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.
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.
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 ) and it fits beautifully! Here's the shaft, old and new bushings and my PBR can shim...
The lower shaft support had apparently been fixed (butchered) once before. Here's what I found after cleanup:
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...
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.
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!)
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!