Most everything is fixed on our 67 Jaguar MK2. We are in the process of finishing the last few things. One of these things is a steering column that has rattled around since I bought the car.
The steering column is telescoping and was used on several Jaguar cars of the 50s and 60s. The car came with a Series III XKE steering wheel and about 1/4play in the steering column. I didnt like the wheel on the car, in front of the traditional English Walnut dash, toggle switches and Smiths gauges. I prefer a more traditional wheel like Bluemelswheel as used on 30s, 40s and 50s English car makes such as Rolls, Bentley, MG and 50s Jags. They came in 3 or 4 spoke and solid spoke or banjo spoke, and were mostly black rim. I found a nice 4 spoke and horn cap from Vintage Jag* and before putting it on, I decided to rebuild the shaky steering column.
When I bought the car I bought an extra steering column, thinking I wouldnt be able to get parts. But most all parts are available from the Jag vendors.* I removed the horn button, wheel, switch cover (gear select) and hub to get an overall look at the assembly. When I shook the column, it was apparent what was wrong. The felt bearing (#15 on diagram) at the plastic column bearing (#17) where the steering wheel meets the dash was missing. Other missing parts were the 2 split cones (#27), flat washer (#30) and lock nut (#31). These old cars are generally missing parts. In the Motors manual, it states that the steering columns for 4-speed manual, automatic, left and right hand cars are different. The column parts are the same, but the difference is in the gear box selector pointer mechanism. My car is right hand drive, so I will stay with that for the purpose of this article. Factory manuals (OEM) and Haynes (same book) are available from the Jaguar suppliers listed at the end of this article.
MAKE UP OF THE STEERING COLUMN: First we removed the horn button by backing off its 4 set screws, next the steering wheel lock nut, nut, and flat washers are to be removed, then pull the steering wheel (since we are going to use an entirely different steering wheel, wheel-to-shaft marks were unnecessary.) The horn button is a complete assembly with spring, ready to push into the steering wheel hub (after the nuts are on). The set screws are 8-32 and are located at 2, 4, 8 and 10 oclock on the steering wheel. With the wheel off, there is the switch cover (#47 & 48). It is a two-piece plastic unit that covers part of the steering column and houses three lights and the gear selector switch. It is held together with five screws. The three selector lights unplug from the inner top part of the switch cover. These covers are still available for around $130. The hub (#24) can be removed by unscrewing CCW and pulled off. Inside of it is a collet and is held in place by a snap ring. The collet covers two halves of a split cone to hold them in place on the inner column shaft.
Now we are down to the plastic bearing (#17) that is held in place on the column by a special metal lock (#46). That is held onto the steering column by one small slot head screw (#21). Number 46 has a male tab that fits into a female slot in plastic bearing (#17). The outer felt bearing (#15) is what my car was missing and causing the steering column to wobble when the wheel was turned. I have never seen a felt steering column bearing and was used to the roller bearing type, but this setup was used for many years on Jags. My problem was that it just wasnt there and there were no fragments of it down in the bottom of the steering column. It was left out the last time it was apart.
REASSEMBLY: With everything apart, it was the perfect time to clean and lube everything. I checked all parts and linkages to make sure they were properly connected and secure. Then using a fine bristle brush, cleaned off old grease and dirt and made sure the pointer pointed to the correct gear (there is a rod with a flat side on it that can be moved for adjustments). I cleaned the plastic switch cover and lens for gear selection with Windex and lubricated everything that wasnt electrical with a light grease (vaseline) and it was amazing how tight and easy the levers moved. With the wheel off, I could get to the dash wood and speedometer and tach. I used beeswax* polishing the wood and a Q-tip and microfiber towel with Windex on the Smiths gaugesfaces. Everything looked SO nice. I reversed the previous procedure to put everything back together. There isnt a torque setting for the steering wheel nut, so I put on the flat washer, tightened the nut down to 45 ft/lbs (a general setting), put on the lock nut, then pushed the horn button assembly in and tightened down the four set screws in the steering wheel. Now I will drive the car to check the correct positioning of the steering wheel. With the four-spoke, the top two spokes should be at 10 and 2 oclock to see the speedometer and tach. Or, you could set the spokes at 12, 3, 6 and 9 oclock, which would put a spoke in between the gauges. Its whatever you like. Next problem: Reverse. Its not there any more. I am changing ATFs. I just changed from Dexron to Type F (Ford). Dexron I is what was originally used, but that was in the 50s and 60s when it was made using whale oil. Now Dexron is so thin, it doesnt have as much bite. The Type F is grittier. I found 11 pints of original Dexron II. I am experimenting and will let you know what I find out. There are a couple of adjustments to do for Reverse also.
See www.southernwheels.com for exact photo reproductions.
Enjoy your cars, and Keep em Driving!