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MG MGB Technical - Aftermarket steering racks vs. OEM

I remember that this subject was brought up a while ago. What have other peoples experience been with the steering racks made in South America? I installed one 2 years ago and have never been happy with it. It was a bear to fit and I had to modify the holes in it to stop it from hitting the exhaust manifold. I thought I had an engine mount problem, but did not. It was also stiff and I had to adjust it to free it up. I also remember that someone mentioned that gearing was a little different that the originals. I have just finished rebuilding my original rack, and am curious about other peoples experience with these aftermarket racks.
Emmanuel Kafant

I have one of those in my shop. It is apparently 15 degrees off from the original . This makes it impossible to align up the steering shaft to the column. I understand that these were designed for kit cars such as Cobra etc. There they weld up the mounts to fit the aplication.Moss do not sell them now after having a pot full of trouble.
Sandy Sanders

I had an Argentinian rack fitted by a local mg specialist about 5 years ago and have no complaints! The guy who fitted it didn't mention any trouble either, and since it only took him a few hours I suspect he didn't have any.

Tim Jenner

I have no idea if my rack is a South American one but I do know it isn't original. The funny thing about it is it is metric. Metric bolts for the covers (8mm) and a metric oil seal.
Simon Jansen

Mine didn't fit either so I sent my original worn-out rack out to John Twist who rebuilt it.

what do you expect with something that had a core build price of 30 us dollars. stating that what price where they knocking them out at .i wonder if we are prepared to pay more for the correct part always intrests me!
s curtis

I have one of the original Argentinian racks Moss sold some years ago and had no real problems installing it or with it since installation. You might want to ask the supplier WHICH South American country it came from. The sourcing may have changed since they were originally introduced back in the 90s.

This has happened with several other parts I am aware of and it has not always been a good thing. I would send Moss (or whoever the supplier is of your "bad" one) an email and ask about it.
Bob Muenchausen

bob they are from argentine still today
s curtis

In which case then, they may not be from the same company there or that company has changed its standards and/or ownership. That sometimes is the problem with quality that goes downhill. Case in point seems to be products coming from Grose Jet and Tasker Metal Products. Don't know if either was taken over by the children of the original owners (that can be the death knell for some companies) or just investors vs. real machinists. Sometimes even the dollar spec for production forces choices we might not like.
Bob Muenchausen

Interesting thread, and timely. I got involved in this excercise by supplying front crossmembers, test racks and a little bit of advice.

Moss US pulled the racks after a number of customer complaints over a year ago. Due to the number of other projects going on, it took a while to fabricate a test jig to test the units, but that was accomplished a couple of months ago. I was asked to bring in a collection of NOS and used racks for comparison. The test fixture mounted on an original cross member and held a plexiglass panel so that paint marks could be made where the pinion shaft would meet the u-joint. After testing about 10 of each style the conclusion was that the Argentinian racks in stock had a much closer spread of marks than the OE sample units and that the spread was within the area of the majority of original units. The amazing part was how far away from the mean some of the OE racks were. Just in case, these were examined to ensure they were not bent.

The conclusion reached is that the racks should be sold with a kit of shims as fitted by the factory, a repro of the factory tapered lineup tool and full instructions on how to install them correctly.

If we do run into one that does not appear to be installable, we now do have a test fixture to check the suspect unit against.

We did run into some of the new racks where the pre-load was too tight, making the racks stiff. We have requested that this be checked before shipment from the manufacturer.

In closing. The repro racks appear to be very well built, by a company that specializes in manufacturing components for a number of major OE companies. Complaints of poor fit MAY have been due to front crossmember shift that aggravated wear of the original unit. The tech department will be keeping a watchful eye for any further complaints.

that's the view from the trenches.

Kelvin Dodd

KJ Dodd

Thanks for the info "from the trenches", Kelvin. It is far better than trying to second guess every quirk of parts quality or why things seem to change sometimes. As the hobby gets older, so do many of the sources of its parts and things do change. And not always, I am sure, to your company's liking, either. I appreciate your willingness to share with us "the real story" when you can.
Bob Muenchausen

Here is a rack made in UK I believe.
CW Strong


Are you planning to make that tool available as a seperate part?

I bought one of the Argentinian racks about 5 years ago, and by far the most dificult part was trying to line it up properly though the u-joint. I still don't have real confidence that I got it 100% right. I jury rigged something with gum and nails stuck into the dimple in the shaft ends.

It would be realy useful to have a package with the shims, alignment tool and proper instructions available as a seperate item.

Tim Boyle


Any time the rack or crossmember is moved the tool should be used to ensure the accuracy of refitment. So, it makes sense to make the tool and shims available for the DIY mechanic.

KJ Dodd

Hi Kelvin,
Not wishing to "jump the gun" but what's the part number so that we can order the alignment kit?
Tony Bates

This is sort of off the topic but here goes: My '80 LE's steering shaft has a worn spot in it that resulted from the catalytic coverter rubbing against it. This in turn was caused by a broken engine mount. The damage doesn't look too bad, but there is a deep groove worn into the rack's shaft. The rack is still good and tight though and I just replaced the tie rod ends and rack boots. Should I worry about the shaft snapping because of the wear from the cat?

Many thanks,
Dave Plantz

I made up some little tools to align my column If you have access to a lathe and mill it is pretty easy. There are pictures here:

I haven't reattached the steering column yet since I need to paint the interior but I tested the tool and it worked allowing me to get the rack into position. I suspect the shaft going into the rack is a little bent on mine. If you move the front wheels you can see the end of the shaft spin and it isn't concentric. Not quite sure what to do about that.
Simon Jansen

Tony: The engineer just showed me the first prototype, so yes, you are jumping the gun. Sorry. We also have to get the shims cut.

Dave: Hard to give a recomendation without seeing it. Just use common sense. The shaft itself is not under a tremendous amount of stress.

Simon: Great stuff on your web pages. Dave, go look at the picture of Simon's tool, ummm.. Let me rephrase that. There is a good shot of how much narrower the end of the shaft is where the u-joint bolt fits. This is supported by the u-joint, but hopefully you get the idea.

The prototype tool we made is out of delrin and slips over the ends of the rack. A bit simpler than what you show, but does the same job.

Kelvin Dodd
KJ Dodd

I've done a lot of MGBs since they first came out, and never had a bad rack other than a couple that had no boots and no oil. But, I have encountered a number of cars which had encountered potholes or curbs, or perhaps other cars, with the result that the rack mounts on the crossmember were bent to one side or the other - as much as 3/4". Straighten one at a time and use the rack as a distance gauge between the mount bolt holes. It is surprisingly easy to hammer them back to center. If the shaft misalignment is lateral, or if the pinion shaft is rubbing the motor mount bracket, check for this. Use the same tool. I made mine, but having them available to those without a lathe would be great.
FR Millmore


When can we reasonably expect to see a part number for this tool? I am going to need one in the not too distant future for my C restoration.


Larry Hallanger


Sorry, but I don't have an answer for you. As soon as possible, would be my preference.

KJ Dodd

This thread was discussed between 08/12/2005 and 17/12/2005

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