1020 Steering Issue
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Thread: 1020 Steering Issue

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    1020 Steering Issue

    Hi Guys,

    Newbie here. I've got a 1020 with power steering, it's actually a 301 but they're identical, and it has excessive play in the steering wheel. I can basically turn the wheel almost a half turn before the front wheels start to move. When you look at the steering wheel from the side of the tractor you can see it raise up and lower, relative to the housing, when you turn it. So the shaft the steering wheel is bolted to seems to be moving up or down for that half a revolution of the steering wheel before it turns the piece it screws into at the bottom of the shaft. I guess you could call this backlash or free play, but I'm not sure how to remove it. I'd guess the total vertical distance the steering wheel moves up or down before the front wheels start to turn is about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch.

    I've looked at the parts diagrams in my manuals and online and I don't understand what actually wears in the steering housing that might need to be replaced. I don't want to pull the housing apart until I understand how things work. I do see there's a big adjuster nut on the steering wheel shaft right under the steering wheel, but I can't imagine it would screw down that far to take up all that backlash. I would also assume I'm not the only one who has ever had this problem. So if anyone could explain to me what's happening and what parts actually wear............I'd much appreciate it.

    thanks,
    bob

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    Some up and down movement is normal. Are you seeing this movement when the engine is running or stopped? The shaft has to move up and down some to open and close the left and right steering valve that ride on the shaft. When running, the movement up and down should be very minimal, maybe 1/8". When not running, you will see maybe 3/8" movement. Usually slop in the steering is caused further down the line at the splined shaft that connects the drag link or the joints on the draglink and tie rods. also the bellcrank on the front axle can get very loose and case lots of free play in the steering wheel.
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    Drifterbike's Avatar
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    My 10(20 also has movement in the steering I just live with it's been that way since I got it from my grandfather in 91. It's a great tractor and used to pull a 72" Landpride mower.
    2018 2038R 220R FEL, 72" Mower, Radial tires, wheel spacers, dual rear SVCs, CtA grapple, single point for FEL, 60" broom with front hitch;2018 1025R 54"auto connect, HDAP tires, Quick Hitch, Ballast Box, Etc...;1967 1020 3cylinder gas, #47 FEL, 72" Landpride Grooming Mower, 6ft box blade, For Sale(no Hurry); life Member NRA since 1974

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    flyweight's Avatar
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    Bob,
    Welcome to GTT.

    A good bit of the steering slack comes from the steering arm(arrow pointing upward) (#9, in 3rd image)becoming loose. Remove the round cover(arrow pointing horizontal) and check to see if the steering arm has come loose on the steering shaft(#7, in 3rd image). Tighten bolt(#11, in 3rd image) if necessary. Also check for wear on shaft & arm. Replacement of these items may be necessary.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Under the steering wheel, there is an adjuster(#4) in the image below. To adjust, remove steering wheel(what fun!), loosen nut(#1). Using a spanner wrench, or a pipe wrench, turn adjuster(#4) clockwise to tighten(just to where you feel slight resistance). Then, tighten nut(#1). This will only take out minimal steering slack.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Other items to check for wear, are the ends of the drag-link(#13 below).


    And, front axle tie-rod ends, the bell-crack(#1) and bearing(#3).


    Hope this helps.
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    Michael

    2019 JD Z540R 54" cutting deck w/MulchControl™
    1984 JD 750
    1971 JD 15 Chainsaw ← hasn't run since ~1975

    Also have a bunch of other stuff.
    ---------------------------------------
    " If there's no one around to smell me, do I really stink"?
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    Hi Guys,

    Ok, here's an update. I pulled the round cover off to look at the steering arm and steering shaft in Flyweight's first pic. Nut was tight. So I pulled the nut and washer off to see the splines and what happened when I turned the steering wheel. Nothing much happened. The splined steering shaft is tight in the steering arm......no slop in the splines. Put the nut and washer and inspection cover back on. The tie rods and bell crank components are all tight.........those I checked when I restored the tractor. So.....I measured the amount the steering wheel goes up and down before it gets hard to turn. It's about 1/4" and the steering wheel rotates just a bit less than 180 degrees (half a turn) freely. At both ends of the rotation you can feel the steering wheel rotation firming up for about 10 degrees in each direction before it stops turning completely........but it's totally free in between. I believe that when the wheel starts firming up in each direction that that is what JD110 is talking about. But the rest of the free play shouldn't be there. The 1/4" travel and the 180 degrees of free rotation of the steering wheel happens whether the tractor is running or not.

    So the problem is in the steering column. I pulled the steering wheel easily, as it's been off before and I anti-seized the splines. The nut that needs to be loosened to move the adjuster is friggin' huge, so I'll have to get a large deep socket from work tomorrow to give her a go. I don't want to tear it all up with a pipe wrench. Then I'll see if I can spin the adjuster down to take up all this steering shaft travel. I don't think the adjuster will spin that far down and have any threads left to catch the big lock nut........but we'll see. Might end up just living with all the free rotation in the steering wheel and keep looking like a mad-man spinning that steering wheel back and forth just to keep it going in a straight line.



    Thanks for all your replies,
    bob
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    Hi Guys,

    Update to my update. I did manage to get the big locknut/adjuster combo off the steering housing. Seems the locknut is seriously attached to the adjuster, but they did come off as an assembly...........so I'll be dealing with that tomorrow. Think I'll head down to my JD dealer tomorrow morning before I get stated to order another locknut, seal and bushing in case some of those don't survive the surgery. They can't rape me too badly on those parts, as I think the three in total are like $28. The adjuster that the lock nut is fused to runs $180..........so I'll work hard to save that piece. It does look like there is some adjustment left to be had on the adjuster, so if I can't eliminate most of the free play in the steering wheel I might be able to make it significantly better than it is now. Will report back tomorrow (hopefully).

    thanks again,
    bob
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    IIRC the big nut should be tightened down to a specific torque value but I don't remember the torque amount. Nut is designed to be removed/tightened with a spanner wrench.
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    Hi Guys,

    Jim.......you're right. I've got the torque values from the manual.......but no spanner was ever going to get that nut off! Don't get me wrong......you're correct in saying your supposed to use a spanner to get the lock nut off......but this one wasn't budging. Ended up chucking the adjuster in a vice with aluminum jaw covers and using a 1" impact gun with a 2 1/4" socket to finally break the nut free. When it was assembled last no one put any lube or anti-seize on the threads and it just froze up. But I got it all apart and cleaned up. Chased the threads and everything assembled smooth as butter.

    So when I got home last night I was anxious to install the adjuster on the tractor and hopefully get rid of all that vertical play. Well..........that didn't happen. I re-assembled and torqued properly...........and the play in the wheel is exactly the same. The adjuster is also bottomed out as far as it will go.....so it's a deeper problem. Which I guess brings me back to my next question. I'm not really understanding what's going on in the stack of parts inside the steering housing. It's not a spool valve as I understand them....just a bunch of stacked parts. What I need to know is which of those parts actually wears out? I went thru the manual, but it doesn't really say what would need replacing over time. If anyone knows...........can you let me know? I'm not going any further without understanding what I could be screwing up.

    Thanks,
    bob

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    I have NOTHING to offer here other than if you PM me your email address, I can get you connected to the official service manual if you would like to dig deeper.

    My 1020 is loose too, but I just give that up to a 40 year old tractor
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    Darwin
    1025r -> 60D Auto Connect MMM; H120 FEL, 53" bucket, KBOH (3), shackle backer (3), bolt on replaceable cutter; Frontier SB1154; 5' king cutter box blade; king cutter 3pt trailer mover; JD ballast box; 1.25" rear wheel spacers, 40 gallon Fimco sprayer, 52" Ohio Steel lawn sweeper, 3pt King Kutter Poly Fertilizer spreader.

  13. Top | #10

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    Hi 56Nine,

    Thanks for the offer, but I've got the service manual (TM 1034). I just re-read it again. It does say "inspect parts for wear" when it talks about disassembling the steering stack, but if I don't know what the parts are supposed to look like.........I don't know if I can tell if they're worn or not. From what I can tell the "stack" is a bunch of close tolerance washer-like parts, that even if worn couldn't wear enough to produce a 1/4 inch of vertical play. Something is just not set right. The manual mentions a specific preload needed on the stack......that might be the problem. I'll hunt around on other tractor sites.........I'm sure someone has dealt with this problem. Deere made thousands and thousands of 20 series machines, not to mention their identical industrial brothers......so I can't be the only one to have this problem. If I do get it figured out I'll report back here and let you know what I found.

    thanks again,
    bob
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