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12-08-2010, 11:12 PM #1
- Join Date
- Aug 2010
- N.E. Tennessee
- 65, 3000 Ford D, Terramite T5B
$2.86 Steering Box Repair
This story will only be relevant if you have an older machine with manual steering. I have known for a while my steering box has been going bad due to rise and fall of the steering wheel and increasing slop when turning. Wasn't a problem in the field but a real issue going up the road. Took advantage of the cold weather to get it in the shop and get into it.
First problem was steering wheel wouldn't come off (had been applying Kroil for a past month or so in anticipation) this prevented removal of the complete column until the cover is removed from the box and then it will come clear easy. With the column, box and all free I could put the entire column in a vise upside down and work wonders with a blunt air chisel tool on the steering wheel. The bearings were mostly loose and around in the box. Called Terramite, Terramite doesn't stock the bearings for this box and wouldn't give me the numbers so I could run them down. They did price a new box for five something, don't know exactly because I went instantly but temporarily deaf when I heard the first word five-hundred. They did give me a phone number for a place (Creed Tractor) that should have the bearing. Called Creed Tractor and nearly lost ability to hear again when the guy said $90 for a bearing I thought (based on experience with the tractors and other mechanical things I've owned) should be $3 to $6. Draw your own conclusions.
Headed out locally to see what I could find. Nothing at NAPA or the local independent tractor parts store. Stopped at a bicycle shop thinking about the cage bearing in the crank or handle-bar head. None of the cage units seemed to be exact but they have bulk balls in a variety of sizes. Had measured one of the best looking balls before leaving and knew it was almost exactly 5/16", a size they had for 13 cents each. Greased up the race and tried to see how it would work out. Seems 11 of the 5/16" balls fit perfectly where originally there were 8 balls and a flimsy plastic keeper arrangement. Brought home the 22 balls and put everything back together on the bench. The box is nicely designed so that adjustment is easy and exact. Worked great on the bench and works great on the ground so far. The races were less than perfect but I believe it will be fine. In my opinion the 11 balls seem a lot better than 8 balls and the plastic spacer folly.
I guess the point of all that is check the lube and adjustment on your steering gear if you are trying to keep one of these old jewels working like I am, and offer another option for this specific part. I believe in this case the damage was done before I got the machine. Another thing is using it with the escaped bearings laying around in the bottom of the case lets the sector hammer them into the bottom of the box, that causes a crack in the aluminum case. Could be an issue if you don't have a TIG machine handy.
Last edited by Matt W; 12-08-2010 at 11:23 PM. Reason: Photo
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