Steering wheel turns *hard*, and collar is sloppy.

Thu Aug 05, 2004 10:46 am

OK, first order of business while I'm waiting for the parts is to loosen up this steering...

Two questions - the wheel turns *really* hard, even when the tractor is rolling... I've greased up the fittings with no success, so what should I do next? The steering box has a leak, of course, should I look inside?

Also, there's a lot of wear to the sleeve at the top of the "steering rod holder". I know that's not the name for it - what I'm talking about is back near the steering wheel, there's a rod that goes forward to the steering box, and it goes through a little collar just in front of the steering wheel. I know it should be loose so you can turn the steering wheel, but mine's got a healthy amount of slop to it. Is that normal? Doesn't seem like something to be very concerned about, but I thought I should find out.

Thu Aug 05, 2004 11:02 am

Hard steering can come from many sources. Try jacking the entire front end up so there is no weight on the wheels and see if the steering is still stiff. Worn steering knuckle bushings can cause binding, It can also be internal to the steering gear. By taking the weight off the axles you may be able to locate the problem. If necessary, you can disconnect tie rods to help isolate the problem.
If it is internal to the steering gear assembly, it can be from lack of lubrication, presence of water etc. or from worn parts.
A little detective work is necessary to find the problem.

On the steering shaft support problem, the steering shaft support bracket can be fitted with a bushing to remove some of the slop if it really bothers you. I don't know if that bracket is still available new or not, but one of the used parts vendors who advertize here may have one.

Thu Aug 05, 2004 11:36 am

Bigdog wrote:On the steering shaft support problem, the steering shaft support bracket can be fitted with a bushing to remove some of the slop if it really bothers you. I don't know if that bracket is still available new or not, but one of the used parts vendors who advertize here may have one.

Those supports come in two flavors... the early ones made of cast iron that last nearly forever, and the later die cast ones that wear out. Get a cast iron one if you can. If you are really ambitious, you can make a steel one as I did for the tricycle. The original was nearly worn through.

Another thought on your spindles... try greasing them with the front end jacked up. That will allow grease to get to the bottom surface where the weight is sitting.



Thu Aug 05, 2004 12:24 pm

It looks like the plan is to jack up the front end no matter what. :)

This is my first time working on the tractor, and I have it outside instead of in a shop with a lift or jacks/stands like I had working on my cars - assuming the safety concerns are greater than in the shop, there's an article on tractor jacking here that I plan to follow - ... 115_04.asp

Thu Aug 05, 2004 12:53 pm

you can also get a good look inside the steering by removing the two bolts that hold the steering shaft seal. (right next to the serial # tag) turning the steering wheel will 'unscrew' the worm on the steering shaft and let you look inside. get ready for water, rust and goop, that seems to be the norm. my steering gear was so rusted out that replacement was the only option. JP or Tom at TM has them used.

looks like the 'rusty iron disease' has infected another one. :lol:


Thu Aug 05, 2004 1:10 pm

What should be in there, oil or hard grease?

Thu Aug 05, 2004 2:42 pm

90 wt. gear oil.

Thu Aug 05, 2004 4:35 pm

I had to work on my neighbors cub for the same gripe!!
It took a heat gun and a brass hammer to remove the steering shaft that goes from the top linkage to the wheel hub. It was corroded inside causing friction.
Remove key on top of knuckle,loosen bolt, and heat up shaft housing once isolated which one is frozen.Gently use a brass hammer to beat the shaft out of the housing. Sand down smooth with gentle sandpaper and grease thouroughly. Put back together and also change grease fittings.
Should fix your problem if this is whats wrong.

Fri Aug 06, 2004 7:08 am

Just my two cents on what I had to do.

My steering had the same problem, Allen. Lots of slop (sometimes the wheel would turn 3/4 of the way around before it caught) and very hard steering whenever the shaft bearing was tightened down all the way (the bearing was left loose when I bought the tractor. Here's what I had to do to make everything work right. I hope it doesn't make the more experienced cringe!

Remove the shaft bearing (the metal cover that holds the steering shaft in place next to the serial number). My steering box was full of water so here was my first problem. Rust. Remove the steering shaft and clean the shaft worm real well and inspect for damage. I was lucky enough where I didn't have much wear here. Clean the shaft bearing out real well too to prevent binding in the future.

The original box was filled with a 90W gear oil but many people now just pack the whole thing with lithium grease which was going to be my option because the slop through the years had caused the steering shaft to bump against the bottom of the steering box causing a small hole in the casting.

I fixed the slop by dropping the steering box and removing all of the components. This included the worm wheel, worm wheel shaft and steering arm. Most of the gears where very rusty which probably contributed to the binding problem. The slop was due to some small wear that probably occurs on most tractors. There's a castle nut that hold the steering arm to the worm wheel shaft. Over time, due to wear or the castle nut loosening, that shaft starts to float above the worm wheel. Then, when you turn the steering, the worm wheel rotates but it doesn't catch anything until the worm wheel shaft decides it wants to seat itself. Then whammo. You have steering.

I took a rubber mallet and whacked that worm wheel shaft into place and tightened the castle nut as far as it could go. I then backed it off a bit until I could get my cotter pin in place. I packed the box with grease and viola no steering problems. Boy was I happy.

My slop is now limited to about 1/8 to 1/4 turn which, I think is pretty normal but he steers real well now.

Keep in mind that the steering on these things is ridiculously easy. In fact many car and truck manufacturers of that era used the same setup. The work is in the effort to get front axle out of the casting and dropping the whole assembly. If you're not rusted up too badly, this shouldn't take more than an hour or two.

Hope this helps.

Fri Aug 06, 2004 9:06 am

K guys:

This sounds like another addition to the Maintenance Tips and Techniques section on the server.

Seems that this question has come up a number of times over the last few months.

Do we have a volunteer who has access to a digital camera who can take pics to document the procedure and write the narrative. I can do the rest, just need the raw info.

Pipe up guys!

Fri Aug 06, 2004 9:19 am

Since I'm finished with my steering project at the moment, I won't have access to photos but I'd be happy to draw something up.

Fri Aug 06, 2004 9:23 am


Please and thank you. Also if you could include a description of any problems you had and the solution, that would be helpful as well.

Thanks again.

hard steering

Fri Aug 06, 2004 11:37 am


So far so good...

Fri Aug 06, 2004 9:13 pm

Well, I tore apart the steering knuckle as discussed above, and while my steering shaft bushing up near the wheel doesn't look as bad as the one on the right in the above picture, it is pretty worn, but that's not the problem...

And, while I did get a bunch of water, white gunk, and what looks to be really black and used 20W motor oil out of the steering worm drive assembly, that's not the problem either. There's very little play at all in the steering, and those gears are in great shape.

I believe the problem is in the left front "strut", which leads down from the front axle to the front left wheel assembly. The grease fitting on that side was broken off, and when I replaced it and took some test squirts on it, a lot of rusty water and crud was forced out the bottom of the unit. Looks like I'll be dismantling that side of the front axle to get a better look at what's inside that strut!

Yep, it''s the left "strut".

Sun Aug 08, 2004 4:14 pm

I managed to remove the right "strut" (steering knuckle post) from the front axle, but the left one is frozen solid. It is rusty and full of water and gunk, and it's the reason the steering is so hard. I can't even move that hub by hand or hammer.

Because it is a long shaft, basically inside a tube for almost its entire length, how can I get it out? I have tried lubricant, both penetrating oil and injected grease, to no avail. I've banged on it with rubber mallets, deadblow hammers, and now a steel hammer and wood block...

I can't heat it easily, although I might be able to heat the bushings at the top and bottom?