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Old Tractor Enthusiest
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426 Posts
Discussion Starter #41
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Been 6+ weeks now since the repair on the steering cylinder. Mowed a couple of times and mulched a lot of leaves. Not a single issue with the steering. Seems to further confirm it was the center o-ring on the steering cylinder piston.

A question for anyone else who's replaced the same o-ring... How did the new o-ring compare to the width of the slot in the cylinder piston? This is the second time in 4 years I've replaced the center o-ring. Both times I purchased the kit online from Messick's. Have always found them to be extremely reliable. That said, the center o-ring in the cylinder seal kit is substantially smaller in diameter than the width of the groove in the steering piston. The diameter of the o-ring is only about 60% the width of the groove.

I'm assuming the extra clearance between the diameter of the o-ring and the groove is designed to give the o-ring space to flatten out when compressed into the steering cylinder. It's impossible to tell how the clearances look once the o-ring is compressed. However, in the exposed state there appears to be excessive gap between the o-ring and the side walls of the piston groove in which the o-ring is inserted.

I'm wondering if the seal kit contains an undersized o-ring by accident - maybe a typo in the Kubota specs? What is further perplexing is that there's two o-rings used on the center groove in the steering piston. They are installed one on top of the other. Under compression the extra clearance between the o-rings and the groove walls would in theory allow the o-rings to flex side to side as the piston moves back and forth during steering. This could allow the o-rings to rotate some and wear excessively.

I may be grasping at straws here but it's the only thing I can think of that would contribute to having to replace the o-rings at 4 year intervals. Welcome any other thoughts from readers. Thanks, Rob
 

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Old Tractor Enthusiest
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426 Posts
Discussion Starter #42
Hey guys... Hard to imagine it's been 30 months already since the steering issue on my BX-23. Well, guess what started acting up again? Yup, the steering is once again periodically not wanting to turn to the right. Same exact issues as in July/Aug 2018. It turns to the left w/o any problem or hesitation. Sometimes it will turn to the right ok. Other times it takes several attempts to turn to the right, with a jerk or two back to the left to get things going right again. This has been going on for a few weeks now and really got worse today when I put the FEL on. The added weight on the front end appears to be exacerbating the situation as it immediately became more difficult to turn to the right, but still not all the time.

I ordered the steering cylinder overhaul kit from Messick's a few weeks ago and have all the seals. The question is, what is causing this accelerated wear of the steering cylinder o-ring? When I rebuilt the steering cylinder the last time, the center o-ring that travels with the steering cylinder piston was clearly worn. It actually had flats worn on the o-ring around the entire circumference of the o-ring. So I thought, maybe when I rebuilt the steering cylinder seals the first time (about 5-6 years ago) could it be when I installed the center o-ring it got twisted as it was rolled into place over the steering cylinder? With that in mind, I was very careful to make sure the center o-ring was not twisted when installing it in 2018. Yet, here we are 30 months and maybe 150hrs later and the steering piston o-ring needs replaced again. (at least this time I know not to mess with the steering control valve).

Has anyone else had issues with the center steering piston o-ring? It seems extreme to have to replace it every couple of years under normal use. Also, FWIW - when I had everything apart in 2018 I checked the bore of the steering cylinder and everything looked nice and clean - no burrs or anything detectable that would explain the accelerated wear. Likewise, the old o-ring repacked in 2018 was worn flat all over and not in one specific location. So the wear of the o-ring is consistent around it's entire circumference.

Any ideas? Thanks.
 
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