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tractorhogg

Hard to steer C and D machines

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Some of the larger C and D series machines tend to be somewhat difficult to steer and unresponsive, especially as they get older. There two ways to alleviate this problem, first the installation of thrust bearings and washers which may or may not have been already discussed, but if some of you may have missed the thread, it involves using a flat bearing with two washers or riders on either side, these two washers are generally hardened steel. In order to acquire the proper clearance a small amount of surface must be removed from the top of the axle in which the spindle goes into, usually around 1/8 is sufficient. This puts a bearing surface on the area where the spindles and axles turn. Another way to improve steering and reduce wear on steering component is to use narrower and/or taller tires/wheels, especially on the D series which can easily accommodate a 10 or even a 12 inch rim. The C series alteration may be the most economical by just using a narrower 3.50" rim and either a 5.7.00-8 or a 4.00-8 tri-rib tire, that and the thrust bearing/washer will produce significant improvement with steering and wear on steering components. Going to the taller rim/wheel on the D series REALLY makes sense as the 8" wheel and tire was fine (not really) for turf duty, it was not even close to being adequate for garden tractor duty. The front tires on the D series were 18x6.50-8 or 188x8.50-8 meaning the height of the tire was supposedly 18 inches, good luck on realizing that full 18 inches anymore than you can reaching 6'4", but its usually at least 17 inches, a 10 inch tri-rib is a little over 20 inches tall and matched with a 3.75-10 4 bolt steel rim really makes it a breeze to steer. if you are using the 15 inch rear tires I wouldn't even be hesitant to use the 3.75-12 inch 4 bolt steel wheel, both wheels can use trailer tires if you don't want to use tri-ribs. There are a couple of hubs that you can use. First a steel 4 on 4 hub used on minibikes and go carts is not a bad choice as it will fit on the Wheel horse spindle, whereas a trailer hub wont, and it has a zerk fitting, they are competitively priced at under 20.00, the downfall is the average 1-3/8" sized bearings. A stronger and mo' better choice is the BMIkarts solid billet aluminum hubs that come with a bigger 1-5/8" sealed precision bearing rated at over 750lbs and available in 3/4" or 1' diameters, but they are expensive at 33.00 each. I use locking collars and washers to reduce the extra space and position the wheel where it should be. This will compensate nicely for the use of taller rear AG or turf tires, and will improve the look of the tractor. With the use of a front end loader a wider 10/12 inch rim can be used with an airplane tire, they are available for farm implements and will last forever. I included pictures of my tractors with the upgraded taller 10" tires/wheels, and pictures of the parts

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I don' t know about the "D" series but my manual for an 18 Automatic only list's two front tire sizes a 18x6.50-8 or an 18x8.50-8 not a 188x8.50-8 lol.  Mark.

Edited by 23 Automatic LSE

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I don' t know about the "D" series but my manual for an 18 Automatic only list's two front tire sizes a 18x6.50-8 or an 18x8.50-8 not a 188x8.50-8 lol.  Mark.

Sorry Mark, a third of the keys on my laptop don't work, I have to cut and paste some letters on a typing field, I've been waiting on school loan money and due to recovering from cancer surgery and treatments I've been unable to work, repair to my computer wont come soon, as we have many other bills, so expect to see some more typos in the near future, Glad you enoyed the post, with this computer it took quite a while. 

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My opinion.  Narrow tires, yes but there are compromises for using them.  Thrust washers yes but not roller bearing, dirt and moisture issues.  Need muscles to operate the steering.  Men may have forgotten manual steering cars,  be tough and stop whining, grit your teeth a bit. If you use narrower rims the difference can be taken up with shaft collars that have set screws.  Put them on a lathe and cut them narrower if needed.

Nothing really gained with ball bearing hubs in this App. , the tractor is not traveling fast, plain bronze and grease has always been adequate.

Edited by Robert of Lake Michigan

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Most of the D front axles have a step machined into the bottom side to accept the thing roller thrust bearings from the factory . This step shields the bearing from dirt and dust and helps to retain the grease a bit as well . Problem with those is most folks never take the tractor's weight off that bearing when greasing it and they fail - if allowed to run this way the bearing gets friction welded onto the spindle's steering arm base , rendering it junk in short order . New set of bearings is around $12 for high quality at McMaster , don't buy cheap Chinese units since they aren't properly hardened and will fail easily . It would be possible to mill a relief into the top of axle and add a second thrust roller like the bottom , but there is no real weight load there anyway . I'd recommend using a bridge reamer , opening up the axle bore to +1/8" and using a high load iron/copper/bronze sleeve bearing drilled to match the axle's grease zerk point . McMaster and others have a huge assortment of these bushings , both in thick and thin wall including ones that are pre-grooved inside to better disperse grease along the entire length .

 

As to narrow tires - remember what these things weigh . You can get 6-10 ply tires that can easily handle the weight but you'll also leave some serious tracks in soft ground , or worse , sink the front end completely .

 

I wish I'd spent more time with the front end of mine before choosing my rear tires - I would much rather have a slightly taller front tire to help with steering effort and take some of the stress off the Ross steering box . But , going taller now will result in the overall look being a bit early '60s Gasser...not cool on a tractor and worse for using implements .

 

Btw - just fyi ...

The steering link ball joints are pretty much NLA at this point . I'm converting my 180 to heims and that alone will help with steering effort as long as you don't use super cheap types . This day and age it's a lot easier to get heim joints in about any configuration you need at a much more reasonable cost and now they even make boots to help keep them sealed and last longer .

 

Sarge

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