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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Double UJ Steering Column Source?

I called Clive Wheatleys today and found ot that they are no longer supplying the Double UJ Steering Column for CB converters.

The very helpful chap I spoke to offered various options, but they all involved swapping a RB front end.

I want to keep my original CB front end - so does anyone know of any other suppliers for the double UJ column?

Web site addresses would be useful.

Cheers, Liam

Liam, I don't know of any european sources, but here's a link to a U.S. company that has the components necessary. You'd have to use two 48 spline to double D joints and a length of double D shaft between.
Bill Young

Something like this?
Geoff King

The company in the USA that we use is

British Car Conversions
dann Wade

Forgive me, but you don't need the double jointed steering shaft for a CB car, I have the original steering rack and the original CB column in my 74 conversion.
I lowered the "cone in the bulkhead, altered the angle of the steering rack "pads" , used a Flaming River low profile UJ (3/4" x 36 spline) and you are done !
Tony Bates

On my 71 GT, I modified the mounting point on the bulkhead and the steering column (inside the car), but I left the rack, its mounts and the U-joint 100 percent original. A smaller U-joint would be nice, but wasn't necessary to clear my headers.

Thanks chaps - those US UJ's look all shiny and American!

The problems I now face are -

1. I actually have a double UJ column scavenged from another V8. But the new engine mounts in the Rubber Bumper location foul the column - the lower UJ in particular. So I need to to lower the column a few degrees, or raise the mounts by 10-15 mm, and move them forward by the same amount.

Moving the mounts raises the engine - which I don't want to.

2. The problem is even worse if I use the original CB column with no lower UJ. Need to move the mounts even more.

3. If I keep my current 2xUJ column I need to lower the steering cone, probably by an inch or so, and modify the inside (next to pedal box) mounting point on the bulkhead so it hangs lower.

Tony and Curtis (almost wrote Tony Curtis there!) - you have both kept the original column with no lower UJ.

Tony - you did this by 'altered the angle of the steering rack "pads" ' what exactly/how do you mean? and by how much dod you lower the cone - was it a hard job?

Curtis - how did you locate your new engine mounts brackets on the chassis rail to get clearance and what effect did this have on the engine location?

This is all very helpful by the way.


I see you are discovering what I meant on your other thread about how it gets crowded down there with a lower U-joint cramped between the rack housing and the welded motor mount.

Perhaps there are some differences in terminology between the UK and the US, but I would use the word column to mean the part that the steering wheel is attached to that mounts inside the cabin with only the end protruding into the engine compartment. The rack is a flat piece with notches inside the rack housing that moves side to side when the grooved pinion is rotated. The pinion is attached to a shaft (the pinion shaft) that protrudes from the rack housing. Now that you have shortened your pinion shaft you need an intermediate shaft with two U-joints that I would call a steering shaft. Please accept my apology if that sounds condescending. Its not my intention, particularly since I may be wrong on the correct terminology.

So you now have the shortened pinion shaft and the intermediate shaft to connect it to the column, but the lower U-joint still doesnt quite work near the mount. Did you modify the cone where the steering column attaches to the firewall? Without relocating it the U-joint will be right where the back exhaust port is. Some people lower the cone by cutting all around it and welding it an inch or so lower. I tried that, but it alters how the column bolts under the dash and still protrudes pretty far into the engine compartment. Next I replaced the column with the one from a rubber bumper MGB as it is shorter and bolts to the same location under the dash as the original column. I could have modified the cone to match up with the new location of the end of the column, but the cone section from the same rubber bumper car was available and it was easier to use it. Either way the upper U-joint will be in a new position that requires lowering the angle of the shaft down.

The angle of the shaft can be lowered by cutting it and using a second U-joint to keep the rack housing in the original location or the shaft can be left as it is by altering the angle of the rack housing. As I said in the other thread, I altered my rack housing by cutting the rack mounts and rewelding them, but keeping the rack tube in the same place and only altering the angle. Another way is to shave a wedge off the bottom of the mounting lugs of the rack housing where the bolts go through so they are about a quarter of an inch shorter where the back bolts go. I suppose quarter inch wedges could be inserted under the rack housing as long as this lined the shaft so that it easily went up through the bottom of the motor mount and out the back.

I dont know if the people that use double U-joints use the rubber bumper style motor mounts, but you may be able to grind them some to clear the lower U-joint. Do you have any idea how it was done on the car from which you got the double U-joint shaft?
George Champion

Geoff,the UJ in this link is from a sherpa,they fit MGB splines,you can pick them up at autojumbles for a pound or two!
Dave Lowe

George, I scrounged some web space -

This is the car it came from - odd set up, but it solved the clearance issue. Never saw the engine in situ and I didnt get much of a chance to investigate what was done, if anything, to the rack housing itself.


and here it is in situ on the new car (the white things are cutting lines - I have not cut anything as yet)

You can see the bottom UJ is long, hence the fouling on the new car which is a standard chrome bumper with rubber engine mounts in the normal RB location.

The actual column (in the car under the dash bit) slides onto the shaft part above the 2nd UJ (hidden behind manifold in photo). I may have a custom set up, possibly based on a collapsible RB, which has worked in another car which is what makes this all so frustrating.

I may lay the whole lot out and take a photo for the group to mull over.

Tony - you did this by 'altered the angle of the steering rack "pads" ' what exactly/how do you mean? and by how much dod you lower the cone - was it a hard job?

Liam - The pads I refer to are the "feet" the rack sits on, not the brackets on the crossmember, I mean the actual feet ttached to the rack. You need to tilt the rack so that the pinion drops approx 1.5 to 2"at its top end (where the UJ fits).
To do this file a taper on the feett about 0.2" off the sid of the feet nearest where the pinion emerges tapering down to zero at the other side of the feet.

At thye cone in the firewall, I cut the cone itself out and lowered it approx 1.5 to 2" and welded it back together.

At the top of the column, where it fits under the dash you will need a few packing washers on the mounting bolts so that you can tighten them up securedly without dsitorting the column.
Lastly, a small UJ will fit betweeen the end of the pinion and the bottom of the column.
Voila !
Tony Bates


Thank you for including those pictures. I donít know if I should praise or condemn those mounts. OK, Iíll do both. They bolt on easily and therefore can positioned correctly without question. Itís a simple design that allows easy access to the bottom for bolting the rubber mounts and offers the most room for the steering shaft and would even allow instillation without removing the steering shaft. Theyíre almost perfect, but they are the second most flimsy design I have ever seen. Apparently they work.

I would suggest you not cut back as far between C and D as you have drawn so far. It will be stronger to leave that corner in there and doing so will force you to create a new location for your speedometer cable. Your car wonít fall apart if you cut it back that far and relocating your cable isnít that much trouble, itís just that it isnít necessary. I did cut mine that much, but it would have been better had I not. I also didnít cut mine as far as your line A. I cut mine more as shown in the other car, but that made it difficult to reach the rear most header bolts so keep your line A as is.

Are those welded on half-inch ratchet U-joints? I donít think ratchet U-joints are up to the job and I remember reading welding U-joints on forces the grease out of the U-joints. You might want to give some more consideration to those shiny ďAmerican lookingĒ U-joints from one of those links posted by others. They are bigger so may make it tight around the mounts. Also a shorter steering column or shortened steering column (the part that sticks into the engine compartment) would back the U-joint more out of the way of the exhaust, but increase the angle near the mount which you will have to deal with by squeezing in a U-joint or tilting the pinion shaft down using one of the methods mentioned in other posts.
George Champion

Liam, I'm not sure why you are running into so much trouble but I have no doubt you will find a cure. Many installations are unique in engine location although that is becoming less so. In my case with a CB car I lengthened the column, substituted the later RB universal which is a good bit smaller, moved the bulkhead opening about a quarter of an inch by enlargening it and kept the stock rack mounts. I think I may have substituted the RB upper column as well, and I used button head capscrews for the header bolts to get a bit more clearance. Some of those tricks may work for you.

Jim Blackwood

Thanks George,

I thought the mounts looked dodgy on the donor 1 car, so decided not to remove and re-use them.

I don't think you can see it in the photots but the UJ's have the shafts inserted and fixed using hex key bolts, then are welded around the lip. I'm pretty sure they aren't from a socket set!

There is actually a lot of leeway as the top of the pinion shaft, beyone the upper UJ slides into the column (inside the cone out of sight), this allows a lot of up and down movement of the whole assembly.

I will get cutting this weekend and see how I get on, I will keep you all posted. I'm scavenging a RB pinion shaft this weekend in case I need to fabricate a longer system, using the RB upper UJ and perhaps something like this (ebay Item number: 7600838364) at the bottom. I have the original CB pinion shaft as well in case I need to cut a short one.

Order of trying things -

1. Tack Rb engine mounts in normal Rb location.

2. Cut out cone and see how far down I can move current steering assembly (via spacers on lower under-dash column bracket) to clear bottom engine mount and manifolds. Possibly make up new intermediate shaft from Rb pinion if UJ manifold clearance is an issue.

3. If that doesnt work, move the angle of the rack housing using one of the methods suggested and revert to original set-up with no lower UJ and poss RB upper column.

I'll take plenty of snaps and keep you all up to date.

You dont know how much help this has all been.

PS - George thanks for forcing me to clarify my steering system terminology!


Jim, thanks for the additional tips.


It didn't occur to me that you were using a RHD car. The rear exhaust port is further back on that side, further complicating the conversion. But it sounds like you are well on your way. Try to minimize the changes you make to the body shell. On your engine mounts, you could make them much sturdier by triangulating the bottom end back to the bottom of the frame rail. It's amazing how much rigidity is added by tacking on a piece of strap in that location. I would highly recommend doing that, even if you bolt it at the bottom. One possibility might be to extend the strap far enough to be secured by the crossmember bolt, perhaps shaving the rubber cushion to compensate for the added thickness. One even less intrusive engine mount option is the Buick side mounts with standoffs welded to the crossmember but with that you may not be able to lower the rack angle much because the pinion shaft runs just above the mount. (Depending on engine location of course, mine is just about as far forwards as it gets.)

Jim Blackwood

I remove the engine, broken, twice already, the rover engine is it reliable ?, I can take steering shaft shots, anyone mods, "just" short pinion for the steering rack, and shaft with two uj, the shaft run under the left bracket engine mount "lhd car". The left exhaust manifold is "making" for the steering shaft. If you want other shots, at your service,

Very interesting Michel - there seem to be two styles of mount - a RB style which welds to the inside of the chassis rail and sits lower than yours, and a type which 'hangs' on top of the chassis rail which sits higher and might solve some of my shaft clearance issues.

How high does your engine sit ? do you have a modified bonnet/hood (e.g. MGC) for air cleaner clearance?


This thread was discussed between 20/03/2006 and 25/03/2006

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