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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 322 sprung a leak with hydraulic fluid coming out around the steering column. In order to troubleshoot it, I took the thing apart. I attempted to start it in order to find the hydraulic leak only to find that the engine will no longer turn over! I can still hear the magneto clicking when the ignition is in the run position, but I don't even get a solenoid click when I tray to engage the starter. I'm inclined to think this is not the starter as it started and ran fine prior to disassembly. I'm thinking something either came loose or shorted due to my taking things apart. I checked the fuses and all are good. The seat safety has been jumped out and there's another jumper around something in the wiring harness, but things ran fine with these wires in place.

Any idea on what to check and how to check it to get this thing started again?

Any place I should be looking for the hydraulic leak?

Thank you,
Rhett Graves
Madison, AL
 

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Rhett,

The 322 engine cranking wiring includes several safety interlocks, so you may have either inadvertently loosened a connection of forgot to set a required control. The tractor must be in neutral (hydro ground speed lever in the notch marked with the stop sign...) AND all the PTO switches set to OFF AND the parking brake set if it is a later unit (above SN 596006...)

Text Diagram Circuit component Passive circuit component Font


You should restore the wiring to factory configuration (seat switch, etc...) so it is both safe and easier to diagnose. If you do not have a rear PTO switch, there will be a jumper at X5 in the harness --maybe that is the one you are describing. The 318 and 322 are the same in this area.

Photograph Snapshot Hand Finger Gesture
Text Diagram Line Technical drawing Parallel


Chuck
 

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Seal leak in steering colum

As far as it not starting you must have unhooked something. As far as it leaking hydraulic fluid up through the column your not going to find anything. This is an internal seal leak at the base of the column. I did this repair job two years ago on my 322. But if you took stuff apart to explore you didn't waste your time,
just keep going. The whole steering valve and column has to come out. Radiator and fan have to come out there in the way, the three side covers around the column need to be removed. The hardest part about removing it is unbolting the 5 hydraulic line (some have 4 ) from the bottom . There's just no room to turn the wrench, on some of the hydraulic lines I was only able to turn the wrench 1/4 turn at a time , I even cut one of my wrenches in half and put a bend in another to help out . Make sure you mark which line goes were. The service manual TM1591 shows good pic and explains how to take the column apart. The part that sucks is you have to disassemble the whole column all 18 plates or so to get to the seal on the end that is leaking. You can get the seal kit from Deere.
seal kit #SK000097 some were between 60. and 100. dollars.
Good luck ask as many questions as you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Continuing to troubleshoot

Thanks guys! I know it's been a couple of months...what can I say? I'm slow. I ran down the wiring diagram and verified that everything was connected. Turns out the starting issue was a battery on the fritz. With a good battery installed, I was able to start the tractor. I didn't notice any leaks as it ran, but I didn't have things pulled all the way apart and I figured the hydraulic fluid might have been too low to build pressure.

I've since pulled the mower apart to the point that I can see the steering column base. Before going further, I wanted to verify that this was indeed the location of the leak, so I re-filled the system with hydraulic fluid. As I filled it, I heard a dripping sound only to find hydraulic fluid leaking out of the top of the transmission where the fill hose connects. The fill glass still doesn't have any fluid in it. What am I doing wrong here? Why is this thing leaking at a point that it's never leaked before, especially just being under the pressure of the height of the hydraulic fluid column in the fill neck?

Green
 

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RC,

As I recall, there is a small vent hole drilled in that elbow to allow air to escape the reservoir as fluid is added. If you are using the recommended Deere Hygard fluid which is quite clear, you may not have seen the meniscus pass through the sight tube and the transmission is actually OVERFILLED -- hence the leaking out the vent hole in the elbow.

You may need to drain and refill to be sure you have the levels correct. Remember that quite a bit of fluid is retained in the filter and on the surfaces of the internal parts, so the stated capacities are only really applied to a dry, new assembly. I always start by filling with the first 3.5 to 4 quarts and check the sight class often as the fluid goes in from there. I don't recall ever needing the full 5 quarts listed in the Operator's Manual to get a fluid level correct...

Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am using the Deere Low Viscosity Hygard fluid. Is there an alternative fluid that I can use? I'm not so much motivated by the price as I am my ability to get by the John Deere store. Their hours and mine don't mesh too well. Is there a generic alternative that won't break the hydraulic system?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So I've got the starting thing worked out and the 322 starts without a hitch. After over-filling the hydraulic reservoir, the fluid level settled out with the meniscus showing in the site glass, so I tried reproducing the hydraulic leak. I started the mower and let it run for 5 minutes or so, then put the hydraulic system through its paces. Under no condition could I reproduce the leak!!

My wife saw a slow dribble of hydraulic fluid from around the base of the steering column that ran out over the dash. Didn't happen for me. However, the steering box was covered in a mixture of dirt and relatively-fresh hydraulic fluid. I wiped the gunk off to see if any fluid was oozing out of the steering box. No luck there either. The mechanic at the John Deere dealership seemed to think it was a seal in the steering box that needed replacing. Any chance that thing re-seated itself?

At this point, I'm torn as to what to do. I don't have the time or the tools to rebuild the steering box, so either a rebuilt ($350) or new ($800) steering box is an answer. However, since I cannot reproduce the problem, I hate to throw that kind of money at an unidentified problem. If it were your tractor, what would you do? Replace the steering box or put it all back together and pray?

Thanks y'all,
Rhett
 

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Rhett,

It might be that the overfilled hydro was somehow causing the seep in the steering column but I doubt it. Just keep an eye on things while you continue to operate at the proper fluid levels, and only tear down the steering column valve if you get reproducible symptoms -- getting the valve out, rebuilt or replaced and back in is a substantial investment of hours considering the tight spaces involved...not to mention the $$$

Chuck
 

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I agree with Chuck, I would take a wait and see approach. but I fear your problem will come back. From the first time mine leaked through the colum, till the second time was a couple months. The next time was a couple more. All in all, it took 9 months for it to leak often enough for me to fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I agree with Chuck, I would take a wait and see approach. but I fear your problem will come back. From the first time mine leaked through the colum, till the second time was a couple months. The next time was a couple more. All in all, it took 9 months for it to leak often enough for me to fix it.
Well Chuckv and kmg, the leak came back last week!! It's just a slow dribble out of the steering column, but it was enough that I'm mowing my whole yard with the push mower until I can get this fixed.

The steering control box is either John Deere AM100268 or AM107082, depending on mower serial number. They sell for around $1100 at most John Deere parts stores. Does anyone know the equivalent Parker HGF part number? I don't know what the savings would be to order directly from a Parker distributor, but I'd like to see if it could be done.

Has anyone had experience purchasing rebuilt units on Ebay?
 

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RC,

These steering units are rebuild-able -- you do not have to replace the entire unit. Here is the procedure:

View attachment 318_322_330_332_420_430_Parker_Hydrostatic_Steering_System-HGF_Series_Service(SM2753).pdf


The TM1591 also has a section in this rebuild as seen here:

View attachment 322 steering valve rebuild from Tm1591.pdf

I believe that all the 322 tractors used the same 5-port style steering valve, but there was a serial number break at 595348 where that number and above used the AM107082 valve, while 595347 and below used the AM100268 part. The seal kit which is part number AM107078 fits both...and should run you about $80 as seen here.
John Deere Seal Kit AM107078

Chuck
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Chuck,

I read the Parker service manual and got a bit spooked when they mention a special bracket to clamp it into a vise. About how long does it take to rebuild the steering box once it's out of the tractor?

The exploded parts diagram shows quite a few parts other than seals (some are quite expensive). What's the likelihood of having another part in the steering box go bad once the seals are replaced? In other words, if I'm going to be this deep into it, what else should I replace while I'm down there?

My thought was, if I could find a new or rebuilt steering box, I could purchase it and replace the one in my 322. Then I could rebuild the old one over the winter and sell to offset the cost of the replacement part. The goal is to get the tractor back in action ASAP.

Thank you for your help!
Rhett
 

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Rhett,

There are quite a few members over on WFM that have rebuilt these steering valves (I have not done one myself...) and from their threads it seems that getting the unit out of the tractor and back in are the hardest steps as there is not much room for a tubing wrench on the lines...

I don't recall many comments about other needed replacement parts other than the seals. You will have to be organized and methodical, and a hint I read was to scribe a line diagonally across the laminations to make it easy to see order and orientation when you put it back together.

Chuck
 

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Rhett, I wouldn't spend 1100 on a new one if you are going to take it out and reinstall it on your own. You will have already done the hard part.
when I was were you are, and doing research on how to fix it . I read a couple of threads where the owner just took it to MOTHER DEERE and payed 300 to 400 to have them do it. Yes that was a few years ago, may be more like 500-600 now, might be worth your time to check . Gene
 

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You made a comment about worrying about all the parts in there, and something else going bad. Don't worry about it, these are made to last. Unless your putting water and sand in your tranny fluid these parts will out last you and I , and I plan on be around a while lol. Gene
 

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Don't let Parkers service manual scare you. Because that's what it is( a service manual) for servicing the whole thing. all you are going to be doing is replacing the seals and O-rings . By the way I have a theory on why the end seal goes out, or starts leaking. We all tend to grab the steering wheel and use it for leverage for our 200 pound butts. while we swing our leg over the hood to get on and off .
 

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Rhett , If you decide to do this your self get a paint marker put one line down one side , and two more down another side. This will aid you in putting it back together in the correct order. It will also help to lay out everything in order on a clean surface. Keep the kids and pets away, don't want to lose anything. Take a pic of each plate before you lift it off . and again don't take any of the internal parts apart, you will only be asking for trouble. Be careful
around plate 8 or 9 . there are 3 springs that lay sideways under a little pressure . took me three hours to find the one that took off across the room! Other then that it went pretty easy. Gene
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So I finally got around to removing the steering valve and rebuilding with the assistance y'all provided above! Thank you guys VERY MUCH.

I've encountered one final hurdle: The 5 nipples on the bottom of the steering box are all exhibiting the signs of having been cross-threaded, but just at the starting point. I can't tell if I did this or if it was done before me, but I'm not heavy-handed with these things and I only got one on and tightened before encountering threads that simply wouldn't take a nut. In the past, I've been able to take a fresh nut and thread on to a bolt to clean out the old threadways. For this guy, though, I don't know the thread pitch. Any ideas what size/pitch of nut would be used to clean up these threads?

I sat in the tunnel a while before proceeding, but I can finally see the light at the end!! Thank you for all your help!
 
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