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Jaguar XKE E-type Restoration: Rebuilding the Power Steering Rack 4

The power rack used in the Series II Jaguar E-type is different than the Series III rack – and very different from most typical US racks in terms of getting it apart and getting at the seals.  Once the tie-rod ends and the nuts and locking washers associated with those are off the rack and the pinion tower is off you are ready for the fun part.

Jaguar E-type XKE power steering rack – with central collar unscrewed and two halves of outer tube separated.

You do not find any circlips of other means to disassemble the rack at the outer ends where the rack emerges from the tube.  There is nothing there for you to work on at this point. Instead you will notice that there is a towards the center of the rack tub a found collar that has a slight notch. You can use a special wrench to grab onto the collar and the notch – or gently use a hammer and piece of metal to loosen the collar and unscrew it from the outer half of the rack tube. It should unscrew pretty easy once started. Once you slide it down the tube you can separate the outer tube into two halves and expose the central piston and ring. Have a look at the picture.

Now is a time to continue being really careful because you do not want to scratch the inner steering rod or damage the piston and the ring. On my car I discovered that the ring had actually broken over time. It was still held in place by the piston against the inner wall of the power steering tube – but this meant I had to replace the piston ring along with all the gaskets.

Now came the interesting part – you can no longer get replacement rings for the

Power steering piston and broken ring. Had to replace whole piston.

Pow-a-rak piston on my car.  Fortunately, the amazing Dick Maury at Coventry West is indispensable. He can supply a rebuilt piston and ring – not exactly the same material as original – but a perfectly good fit and replacement. The piston is held in place by a circclip arrangement. Be careful when you remove to use a good circclip pliers and do not scratch the steering rod.  Underneath the piston is a rubber seal which you will remove and replace.

Rubber seal underneath power steering piston – and circclip.

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