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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so I got this riding mower for free, Supposedly it wouldn't run. I went and looked at it very quickly, said I would take it then hooked up the jumper cables, fired it up and drove it up the ramps into the back of my truck. Offered the guy the $20 bucks I had in my pocket but he said nope free is free. I got it home, sharpened the blades, leveled the deck and mowed the grass. Anyway the steering was loose so I replaced the whole sector, shaft bracket assembly. Then I decided to check out the front axle as I found a replacement cheap. Low and behold I find 2 cracks on one side of the frame and one crack on the other side. The axle also seems loose (can tilt front to back) and I will replace it if I keep the tractor. I have already mowed about 8 times and the deck is still level. As far as I know the cracks may have been there for years. I can just repair (fill cracks with weld then cut a piece of angle and weld that over the cracks) or I can use this as an excuse to go spend some money on a "must have" item. I'm wondering if this area is known for cracking? I really don't want to spend money on a new tractor, do you think my idea of repairing it will hold up? I see no damage anywhere else on the frame. The tractor looks and runs great and now you can steer 90% better. JUst wondering if anyone else has had this problem, fixed it and had good results?
 

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Follow your own advise- Weld up the cracks, weld on plates/gussets over them, a little paint, then use the heck out of it! Is this the machine in your avatar? I've seen a lot of those models around and have'nt seen any with cracks in the frame like yours. Maybe the previous owner "off-roaded" it too much.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes it is the one in the avatar. The yard at the house I got the mower from looked like a mine field. It was uneven with bare spots everywhere. Mowing it was probably like offroading. I'll weld it up this afternoon, mow with it this evening. Another question, I know the front axle can teeter back and forth but how much rocking front to back should there be? It looks to be in good shape but I don't think it should have the front to back movement. Maybe just the pivot bushing is worn. This is my first riding mower/tractor so this is all new to me.
 

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The pivot is not going to stop it from rocking. the width of the channel it rides in is what will limit it. While you have your welder out, you may as well built out the sides of the beam a little if you want to tighten it up.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks. I was gonna make a spacer like a washer to slide in there. I was also thinking that maybe it has the wrong axle on it and the corect one is thicker? I'll just have to tear it apart and see what is actually goin on.
 

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My MTD has a similar axle,and it was flopping around BAD when I first got it--the "kingpin"bushings were made of some plastic crap,and was all busted up,both front wheels were tipped like a road grader and VERY sloppy--I welded 1/2" pipe in the axle ,it fit the spindles pretty close,and used some slotted 1/2" copper tubing for "bushings",and drilled the pipe for grease fittings..that fixed the wheel alignment,but the axle beam itself was still sloppy as could be..

After I hoisted the tractor up with a chain fall,I saw the axle cener pivot was a big punched hole in the center of the axle beam,that had only two thin metal cups that looked like a freeze plug from a car engine holding it to the tractor chassis,and they were all beat up..so I removed them,and saw the axle itself was still intact,so I found a peice of pipe that fit the hole in the beam and the chasssis pretty snugly and used that as a big "pin" to attach the axle,and drilled holes in the pipe on each end for a cotter pin..

I shoved a peice of 3/16" thick flat sheet steel with a big enough hole in it to fit over that pipe to help take up the excess "play" between the chassis and the axle..its held up since 1997 when I got it,just staring to get a bit loose again after all these years and miles now--soon I'll need to re-bush the steering gear,they are getting sloppy now and the gears jump sometimes..:mad:..

It's things like this on newer tractors that makes me want to buy more OLD ones,that had cast iron "indestructo" front axles--and rear ones too!..
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Trator-Holic. We seem to think along the same lines. I'm gonna dig into it about 4 this afternoon. I'll let you all know what I come up with.
 

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My tractor's front beam was sloppy from day 1. I put gear clamps around it to take up some of the slack. If I had a reason to take it apart, I would weld something more permanent like fender washers to take up the slack.

Play in front axle
 

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jps- You may want to read the Mower Man 42's axle swap sticky at the start of this forum. May be of some interest to you,also.
 
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