I keep the tire pressure harder than I should because of this hard steering. The tires are nice and round on the surface, they are the exact type of tire that came on this tractor new, I replaced them once due to dry rot. and I always grease the axle ends too, as someone ask. I do not have the specs for the toe in,What about tires and tire pressure. A smooth tire with low psi is hard to turn. That's why some people go to tri ribs.
Ok, I will try that because I have always wondered about that, I only get grease out from the bottom of the kingpins. Interesting !When I first brought home my 73, my father in law who was the original owner/purchaser, was known to be lax in maintenance and the tractor had steering that sounds alot like what you describe. I ended up getting frustrated enough to remove and disassemble each part of the front axle. What I figured out was the kingpins would take grease in but the grease wasn't flowing to all of the joint. only the lower 1/2 of the kingpin was getting grease - the top 1/2 was dry! So it was good for me to inspect all the components and verify they were working as intended. Maybe over the winter you might try the same??? Actually take the kingpins apart and inspect them for wear or damage, see if they are getting lubed and where the lube is going , not just 1/2 dry and rusty and 1/2 greased.
Same thing with the steering box, maybe check out the inside and see if things are clean and greased, then you can say those items are not the problem and not guess if they are.
That's all I can offer at the moment.. If you do get the box apart and clean. then on reassembly maybe install the bearing and seal kit that is supposed to make it easier. ( I tried it.. it kinda helps imho)..
OK THANKS FOR THE info.Ebay, CCSpecialties, probably several other places. The 1811 still has basically the same steering gearbox as the earlier models with the exception of the Original, which is a bit different. The later "cyclops" tractors have a bit of a different steering box, as well. So, the thrust bearing kits you have already found will work.
make up some kind of hood even part of one like perhaps a metal 5 gallon bucket, ammo can something, make a fireproof hood, mount a spotlight inside and run an extension cord to it, turn it on an hour or so before u need the engine, you will be surprised at how fast that thing will start when its hot, buck, have fun, let us knowThey are hard starters. You really need a top notch battery, starter and cabling between the two. The M18 gets it's ignition spark from the flywheel rotating past the magneto, and if it doesn't go past fast enough, the induction pulse that generates it will be weak (more of a gentle hill than the sharp peak).
Maple syrup fluid in the rear (from being cold) as well as thick cold oil make them crank harder, and this slows down the flywheel rotation speed enough to make the spark weak which makes them start hard. MTD sold a rear end disconnect which helps a little, at the expense of making the driveline weaker. Putting a booster on it might help. Keeping it warm would probably help even more.