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Almost a 520 front axle swap


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#1 rustyoldjunk OFFLINE  

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Posted March 17, 2015 - 09:35 PM

Or it could be titled "Poor mans 520 front axle style swap." I have wanted to put a JD 200 series front axle on a Wheel Horse for a few years and I finally have a great project tractor for that swap. The JD front axle does basically same thing as the 520 front axle. It is swept forward ( you have to flip it around to make it swept forward) to give a slight wheelbase increase,it like the 520 front axle is wider then the standard Wheel Horse front axle,giving a wider front track and of course has 1 inch front spindles and wheels with better bearings,like the 520 front axle. The main difference is the JD 200 series axles,spindles,and wheels are everywhere cheap or free while 520 front end parts cost big dollars.The JD axle will fit right in but will need to be bushed just a little bit behind it because it does not have the half inch or so factory bushing cast into the back side of the axle. The axle pin is the same size. You do have to swap the spindles side for side to get the steering knuckles behind the axle,then you will have to buy or make two ties rods because they need to be longer then stock. This tractor has a long way to go. I got it in well used,then left to sit for a long time,condition. Looks like it was a puller many years ago. The tractor is a '72 Raider,the hood is a '66,the hubs are later model heavy duty units,I don't believe the transaxle is the original,the rear wheels have been cut and widened for a wide flat tread on the 26 12 12 tires and the complete lift system is long gone.This is just a mock up. I also plan to use thrust bearings on the bottoms of the front spindles. I have a general plan in mind for this tractor although I may be slow getting to it.

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Edited by rustyoldjunk, March 17, 2015 - 09:51 PM.

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#2 classic ONLINE  

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Posted March 17, 2015 - 10:10 PM

Looks like a fun project and it will be worth the effort. I have to swap out the wimpy front axle and steering in my Cub Cadet 147. I rounded up the parts last year, but I haven't been able to get to it. The steering on the Cub is fine for mowing, but too wimpy with the Johnson loader on it.
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#3 rustyoldjunk OFFLINE  

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Posted March 17, 2015 - 10:56 PM

Classic,I'm not a big fan of the Ross boxes once they are old. They seem to wear a lot worse then the fan gear and pinion that most garden tractors use. Don't know that I have every had one on an old tractor that wasn't wore out ( except the one on the Power King that I rebuilt). I am kind of surprised to hear that you are having issues with the Cub front axle. What are you replacing it with ?


Edited by rustyoldjunk, March 17, 2015 - 10:56 PM.

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#4 classic ONLINE  

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Posted March 18, 2015 - 12:33 AM

The Ross steering boxes are mostly worn due to age, lack of lubrication, or water contaminating them. They are good steering boxes and would last longer if they were maintained better over the years. The Cub 147 has a two turn steering worm gear and I'm changing that to a three turn worm gear. This involves shortening the three turn worm gear shaft that I picked up and installing it in my steering column tube. I think the front axle that I picked up came out of a Cub Cadet 1863? It's a super steer axle and has 1" spindles. I ground the washers off of the spindles and I'll be welding a collar to the spindles to act as a stop for the inner wheel bearing and a place for the inner hub seal to ride. Thrust washers will also go on the spindles before they are installed into the axle. I picked up 5 lug narrow trailer hubs with 1" bearings along with 5 lug rims. I can use the beefier 1/2 inch tie rod and drag link that came with the axle, also. I picked up new heim joints to put on the tie rod and drag link and they are far better than the ball and socket type. I read about this steering conversion and other people are happy with it, so I'm going ahead with it. I'll post some pics when I finally get around to doing it and hopefully it will be soon.
The axle actually came out of a Cub Cadet 1862. I just checked and the 1863 had the tall spindles. The 1862 spindles keep the front end at the same height as the 147 axle. Another benefit from the 1862 front axle is that the pitman arm is splined instead of pinned to the spindle. Those pinned Cub Pittman arms were a horrible design and never should have made it to the drawing board. The Cub front wheel bearings are also junk. All front wheel bearings should be tapered Timken bearings. Using bushings or non adjustable roller bearings for wheel bearings is a joke.

Edited by classic, March 18, 2015 - 12:55 AM.

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#5 rustyoldjunk OFFLINE  

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Posted March 18, 2015 - 12:48 AM

I have several pairs of 4 lug 8 inch wheels some narrow some wider. I have a narrower pair. I can't remember now without looking,maybe 5.70 and they are taller at 18 inches. I may end up putting them on this project but for now the only hubs that I have won't work with the short spindles on the front axle. I would like to run a narrower tire on the front. Its easier on the the steering system and the person steering plus the narrower tire bites better to make the tractor go where you point it. The Deere axle looses a little height to the Wheel Horse axle,I believe and although the 26's out back are pulled wide by the widened wheels they still raise the rear some. So I will go with a 18 inch tall 8 inch front tire either way. If I don't go with a hub,I will most likely go with 6.50 wide 18 inch tall fronts.


Edited by rustyoldjunk, March 18, 2015 - 01:34 AM.

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#6 classic ONLINE  

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Posted March 18, 2015 - 01:02 AM

The 1862 axles are short, also. I found the narrow 5 lug hub assemblies on ebay and they will work. I think they come in 4 and 5 lug and they weren't expensive.
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#7 classic ONLINE  

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Posted March 18, 2015 - 01:13 AM

Search BT150A trailer hub on ebay. Those hubs are only 3.5 inches wide and that's what I bought. They are 50 bucks shipped for the complete assemblies, but make sure you specify 1" bearings if you order them. I have some new 5 lug 8" rims that had new 4.80-8 Goodyear tires on them. I only needed the tires, so if you need the rims you can have a pair for what it costs to ship them to you.
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#8 rustyoldjunk OFFLINE  

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Posted March 18, 2015 - 11:57 PM

Sounds like you are going to have a great front end setup when you are done. Thanks for the offer on the wheels Classic but I think I will pass. This tractor isn't at the top of the list right now,as matter of fact there are a few ahead of it. I actually need to be chasing down that Onan carb for a tractor that I want to use to mow with. On a different note my 953 Wheel Horse has a very loose Ross box and I have one out of a newer 200 series Deere....I wonder if the inerds are interchangeable ?


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#9 classic ONLINE  

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Posted March 19, 2015 - 07:42 AM

You're welcome, and if you need the rims in the future, just give me a shout. I use the Cub loader a lot and I had to find a solution to beef up the front end and steering. It's an easy conversion and will be a big improvement.
I would disassemble the box on the 953 to see why it has play. If the adjustable pin that rides in the worm gear is worn, it can be replaced cheaply. If the worm gear is worn it's not worth rebuilding. I'm not sure if the parts in your columns will interchange, since I know that there can be differences in these Ross boxes.

#10 Gilbert2343 OFFLINE  

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Posted March 27, 2015 - 04:24 PM

Sir, I just got a Wheel Horse 520 and I need a front axle for it. It has been welded and I want to replace it. You would't have one for sell would you? If not would you know what other model Wheel Horses front axle will fit it? By the way looks like you have your work cut out for you. Keep me posted on how things are going.

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Edited by Bolens 1000, March 27, 2015 - 05:47 PM.
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#11 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted March 28, 2015 - 12:11 PM

Jim, thanks for posting this. I will be doing this to one of my WH in the future because I like the way the swept forward axle looks.


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