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Steering Restoration/upgrade


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#1 Walkinman1 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 26, 2013 - 04:51 PM

Even though I'm doing this on my Ford 120 I think most of what can be applied to a lot of different tractor makes and models, if it should be in the Ford specific section instead maybe the mod's can move it...

 

So as I was heading home for the holiday from a run (I'm a truck driver for those that don't know) one or both of the head gaskets on my truck decided to let go. After some diagnostic work, some cursing, pulling the engine, more cursing, engine disassembly, even more cursing (you get the picture) I've done basically all I can do until Tuesday when the machine shop can get to work on the heads.

 

7.3 Pulled.jpg

 

I decided to take a break from that project and work on something more fun.  The steering on my Ford 120 is quite sloppy and difficult, even after greasing... Started taking it apart a few days ago, found a lot of worn out parts, put in an order, then got sidetracked working on the truck.  

 

We'll start at the top and work our way down:

 

The woodruff key that locates the steering wheel on the shaft needed some attention.  I found some info on repairing woodruff key slots with steel epoxy (JB weld, etc.) so I gave it a shot with some Loctite steel epoxy I found and a new key... Coat the key with vaseline, fill the slot with epoxy putty and squeeze the key into place, wait until it just starts to harden up and pull the key out, let cure and clean up later.

 

Steering Shaft 2.jpg

Steering Shaft 3.jpg

Here are before cleanup and after cleanup pics, the epoxy only built up maybe a couple of thousandths on either side of the key, the verdict is still out on how well it works, we'll see.

 

Next are the steering shaft bushings, took some measurements and ordered new ones.  The upper one fit a little loose in the dash (it was the closest I could find in size) so I made a shim (hopefully you can tell what I used :D ) and it fits beautifully!  Here's the shaft, old and new bushings and my PBR can shim...

 

Steering Shaft 1.jpg

 

The lower shaft support had apparently been fixed (butchered) once before.  Here's what I found after cleanup:

 

Steering Shaft 4.jpg

 

The steel bushing that had been brazed onto the original support seems solidly attached and holds the shaft close to the right height so I left it in place and reamed it to accept the new bushing with just a slight press fit.  If it looks off center it's because the previous fix was welded off center to where the hole should be so I re-centered it.  Btw, a little red Loctite and both the bushings will help hold them tight so they don't spin in there mountings but can still be pressed out later if need be...

 

Steering Shaft 5.jpg

 

ALL of the tie rod ends were completely shot, 2 fell apart as I tried to remove them.  New ones are on order, I'll update as I get them done.

 

The spindles fit fairly well in the front axle so I opted just to do some cleaning and I'm going to install roller bearings on the bottom side when it goes back together, I've heard great things about this upgrade so I'm excited to try it.

 

Steering Shaft 6.jpg

 

The front axle pivot also had an unacceptable amount of play so out that came... Some more measurements and that bushing is on order as well (I was happy to see that Jacobsen used a bushing!)

 

Steering Shaft 7.jpg

 

I'll add some updates to this as I get the rest of the parts and get it all reassembled, hopefully it takes care of my issues!

 

On a side note, most of these parts have been sourced from McMaster-Carr.  They have an amazing selection of bearings, rod ends, bushings, etc.  If anyone needs part numbers to do the same on a similar model tractor let me know!

 


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#2 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted May 26, 2013 - 06:15 PM

Sounds like a bunch of good stuff going on here! A list of part #'s may help someone along down the road.


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#3 BairleaFarm OFFLINE  

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Posted May 26, 2013 - 06:22 PM

I need to do the same thing on my cub. I'll be watching.

Sent from my HTC One VX using Tapatalk 2



#4 Walkinman1 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 26, 2013 - 07:31 PM

I'll post part numbers/specs and links in my final addendum to this little project... Lots of the part numbers won't help unless it's an older Ford or Jacobsen but the links will help people search if they have the measurements.
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#5 chris m OFFLINE  

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Posted May 26, 2013 - 09:54 PM

You are doing a great job! I like how you wrote it all up too! :thumbs:

Having the part numbers will be great. I have 3 of the old Jac/Ford machines and I am sure I'll need to do this eventually.



#6 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted May 27, 2013 - 05:03 AM

I'll post part numbers/specs and links in my final addendum to this little project... Lots of the part numbers won't help unless it's an older Ford or Jacobsen but the links will help people search if they have the measurements.

That sounds like a great idea to me! Thanks!



#7 Tennblue59 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 27, 2013 - 11:29 AM

Great job!

 

I'm kind of "overlooking" the play in my LGT165 for now. Too many other things to focus on to get it back running. But will go down that road eventually.

 

It's amazing how much of an improvement you can make in the steering system - there are so many joints and pivots - eventually each one gets a LITTLE (or lot...) bit of wear in it - not bad for each joint, but when you multiply the slop through the whole assembly, it adds up!

 

I went through the same drill with my Deere 110 - truely horrendus steering before attention. But there was no ONE joint that was "bad". Got better with each improvement until the final outcome was much better!

 

Another trick you can use to tighten up keyways in a LOW SPEED shaft is to take a pin punch and make several little "dimples" parallel to the slot - it pushes metal over to tighten the slot up a little. Then crocus cloth or file any high spots down again. Not good for really wallowed out ones, but works on ones with just a little wiggle in them...


Edited by Tennblue59, May 27, 2013 - 11:34 AM.

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#8 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted May 27, 2013 - 11:56 AM

Ryan was just lamenting the fact that the MF10 seems tough to steer and wondered about power steering (lol, no)
The bearing upgrade may be the happy medium.

If you get the chance, the bearing numbers would be appreciated.

Thanks for the write up, it's great.

#9 Trav1s OFFLINE  

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Posted May 27, 2013 - 12:31 PM

I went through a similar upgrade on my 120 and I am excited to experience the difference.  My 314 needs some lovins too.



#10 Walkinman1 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 27, 2013 - 12:53 PM

Well since there has been more interest in than I was expecting and since I have some free time while waiting on the engine for my "big" Ford I figure I'd get together a list of what I've got so far and share it... 

 

Here's McMaster-Carr, they have a staggering amount of items that are useful to guys like us: http://www.mcmaster.com/

 

Here's the part numbers and specs for what I've used so far (all McMaster part numbers):

 

Upper steering shaft bushing: 9440T28, 3/4" ID, 7/8" OD, 3/4" Length

 

Lower steering shaft bushing: 9440T58, 7/16" ID, 5/8" OD, 3/4" Length

 

Spindle (Kingpin?) thrust bearings: 5909K33, 3/4" ID, 1-1/4" OD

 

Washers for thrust bearing: 5909K46, .032 Thick, 3/4" ID

 

Here's the page with all the Bronze, flanged bushings: http://www.mcmaster....19/1121/=mxmyvl

 

Here's the link to the caged thrust bearing page: http://www.mcmaster....19/1147/=mxmzfh

 

BTW, the ones for a 3/4" shaft are rated for 2,410 lbs at 9,500 RPM, I think they should hold up the front of the tractor lol.

 

Total cost for all above parts: $18.26

 

On to the parts I haven't gotten yet (I'm getting antsy, my grass needs to be cut!)

 

Tie Rod Ends: 4444T951, Steel ball joint rod end with grease fitting, 1/2" x 20, right hand thread, female shank with threaded stud. $9.59 Each.

 

Front axle pivot bushings (they don't offer a single bushing as long as I need so I'm simply going to install 2 that add up to what I need, I've done this in the past with good results):

6381K8, 5/8" ID, 7/8" OD, 3" Length

6381K541, 5/8" ID, 7/8" OD, 3/4" Length

Cost for both bushings: $15.04

 

Here's the rod end page: http://www.mcmaster....19/1187/=mxn4q7

 

Here's the regular bushing page: http://www.mcmaster....19/1125/=mxn55z

 

Interesting note: The front axle has a grease zerk at the pivot point, however the bushing (factory or not I can't tell) has no holes in it or provisions to get the grease INSIDE the bushing where it's needed so that's something I will address on the new one.

 

Here you can see how the thrust bearing and washers get assembled on the spindle:

Spindle 2.jpg

 

Here's what it looks like once set in the axle:

Spindle 1.jpg

 

As you can see it adds a little thickness over stock so I did have to shave a little bit off the top of the axle on the right side (as seen from sitting on the tractor) about 1/16" of an inch or so to allow the upper steering link to reattach.  The left side had enough spacers installed I simply had to remove some of them.  One additional thing I will do on the final assembly after greasing will be to cut a small piece out of a bicycle inner tube and slip it over the spindle to act as a seal for the thrust bearing.  I've heard that works well and for what it costs I've got nothing to lose by trying it out.  I'm excited to get it put back together and see how much of a difference all of these things may or may not have made!

 

Side note:  McMaster-Carr is strictly an industrial supply warehouse and you DO need an account to order from them, I set it up under my business a few years ago but as I recall they don't ask for too much info so I believe almost anyone can set up an account.  If that's changed and someone has difficulty with that perhaps someone else with an account can help them out? 

 


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#11 jdslednut OFFLINE  

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Posted May 27, 2013 - 01:15 PM

I've been kicking around the idea of a McMaster Carr cross reference spreadsheet for our beloved gts. This would be a good start!

#12 Walkinman1 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 27, 2013 - 01:37 PM

The way McMaster-Carr lists parts and their search options make it so easy if you know what size you need I don't know how much better it could be. Their prices are pretty reasonable and I have one close by so I can put almost anything on will-call and just go grab it. It's so convenient.
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#13 Trav1s OFFLINE  

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Posted May 27, 2013 - 08:49 PM

 I also did these to aid in steering.  :smilewink: 

398319_3990585076908_448666748_n.jpg

 

229222_3990588396991_449973293_n.jpg

 

603846_3990589397016_863095915_n.jpg


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#14 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted May 27, 2013 - 09:30 PM

I think this is all good info for a lot of different brands. Thanks for getting the list up for others to look over and see what may work on their particular tractor.

And thanks to Trav1s for the rod end pics. These may help with some issues as well!



#15 Walkinman1 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 27, 2013 - 10:03 PM

Trav1s, are those supposed to be lower friction than the standard style? Did you notice any improvement? My thinking was that the greaseable ones would be more consistent throughout their lifespan, i.e. they wouldn't start stiffening up over time due to corrosion and dirt but I could very well be wrong...




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