Jaguar’s steering rack technology, still fluid in the early years of the XJ6 Series 1, deployed three different parts which were all variations on a theme.

XJ6 Series 1 Steering Racks (LHD 4.2L)
Part Number VIN range Years
C28624 up to IL 54266 1968 inception to February 1970
C33685 IL 54267 to IL 69098 March 1970 to July 1972
C39263 IL 69099 onwards August 1972 through July 1973

Our XJ6, manufactured in February 1972, had rack C33685 with 3.5 lock-to-lock turns matched with a rather large 16″ steering wheel.

Experimentation didn’t settle down with the Series 2 XJ6 model introduced in mid-1973; however, all the early XJ models shared the same “tall tower” design, and aside from minor seal differences, parts are mostly interchangeable. The tall tower required modifications when the XJ engine became fuel injected in 1978 and new catalytic converters prevented hoses from traveling down the side of the rack. Thus, a new “short tower” was introduced with modern emission control equipment.

Remanufactured XJ6 short tower steering rack

Aside from the shorter tower length, the major benefit of the post-1977 rack is tighter 3.25 lock-to-lock turns that can be combined with a more modern smaller diameter steering wheel. The disadvantage is that the intermediate (lower) steering column must be replaced with a later (and longer) assembly. Parts for the later racks are also easier to source.

Therefore, our leaking 1972 steering system was replaced with a remanufactured Series 3 rack mated to a Series 3 intermediate shaft. The short tower rack was used through the 1992 model year and has proven itself to be a very robust assembly.

New rack mounted on refurbished front crossmember

Closeup of “short” tower

Steering rack mount

Tower detail


Lower steering column

As noted above, the short tower version of the XJ6 rack logically requires a longer lower steering column to pass through the firewall at the correct point. We sourced a used one from a circa 1990 XJ40 that fits well with the original rubber grommet and metal boss holder.

XJ40 lower steering column fits with the XJ6 Series 3 short tower rack