Tie-Rods: Poor Quality

   #1  

moship

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Noticed a good bit of play in the front right tire/wheel when going down the road and confirmed the tie-rod was bad by lifting the tire off the ground and moving the tire left and right. Ordered a new Tie-Rod for a bit over $110 with tax, so it must be some super deluxe part that will last into the next Millennium.

After removing the rubber dust boot I'm thinking it was never packed with grease. The gap between the ball and socket looks like the Grand Canyon and there is no evidence of grease! For reference the stud is 18mm and I believe a 3/16" bit fit in this gap. (See photos below)

After changing 50 or more tie-rods on cars over the years, I just assumed the tie-rod included the castle nut and new cotter pin. But Kubota is more forward thinking and elects to package the tie-rod LESS nut and cotter key. Nothing like a $9 castle nut and another trip to the dealer.

For the record the L4740 has right at 600 hours on it.

I'm likely going to take the boot off the new one to make certain there is grease in it. Also tempted to see if a zerk fitting can be added.

Of the several common design methods for ball joints this is the cheapest design out there, yet priced as a premium part. I don't mind paying for quality but this certainly doesn't look to be the case with this part.

Referencing Messick's, this part is used on 25 models ranging from L4240 thru L5740, L4760 thru L6060 and Mx 4800 thru MX5800.

In the event it is useful to anyone, the stud thread size is 18-1.50 mm (fine pitch).
 

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   #2  

Ortimber

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That failed pretty fast. 600hrs isn't very much. Maybe that ball joint was defective from the factory. We have several tractors with 3-4K hrs and have never replaced front end parts. Sorry for your luck.
 
  
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#3  
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moship

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That failed pretty fast. 600hrs isn't very much. Maybe that ball joint was defective from the factory. We have several tractors with 3-4K hrs and have never replaced front end parts. Sorry for your luck.

I agree that 600 hours isn't too much. This is the first tractor I've had to put tie-rods on. A bit more and the ball would have pulled out of the socket.

Completed the job today... At least the right side.

Below are a few pictures showing the ball joint cut apart. There's no evidence of grease, but considering how much metal is worn away and along with only 50% of the plastic ball cage being there it's hard to determine the root cause.

General notes:
1. The female threads are M20x1.5
2. Part Number: TD270-13710
3. Verified new ball joint has grease. It appears to be Moly type.
4. Made my own castle nut as I couldn't see paying Kubota's price. Used a grinder with cut-off blade to make the slots in a new nut. Cost about $1.25. $1 for nut and $0.25 worth of cut-off wheel.
5. Wanted to add a zerk fitting to make them greasable, but concerned I'd damage the new tie-rod. There is a dimple on the side that I'm guessing is for a zerk.
6. There is a plastic cage/bearing between the ball and socket. Much of it is missing or severely worn thin.
7. Top cover is crimped in place. Could water have leaked through this seam and caused the problem?... Who knows.
8. Ball is not hardened as the well worn with missing teeth band saw blade had no problem cutting into the ball.
9. Rubber boot was in good shape with no cuts/tears.

Checked the other side and it is worn about half this amount, so will be replacing in the near future.

Tie-rod is made by QH Talbros, Product | QH Talbros

Here's the link to the ball joint on Messick's showing the different models it is used on. Kubota: END, TIE ROD, Part # TD27-1371

I'd be interested in learning from other owners of 40hp and larger Grand L 40 and 60 series tractor if theirs are loose. Need to lift front end off the ground and rock wheel back and forth in the steering direction.
 

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  • Thread Starter
#5  
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moship

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How do you get grease between the ball and socket? I can see where it would be effective in getting grease inside the boot... guess it would be better than nothing.

Thanks for the suggestion.
 
   #6  

repete

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How do you get grease between the ball and socket? I can see where it would be effective in getting grease inside the boot... guess it would be better than nothing.

Thanks for the suggestion.

My thoughts were better than nothing as well... I figured it would eventually get in to the joint.
 
   #7  

oosik

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Saying there is a fairly large gap between the ball & socket is a GROSS understatement.
 
  
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#8  
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moship

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Saying there is a fairly large gap between the ball & socket is a GROSS understatement.

Hence my description in the original post: "The gap between the ball and socket looks like the Grand Canyon and there is no evidence of grease!" :D:
 
   #9  

crashz

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There isn't any grease fittings on the front end of a Grand L? Very surprised.
 
   #10  

KennyG

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How do you get grease between the ball and socket? I can see where it would be effective in getting grease inside the boot... guess it would be better than nothing.

Thanks for the suggestion.

I think getting grease in is only half the reason for greasing fittings. Keeping water and dirt out is just as important. If the boot is full of grease I think you are OK.
 
 
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