Just was checking out what happened to your tie rod. I’m starting to wonder now if power steering is in the future for me or not. In certain situations it will def overpower the metal and tweak it. Especially the electric steering I was considering. It’s much more powerful than the hydraulic assist used by the factory. Mine is not that terrible to use without power assist. I put 8 ply tires on it and they do not flatten with a load. Yes it’s hard to turn with 4-500 lbs of load but it is not unusable. The biggest thing to do with a load on it is to be moving before you start to steer it. Many thoughts to ponder on lol!!!
A couple of my thoughts and observations.
1. My situation may be more pronounced to this happening due to my custom wheel setup that has bigger front tires and a more aggressive offset than factory making it more of a potential. If this happens again, I will likely change the front wheel setup. On the contrary, I did not have this issue before with my 1886 running the same wheel setup for close to two years and I used the loader quite a bit.
2. "The biggest thing to do with a load on it is to be moving before you start to steer it." While the power steering is awesome and one of the greatest features, it is very "tractor-like" in its operation of course being a hydraulic system meaning that it basically has zero feedback like you have in a manual steering setup. In other words, you don't really know what your front tires are doing unless you're looking at them because the wheel turns with just about the same feel regardless the circumstance you're in (which could be good or bad). The system is very powerful like you said and it definitely gave no warning prior to the bending of the tie rod. Your electric version may have more "feel" in the steering like some of the new higher end cars come with in comparison to the hydraulic setup, but I don't know enough about it to comment there.
I originally thought about having a thicker tie rod made but there would not be enough clearance for one between the PTO belt guard and lower pulley in particular. So, the alternative was to make a gusset on the bottom of the factory tie rod where it would not come into contact with anything.
3. Bolens designed the large frames with gas engines. Bolens did not seem to make any structural design improvements to the chassis and/ or steering components of the HDT with its heavier 3-cylinder diesel. (I know the HT20D was a diesel too but that was an air cooled 2 cylinder that was lighter; not saying it still couldn't have these same inherent issues though). I think just about every other HDT I've heard about has had a cracked bolster so that, to me, gives me some indication that if the model was going to be more mainstream, Bolens likely would've needed to beef up some of these components. Combined with the loader aspect, it adds a fair amount more weight and stress than the typical setup with gas power plant (think, stock). You and I have the only two 3-cylinder diesel large frames in existence that I know about that have a loader so I think it's probably fair to say that (as cool as they are though!!) there could be some trial and error, and experimentation going on. As disappointing and discouraging as it is when something like this happens, I've had to tell myself it is the reality of it. I don't want to tell you either way to go on your steering setup but we do know somethings for keys to success; try to steer when you're moving with heavy loads and keep an eye on your front wheels under flex & stress situations.
I'd also like to add that this had nothing to do with Kevin's work. He went above and beyond like I've stated many times before and knows large frames better than anyone else. He got this thing mechanically sound and I attribute this to experimentation.
Don't give up on a dream though and keep on building your tractor how you want it to be. If I did not have this machine, yours would be the coolest one around in my humble book and I'd likely be knocking on your door to build another.
Edited by Austen, June 29, 2020 - 05:15 PM.