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post #1 of 13 Old 09-23-2019, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Question JD X500 Steering Gear fail

With about 195 hours on my manual steering X500, a left turn causes the steering wheel to jump a gear or two or three. This came on about 2 weeks ago when I first noticed a slight "snag" in the wheel returning from a left turn back to straight ahead. Has progressed to outright skipping of gears now.

I looked at the steering arrangement and it appears that the shaft that holds the steering quadrant is a little sloppy but removal of the nut does not allow it to be removed. I inserted an additional washer under the nut which helped but only a little. Still won't do a full left turn without the skipping

Tractor is mower and snow plowing only. Nothing I have to do with this tractor is abusive to the steering mechanism. No tire hits, nothing that might stress the components.

Anyone else experience this kind of issue?

X 500 48" Deck 48" blade
Cyclone Rake
Stihl BR 600
Sears Suburban Super 12 1968
Craftsman 1990 something LG Tractor 46" deck
Original Kohler 8hp Giant Vac early 1960s
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-23-2019, 02:44 PM
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Re: JD X500 Steering Gear fail

I was really interested in a X570 prior to buying my Cub and watched this video:
start @ 16:48 on the video and the guy mentions what happened to the manual steering on his. Good luck.
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post #3 of 13 Old 09-23-2019, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: JD X500 Steering Gear fail

Rudedawg,
Great video. that really spells out the problem. Looks like a new sector for me and some shims to delay the next wear out.
Thanks!!

X 500 48" Deck 48" blade
Cyclone Rake
Stihl BR 600
Sears Suburban Super 12 1968
Craftsman 1990 something LG Tractor 46" deck
Original Kohler 8hp Giant Vac early 1960s
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post #4 of 13 Old 09-23-2019, 04:07 PM
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Re: JD X500 Steering Gear fail

Glad it helped you.
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-23-2019, 09:00 PM
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Re: JD X500 Steering Gear fail

I'm at a dealer and see some sectors, not a ton. I'd replace it and the gear on the steering column and think it's a one off.

2010 Deere X540: 54" mowing deck, 44" Snowblower, 7 bushel Power Flow bagger, Halogen headlights, Brush guard, Suitcase weights, LED tail lights, tow behind 25 gallon sprayer.
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post #6 of 13 Old 09-23-2019, 10:27 PM
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Re: JD X500 Steering Gear fail

I have a 2013 x500 used all year long 1.5 acres to mow and over 300 of driveway to snowblow. It has around 340 hrs. I have not experienced any issues.


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1988 332 with 49 blower , 54 blade and 3 pt hitch
X500 w/48 deck and 44 blower
1023E H120 loader, B260 BH, 54D deck

Moved on to new home
1962 IH Cub Cadet Original
1963 110 Round Fender... Restored
1963 IH Cub Cadet 100, plow, deck, weigh box, 3 point hitch
1965 110 Round Fender with Model 38 deck..Restored
1966 110H Round Fender with Model 42 Blade..Restored
1967 112 Round Fender with Model 36 blower
1967 112 Round Fender with Johnson Model 10 Loader
1971 120 with 48 deck and 49 blower and OTC cab
1973 140H3 with 41 deck
1987 318 with 46 deck, 54 blade, 49 blower, 3pt hitch
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post #7 of 13 Old 09-24-2019, 11:28 AM
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Re: JD X500 Steering Gear fail

I have a 2008 X500 with over 365 hours. My property is very hilly and uneven and I use it for a lot more than mowing, and the steering is fine.

I only ever had one issue with the steering and that was when the pin came loose on the linkage rod going to the rock shaft for front lift for the snow plow and the rod dropped down and was interfering with the steering linkage. Once I figured out what was happening and I reconnected things correctly the steering issue went away.

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1973 Ford 4000 3-cyl gas w/S-O-S & 60 inch Woods rotary mower
2008 John Deere X500
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2014 Kubota BX25D w/50" snow blower

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post #8 of 13 Old 09-24-2019, 05:50 PM
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Re: JD X500 Steering Gear fail

I have an X520 with the exact same gear and it shows no sign of wear or looseness at 287 hours. This is a mower that was ridden hard and put away wet many times in its short life. It's the one that the edge lip was worn down to the deck body. I wonder if it may be that the factory is leaving some items off when it is being assembled? Or maybe a few of the assembly people are like Detroit and so doped up that they leave off a washer or two? I remember the expose about doped up auto workers and the group they spotted smoking joints during their lunch break.
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post #9 of 13 Old 09-25-2019, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: JD X500 Steering Gear fail

Had a better look at this last night in the garage. The sector gear teeth tips have worn off on one part of the sector gear, allowing the pinion to "skip" when it gets to that part of the sector gear. Specifically, about 15 degrees left turn.

Now, I also noticed that the short shaft that mounts the sector gear to the support has a little play in it. I don't know if that is normal or if a bearing or bushing has worn allowing the sector to move slightly away from the pinion in some spots. That could answer a lot of questions as to how the sector teeth got worn off. As mentioned, I did put an additional washer to take up any vertical slack, but which still allows a little side play. I suspect the bearing failed and the rest is the result.

I'm going to order a new sector gear and replace it, along with the bearing that is is mounted in. The pinion looks good. I am also going to see if I can somehow make the sector to pinion a closer fit.

Thanks for the comments and support.

X 500 48" Deck 48" blade
Cyclone Rake
Stihl BR 600
Sears Suburban Super 12 1968
Craftsman 1990 something LG Tractor 46" deck
Original Kohler 8hp Giant Vac early 1960s
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-25-2019, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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Re: JD X500 Steering Gear fail

Added thought. Wonder if there is some way to adjust the position of the steering column and its bearing to bring it in closer mesh with the sector gear teeth. They DO seem to have more gap that might be prudent, giving more opportunity for a skip than normal.

X 500 48" Deck 48" blade
Cyclone Rake
Stihl BR 600
Sears Suburban Super 12 1968
Craftsman 1990 something LG Tractor 46" deck
Original Kohler 8hp Giant Vac early 1960s
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post #11 of 13 Old 09-25-2019, 04:10 PM
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That steering looks a lot like the steering on my 15 year old L100. After 1,500+ hours I've had no problems with it. I put grease on the pinion and sector gears occasionally but other than that, no special treatment to the steering on this hard working tractor.

L100 (2005)
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post #12 of 13 Old 09-25-2019, 05:37 PM
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Re: JD X500 Steering Gear fail

I would ask JD what the specs are on that gear gap. If it exceeds their specs then it may be a manufacturer's problem. That gap and the ability to maintain it are critical to the continued operation of the steering system. I do not see how there is any room for "Play" and for it to last if there is any. Good luck.
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post #13 of 13 Old 09-29-2019, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Re: JD X500 Steering Gear fail

Thank you to all. As always, great advice and comments.

X 500 48" Deck 48" blade
Cyclone Rake
Stihl BR 600
Sears Suburban Super 12 1968
Craftsman 1990 something LG Tractor 46" deck
Original Kohler 8hp Giant Vac early 1960s
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