PT Steering Project

   / PT Steering Project #1  


Platinum Member
Jan 18, 2004
east TN
Power-trac 422 2003 model and 428 January 2015 model
Hi guys it has been a while since I have done a project on my power trac and posted it on here. Recently I bought a mini skid steer trencher and made an adaptor plate. But this is not why I am reporting now. I have a need and many of you after having a PT for a long while may have the same. My left shoulder can no longer take the constant turning of the steering using the spinner knob. Without it the PT just loses a lot of efficiency. What can I do?
I am looking at replacing the steering wheel and steering valve with a 4 position control valve. One something like on a log splitter. But now the ones on a log splitter are open centered. I believe maybe I would need a closed centered one. So here is where you come in. I am not sure how the existing steering control valve works or how it calls for pressure, or if It tells the other control valve (the lift, tilt and quick attach valve) to close its bypass to give the system pressure to operate the steering valve.
I am hoping someone can help on this project. If someone knows how this system works and what it would take to make this happened I will sure keep everyone posted on the progress.
   / PT Steering Project #2  
So you want to become a fighter pilot and steer by joystick instead of steering wheel? :thumbsup:

I have thought about this many times, as a PT would be a great machine to adapt to a disabled person.

I just had my steering valve out a few weeks ago as I thought I blew a seal, but did not.

I'd have to go back and look at that thread.

This is how I would do it on my PT425 2001 model year.

To control steering with a lever valve you only need a left and right function, so a one spool valve would work.

It has to have a power beyond port to feed the loader bucket/aux pto valve as that is currently fed from the steering valve.

When I push it left, the tractor will go left and a right push makes it go right.

The only problem you are going to have is that it may be a bit jerky on the steering VS a real steering valve.

It should be a relatively easy (theoretically) job on paper. The hard part will be making mounting for the new steering valve, extending the existing steering hoses, etc... but I bet you could knock it out in a weekend.

If I get more time tonight, I'll go back and find my steering valve thread, or, you can find it and see what the valve looks like, the description of what all the hoses do, etc... ;)

I think its a very doable project.
   / PT Steering Project #3  
JJ Just popped up from his lazy boy and is making the mad scramble to all his catalogues in his office. I am sure the that boy hasn't been this excited about an idea since he figured out how to hydraulisize his toaster oven.

Can't wait to see what he comes up with.
   / PT Steering Project #4  
I believe the closed center hyd is the VSP and wheel motors. The rest of the hyd I believe is open center

You probably have one of the steering valves, that require a shaft and steering wheel to make it move.

Surplus Center - 4.5 CU IN CHAR-LYNN 211-1047 LR STEERING VALVE

You can probably use a valve that will have a fixed flow and use a valve that will let you control a two position steering, either left or right, and the ability to feather and do a gentle steer, and this valve.


You still have to twist and look back to see. Maybe use a mirror.
   / PT Steering Project #5  
O.K. I looked up the post on my steering valve. There are 5 ports.


In is high pressure from the pump.
Out is low pressure back to the tank.
Left pushes the right steering cylinder and pulls the left one.
Right pushes the left steering cylinder and pulls the right one.
Aux is the power beyond port that feeds the three spool valve that is the loader joystick and aux PTO for the quick attach.

Steering has priority over the aux power beyond port. That's why you can't operate the loader joystick as easily while steering as you can while not moving the steering wheel.

These steering valves are extremely expensive.... like a thousand bucks.

So if you want to convert your steering from a wheel operated steering valve to a lever operated steering valve all you would have to do is get a single spool valve with power beyond and some hoses and you are all set. A better quality valve would probably get you some more precision in steering, but it will always be a bit jerkier than the steering wheel.

Heck, you could get a two spool joystick, make left and right the steering and make forward and reverse the direction controls instead of the treadle and you'd have real fighter pilot control. :laughing:
   / PT Steering Project
  • Thread Starter
Quote "Heck, you could get a two spool joystick, make left and right the steering and make forward and reverse the direction controls instead of the treadle and you'd have real fighter pilot control."
Let us not get carried away now.
Yep woodland a little excited. and JJ a mirror wouldn t help the shoulder but you are right it is harder to look back than it once was. Mirrors may be next.
   / PT Steering Project
  • Thread Starter
Thanks Moss it looks like you have already done the homework I spent a couple of hours doing. Look at this valve and see if you believe this is the one. Prince Single Spool Monoblock Hydraulic Valve – 8 GPM, Model# MB11B5C1 | Control Valves| Northern Tool + Equipment
Yes I am concerned about the valve causing the steering to be a bit jerky and causing trouble when pin pointing, like guiding a ball hitch to a trailer and such. Maybe some orifices install in the fittings at the valve. I am hoping this will not be necessary though. It would slow the steering maybe too much. Seat time may be required for this modification to be fully appreciated.
Also I will probably position the valve as to push forward for right and pull back for left. Better Ergonomics which the wheel and spinner knob has been terrible for. No wonder Power trac did not install this option. I am sure eventually some court case could have arrived from this.
I warn against the spinner knob for anyone doing lots of quick turning. I do not blame you all for using it though. I would not listen to myself if my shoulder had not started giving me problems. Beware it does not happened all at once. Damage will be done before you become aware. Just think about what that shoulder ball and socket has to take! (Ah it won t happened to me)
   / PT Steering Project #8  
A valve like that should work just fine. Make sure it doesn't have FLOAT or detents, though. You wouldn't want that in a steering circuit.

Now, as I am not a physician and I did not sleep at a holiday in last night, lets discuss shoulder problems.

I'm left handed and right eyed domintant. So, the PT is THE perfect machine for a guy like me. I have the spinner knob on my PT425. I steer with my left "power" arm and I aim with my right joystick arm. Love it!

I threw with my left arm. Really, really hard throwing. Never played baseball, but should have. Played a lot of beer league softball though. It was nothing for me to throw over a hundred yards and I could pick off a trash can consistantly at that range. Anywho, a long time ago I damaged my rotator cuff. I was able to resolve all of my issues, gain 100% range of motion and get my strength back and no pain through physical therapy. Surgery was not needed in my case.

Besides the physical therepy, the doctor gave me some excerpts from a book by Nolan Ryan (a decent baseball pitcher for you young folks) and the weight training that he did to rehab himself and keep in shape for such a long career. Anytime I am having the slightest shoulder trouble, I resume my workouts and weight training. It really helps.

I would suggest you consult a doctor about what is causing your shoulder pain and come up with a plan to resolve it. It may not be from just the PT. You could have damage, deteriorating joints, etc.... I will tell you my quality of life is so much better now that I have no pain. I'm over 50, can't throw like I used to, but have 100% range of motion and good strength. It makes a world of difference in every day activities. :thumbsup:
   / PT Steering Project #9  
The spool valve should match the GPM's of the hyd pump .

This 10 GPM joystick valve has 2 spools, but you can plug the spool with float, or use it for that other function you always wanted and use the other spool for the steering. It will provide for a variable speed steering.


It also has PB for downstream operations.

A solenoid valve with spring center and a toggle switch might work but it will be full flow and not as smooth as a lever spool valve.

Bye the way, does your steering wheel and wheels return to center like in a car.

Reason I am asking, is that when you release the lever on a spring center valve, the spool returns to center, but the cyl locks in place, and if you were in a turn and let go the valve, you would continue to turn.

Find a valve with no spring center or just remove the centering springs.
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   / PT Steering Project
  • Thread Starter
Thanks JJ that valve may be a little more expensive but would give and easer insulation than the other one. I believe it could mount on the left side of the steering Column and with 90s I could use the same hoses. Gosh maybe it will mount inside with some bracket work and use the same fittings already on the PT.
With the 422 and 425 you have to move the steering back to where you want it. It will not center on its own.