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Refurb and Modification of 1430 Lawn Tractor

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Nic, thank you for clarifying. If I can find a 3-turn at an acceptable price, then I will move on it. I think I could also use a larger steering wheel and put a knob on it. It would certainly improve the steering, not sure about stressing the parts long term, though.

I have uploaded the drawing of my idea. I have not found anything quite like it. It just seems to make sense. There are steering assemblies I found for old, heavy classic cars which used a worm gear, but the design was obviously much heavier. I think this design would need a very fine tooth worm gear and steering gear to yield the kind of force to steer a heavy machine. That said, I also think it would be difficult to arrange a setup that wouldn't need a lot of turns from lock to lock, like at least 4. Unless the 90 gears could be designed to spin the worm gear quickly, like the way a large gear can be used to turn a smaller gear very quickly with just a fraction of a revolution.

Mark: I believe Skil brand saws original design employed the kind of gears you pictured on the "drive" end. They can also be found in right-angle gearboxes. In fact, both gears, in the same arrangement, could be copped from a right angle gearbox. We discard gearboxes like that reularly at work.
Mark, use the search function on this site and search "steering column rebuild". Make sure you up the default search range to like 300+ days.

If you can find a picture of a cub cadet column apart, it is basically already your design. Except enclosed in a nice clean, greasable housing. And without the 90 degree turn.

So yes, your right. Old cars AND cub cadets used worm gear steering. They still DO, and they work great. Many guys here have no problem turning with huge 2stage 42" blowers and even full on front loaders with 1 yard buckets on them. The 3 turn column is what you need.

Check Evil-bay or post in the wanted section on this site.

You'll want to get the steering wheel that goes on it too. It has a tapered splined fit.
I found bunches of ross steering columns on The Bay, today, and last night, but none of them were offering photos of the inner workings, nor model numbers. They are labelled as "will fit JD 212 300 and 316," ETC, but no indication of turn ratio. There are others which are selling just the shaft/worm gear but no column. I would actually prefer to buy it that way so that I will know exactly what turn ratio I will be buying.

Some of them are dubiously cheap and the price of others just makes me scoff. The ones in the middle have several bids and need to be watched closely.

I also found steering setups from smaller old cars that seem workable. Like a 5:1 gearbox from a mustang that is surprisingly small. Granted, that would be 1000x overkill for my situation, but fun to work with nonetheless.

I will read a few of the rebuild threads and try to find more specific info. It helps to know that the Ross steering was used for basically every American tractor for about 30 years, so there are a lot of interchangeable parts to find.
Several things for update:

I ground, sanded, and repainted the foot rests, because the adhesive had peeled off of them and scraping them with Goo Gone seemed a tedious chore. Flat black Rusto. I plan to glue some kind of rubber mat onto them.

Hour meter came in the mail. $11, free shipping. It's on the chinsy side, but came with good reviews, so whatever. 30 min to install, it runs while the ignition is on.

Steering column came in the mail, too. $60 w/ shipping. 3-turn works great, no slop or other issues, seems to have excellent potential. It's ginormous, though; if I install it as-is the column will rise 6" from the dash. I plan to cut the shaft and reattach the splined portion (a welder would be nice!). It will also need a new steering wheel because the shaft won't fit.. Or I can try to rig the old spline setup onto it...

I imagine it will also need beefier steering arms and other stuff. Either that or I can just treat it gently while I steer.

I still have no clue how I am going to hang the hood. I tried one way, but it was a failure. Oh, it will come to me.

My neighbor calls it the Transformer. I kind of have to agree. It's totally a product of suburban boredom. Alas, it distracts me from existential angst, and from sullen contemplation of things well beyond my control, such as government, society, or the general chaos of the natural world, so it's not all bad.
Now, as I prepare to mount this thing in place, a couple of questions come to mind. I am not sure if I am being paranoid or over-thinking, so I thought it best to run it by you guys...

1) Will the improved steering cause an issue with the OEM steering setup? As in, will the steering arms, tie rods, and other parts be welcome to damage now that I will be able to force them back and forth more easily? Should I be taking action to strengthen the entire steering system, or is it OK for me to use it as-is as long as I am a little careful?

2) More importantly, now that the front end of the mower is subject to about 300lbs of extra weight (you might say it's even more because of axial distribution, if that's even a term), I fear that the front wheels just aren't up to the task. Perhaps I should be concerned that they'll just pop off of the axle at some point, and leave me cussing in the snow. Don't forget that this thing already has a Magnum 20 sitting on top of it. 200lbs of cast iron + 300lbs of steel, certainly a lot of weight for those little 5" wheels.

I am concerned that the weight might create a long term issue. Advanced wear on the wheel hubs, or something like that.

Any thoughts?
1. Your current steering system should work fine. The only reason your lawn mower had the "cheap" set up was precisely that. It was cheap and a fancy Ross column is simply unneeded. Second, people who buy these type of mowers want fast steering, like you said, 2 turns. So your actually heading in the right direction, going more robust and better quality parts. I would say be careful until you forget to be careful anymore. The only parts that may buckle are the tie rods connecting the column to the spindle and the spindles together.

2. Do those front rims have grade zerks? If so, fill up the wheels with a grease gun. Secondly, as long as wheels fit snugly on the spindle with no in-and-out or rocking playthings they should hold up ok. If not, shin the spindle shaft so that things are tight and make sure the bearing fit tightly in the rims. Those wheels are light duty and so are the bearings. Only time will tell how long they will last. But it would look to replace them until they start to fail. So spend 30 minutes now make sure they fit like a glove to the spindle.

Yes, the wheels have zerks, and the PO was apparently very liberal with the grease gun, because every lubed joint on the mower has huge gobs of bearing/lithium grease bursting from the seams. The front wheels especially have a lot of grease.

I will install the steering column over the weekend. Seems to be a long 1-day affair. I imagine a larger steering wheel will look cartoonish and out of place, much like that from a bus. However, it will make steering this thing a lot easier.

Once this part is finished, there are just odds and ends before I need to find something else to keep me busy... Installing a flap mod for the blower (search online), attaching the hood, and then adding mats to the foot rests. Then there is the spotlight... I think I am going to attach it to the top of the hood, off center, to shine past the snow chute. Other than that, she should be all done.
I have attached the hood! I figured out how to do it, but it requires photos to explain.... The way it is set up, it is held in place by two bolts, which act as hood pins. The best part is that I can raise the blower and it doesn't interfere with anything.

Next step: steering column. Photos tomorrow.
This is a video of the steering column in action:


Unfortunately, I did not take photos of the hood while it was on. Nor did I include a photo of the hour meter. Not like those things matter a great deal; I believe the more technical stuff is the interesting part.

Since shooting the video, I added an extra bracket to hold the column in place. There are two holes on the right side of the column that had not been tapped, presumably they were for use on a different model tractor at the time. I tapped one of them and used a bracket that had held the deck lever in place. Had to drill a couple of holes. Now that it is being held from two different positions, the column does not move at all while steering. I have other plans as well to keep it sturdy.
So did your 6 hours of work pay off? Does it steer significantly better than the old setup?
Even with a pair of vice grips it steers 100x easier with the blower raised. Once there's a steering wheel with a knob it will probably feel like nothing at all.

That was good advice, Nic. Thanks a lot.
This has gone well beyond what I expected. I was trying to unload this tractor on CL earlier this summer. Then, for no real reason I just got this idea to put a new motor in it. After that, it just sort of took off and it's become like a strange addiction. I guess I am so used to working all the time that I am not sure what to do with myself now that the major renovations on the house are finished. Actually reminds me a bit of my retired uncle, who keeps putting additions onto his house to keep himself busy.

I installed helper springs (Vince's thread gave me the idea). With two of them in place, the blower is noticeably easier to lift, it cuts the felt weight by about 40%. They are also positioned just right, so that they are completely tight when the blower is raised. That way, I can leave it on a pair of bricks when I park it, and the springs will not lose memory as they sit.


I have also attached the hood. If you look in the other photo with the springs, you will see how I finagled everything to hold it in place. The hood sits on top of those spacers/washers. On the other side, I have put some 2" washers and tightened it down with nuts. At this time, I am not sure how to make it more permanent. Perhaps a pair of cotter pins, like some people use for their cars. The problem with the setup is that I won't be able to reach in to release the hood if I install a grill
.... maybe I will just replace the current bolts with longer ones; that way the hood will sit safely on them and there is no chance of it bouncing off.


Now that I am looking at it, I realize that I've raise the front end of the hood about 1.5" more than it used to sit. Not really an issue, but I might try to lower, just to get rid of the gap and keep snow out of the engine.
I have installed the spotlight and the new grill.

This is how I have arranged it so that I can lift the hood off:

I also installed the chains. It is a wide, low looking tractor with the wheel weights.


I believe it will perform well in the snow. I plan to create a rock box using a milk crate. I will get it ready for installation, but do not plan to use it unless I have trouble with the current set up.

The steering wheel is still on its way. The guy from **** has not shipped it, and also hasn't responded to an email. I might have to make a complaint to get him to move.
I had to look twice, I thought the oil filter was a light bulb..lol..

Charlie your tag line applies here
The stock headlights wouldn't shine past the snow chute, so I put the light on the side. Having the light there also meant that lifting the hood off would be complicated because of the wiring, so I made it so that the hood can easily be completely removed for gas or maintenance. My goal is for it to do its job and to be convenient, which it does to a tee. The light is so bright that it leaves you seeing spots; I actually used it last night, to help me clean up my tools after I finished installing it!
Mark don't be offended we are thick skinned around here,, If it does the job then it's fine and besides its yours..

but its still funny to see the lamp cord

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