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My '52 M has some steering difficulties. The steering wheel must rotate at least 180 degrees before the front wheels begin to turn right or left. I have "fiddled" with the adjustment but it appears to be worn out. How difficult is it to replace and/or repair this problem? How difficult it is to find the necessary parts to repair the problem? Can someone tell me the steps necessary to remedy the problem?
 

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Can you tell that the "slop" is truly in the steering box?
I only have about 70 degrees of slop in the wheel of my M but most of it comes from worn out tie-rods.

According to Deere's shop manual, the steering box itself isn't too difficult to replace.
Here is the short version:
Remove hood and grile
At the box, disconnect the shaft running to the steering wheel
At the front axle, un-bolt the bottom of the steering shaft
Remove the bolts holding the steering box to its mounting plate
Slide the box and shaft upwards and out of the tube

My parts manual does not list a P/N for a whole steering box loaded with gears and ready to bolt on but I see them for sale online occasionally. Make sure you buy a box for an M and not another member of the M family. Year doesn't make a difference but each variant (MT, MI, etc) used a different steering box.

John Deere Model M Wheels, Steering, Front axle - $280 for a plug and play box
Antique Tractor Restoration Parts and Info - John Deere M Parts - parts to re-build your existing box

And those were just the first websites which caught my eye. While an M steering box is not a typical item to come up for sale, they are also not the rarest either.

Good luck!
 
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