• This community needs YOUR help today!

    With the ever-increasing fees of maintaining our vibrant community (servers, software, domains, email), we need help.
    We need more Supporting Members today.

    Please invest back into this community to help spread our love and knowledge of all aspects of IH Cub Cadet and other garden tractors.

    Why Join?

    • Exclusive Access: Gain entry to private forums.
    • Special Perks: Enjoy enhanced account features that enrich your experience, including the ability to disable ads.
    • Free Gifts: Sign up annually and receive exclusive IH Cub Cadet Tractor Forum decals directly to your door!

    This is your chance to make a difference. Become a Supporting Member today:

    Upgrade Now

Unconfuguliating a 782 SN 714899

IH Cub Cadet Tractor Forum

Help Support IH Cub Cadet Tractor Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-known member
Jul 19, 2010
Farmville, North Carolina
Jeremiah Chamberlin

When I first posted on this site I was greeted By Frank A. Currier (Northern Maine) (Fcurrier) on Friday, July 23, 2010 - 09:34 pm:
[who commented in part]

"He posted it the right area, but what a confuguliation he bought! Let's see if he makes a second post, here."

(If it makes you feel better, Frank, I didn't pay anything for the tractor, I just had to pick it up.)

As Myron Bounds soon pointed out, my 782 was manufactured by Cub Cadet Corporation in 1983 and shipped to the IH dealer in Kinston, NC near my home. So I hadn't actually posted in the right area, I should have been re-directed to the CCC/MTD section. But Charlie has let me continue posting since then to solve the immediate engine crisis and to continue to learn about Cub Cadets, how they work, and how to fix them.

To refresh everyone's memory, the 782 as I bought it was configured, er "confuguliated," with a 16 HP Briggs & Stratton engine (pictures coming later) and a 46" deck off an MTD mower which had originally been painted black. The immediate crisis was that the engine had blown, and has only now been replaced with a Kohler Magnum 18, the recommendation of many on this site. I'm going to get into the topic of the engine swap later.


I'm also not going to bore you with my efforts at undoing 20 years of "quick fixes" to the wiring, or how to rig up a magneto fired motor to chassis wiring --and switch-- designed for a battery ignition system, that topic has been covered well by others.

Neither am I going to rant and rave about the lack of support I find at my local IH dealer (not the one that originally sold the tractor). We are all too familiar with frustrations on this point.


The tractor pictured above is actually the result of TWO YEARS of hard work spent trying to get everything to work as it should. I choose to cover, as my first task on the rehabilitation, resusitation, and renewal of my 782, the repair of the steering and especially the front axle.

I then plan to detail work soon to be completed in the following areas:

1. Engine Swap / Driveline Renew
2. Hydrostatic Transmission Adjust/Repair
3. Headlight Circuit Diagnosis / Repair

When these tasks are finished the tractor will be returned to service for this year's (2011) mowing season. At the end of this season or next, the tractor will be "split" and painted bottom to top.

There may be some other "improvements" added along the way, but until I can get my 149 restored and working, the 782 will be my main tractor.
Repairing the Front Axle, Post One

In a series of posts 1/24-25/11 to IH Cub Cadet Forum between myself, Dennis Frisk, Steve “The Plow” Blunier, Donald Tanner, and others. Steve "The Plow" Blunier (as opposed to "Big Steve" Blunier) authoritatively laid out both how the axle and spindles were supposed to work and how to return them both to an operating condition “that is better than 90% of the Cubs out there.”


Steve Blunier’s Axle Trick# 1
Don’t touch the Pivot Bolt Hole but replace the Pivot Bolt and be sure tighten it so that the frame’s “ears” are held fast to axle, specifically don’t let the nut bottom out on the threads.


Steve Blunier’s Trick# 2:
Replace the spindle bolt and be sure to tighten the steering knuckle to the spacer so that they turn as an assembly even if it means taking a little material off the top of the spindle hole.

Mr. Blunier offers good advice freely. He is a persuasive writer and I found him convincing. I resolved to follow his advice to the letter, but something happened when I began to execute the plan.


First, I was bothered by the wear inside the Pivot Bolt hole. My pivot bolt bore no evidence of every having been greased.


As you can see, the threads from the original 5" long Grade 5 3/4"-10 bolt had eaten into the threads at the rear of the axle. This is the point at which the axle is most stressed. Every movement of the tractor forces the axle to want to flip its top forward as the wheels push from below. The threads had eaten into the bottom of the hole as the axle migrated upwards.

At the front of the axle, the pivot hole was worn east-to-west as it is pulled and pushed to-and-fro by the steering gear.


The more I pondered this situation the more concerned I became. When I went on McMaster-Carr's website in search of a 6" or 6-1/2" Grade 5 bolt, I found a solution to my problem, a metric M20 bolt, 150mm long would "fill out" the eccentricities in the pivot bolt hole. Then I would not be dependent solely on the strength of the bolt and the tightness of the ears to keep the axle in place vertically and horizontally. The metric bolt would support the axle as the 3/4" bolt had originally.


All I had to do was figure out how to open up the hole. After much thought, I decided to just go with a 25/32" drill chucked into my new to me 8" drill press that I had purchased at a yard sale just before Christmas.


There is more to the story which I shall tell in my next post. I've started this too late to finish tonight. Tomorrow I'll finish the story of my Axle Repair.

Repairing the Axle, Post 1 (continued)

For those curious few, drilling the Pivot Bolt hole out to 25/32" for the M20 bolt resulted in knocking the high spots off the indented threads like this:


Drilling the hole out was really nothing more than "chasing the threads" so-to-speak: not much material was removed. Unfortunately, because the little 8" drill press didn't have enough travel to make it all the way through in one stroke, and because each side was worn differently (see previous post), the two holes didn't line up exactly, so I wound up "lapping in" the 150mm bolt. I found that turning the bolt fairly quickly in a standard air ratchet was much easier than lapping by hand. I gave the axle and bolt a thorough cleaning, but if you find yourself in a similar situation, I would recommend a softer lapping mate than a Class 8.8 bolt. There is a chance I left either the axle or the bolt "charged" with lapping compound.




Bottomline: I would recommend the metric bolt replacement to anyone with a noticeably worn pivot bolt hole, regardless of the use to which the tractor is put. If you open the hole up to 25/32", you will also need to open up the holes in the frame "ears" to accept the new bolt.

If you don't wish to remove any material, you may still want to step up to a Grade 8, or even a beefier Grade 9 bolt to give the maximum "clamping value" to your frame ears.

If you're especially concerned about material removal, another option is to drill out to 49/64" and ream up from there, or simply ream out to a new value. If I had to do it over again, I would probably use the reamer to finish the hole, I don't think the cast iron would have been an impediment to the High Speed Steel (HSS) cutters on the reamer.

Tonight I hope to get to Axle Repair, Post 2 or how I didn't exactly follow Steve Blunier's advice about the spindles either.
Looking good! I have one comment though- there's no need for a grade 8 or 9 bolt for the pivot bolt; you can apply far more clamping force than you want with the grade 5 bolt that was in there originally. You don't want it clamped so tight that the axle cannot pivot freely, or you will rapidly accelerate the wear on the bushings welded into the frame C-channel.
Matt: Thanks for stopping by my post. I thought I was following Steve's advice:

<font size="-2">Begin Post
By Steve Blunier "Mr. Plow" (Central IL) (Sblunier) on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 - 06:33 pm:



I would fix the king pins with new bolts and trick #2. I would reuse the spacers.

I would replace the pivot bolt as you describe, but would not mess with the cast axle....they have been known to break every now and then, and weakening the center with an oversize hole is ill-advised (IMHO). Just tighten everything up good and tight (the fore and aft play in a loose joint here can cause a lot of steering slop). The axle pivot bolt should be tight enough that it takes some real effort to move the axle when off the ground (in operation 3-400# of tractor will ride on it).

After that, replace the rod ends and if necessary adjust the steering box and you will have steerinng that is better than 90% of the Cubs out there!!!

Running 1872 SGT w/loader, 2072 SGT,"Super" 782,100, and a 365L shopping cart "doodlebug" ZTR in Central IL
End Post</font>

I put as much torque as I could muster on the nut with a 24" breaker bar (I weigh about 220 lbs). I'm estimating that it was close to 300 ft-lbs. I jacked the tractor up on one end of the axle, without the engine installed, and the pivot didn't move. Maybe I put too much torque on it. The tractor sure rode nicely when I was done. I guess I'll try jacking the axle up from one side again, with the engine installed this time, and back off the nut until the axle just starts to move.

I wish I had made a movie of how much the axle moved "before" I made the changes. It wobbled to-and-fro and rolled back-and-forth. The wear at the pivot bolt / frame ears added as much play as the worn steering gear!

Maybe Steve B. will chime in again with a method to correctly tighten the pivot nut! Or perhaps there is a torqure value in the service manual I overlooked.

Notice the castellated nut on the original bolt. What I do is tighten the bolt until the axle doesn't move (adding a washer under the nut, if necessary) and then backing the nut off until the next slot in the nut lines up with the hole in the bolt. If it's still too tight I back it off one more and then put in the cotter key. Slightly loose is better than too tight IMO. You don't really want to torque the bolt, per se, just snug it up. I'm not old enough to know how tight they were from the factory, but considering the older tractors used a pin and not a bolt, I'd say not real tight. If you have it really tight it will probably wear loose again in a hurry, but I could be wrong.
Axle Repair Post 2


Steve "The Plow" Blunier didn't think that replacing anything more than the spindle bolts themselves was necessary to restore the spindles to satisfactory condition (see previous posts).

However, when I had trial-fit the new Grade 8 spindle bolts from Cub Cadet Specialties together with the new spacers from the same source (Charlie makes a kit complete with new cotter pins), into the cleaned-up axle, I still sensed a good deal of slop.

Maybe I just wanted the axle setup used in an MTD 1782 that uses bushings at the spindles. But I decided to go ahead and install Super Oilite iron-filled bronze bushings from McMaster-Carr, PN 2866T167, measuring 3/4" ID 7/8" OD x 0.5" long.


This meant acquiring a second drill bit, 7/8" with 1/2" shank to fit the chuck in my drill press.


The drilling operation proceeded as follows:

1. First, I "indexed" the bit to the axle by chucking a 1/2" bit into the drill press and then slipping the new bushing into the axle, and sliding the assembly onto the bit. I adjusted the axle in the vice until I could stroke the 1/2" bit easily up and down through the spacer.

2. Next, the plan was to un-chuck the 1/2" bit, remove the bushing, chuck the 7/8" drill bit, set the depth, and drill the hole.


The problem was I found I couldn't unchuck the 1/2" bit without removing the axle! I had to raise the whole motor assembly dangerously close to the toppling point in order to index the holes and swap out the bits and bushings.


I experimented with how deep/shallow to make the hole, but using the depth gauge/stop proved the most effective. The bushings slipped in fairly easily with a few light taps on a brass bar.


I'm told I exceeded the maximum size allowed, Post will continue . . .
Axle Repair Post 2, Continued

After I got the bushing installed, I noticed something had changed. Before I had installed the bushing, the 3/4" OD of the spacer slipped easily inside the bushing. After I had installed the bushing into the axle, the spacer would no longer fit into the bushing!



After much internal debate, I went ahead and ordered an adjustable "E-size" hand reamer from Enco designed to ream holes 23/32" to 25/32" or 1/32" either side of 3/4" (PN 334-1111 made in India).

The picture of my hands actually reaming the pivot got accidently deleted. What I can tell you is that where the catalog blurb says that "an adjustable reamer is an excellent choice for bushing installs," I would add, "in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing." I did not.

Lessons I learned about reaming are:

1. For bronze, a 1/2 turn-at-a-time is good
2. For steel, a full turn-at-a-time is OK
3. Smooth, steady strokes get the job done

Bushing Install Note: Do not shift the piece when drilling the hole for the bushing (if you look closely at the picture of the installed busing in the previous post, you can see a space at one side of the bushing; I shifted the piece while drilling and it is the only bushing that spun while reaming).


4. For this job, a loose fit is desirable

Let me explain: When I did the final assembly on the spindles, following Steve B.'s advice to tighten them into one assembly, the right-hand spindles would barely move, I really had to push/pull it. I took some material off the top of the spindle, and re-assembled it, but the spindle still turned hard.

It is difficult to see in the picture above, but it seems that when the bolt is tightened to the spacer, a slight "mushrooming" occurrs at the end of the spacer. The play I had noticed at the trial-fitting (that prompted the bushing effort) might have disappeared upon final assembly if I had simply followed Steve Blunier's advice. We'll never know. I'm certain that the apparent play would have been greatly reduced if I had gone ahead and tightened everything up before deciding to install the bushings.

Of course, someone at MTD thought it was worth bushing the spindles on the Model 1782:


Summary: Bushing the spindle holes may not be for everyone. It is a lot of trouble, as Charlie affirmed in his post of a curious Model 1811. I wouldn't recommend it if you are running a front loader like Steve "The Plow" Blunier, a plow, or a snow blower, or anything else that adds additional load to the front of the tractor.

I did it mostly because I was curious to learn if I COULD do it. I have never been formally trained in any kind of machine work, but I'm fascinated by many aspects of it, and I find machinists to be interesting folk. So I tried my hand at it, and I'm satisfied with the results. The real proof will be a few years from now when I tear it down and see how the repairs have aged.

If you want to try bushing your axles, learn from my experience. You will need a drill press, hopefully larger than the one I used. And you'll need to use a reamer. If you want to chuck one in a lathe, you'll have to get advice from someone more knowledgeable than I. Personally, I don't think lapping them is required for this application.

The best "repair" is the liberal use of grease to obviate the need to bush the axle in the first place.

Tomorrow I will finish my Axle Repair Post #3.

Thanks for checking back. Your method of tightening the pivot bolt seems sound. I was just so dead set on eliminating all slop that I guess I veered into overkill.
Axle Repair Post 3

As I was in the midst of completing the Spindle Bushing operation (see Axle Repair Post 2), I was struck by a brainstorm. Why not add a remote grease fitting for the Pivot Bolt?

Not so long ago, when I worked as a maintenance technician at a local plant, I was responsible for greasing the pillow-block bearings on a lift-table with a moving belt on top. The designers of the table had installed safety guards for the lift's chain drive, and thoughtfully provided a remote grease fitting that poked through the yellow sheet metal. By the time I was given the responsibility of maintaining the table, someone had replaced the pillow block and never re-connected the remote line. So that if you attempted to grease the bearing through the remote fitting you just wound up putting a nice puddle of grease on the floor. But still, a remote fitting is a good idea.


Anyway, since the grease fitting in the IH axle are of the push-in variety, the first challenge was to find a way of running a remote line from the existing grease fitting. I found McMaster-Carr PN 5454K730 would allow me to tap the existing hole removing a minimum amount of material and adapt to standard 1/8" tube.


(An isolated closeup of the adapter install accidentally got deleted.)

All that remained was to plumb and mount the other end of the tube.


The Sears 6000 tractor I scrapped to salvage the Magnum 18 motor gave up a portion of its firewall to form a mounting plate for the remote fitting.


I've still got to make sure that the mount clears the tie rods, but overall I like the modification. I think I'll especially like it during the summer when I no longer have to crawl under the tractor to grease the part that sees the most wear!

I imagine that if you're reading this you will either love this mod or hate it. The purist would turn up his or her nose at it. After all, a REAL Cub Cadet man would know to grease the pivot bolt "every ten hours" per the owner's manual and no less an authority than Dennis Frisk. However, I didn't know to do it. In fact, neither I nor my son hefting the bare axle in our hands, realized there was a grease fitting at the pivot. If it had not been for the Parts Lookup exploded view I would never have known it existed.

If you consider a remote grease fitting a "sissy solution," I would still caution you that if you ever have the axle out, at least verify the grease fitting's operation. The largest component in the pivot bolt hole of my axle was rust. In fact, the pathway for the grease fitting was so jammed up that I had to use a coat hanger to clean it.

So whether you install a larger Pivot Bolt, or remote grease fitting, at least make sure the grease fitting works.

Again, this mod is not for everyone, but I'm satisfied and eager to see how it will work in practice.
That's definitely an interesting idea. My biggest fear would be getting something caught in it and squashing or tearing the copper tubing.
Jeremiah, good job on detailing what you did,right or wrong. This repair will have to be made to my OT tractor. Thanks.

Matt G and Kenny P

Thanks for the feedback. Matt, the line could easily be protected by keeping it on the back side of the axle and not crossing the ridges without protecting it. I opted for ease of use. I wanted it "right there" when I greased the spindles. I suspect the reason the spindle fittings are in the front are to avoid interference with the tie rods, etc. If you try it, I would be interested to see what you come up with.

For everyone's benefit, I am posting the parts I used and their costs. Your out-of-pocket expenses may vary.

I made no attempt to keep track of my time, I was doing R&D. You should be able to read the posts and form a good estimate of the time it would take YOU to do the repairs.


Cost of Pivot Bolt Replacement (see Axle Repair, Post 1)

$9.63 Hex Nut, Castle M20X2.5 W=30mm H=22 mm (5) Pak
McMaster-Carr PN 93760A337 $9.63 per pak
$3.74 Hex Head Cap Screw M20x2.5 x 150mm Class 8.8
McMaster-Carr PN 91280A897 $3.74 ea
$29.09 Drill Bit, 25/32" HSS, Reduced Shank, Slip Resistant
McMaster-Carr PN 29415A39 $29.09 ea

$42.46 Total Cost for Pivot Bolt (Shipping & Tax not included)


Cost of Bushing the Spindles (See Axle Repair, Post 2)

$48.00 Steering Knuckle Spindle Bolt Kit
Cub Cadet Specialities $24.00 ea
(PNs 710-3020, 750-3002, 712-3012 w/Cotter Pin)
$32.81 Drill Bit, 7/8" HSS, Reduced Shank, Slip Resistant
McMaster-Carr PN 29415A46 $32.81 ea
$4.88 Bushing, 3/4" ID 7/8" OD x 1/2" lg, 863 Bronze (Super Oilite)
McMaster-Carr PN 2866T167 $1.22 ea
$19.95 Adjustable Hand Reamer, Size E, 23/32" to 25/32" (see pic below)
ENCO PN 334-1111 $19.95 ea

$105.64 Total Cost for Spindles (Shipping & Tax not included)


Cost of Installing Remote Grease Fitting (See Axle Repair, Post 3)

$9.99 Tubing Installation Kit
AutoZone PN 087631-CP7584 $9.99 ea
$2.64 1/8" Brass Pipe Street Elbow
Lowes PN 34798 $2.64 ea
$3.00 Fitting, Grease 1/8" PTF, 9/16" Tall, (10) Pak
McMaster-Carr PN 1095K65 $3.00 per pak

$15.63 Total Cost for Fitting (Shipping & Tax not included)

In conclusion I would note the following:


*The drill bits I procured from McMaster-Carr came in packages marked "Precision," bits from the same manufacturer are available from ENCO for a few dollars less and the shipping costs are comparable.*


**Grease fittings are available at Lowes, although I'm not sure they carry the 1/8" NPT variety. 1/4"-28 seems to be the most popular standard thread size (as opposed to metric)**

Had fun doing the repair, but posting the reports was almost as much work. The text formatting options are very limited, I can't seem to indent the lines to make them easier to read.
Jeremiah ,good idea on the remote grease fitting. That reminds me of the time I did a similar remodel on a county snow plow that had a zerk that was equally hard to lube without switching the plow all the way to the right & raising it up just to access it. I got an adapter for 1/8" pipe thread to the plow tierod location & to a flexible grease gun hose with a zerk on the out side, making for easy lubrication.
Another place I'd like a remote fitting is the steering box. I have no idea as to it even being feasible. I think both are a little challenging to get to. I like the axle remote. One suggestion might be to put a hole between the grease fittings (spindle and new bracket) in the mounting bracket just big enough for the tip of a blow gun for cleaning periodically. It's in a good place for dirt.

Good idea!
Jeremiah...great posts and pictures.
You mentioned lack of posting options...if you didn't already, go to the very bottom of this page and look at a section labeled 'Help/Instructions'. All sorts of neat stuff there. <font size="-2">If you understand how to do it</font>
All: Thanks for the affirmation. I agonized for over a week whether to post or not. I didn't think anyone would care; or worse, that my ideas would be the object of ridicule. They still may be, but at least you guys are on the record.

Wayne: I hadn't thought of giving the steering column grease fitting the same treatment. I don't see why it couldn't be brought out the side of the frame. I have the gas tank out of mine right now, I'll check to see what sort of grease fitting is installed: push-in or threaded. I just rebuilt it, so I'm not ready to tap a hole; but if it is threaded, I have no compunction about running a line. I'll let you know something tomorrow.
Wayne: I checked, the grease fitting on the steering column spins, but doesn't come off --must be push-in type. Pity, I purchased all the parts to run a line. Guess it will have to wait until the tear-down.
Post 1 of 2
Emergency Trunnion Repair: The next installment of "Unconfuguliating my 782 SN 714899.”

On or about March 13, 2011 Matt Gonitzke brought to my attention the need to repair my trunnion slot. His post (in part):

By Matt Gonitzke (Mgonitzke) on Sunday, March 13, 2011 - 06:46 pm:

You don't need to replace any of those plates. Just weld up the wear in the corners of the trunion slot and put some shims between the snap ring and the cam plate to tighten up the slot there. That will return you to close-to-new operation


Figure 1: B4 Hydro Link

What do you do when you discover that your trunnion slot needs repair and you don’t weld, you don’t have a welding machine, or a friend who’s a welder? You could hire a welder to come to your house, you could get some help to load the tractor up and take it to someone who welds, OR . . . you could fix it yourself with a piece of 3” flat bar 1/8” thick (11 GA), a Dremel, a hack saw, and a vice. At least that’s what I did when I made my emergency trunnion repair.

Actually, a trunnion repair is seldom an “emergency” in the truest sense; unless your trunnion springs fall out, the tractor will still work OK, it simply needs attention. In my case, the “urgency” was that I had torn the tractor down to get to the trunnion springs and only belatedly discovered that the trunnion slot required repair (see Matt's post above). I already had the springs, but I didn’t have a lot of patience. The trunnion repair was the last thing on the agenda before the mowing season would begin, and my wife had already pushed the back yard once while I was in the shed working on the tractor. (I can’t tell you how embarrassed I felt, after all the time, energy, and funds I had invested in getting the 782 up-and-running, having to watch my wife push the largest portion of our yard –uuggh.)


Figure 2: B4 Trunnion

Anyway, as the pictures and text testify, it is possible to make a sturdy repair without welding up the trunnion slot or replacing the trunnion slot with an aftermarket piece. Even though I’ve ordered the replacement trunnion slot available from Cub Cadet Specialties, I plan to run my tractor with my “emergency repair” in place until I tear the tractor down for painting. You can judge whether the repair is appropriate for your skill set, available tools, sense of “correctness” or style.


Figure 3: Trunnion Slot
You can see where we started, repair piece still two weeks away, and no welder in sight.


Figure 4: ETrunnionMockFit

The basic plan was to fashion a piece of 3” flat bar with two slots: one to “clasp” the the trunnion upright and one to “embrace” the springs.


Figure 5: EtrunnionCutITrial

The replacement piece was “contoured” by fashioning slots for bending a tab underneath the screw.

In trying to even up my Dremel cuts with the hacksaw, I misjudged the depth due to low light levels and the fact that my vise was not mounted on a bench, I was working on the driveway. If you try to replicate my efforts take care not to cut the slots lower than the top of the trunnion spring cut-out, the reason shall soon become apparent.


Figure 6: TrunnionSlotDim

The slot dimensions we’re shooting for are given 1.20” x .765”which work out to English system of approximately 1-7/32” x exactly 49/64.” The width was measured from a line scribed from the transmission side of the existing trunnion arm (the trunnion slot was not simply traced out and duplicated). A bit of filing was required.


Figure 7: EtrunnionCutILength 1-3/16”


Figure 8: EtrunnionCutIWidth 1-3/4”