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MG MG Y Type - Steering wheel alignment

During the process of getting my YT ready to be back on the road now that the UK spring is here I thought I'd address my steering alignment.

When I last took the car for it's MOT I had the tracking checked and they said I had a toe-in of about 4mm. I've got nothing to measure it at home so I just adjusted it out a little bit. I was also told that it's important to have an equal adjustment on both sides such that the arms are the same length. This is apparently necessary to give the correct steering geometries.
However now I've done this my steering wheel is a long way off from the spokes making a nice "Y" pattern.

1) When the car was new, would the steering wheel spokes have made a "Y" when going straight, or was it always a bit hit'n'miss?
2) Is it important that the "arms" are adjusted to be close to the same length either side of the rack, or can I make one long and one short to give a "Y" on the steering wheel when going straight?
3) If answers to both of the above is "yes" then why might my spokes make more of a "-<" shape?


Shouldn't the steering wheel spokes make a "inverted Y pattern" for the best view on the instruments? My steering wheel is slightly off that position and one of my projects is to get the steering correctly centred and aligned.

The trick to find the centre-position is to count the revolutions when steering from left to right "stop to stop" and divide it by two. If it doesn't align properly on the single spline, repositioning on the rack coupling may be possible but I've not (yet) ventured that deep into the steering.

In theory it is very neccesary to have the same length steering arms. Maybe you can imagine that a "short" arm makes another arc than a "long" one when the wheels are moving up and down; you want them to make the same arc. In practice you won't notice unless very much off.

You may find on re-adjusting on the centre of the rack that it is worn there and some "creative" PO found a way around a MOT failure...
Willem van der Veer


I have set my steering wheel as you suggest with it in the 'Y' orientation. I think it's a matter of personal taste but I like to have somewhere to 'hang' my thumbs when driving. I can see Willem's point however. With regard to the precise postioning of the steering wheel, I think the best way to get it into the position you require is to remove the steering wheel with its splined shaft and rotate it into the position you want and slide it back into place. Obviously, this doesn't address the tracking problem but at least you'll have the wheel where you want it.
Shame about Test Hill!

Jack Murray

Yes, I think "Y" is correct over "inverted Y", but like you say it's probably personal taste.

However unless I'm missing something the wheel isn't on a splined shaft that can be moved to any rotation. It's forced to sit in one position only, located with a key.
Hence my problem.


Saul, that's what I meant with a "single spline" for lack of other terms. I'm curious in what position your steeringwheel is when the rack is in it's centre position. I'll check tonight with my car.
I think I will strive for the Y position for obvious reasons, just as I set my stationary clock at a quarter past one...

BTW On the dashboard picture in the sales brochure the steering wheel is in the inverted Y position, but these publications are notorious for the artistic license taken!
Willem van der Veer

The 'Y' position is the correct orientation and the steering wheel is located into the correct position on the splines by a woodruff key.

I believe the correct steering geometry IS covered already in the Technical Data specifications to be found under the TECHNICAL CENTRE option on the main menu of the website at

Paul Barrow

Please confirm I'm not going mad -

The Steering Wheel is located onto the splined shaft by a key (as you state Paul) AND the splined shaft is located onto the main shaft in the steering column by another key (that limits the in/out adjustment available).

So this means that the ONLY way to alter the orientation of the steering wheel is at the rack (somehow) or at the alignment/track adjustment arms.

(Unless you disconnect the steering column with the three bolts at the bottom and rotate it, but as this would be by +/-120 degrees it would in no way affect the pattern made by the three steering wheel spokes).

Please can someone confirm that this is all true and that I am not (very) insane.

If this is indeed the case then I imagine I'm best just to make the track adjustment equal on both sides and put up with whatever spoke orientation results - as I really can't be bothered to start messing with the steering rack itself. Agreed?


Saul, you're not mad.

There have been reports however of T-type owners wandering aimlessly through the endless American planes AFTER trying to get their steering-wheel in the correct position by centering their steering rack. Alas it is the only way to get it right; at your own peril....
Willem van der Veer

Hello Gentlemen,
Just stumbled onto your sight and read some of your comments. If this is of assistance to you - basic rule is the rear axle of a vehicle determines where the front axle goes - think about it !!The back axle must be at 90deg to the centreline of the vehicle this is called 'thrust angle'.
I suggest rather than trying to fiddle with steering wheels and splines take the car to a reputable repairer who has good equipment and knows how to use it. He will firstly carry out a pre-alignment wear check and then check the rear to front alignment and then measure front angles from there.
As stated the rack must be centered, desirably the tie rods will have a similar amount of thread protruding from the rod ends otherwise if one is excessively screwed in and the other out then full lock will suffer.
Does this model have SRS (air bags)? If so, I would refrain from removing steering wheels unless the proper manufacturers precautions are taken.Also do not disconnect the column shaft from the rack pinion shaft as its probably 'keyed' with a cotter bolt.
Finally for Saul - No your not insane but if you persist along this path then it may become a possibility. You will end up with the wheel straight BUT what is the toe measurement ?? Toe can be set with a trammel bar or even a piece of string and a chalk mark.Good luck.
Peter Mumford


Thank you for your informative notes - I am sure they will be useful to Saul. I am in full agreement with what you say about taking it to a reputable steering geometrist too.

You ask if this car has air bags - well it depends on who is sitting in the passenger seat I guess is the answer there! No, these cars were made between 1947 and 1953 so they predate air bags. If you would like to find out more about our wonderful cars, then please log on to and enjoy your trip.

Best wishes,

Paul Barrow
Paul Barrow

Hi Paul,
Shows you how much I know about MG models! I thought Sauls might be a late model.
Yeah, I know what you mean about passenger side 'gasbags' !! It's a worldwide problem.

Peter Mumford

This thread was discussed between 03/04/2007 and 07/04/2007

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