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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to tractors, but just picked up a 180 hour 2004 3235GT.

The power steering is loose -- almost 1/4 turn in steering wheel before noticable movement in wheels.

Is there a way to tighten the steering on this? Nearly all the play seems to come in the steering shaft/box.

There is very little/minimal play in steering knuckles and hydralic piston frame attachment.

Thanks for helping this newbie.

BTW, what's the website for ordering service manuals (not owners manuals)?

Jim
 

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I'm new to tractors, but just picked up a 180 hour 2004 3235GT.

The power steering is loose -- almost 1/4 turn in steering wheel before noticable movement in wheels.

Is there a way to tighten the steering on this? Nearly all the play seems to come in the steering shaft/box.

There is very little/minimal play in steering knuckles and hydralic piston frame attachment.

Thanks for helping this newbie.

BTW, what's the website for ordering service manuals (not owners manuals)?

Jim
One possibility:
Get the machine"s full model and serial numbers off the ID plate under the tilting seat pan.. Go to the Cub Cadet website and use their manual request link. They MAY have a service manual .pdf available for that model.
 

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The steering should NOT be loose. This is potentially dangerous. Jack-up the front of the tractor and give a tug-test on the:

- Steering linkage
- Hydraulic Cylinder and connecting rod
- Wheels (check for bad bearing)
- loose sub-frame
 

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You've done a great job breaking this down (now that I actually read your note!)..

Does the steering cylinder (Left side of frame just below foot rest) move in and out as soon as you move the wheel? (mine did, but sounds like yours does not)

Is your transmission full of fluid?? (All the hydraulics, transaxle and power steering run off the same reservoir. I find that power steering shows the issues first with low fluid.)​


Do the wheels turn at the first hint of motion on the cylinder? (mine did not)

My 3225 had a lot of slack where the hydraulics attach to the splined piece on the top front left. The bolt there would loosen up every couple mowings. I finally removed the bolt and splined piece (it probably has a name!), cleaned it all up, put a little Loctite on the bolt, tightened it up and let it set for a few hours. End of problem for me!:fing32​
:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
At the end of the steering wheel shaft, is there a steering box of sorts that has an adjustment on it?

Do I need to remove the mower deck to access the end of the steering wheel shaft? (I've read horror stories here about reattaching mower decks driveshaft).

- 90% of my problem seems to be between the steering wheel and the steering cylinder. I can turn the steering wheel almost 1/4 turn before I see the steering clynder move.

- 5% of the steering place is on a slightly loose frame-steering cylinder bolt

- 5% of play is from wheel bearings

Thanks again,
Jim
 

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The power steering is loose -- almost 1/4 turn in steering wheel before noticable movement in wheels.
The movement in the shaft (plunger) should be immediate, and linear. Does the shaft not move until 1/4 turn of the wheel, or does the shaft move without a resulting movement in the wheels? There is a significant difference.

Movement at the steering wheel without the plunger moving tells me the problem is likely with the hydraulic cylinder.

Movement at the shaft, without the wheels points to loose or worn steering components.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The movement in the shaft (plunger) should be immediate, and linear. Does the shaft not move until 1/4 turn of the wheel, or does the shaft move without a resulting movement in the wheels?

The movement in the "plunger" (hydralic steering cylinder) is not immediate... it takes almost 1/4 turn of steering wheel to see the "plunger" move.

I'm going to look into THUNDERBIRL's suggestion of checking/topping-off the hydralic fluid.... I just need to get an owners manual (seller didn't have one) to learn where the hydralic fluid resevoir (if any) is and what fluid specification I need.

THanks... I'll post my results as soon as I learn what the solution is.
Jim
 

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I just need to get an owners manual (seller didn't have one) to learn where the hydralic fluid resevoir (if any) is and what fluid specification I need.
The transmission and hydraulics share the same pump and reservoir, so it it filled and checked at the dip-stick at the rear of the tractor.

The fluid is the 737-3120, Drive System Fluid Plus.
 

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Open the hood- Turn the steering wheel back and forth and trace through all of the steering system components for play- the rack/pinion assy, the tierod links, power steering assy and then on out the chain to the frame & wheels.. Good luck!
 

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Open the hood- Turn the steering wheel back and forth and trace through all of the steering system components for play- the rack/pinion assy, the tierod links, power steering assy and then on out the chain to the frame & wheels.. Good luck!
My thoughts as well.. but I'm not sure of the 3K series steering systems. Do they have a pinion and sector gear at the end of the steering shaft like the 2K series (and most all LT/GT's for that matter)? The little pinion gears do get worn. I know on my 2544, you can pull the steering shaft and slide the splined pinion gear off the splined steering shaft and flip it around to the unused side. FWIW, there's quite a bit of play; both axial and radial at the steering wheel on the 2500's right out of the box.

Joel
 

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My thoughts as well.. but I'm not sure of the 3K series steering systems. Do they have a pinion and sector gear at the end of the steering shaft like the 2K series (and most all LT/GT's for that matter)? The little pinion gears do get worn. I know on my 2544, you can pull the steering shaft and slide the splined pinion gear off the splined steering shaft and flip it around to the unused side. FWIW, there's quite a bit of play; both axial and radial at the steering wheel on the 2500's right out of the box.

Joel
It's a completely different set-up:

http://cubcadetparts.arinet.com/scripts/EmpartISAPI.dll?MF&app=MTD&session=fce466ac-ee23-4e52-b94d-c865228d4e5a&cat=34&TF=epcFrame&assem=2173&serialGroup=0&modelAssemID=2173&highlightNode=No&selAssem=6179&mdDescrip=3206 Tractor S/N 1J310G & Before, 14A-646-100
 

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I don't actually know how this power steering system works, but it seems that it's some sort of a bidirectional valve that opens when you turn the wheel one way or the other. There may be some sort of flow controller that depends on how far you turn the wheel.

If that's right (which it may not be), then one logical possibility is that there could be a partial blockage in the common line to the valve - whether it's supply or return.

If you power up and turn the steeromg wheel to extend the cylinder, kill the power and manually push the cylinder all the way to the other extreme (i.e., closed), would that flush out the system?

(I have no idea if this will work, but it seems logical - until someone who knows explains how this really works!)
 

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I don't actually know how this power steering system works, but it seems that it's some sort of a bidirectional valve that opens when you turn the wheel one way or the other. There may be some sort of flow controller that depends on how far you turn the wheel.

If that's right (which it may not be), then one logical possibility is that there could be a partial blockage in the common line to the valve - whether it's supply or return.

If you power up and turn the steeromg wheel to extend the cylinder, kill the power and manually push the cylinder all the way to the other extreme (i.e., closed), would that flush out the system?

(I have no idea if this will work, but it seems logical - until someone who knows explains how this really works!)
3000s use a bidirectional valve that is very sensitive to dirt or metal particles.
If this tractor has had a failed hydraulic pump in the past, there could be trash in the valve which would require disassembly and cleaning. Also, repeatedly trying to turn the steering wheel when the tractor isn't running will pretty much destroy this valve in a fairly short time. This set up is unlike anything most people are used to seeing- there is no direct link between the steering wheel and the linkage, only hydraulic fluid. There are no gears to wear or adjust, no rack& pinion, etc. Just a funny looking thingy that looks like a small hydraulic pump with all kinds of lines running everywhere!
 

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Thanks for the clarification of how this works. Is there a detailed diagram of this beastie anywhere?? I'd really love to understand it.

You said:

Also, repeatedly trying to turn the steering wheel when the tractor isn't running will pretty much destroy this valve in a fairly short time.
Two questions:

1. Is this a general statement or is the statement intended to apply to a valve with foreign material in it? I hope it's the latter.:praying:

2. With the engine off, why can turning the steering wheel (opening the bidirectional valve) cause the cylinder to move and the front wheels to turn?? (I know that some claim it doesn't. On mine the front wheels turn, but not real well.) It would weem like it's more than "just" a valve!

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
elfiero - Thanks for the post. I don't know what this 184 hr tractor's history is -- the prior owner is dead.

1) What does your gut say? Does your gut say that the bi-directional valve is bad? (maybe also called steering valve or pump... the item that the steering wheel shaft enters that contains a georotor)

2) Does the hydraulic steering system need to be "bled" (just like an automobile's hydraulic braking system needs to be bled)? If so, any ideas on how to do this?


I just received the service manual in the mail yesterday -- it shows procedures for removal/install of the bi-directional valve and it's bench dissassembly and reassembly. Removal/install seems straight forward (and time consuming) but dissassembly/reassembly is scary.

Equally as scary is what I'm anticipating a replacement bi-directional valve costs.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
ALL -
When the tractor's with hydraulic steering are off, How much play should be in the steering wheel?


I have the same amount of play (almost 1/4 turn) both running and off.

(NOTE: 95% of the play is steering wheel and it's shaft... not the axle and not the hydraulic steering cylinder or it's mounting located on the frame).

Thanks for your help,
Jim
 

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Jim-
We have a 3000 series w/ 300 hrs. When running, turning the wheel an inch or so left or right moves the front wheels. In the width of a fist of wheel travel the tires turn. When not running we dont ever try to steer it around. Hope this helps as a example of a similar machine.

Note: our bolt connecting the steering arm also loosened when we modified the cylinder moutning bracket so the cylinder would clear the taller 4 ply tires we mounted. We replaced the steering arm and after cleaning out the axel threads, added a new bolt 1/4" longer with locktite.
So far so good with plenty of testing from the snow blower, blade, and bucket.
Dmac
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for all the replies.

I fixed it last a night .... it was a simple fix due the prior owners lack of attention.

I had thought that the steering wheel play was limited to the hydro steering pump (and not in the front steering mechanism).

I was wrong.

When I finally got around to lifting the front end, I saw LOTS of play everywhere and I measured the toe-in to discover it was toed-out. :eek:mg:

I easily fixed the steering simply by:
- greasing some front axle ball joints,
- tightening an idler arm nut and
- aligning the front end so it toed-in and not toed-out. (read on this board from a dealer that CC dealer assembly instructions specify 1/8"-1/4" initial toe-in).

Thanks everyone,
Jim
 

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Glad you got it all fixed up. You've got an incredible machine there!
 
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