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Tie Rods and Steering Rack

And the tie rod's connected to the...

To all interested, You'd think that after I got my beast on the road, finally, I'd have the sense to leave it alone for a while. Not so. I got into the steering today and met up with some problems. So here I am...again. First question. 1. What is a "shake proof washer". Parts book has one under the nut, on the taper pin that holds the steering column to the pinion housing. Could this be why I can't get the pin out. The nut came off fine, but the pin is stuck tight. I don't see anything that resembles a washer, but then I'm not sure what to look for. 2. Next question. The front right inner tie rod housing under the boot. This is the one that actually threads into the end of the rack. In my parts book, the housing that contains the ball end of the tie rod is not even a numbered part. There are some washer type lock nuts between the ball end and the rack. How do you get these apart. One book mentions some locking tabs. I have none. Are the threads Rt. or Lt. hand for the right inner tie rod?. Are they the same or opposite for the left side? There are what appears to be a key way type slot in the top of the ball housing and the edge of the locking nut is bent into this keyway. Sort of like what a locking tab might do. There are tow of these washer type nuts. I suspect they lock against each other to prevent the tie rod from turning. Which way do I turn them to get them unlocked?

All I really wanted to do was change the outter tie rods and the bushing in the end of the rack tube. Things are getting out of hand quickly. I've got all Wrays notes on rebuilding the rack and pinion. Just getting the thing out of the car seems to be more than I can handle so far. I'm beginning to think I should have just put back the repaired radiator and lived with the shaky steering. With seemed like every tool in the shop spread out all over the floor, one of those Hawiian blessings came along and blew rain in all over everything. Normal people call them squalls. Only lasted a few minutes but the elevated frustration level lasts much longer. Today has been one of those days under the hood that really tests ones dedication. Looks like I will be replacing all the bushings. When I got the rack tube disconnected from the pinion housing, the rack would wobble where it came out of the housing. After all this work, it would be foolish not to do the whole job. SOMEBODY HELP ME! - Rob, XK-140 FHC

Rob, 1. The shake proof washer is the "multi-pronged" washer under the nut on the taper pin. To remove the taper pin by tapping (the service manual method) does not work well on a 40 year old pin without help. Try applying some heat around the pin area before tapping on the pin. I warn you: this did not work on my car and I had to drill mine out.

2. The tab washer will have a single tab that will have to be bent out of the keyway. I have a XK140 rack out in my storage shed and can look at if needed. I will this week to refresh my knowledge on the joint. I don't remember anything unusual on the threads.

3. Plan to replace the steering column u-joints if they have any slop or looseness to them.

Been there done that. Now let the memories (bad) fade away.....

Cleo Bay XK120, XK140

Hi, Rob - A "shake proof washer" is what we call a lockwasher, and may be of one of several types -

1 - a split washer, where the end of the loop are offset such that they tighten toward a plane as the nut is tightened and the washer is deformed,

2 - an external 'star' lockwasher, where the periphery of the washer is surrounded by a series of angled, deformable tabs, which apply pressur between the nut and the flat surface when the nut is tightened,

3 - an internal 'star' lockwasher, where the tabs are toward the bolt and the outside of the washer is smooth,

4 - a belleville washer, bent and not in a flat plane until tightened,

5 - and a deformable tab washer, which you're familiar with (ala main bearing cap bolts, for example.

I can't reliably help you on the rack, as it's been too long since I did a Jaguar one just redid my Reatta last month!). The two nuts are probably right-hand threads (conventional) and you can loosten them with two wrenches, one on each, and just untighten the outer one. The tie rod end should then just unscrew from the rod. I think I remember JAguar using the same part for left and right; if so, then all threads are right-hand, and the job should be comparatively easy!

The bushing change is what makes your job 'interesting!" - Larry Schear Twin Cam, Inc.

>First question. >1. What is a "shake proof washer"

This is the only question I can answer. It is more commonly known as a lock washer - they come in two flavours, teeth in and teeth out.

I took my E-type for its first ride of 1997 today - it was marvelous. Still traces of snow in north facing areas. Hawaiian squalls that last a couple of minutes, indeed. Count your blessings, Rob! - Nick Saltarelli 1954 XK120SE OTS 1968 E-type OTS

Cleo Bay, Thanks for the tip on removing the taper pin. I may wind up drilling mine out too. The lock nuts on the rack are a different story. How much leverage can I put on a wrench before things start to twist out of shape, The stuck taper pin is the only thing holding the rack and tie rods into the car. If I start torquing on a big wrench, something might give before the lock nut. Plus, the only wrench that will stay on is a pipe wrench and the teeth marks are pretty unprofessional. There must be a "right" way to get the thing apart. Thanks again. I'll report back on any progress and look forward to anything you can help with after a look at your old rack. - Rob XK-140 FHC

To all the rack mechanics, Today some progress was made on the rack removal in my 140. The phrase "remove tie rod ball joints" doesn't do the task justice. The locking tabs, if that is what they were, resembled spot welds. A 24" pipe wrench in the hands of a plumber is a useful tool. In the hands of a frustrated and very motivated "mechanic," it is something that strikes fear into the hearts of brave men. When nothing worked and after breaking the tip off my favorite screwdriver, I was both frustrated and motivated. One thing that is puzzling. All the help I got from you guys and in each of the books I've used in my quest for information, they all mention the "flats" on the large locking nut. On my car, there are no locking nuts, or flat spots to bend the tabs over to keep it from turning. Both ends of the rack have a slot cut across the opening. There is a washer with tabs on the inside diameter that fit into these slots. None of my assembly drawings show the pieces I have spread out before me, so I won't describe them. Suffice it to say that I am not completely convinced it is a true XK-140 rack and pinion assembly. This brings back memories of when I first got the car and thought it had stock H6 carbs. on it, when in fact, the entire engine is from a MK1 with HD6's. After that, the learning curve went straight up. So now, I need help sliding the rack out of the pinion assembly without taking the whole thing apart. The steering shaft is still stuck and all I am going to try and accomplish is to replace the outer rack tube bushing and two new outer tie rods. I want to take the rack, tube and bushing to the machine shop together to make sure they will fit together. So, anyone know how to get the rack out?

Turning the wheel only gets it to the end of the teeth. My next step is to remove the bolt in the top of the pinion assembly to see if that will give it some space to pull out over the pinion. - Rob XK-140

Aloha, Rob - If memory serves me right, you must remove the pinion assembly in order to remove the rack from the tube; as you've discovered, the rack teeth do not run to the outside ends of the rack! The rack input shaft / pinion must be removed first. New rack bushings will necessitate resetting the pinion:rack clearance anyhow, so you'd best perform the disassembly now. There should be four bolts (3/8" or 7/16", I think) that hold the square plate around the upper pinion bearing/bushing. This plate has an offset serrated inside cutout that aligns with the pinion bushing mounting. The plate can be installed in one of four positions, as the mounting holes are symmetrical; each 90 degree rotation changes the centering of the pinion bushing in relation to the center of the mounting hole, thus setting the pinion:rack clearance - new rack bushings should affect this, necessitating resetting. If you can't get the steering wheel linkage apart, this should at least allow you to remove the pinion and remove the rack and rack tube. If the rack itself is too worn (thinner at the center than the ends by more than 0.003", I think), youmight consider having it turned to a constant diameter, and fitting oversize rack bushings (source = ???), since reassembly with new bushings sized to accept the outer ends of the rack for assembly might negate much of the benefit of the replacement in the first place. However, and there's always a "however", the bushings are bronze and the rack itself is steel, and the bushings shold have worn faster and more than the rack! Bottom line? Do it!!! Net gain! Hope this helps! Have you an XK-140 Service Manual Supplement covering the rack rebuild? If not, I'll be home this weekend and will try to find the approprite sections in my manual collection, if I can find that!

Best of luck - stay off a tight schedule for this! - Larry Schear Twin Cam, Inc.

Rob, Wow! It appears as though you have opened a Pandora's box.

I just finished working with a good mechanic friend to rebuild my 150 rack and pinion. It of course is similar to your 140. This is not a task for the uninitiated. I am fair at mechanical work but there are a lot of subtlies to properly reworking this assembly.

I am sure you have noticed by now that everything you rework on these cars ends up being a major undertaking in money and time. Don't get me wrong. I have enjoyed or endured these cars since 1965. I have 5 XK series cars: 3 drivable and 2 under restoration at various stages. I sometimes get discouraged at my progress and say I've had enough. Maybe I'm stupid, foolish or whatever, but I continue to throw time and money into my collection.

So, what I'm saying is that I attack each job as a major project. Rebuilding the rack and pinion assembly is a major project if you want to return it to factory specifications. If you don't, then expect sloppy handling to continue to get worse.

Let me try to help. After complete reassembly, check the condition of the rack and pinion parts. Like anything mechancial, if much wear is visible on the teeth or the mesh is bad, you may not have a foundation and should start with these as new parts. They are expensive. XKs Unlimited at $399 sometime ago. If the rack and pinion looks good, you are in luck.

Buy a bushing kit. You will need a machine shop for this work. The old bushings must be removed and the new ones installed and reamed to fit the rack with the appropriate lubrication clearance.

Disassemble the inner tie rods. Check the condition of the parts. Same applies as for the rack and pinion. If you are knowledgeable, "read" the wear of the ball and socket. Make a judgment.

You will have to have adjusting shims and locking tabs. Assuming that the ball and sockets are good, you will have to "set-up" the ball properly with the correct shimming. Set them up dry. If you don't know what I'm talking about, find a good mechanic to help you with this.

Check the condition of your outer tie-rods. If you can read "wear", make a judgment. Use or replace. I find that if they have been properly greased, they usually survive. As I said above, if you don't know what I'm talking about, find a good mechanic to help you read the condition of the outer tie-rods.

My friend adjusted the "load" on the pinion. He knew the feel and used the proper amount of shimming to get this feel.

Buy new rack boots.

After you have assessed the condition of the parts and your machine work is finished, you should be ready for reassembly.

There is a left- and right-handed, inner tie-rod which threads into the rack. With the outer tie-rod removed, install a rack boot. Slide it out of the way and screw the inner tie-rod into the rack. Tighten securely. Make certain the tab of the tie- rod lock washer is located properly at the tab notch. Bend, with a hammer, at least two edges of the tie-rod lock washer to the flats of the large nut. Smear the joint with a light application of wheel bearing grease.

Position the boot over the joint. Don't install the boot clamps yet.

Install the outer tie-rod. These should both be left-hand threads. Make certain the threads are clean so it can be easily turned for toe-in adjustment.

Now install the large or inner boot clamps.

Doing the above completes one side, except the small or outer boot clamp. Clamping will be discussed below. Do the other side.

I always use new rubber (Metalisk) mounts. Also, I use new nuts, bolts, and washers, preferably made of stainless steel.

Slide the completed assembly through the wheel opening. (I assume you have the car on jack stands with the front wheels removed. It might be tight you still have the radiator in place. Who said this job was easy?)

Fit the outer tie-rods in each steering arm, install the nuts, adjust the toe-in, fasten the assembly to the mounting brackets, make sure you turn the front wheel straight ahead, etc.

Lubricate the fitted assembly. Fit a grease gun with a needle fitting under the small boot and fill until you can feel the boot full of grease. The rack should be turned so the boot is extended and not contracted. Fill just before the boot is completely full. Remember when the wheels are turned to compress the boot the grease will also be compressed. Leave some room in the boot for this action. Do both sides.

After lubricating both sides, fit the clamps.

Next, lubricate the pinion at the grease fitting. Use about 6 to 8 pumps of the gun. - Bob Oates

To all, At the rate things are going, I may have taken the last ride in my 140. In my attempt to replace the tie rod ends, the project is progressing towards a full blown rack and pinion rebuild. There is a series of problems which has led me to appeal for more help. The only thing holding the rack into the car is the connection between the pinion assembly and the lower part of the steering column. The tapered pin was hammered beyond salvation and finally drilled out. I hate to "fix" cars in this manner but there really seemed no other way. Fool that I am, I thought the whole thing would just slide apart. I've tried to use the steering wheel as a lever in a futile attempt to turn the joint loose. Tomorrow the torch comes out to try the heating method. If that doesn't work, I'm tempted to put everything back, as worn out and shaky as it was, and go for a ride. It seems that anything that has been assembled for over forty years has a real reluctance to be unassembled. I even tried to remove one of the large pins in the lower universal joint. It wouldn't budge. Even getting the two circlips out took an hour. Nearly everything seems to be frozen tight. I still can't figure out how to get the inner tie rod ends off. There doesn't seem to be a locking nut with any sort of hex edges. The tabs are gone and something has broken off the tip of my screw driver. Two counter revolving pipe wrenches seems to be as unprofessional as a sledge hammer. It is a strange looking thing with no visable means of being held together. At this point, I can't tow it anywhere for help and I can't get the rack out to send out. All this is enough to send me back to the VW. Any help will be appreciated, As usual, thanks in advance. - Aloha, Rob XK-140 FHC

Rob, 1. Some heat on the joint should help break it loose. 2. Turn the wheel all the way to its stop and continue to turn it. This also may make the joint break loose. (i.e. the rack is at its stop but the joint will continue trying to turn. 3. The XK140 steering column uses two u-joints, not the rubber coupler as other later cars. Some catalogs are incorrect.

A story on my car: When I was trying to dismantle my steering system, I got so fustrated after a couple of weeks that I was going to get the column out with brute force. I hooked a rope around the column and the bumper of my truck. The brake was set on the car, and the truck pulled the column. All I was able to do was move the car backwards until the third or fourth try. The joint gave up and finially came off the pinion. This was all VERY dumb on my part as I could have broken something. I like to think that I've learned something over the past 14 years.(i.e. What not to do)

I know what you are going through and will help where I can. - Cleo Bay XK120, XK140

Keep the chin up, Rob. After a few years I adopted an attitude about the mechanics on these cars. I quickly saw that every part or system needing rework either 1) would not separate easily; 2) required an inordinate amout of time for removal/replacement as compared to other cars; 3) appeared to more frequently break than similar cars; 4) required professional attention 5) and on and on.

I was drawn to the cars, perhaps foolishly, for all the reasons noted by others. So, in order to minimize my frustration of the time and cost involved, I finally adjusted my thinking to saying that every project on the cars would be difficult, time-consuming, and costly. I stopped throwing the wrench and cussing. This then began my way of coping with the cars. If a project was completed easily, quickly and cheaply, I relished in the fact and counted my blessings.

I am a tinkerer and I really believe that to own these cars one must enjoy tinkering or be wealthy enough to have others do maintenance and accept any related inconveniences. Probably a touch of masochism helps too. I have become upset and distressed over the difficulty in separating components as you are now experiencing. I have also said that every job is hard and it is inherent to the product.

Finally, as I continue on my body-off restoration (150 FHC), I am happy when I bolt up the simplest part and have no difficulty. Some evenings I make no headway but have to go through a planning and prepatory phase before I see a gain, perhaps two evenings later. Patience and persistence are needed when working on these cars. I continue to develop here.

If you want to work on the cars, I think one must assume a similar attitude as I described here. If not, you should walk away and pursue another hobby.

I guess I am old and dumb and can't or won't change to something else. The sun will shine tomorrow. - Robert Oates

I don't have rack and pinion steering on my 120 so I will base my comments on what I see in the pictures in the Moss and Welsh catalogues and my knowledge of XJ racks.

>only thing holding the rack into the car is the connection between the pinion assembly and the lower part of the steering column. The tapered pin was hammered beyond salvation and finally drilled out.

The lower yoke of that U-joint probably has a keyway or splines which are rusted. Keep soaking it with penetrating oil every day; sometimes it takes a couple of weeks for that stuff to creep its way in. Heating and cooling cycles with a propane torch and water might help, alternating with the oil, but keep the heat ONLY on the yoke. There's probably a rubber seal real close in the rack body and you don't want to burn that up.

I see in the picture you have a rubber flex coupler between the lower and upper columns. Is it reasonable to make your disconnection there instead?

>Two counter revolving pipe wrenches seems to be as unprofessional as a sledge hammer.

Right, don't do that, let's get it out onto the workbench and see if we can figure it out from there.

I echo Bob Oates' comments; keep remembering these cars were not difficult to put together originally, and if you get the parts cleaned up it will not be hard to put it together again. But yes getting them apart is the tricky bit. - Rob Reilly

Rob If we ever decide to nominate anyone for Jaguar Sainthood for patience dealing with these incalcitrant beasts.....you have my vote. You do seeem to run into more than your share which in turn does make me very apprehensive as I am rebuilding one like "yours". I have not gotten to the rack and tie rod overhaul and cannot comment in detail yet. You do get a lot of very local heat which at times is indeed necessary to get the differential expansion going; but it is also easy to overheat some hard to replace bits and pieces. To this end, an industrial hot air gun with the vent closed gets to 6-700F which often is enough for small parts and presents lower fire danger. - Klaus Nielsen

Rob, When I read your message of despair and frustration, it all came back to me, those long hard hours trying to get that bastard thing going, and it won't go, the parts that should come apart but won't; the feeling of such frustration, you feel like breaking something, and sometimes you do; the sheer desire to get into that damn beast and CONTROL it! Like the woman you love and desire, rejecting you ... ah! the agony! So, what to do? Take a break for a couple of days, think it through carefully, don't break anything - or: ask the wizards on this list! I don't know the answer, but I sympathise, and wish you many trouble free days behind the wheel in the end, to make good the pain. I've had these cars we love (a) break down incessantly a long way from home (fuel pump, what else?), (b) catch fire (no air cleaners), (c) fall on me (trying to untorque a flywheel from underneath, with the car raised right up but thankfully still with the road wheels on), (d) suffer from brake failure (e) stutter and splutter and turn a routine overtaking into a highly dangerous manoeuvre, (f) make me drive them with no brakes, no clutch, or no splines left on the hubs (at least not all three at once), and generally create all sorts of frustrations, but they are worth it. - John Elmgreen

Rob , An indispensable tool for repairs of front end components, is an pneumatic impact hammer. They are inexpensive, (Taiwan knock-offs work fine . $15.00- $30.00) and 90 lbs of air will operate them. I have a hammer attachment, which I place against a tie rod end taper (I put the nut back on first, flush with the end of the taper's shaft; if it's a castle nut, reverse it so the force hits a solid surface) Put some force against it and, pop goes the taper. In the case of the small taper pin on the steering shaft, liberal quanities of WD 40 should be applied first, preferably weeks in advance of the job. The stuck steering shaft will benefit greatly from the penetrating oil and shock treatment also. When you use the impact hammer on the steering shaft, even the force, once on one side then follow up by shocking the other side 180 degrees around. - Wray E. Schelin

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