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XJ6/XJS Turning Radius and Rack Rebuild

XJ6/XJS Turning Radius and Rack Rebuild

Dan Jensen

I recently replaced the power steering racks in my '83 XJ6 and '84 XJS with rebuilt units. After changeout, I noticed a significant, and undesirable, increase in the turning radius on the XJ6. This often made it difficult to make U-turns without backing up, and complicated parking. A check with my local Jag specialist revealed the source of the problem. Some point along the line, Jag added rack travel limiters as part of the inner ball joint lock tabs. These were apparently installed to preclude potential rubbing of the tires on front end components after Jaguar changed the recommended tire size from 205/70 to 215/70. I don't know if this applied to the XJS as well, which had 215/70s specified. By pulling back the inner ends of the rack boots, I could see the thicker locking tabs. I unscrewed the inner ball joints and replaced the wide tabs with the narrower tabs. This caused no noticeable change in toe-in since the thickness of the locking tab between the rack and ball joint is the same on both varieties of tabs. This was a 10 minute job and fully restored the tighter turning radius I was used to. I have not noticed any rubbing of tires on components with the 215/70's on the car. If others have what feels like a wide turning radius, you might want to examine one side of your rack to see what tabs are used. Apparently rack rebuilders are not always careful about the VIN number and rack changes, but I cannot see how the limiters served any real purpose and, in fact, created a bit of a hazard in my case when making U-turns.

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