Craftsman Tire Won't Stay On

   / Craftsman Tire Won't Stay On #1  


New member
Oct 9, 2016
Haymarket, VA
Jinma 28 HP, Craftsman Yard Tractor
My 2014 craftsman yard tractor with tight turn capability has begun to throw the right front tire, repeatedly.

The entire tire assembly is held on the cast iron axle with a single retaining clip ring. That clip is isolated from the wheel hub by two washers. And the axle is protected from the wheel hub by two bushings (one interior, one exterior).

Recently the clip ring has begun to come off and allow the entire assembly, washers, tire hub and all, to completely separate from the tractor.

It seems the hub and washers are exerting enough outward force on the clip ring that it can not keep hold of the axle end. And once the clip ring is pushed off, everything comes off.

I've tried replacing the hub, the washers, the clip ring (multiple times) and keep everything thoroughly greased. The only thing I haven't changed out is the axle itself (which doesn't appear to have any damage on it).

I'm at a loss for why this clip ring assembly, which worked well for the first two years I owned this mower, doesn't seem capable of holding the wheel assembly on the axle.

Any recommendations, advice or insight into this problem will be greatly appreciated.

   / Craftsman Tire Won't Stay On #2  
I'm thinking the groove cut into the axle probably has been deformed from repeatedly being pushed off. Is the axle diameter large enough to drill and install a roll pin or drill & tap the end of the axle for a bolt?

A picture might help form some repair ideas.
   / Craftsman Tire Won't Stay On #3  
Maybe drill a hole in the axle so the clip can go through the hole instead of in the groove around the axle.
   / Craftsman Tire Won't Stay On
  • Thread Starter
I tried to post a link to a photo of the "spindle arm" but I'm too new on the forum to post links, just yet. But you might be right about wear in the groove cut. I'll go take a look and see if that's the case.

It might be possible to thread the end of the spindle arm to add a retaining nut, but there's not much real estate to work with so a nut won't get much purchase even if I tried. Definitely not enough room to drill a hole and insert a role pin. But drill and tap the end of the axle to install a bolt, that might work.

   / Craftsman Tire Won't Stay On #5  
As said drill hole than add washer heavy duty cotter pin...done it before and work fine on Cub Cadet.
   / Craftsman Tire Won't Stay On
  • Thread Starter
I think I know what the problem is. It looks like the toe in/camber is out of alignment. With my right tire pointed forward, the left tire is toed outward about 15 degrees. Assuming the left wheel is in proper alignment, the right would be toed outward as I mow. And that would definitely put enough strain on the right tire to pull it off the axle.

Sadly, after doing a quick search, it appears the toe in/camber is set at the factory and I may need to call a tech to come service it (unless I can find some info on who to do it myself).

Here's a pic of what the alignment looks like right now...

   / Craftsman Tire Won't Stay On #7  
It's probably just a threaded adjustable tie rod. I suspect you can do it.
   / Craftsman Tire Won't Stay On #8  
The 90s model Craftsmen were bad about bending the steering linkage. Might be something to look at.
   / Craftsman Tire Won't Stay On
  • Thread Starter
I checked the tie rods, unfortunately they aren't threaded or adjustable. That would have made it so much easier. One steering linkage, on the right side, does appear to be slightly bent (see photo) but it's hard to believe that bend is throwing it out of whack. Unfortunately, swapping out these linkages is a major surgical event. I'd basically have to pull the engine to get to the point where the rods are bolted into the steering plate. Before going that route, I think I may sacrifice a cheaper part, the small tie rod on the right side, by cutting it and installing a tie rod sleeve. Challenge will be finding one small enough to fit.

Note the small curve in the steer linkage bar (the one with the yellow cap at one end).
   / Craftsman Tire Won't Stay On #10  
First I'd try a piece of 14 to 12 ga (whatever fits, wider the better) fencing wire set in the groove and then twisted with pliers till tight. If that doesn't work change wire diameter and/or twist tighter. If that doesn't work, I think I'd grind flat a spot on the axle groove obviously with the wheel assy removed and counter punch and then drill a hole to accept a cotter pin.