I have a Dayton 3Z678 that I really like--it came with a tiller, 50" mower, plow, and cultivator, not to mention front, mid, and rear PTO. It has a good Briggs twin 18 hp and is in good shape overall.
My biggest gripe is that the steering "pops" when I turn, especially to the right... I know this is the pinion slipping on the sector. The PO had replaced both parts, and all the bushings a year or so ago, but it wasn't long before it was doing it again.
I put in a "poor man's power steering" by putting a thin roller bearing at the bottom of the king pins--it helped a little, but it still has a problem.
I have the previous gears, and it looks like it isn't a very good design--they have a lot of teeth, probably to help it turn easier, but there isn't a lot of tooth engagement, and any wear anywhere else in the system and it starts to pop and chews up the gears.
Has anyone else came across this problem? How did you deal with it?
I don't have confidence in just replacing the parts... I'm thinking of using a pinion and sector from an older MTD and modifying it, or put in an automotive style gear like in a JD or Cub Cadet.
Your opinion and advice are Welcome.