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    445 drifting to left

    I have never owned a John Deere with power steering until now. That being said, my 445 has a slight drift to the left if I hold the steering wheel without turning it. Is this something normal with the power steering?


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    bloodrunsgreen's Avatar
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    Check the bushings that that the wheel arms go up through on the front axle (wear), plus check the axle pivot point bushing (wear). Check the tie rod ends (loose/worn out), and the tie rod (bent). Finally check for play in the Power steering
    Last edited by bloodrunsgreen; 05-09-2018 at 04:47 PM.

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    Fozsey's Avatar
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    Not normal. The tie rod ends are the place I'd start, assuming you don't have a low front tire and the alignment is within limits. If its AWS, its 10x more critical. Jack the front up and check every joint to make sure each is tight. One loose one will impact steering. From there, check the power steering cylinder ends to make sure they are tight but I'd guess you'll find your issue sooner than that.

    If AWS, you also have the front swash plate joints, and a swash plate with joints in the back. Any of these could cause steering issues.


    ~Brian~

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    Thank the two of you very much. I will check those things now. My 445 is not AWS.


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    Zebrafive's Avatar
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    I agree with Fozsey, low tire pressure, Check ALL, or front not aligned properly (toe-in wrong or lacking)

    Check these things first, then check wear items.
    Last edited by Zebrafive; 05-10-2018 at 08:31 AM.
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    tj1
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    I'm going with the front end not aligned, easy fix if the tire pressure is good on all wheels. There should be an alignment section in your owners manual.
    Jeff

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    Maybe it was used to mow the infield at a NASCAR track.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gboyet93 View Post
    I have never owned a John Deere with power steering until now. That being said, my 445 has a slight drift to the left if I hold the steering wheel without turning it. Is this something normal with the power steering?


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    These things are notorious for wearing out tie rod ends. In fact, I keep a spare set in my spare parts box because when they break, you are going no where as the front wheels will be pointing left wheel left, right wheel right. You can't even back up as it will just act like a clown car.......or my neighbor with AWS......who loves to mow in circles.....(See, why the deck says "Not a Step" thread...)

    Tie rod ends / Steering Linkage
    What tends to wear out the tie rods ends faster are those machines which carry a lot of weight on the front axle, such as the snow blower or front plow on these garden tractors on the front quick hitch assembly. It's normal wear, not necessarily meaning anything is seriously wrong............

    If it is a tie rod end or linkage issue, do yourself a HUGE FAVOR and spend the extra money and buy the good OEM rod ends from your Deere dealer. I have purchased the "Oregon" brand and others in the after market and they are not nearly the quality and won't last. Also, tie rod ends are threaded in opposite directions with left handed threads or right handed threads so make sure you are getting the one you need. If you aren't sure, remove it and take it with you to the dealer, they will show you the difference and get you what you need. I would be very surprised if they didn't stock these parts. If you have one worn tie rod end, replace both sides while you are doing it. If one is worn, the other is right behind it.

    The following information is important to pay attention to and will save you headaches. If you do have a worn tie rod end or other steering part, before you disassemble anything, count the threads exposed on the tie rod ends and when you replace the old part, thread the new part on to the same depth on the shaft. Usually, this will put the alignment right where it should be, unless something else is bent or another part if worn out.

    Back to the front steering linkage under the tractor, make sure everything is greased and freely operating, including the front axle pivot in the center of the axle. When you jack the front of your tractor up, the axle should freely lift up and down, left to right (tilt from side to side on the center pivot) and there should be no "wobble" of any of the components.

    Steering Wheel and Steering Column Assembly
    If your examination of the steering linkages don't demonstrate any wear or failures, this section is likely the next source.
    It's also worth mentioning that the steering on these will get "loose" over time and it's often a function of the bushings in the steering column being worn or the tilt steering mechanism wears and causes the steering wheel to "be loose". One of the primary reasons this wear occurs is so many people grab the steering wheel when getting on these tractors and they pull themselves on the tractor platform and seat, which adds side loads to the steering column, which result in these wearing and causing the steering wheel to "feel loose' when wobbled either side to side or front to back.

    Depending upon the serial number of the machine, some of these have a steering shaft and some have a steering cable which is flexible. This can be the location of some of the wear which can causes the drift as well. If your steering wheel feels loose at all, and you can move it either front to back or left to right, it very well could be wear in the steering shaft components.

    While the steering linkages and tie rod ends and shafts are very straight forward, the actual repair to fix the steering column or wheel is more involved and requires more labor. You have to remove the dash to get the steering shaft out to see what's worn. To be honest with you, if this is what's wrong with your tractor and it's not a loose tie rod end or other linkage issue, the complexity of fixing it is much greater. You are going to want to have a Deere Technical Service Manual to undertake removing the steering column assembly.

    Possible Tire Issues
    Also, if this tractor is new to you, look at the tread depth on the front tires and the wear patterns as well as the tire pressures. I have seen where people replace just one front tire and the other is so worn it causes the tractor to "wander" to the side, usually (but not always) the good tire would be "dominant" in pulling it that direction.

    "Wheel Alignment"
    Also, you can measure the distance with a tape measure between the inside edges of the front of the front tires and the inside rear of the front tires to make sure they are parallel and the steering is "aligned". If you have a discrepancy between the distances on the front and rear inside of the front tires, it will cause the tires to "Plow" which will will wear the tires on the pavement and it will actually scuff the grass when turning. Plus the steering will not be smooth and it will act like it is "fighting you" to some degree and you will feel it in the steering wheel.

    Summary
    I doubt very much if the problem is actually in the power steering of the tractor, but is more of a basic linkage or mechanical item. Usually straight forward and easily detected once you jack the center of the front axle up so you can "pivot" and check all of the steering linkage, etc.
    I have worked on these numerous times so if you need help, feel free to send me a Private message and I will do what I can to help you.
    Last edited by SulleyBear; 05-10-2018 at 08:38 PM. Reason: correction

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    Fozsey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SulleyBear View Post
    These things are notorious for wearing out tie rod ends. In fact, I keep a spare set in my spare parts box because when they break, you are going no where as the front wheels will be pointing left wheel left, right wheel right. You can't even back up as it will just act like a clown car.......or my neighbor with AWS......who loves to mow in circles.....(See, why the deck says "Not a Step" thread...)

    Tie rod ends / Steering Linkage
    What tends to wear out the tie rods ends faster are those machines which carry a lot of weight on the front axle, such as the snow blower or front plow on these garden tractors on the front quick hitch assembly. It's normal wear, not necessarily meaning anything is seriously wrong............

    If it is a tie rod end or linkage issue, do yourself a HUGE FAVOR and spend the extra money and buy the good OEM rod ends from your Deere dealer. I have purchased the "Oregon" brand and others in the after market and they are not nearly the quality and won't last. Also, tie rod ends are threaded in opposite directions with left handed threads or right handed threads so make sure you are getting the one you need. If you aren't sure, remove it and take it with you to the dealer, they will show you the difference and get you what you need. I would be very surprised if they didn't stock these parts. If you have one worn tie rod end, replace both sides while you are doing it. If one is worn, the other is right behind it.

    The following information is important to pay attention to and will save you headaches. If you do have a worn tie rod end or other steering part, before you disassemble anything, count the threads exposed on the tie rod ends and when you replace the old part, thread the new part on to the same depth on the shaft. Usually, this will put the alignment right where it should be, unless something else is bent or another part if worn out.

    Back to the front steering linkage under the tractor, make sure everything is greased and freely operating, including the front axle pivot in the center of the axle. When you jack the front of your tractor up, the axle should freely lift up and down, left to right (tilt from side to side on the center pivot) and there should be no "wobble" of any of the components.

    Steering Wheel and Steering Column Assembly
    If your examination of the steering linkages don't demonstrate any wear or failures, this section is likely the next source.
    It's also worth mentioning that the steering on these will get "loose" over time and it's often a function of the bushings in the steering column being worn or the tilt steering mechanism wears and causes the steering wheel to "be loose". One of the primary reasons this wear occurs is so many people grab the steering wheel when getting on these tractors and they pull themselves on the tractor platform and seat, which adds side loads to the steering column, which result in these wearing and causing the steering wheel to "feel loose' when wobbled either side to side or front to back.

    Depending upon the serial number of the machine, some of these have a steering shaft and some have a steering cable which is flexible. This can be the location of some of the wear which can causes the drift as well. If your steering wheel feels loose at all, and you can move it either front to back or left to right, it very well could be wear in the steering shaft components.

    While the steering linkages and tie rod ends and shafts are very straight forward, the actual repair to fix the steering column or wheel is more involved and requires more labor. You have to remove the dash to get the steering shaft out to see what's worn. To be honest with you, if this is what's wrong with your tractor and it's not a loose tie rod end or other linkage issue, the complexity of fixing it is much greater. You are going to want to have a Deere Technical Service Manual to undertake removing the steering column assembly.

    Possible Tire Issues
    Also, if this tractor is new to you, look at the tread depth on the front tires and the wear patterns as well as the tire pressures. I have seen where people replace just one front tire and the other is so worn it causes the tractor to "wander" to the side, usually (but not always) the good tire would be "dominant" in pulling it that direction.

    "Wheel Alignment"
    Also, you can measure the distance with a tape measure between the inside edges of the front of the front tires and the inside rear of the front tires to make sure they are parallel and the steering is "aligned". If you have a discrepancy between the distances on the front and rear inside of the front tires, it will cause the tires to "Plow" which will will wear the tires on the pavement and it will actually scuff the grass when turning. Plus the steering will not be smooth and it will act like it is "fighting you" to some degree and you will feel it in the steering wheel.

    Summary
    I doubt very much if the problem is actually in the power steering of the tractor, but is more of a basic linkage or mechanical item. Usually straight forward and easily detected once you jack the center of the front axle up so you can "pivot" and check all of the steering linkage, etc.
    I have worked on these numerous times so if you need help, feel free to send me a Private message and I will do what I can to help you.
    You are my hero! This
    BigJim55, SulleyBear and TJR345 like this.


    ~Brian~

    1998 425/54 Deck/650 hours | 1998 455/60 Deck/54 Blade/1300 hours | 2003 GX345 48 Deck/47 Blade/Electric Pivot/900 hours (sold)


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    Someone may have mentioned this, but the early models of 4X5 tractors did not have grease fittings on the power steering cylinder ends. Mine wore to the point that control was very difficult. I drilled it and put grease fittings in, but it was too late. The original lasted for nearly 20 years. The replacement has grease fittings like the later models. It is easy to check by slowly turning the steering wheel to see if the ends of the cylinder moves before the bellcrank moves.

    If I could write like SulleyBear, the above paragraph would be much clearer and more interesting. You should write technical manuals SB.
    Don

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