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Is it normal for the steering to have half of a turn of play in it with the engine off? I've never had a tractor with power steering. Thinking of buying this tractor but the engine is blown so cant check it running. The guy says it will tighten up when its running...
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A JD 400's power steering is run off the hydraulic system, it's not a separate power steering system. A half turn is a lot, especially with no power applied to it. Mine had some decent play in but I chalked that up to worn steering linkage. Sounds like this 400 has bigger problems than the steering. Hopefully it is a complete tractor. The Kohler engine is kind of hard to find rebuild kits for. They stopped making the engine in 2000 or 2001 so...you can repower it with a Briggs or a Honda. You will have to do the math to see if it's worth it. You maybe better off finding a runner. They are great tractors, I loved mine when I had it.
 
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Thank you, he wants a bit more then I think its worth to be honest. And its been sitting (inside) for 8 years he said. So yeah, probably a can of worms to be open... I may pass on it unless he comes way down and he may after a while....
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It sounds like play in the linkage between the steering wheel and the cylinder and there is a lot of linkage. You can adjust the steering gear at the base of the steering wheel just like an old car. But it wears mostly in the middle so if you adjust it and tighten the middle it might bind as the selector rotates. That is quite a bit of play. I will go out and see how much mine has later tonight.

Off a 1/4 turn. On a little less that an 1/8”. I put greasable bushings in the linkage but the sector has some wear.
 
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