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Discussion Starter #1
So I picked up this 318 a few weeks ago and finally got it running. It's been repowered with a vanguard and runs very well. Hydro seems to work the way it should but the steering wheel just spins! I should mention that it's been sitting for about eight years after going through a tornado! Where do I start?

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will deck raise?
I'd check fluid level & make sure both hydro levers are in neutral.
 

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Make Better Mowers
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Hmmmm, power steering. I have NO clue, but it sounds expensive! Put it on a lift and take a look-see. My 445 has ps but the wheel still engages and turns the wheels with the engine off. Seems that something is disconnected.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Lift cylinder won't move, inside lever is frozen in the neutral position, outside lever moves but when I push it forward the steering wheel kicks a little to the right. Now the wheel won't move to the left but I can turn it to the right. Fluid is full.

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Sounds like some valving is stuck open or a seal in the steer column is shot, look at the bottom of the steering column under the machine are there 4 or 5 ports on the bottom with lines connected?
 

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AKA Moses Lawnagan
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So I picked up this 318 a few weeks ago and finally got it running. It's been repowered with a vanguard and runs very well. Hydro seems to work the way it should but the steering wheel just spins! I should mention that it's been sitting for about eight years after going through a tornado! Where do I start?
There's a long list of stuff for the steering system in the Technical Manual, yours sounds like it falls in the "lost motion at the steering wheel" category. The steps it says to take are
1-check for loose or worn steering linkage
2-check for steering valve loose at mounting
3-Bleed hydraulic system--see section 270, group 20. That section is about the hydraulic system in general and there is a portion describing bleeding the steering system.

Has the steering shaft become disconnected from the steering valve body?
Have any of the hydraulic lines been torn or disconnected, allowing air in the system? It may be like a bad slave cylinder in a hydraulic clutch, air in the system doesn't allow transmission of force through the fluid.

When you say the steering wheel just spins, does it turn in one direction as long as you keep spinning it, or does it reach a stop after a few turns? Manual says normal is "approximate revolutions from right turn to left is 3, from left turn to right is 2-1/2."

There are apparently two different types of steering valve; one is a four-port, the other is a five-port. The Tech Manual shows flow diagrams and troubleshooting for both, but too involved to show here.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
There's a long list of stuff for the steering system in the Technical Manual, yours sounds like it falls in the "lost motion at the steering wheel" category. The steps it says to take are
1-check for loose or worn steering linkage
2-check for steering valve loose at mounting
3-Bleed hydraulic system--see section 270, group 20. That section is about the hydraulic system in general and there is a portion describing bleeding the steering system.

Has the steering shaft become disconnected from the steering valve body?
Have any of the hydraulic lines been torn or disconnected, allowing air in the system? It may be like a bad slave cylinder in a hydraulic clutch, air in the system doesn't allow transmission of force through the fluid.

When you say the steering wheel just spins, does it turn in one direction as long as you keep spinning it, or does it reach a stop after a few turns? Manual says normal is "approximate revolutions from right turn to left is 3, from left turn to right is 2-1/2."

There are apparently two different types of steering valve; one is a four-port, the other is a five-port. The Tech Manual shows flow diagrams and troubleshooting for both, but too involved to show here.
The previous owner said he put seals in some part of the column after the tornado but I don't think it ever ran after that. Thanks for all the info! I'll do some checking on the bleeding procedure.

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I've never heard of anyone trying to run any type of cleaning fluid through the charge pump and lines. Try the bleeding procedure and try to work your levers free. Normally some WD-40 or PB blaster right at the bottom of the levers where they pass through the side and working the handles will free them up. If not then you may have to remove the valves and clean them. Let us know after you've done the bleeding procedure.
 

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If you follow the levers down to the big valve you will see the valve stubs sticking out of the body. Get under the tractor with someone above trying to move any lever and you below using a prybar or big screwdriver try to get one of the valves to move. Once you break it free it will gradually move freely. If one of the valves is stuck in an open position then most of your fluid on a four-port will go to that valve and not the PS. That's why they went to a five port steering valve. I've had several different models with stuck valves and using a small hammer or prybar usually does the trick.
 

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AKA Moses Lawnagan
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Lift cylinder won't move, inside lever is frozen in the neutral position, outside lever moves but when I push it forward the steering wheel kicks a little to the right. Now the wheel won't move to the left but I can turn it to the right. Fluid is full.

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I missed this post while reading the thread prior to my response above. Sound like more than just the steering, I'd recommend going through all the hydraulics, drain and refill the system, purge all the lines and bleed them, after making sure all the valve bodies are in proper working order. If it went through a tornado, and has been sitting that long afterward, it probably has water in the hydraulic system, causing corrosion and stuck valves.
 

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PA318Guy, There ARE "cleaners" available to dissolve/remove varnish, carbon, sludge and other contaminants from hydraulic system, are 100% compatible with the oil(s), and will not damage the system.

When I worked in maintenance back in the late 80's, most of our machine tools where 50, & 60's vintage. It was a production shop and equipment was not allowed be shut down for preventive maintenance. We'd add oils as nec. to keep machines running, and that was it. As a result of 20-35 years of running without "fresh" oil, cylinders, solenoids, and other valves became "gummed up" and just plain stopped operating. I did some research and found a product called Mobil Sol A which was supposed to remove deposits and keep systems operating. With my persistence, I was finally allowed to shut machines down and replace oils...with the addition of Mobil Sol A. Seals began to seal, solenoids and valves began to, once again, operate as they were supposed to. Mobil's claim that their product would clean the system of contaminates was true!
I just contacted Exxon-Mobil, about 15 minutes ago, and found that Mobil Sol A is no longer available and has been replaced by "Exxon Mobil System Cleaner", a safer (due to flash point and human health hazards) and more environmentally safer product...no comments as to working better or worse!

Soo, there is a product you can add to your hydraulic (or lube) systems that will clean them (in my opinion & Mobil's opinion) without harm to the system/components. Now, the bad news! It's only available in 5 gal containers for $325.

This is just some of my "useless information" that I like to pass on...especially when someone says, 'I've never ..... Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the suggestions gentlemen! I played with it a little more today and I think I'll start with the hydraulic levers first since one is stuck and the other seems to have some effect on the steering. That lever controls the deck lift cylinder but the cylinder barely moves. Am I correct in thinking the supply for the steering runs through that block?

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Pretty sure a friend of mine’s 318 had similar symptoms and once he resolved the stuck lift lever his steering was resolved also.


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Thanks for the suggestions gentlemen! I played with it a little more today and I think I'll start with the hydraulic levers first since one is stuck and the other seems to have some effect on the steering. That lever controls the deck lift cylinder but the cylinder barely moves. Am I correct in thinking the supply for the steering runs through that block?

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Yes, the system is tied together and the difference between the 4 port and 5 port steering column is that the 5 port gives the steering priority on flow when it demands it. The 4 ports steering is greatly affected by open hydraulic spools. I agree with the last poster that you need to get your levers working first, that may be the entire issue since you have a 4 port.
 
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