims in the old joint, but maybe just one of them. I think the shim acts as the cup, i.e. the ball sits in the shim’s hole. It would make sense if you had to pack shims until adding one more would lock the joint. The spring would simply take up the slack, pushing the shims into the ball.

If you needed more information, maybe give Guy a call, he gets the parts manufactured, and is very knowlegeable and friendly.


IIRC, I emulated the setup that the XKE uses from an old 65 rack I have. That works fine and I just abandoned the arcane XK140/150 setup. It’s been a while now so I can’t detail it and I don’t have pics, but if you look at the XKE rack stuff, you’ll see what I did.

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Thank you @ribbler, @clivejer, @Taz for your responses. Hopefully I will make some progress getting the ball joint apart in the near future. Then I will be able to see what is inside. I don’t see how a 0.004" shim supported by a spring could form a very effective cup for the ball joint, but maybe all will become clear. I checked out Guy Broad’s catalog and I see he lists the shims (as do SNG Barratt) but not the spring (C8472). I may have to call him if I don’t get anywhere with the US suppliers. I agree that I’ve found that he has parts others don’t, and has been helpful in the past. I like the E-Type arrangement better, but it appears to rely on adjusting out the play by screwing the large nut onto the end of the rack and then locking it in position with a skinny lock nut. It thus avoid the need for shims, but does require a male thread on the outer surface of the rack, which the XK140 rack does not have. I’m struggling to see how an XK140 rack could be adapted to use XKE components to this end. Maybe all will become clear with more thought on my part. Thanks again everyone!

Hi David,

See also this thread: [E-Type] Help with XK-140 steering rack.

According to the XK150 spare parts catalog, the shims come in two thicknesses 0.010" and 0.004", and are the same as used for shimming brake calipers. It also says the spring goes behind the shims. The XK140 catalog describes it as an anti-rattle spring. Spring and shims available from SNG and XKs Unlimited - seems they are used on later cars as well.


Thank you Clive. Interesting that Mike’s initial post indicates that the joint has a female cup which makes more sense, though it’s missing from the Jaguar Parts List. I have more shims on order together with the two tab washers so I hope it will be fixable if I can get it apart. From a quick test the joint on the other side seems to have much less play, so I hope to leave it alone.

Hi David,

Guessing the cup is from an e-type, it is listed there. My XK150 joint did not have a cup. I suppose I dismantled the other side to clean and lube at the same time.