My steering has a slightly vague feel to it, and I suspect the steering rack bushes are shot. I checked this afternoon and there is visible movement of the rack when you move the steering wheel from side to side. Not much, probably 2 or 3 mm. Is this too much?
The standard bushes are a strange design. They allow lateral movement which gets worse as the bushes age. I've ditched them and installed poly bushes instead, these are much more precise (they are also cheaper than OEM parts!) however, to remove your rubbish Jaguar bushes, you need a special tool. You can get this (and the poly bushes) from Classic Spares, Waltham Cross, London.
Worn rear radius arm bushes can also contribute to vague steering so it might be worth checking those out as well.
I agree that urethane bushes are much better. I'm fitted them to my 95 4.0 convertible and they made a great improvement.
Depending how corroded your rack mounts and bushes are, you may well get the old bushes out without the special tool. I know lots of people who have managed it the same way as I did using two suitable size sockets and then a threaded bar and washers, or even just a G-clamp. You may then be able to just press them out.
I used poly bushes on my rebuild. Job is not too bad as rack is on rear of main subframe. The hydraulic hoses can be difficult to undo,always use the correct size spanner and not adjustables. The track rod ends were a right laugh but I replaced both of mine so I was'nt too fussed about damaging them but you will need a ball joint splitter for the this part of the job. . I removed my old bushes using a vice and a socket that was the correct diameter and they came out fairly easily.
1986 3.6 MANUAL (WAHOO FINISHED FULL RESTORATION!!!!!!!!!)
Seeing that the standard rack bushes werent keen on moving, and hearing a few horror stories about poly rack bushes cracking the metal carriers, we opted to create some plastic 'washers' the same size as the bushes to effectively pack them out and remove a lot of the slop. This worked well - much better than I thought it would!
CLEAN old '87 XJ-S 3.6 manual (for sale!)
If no-one buys it soon, its going on classic insurance!
'96 XJR manual (the green monster)