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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was mowing and the steering failed. It's a 19HP model 46378X6A. There's a long rod connected to the front wheels that is no longer connected to the steering linkage. This rod has a hole for a bolt but I think it was connected with like a knuckle because the bolt on the linkage has maybe half a rubber knuckle on it. There's no place for a pin or a nut to connect the two...

Anyone know how this is supposed to connect? Or should I just remove the nut and replace the broken part with a bolt?....
 

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Old Iron......Forever
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Yep the ball joint failed. If it is a removable one, your good to go with just going to the parts house (nearest lawn mower shop) and get another one. If you aren't lucky and it is a built in the end of the steering rod, You'll need to do some engineering, and cut the end off where the "ball socket" is, and either thread the appropriate size threads onto the end of the rod for that rod size, or have someone do it for you and get the ball joint you need that fits the threads now on the end of the rod. You also, will need to try to get the ball joint first, so you can measure back up the rod to account for the length of the ball joint itself into the rod length.

It can be done, just have to work it out for your situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys...

That was awesomely fast.

I'm thinking I'll just take the broken ball joint off and replace it with a bolt the correct size. Can anyone think why that wouldn't work?...
 

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Thanks guys...

That was awesomely fast.

I'm thinking I'll just take the broken ball joint off and replace it with a bolt the correct size. Can anyone think why that wouldn't work?...
Wouldn't work!

It will bind up while turning the radius of the turn. Hence the ball joint. It allows for the twist of the turning radius of the steering mechanism parts.
 

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Wouldn't work!

It will bind up while turning the radius of the turn. Hence the ball joint. It allows for the twist of the turning radius of the steering mechanism parts.
:ditto:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's what I was afraid of. I was hoping to avoid a special trip to the tractor emporium because the hardware store is 3 blocks away...

Anyone have an easy way to get the broken ball joint off? There's a size 19 nut holding it to the steering linkage that's painted green and won't spin off. I think the whole ball joint shaft is moving instead of just the nut....
 

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That's what I was afraid of. I was hoping to avoid a special trip to the tractor emporium because the hardware store is 3 blocks away...

Anyone have an easy way to get the broken ball joint off? There's a size 19 nut holding it to the steering linkage that's painted green and won't spin off. I think the whole ball joint shaft is moving instead of just the nut....
Somebody came up with a usable patch job on my Murray for the separated rod ends. I will take a couple of pics and post later today or this evening. All that is needed is a hairpin clip and a hose clamp.
 

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Someone did this on my Murry before I got it. Actually they fixed both ends using this method and it seems to work OK.

Take one of these,


And install it like this,


Hope that helps.
 

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I'll have to stick that back in my archives next time I have that happen. I had to think about it, while looking at the picture. As long as it is a good strong U clip pin, and good strong radiator clamp. That 'd obviously work!

I mention the good quality, because, I've been having some difficulty finding those items that seem to be made of good steel and stainless steel respectively. The ones that Harbor Freight sell, are Chinese or worse knock offs, and can be bent easily, in the case of the U clip pins, and the Stainless radiator clamps will strip out if forced with more than a screw driver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I looked again and realized that the ball joint didn't break. What's happening is that the balljoint is coming out of the socket.

The balljoint is located at the other end of the steering linkage as shown in the picture---almost right below the steering wheel. The balljoint fits into a socket on an arm that connects to linkage to the wheels.

I can press the balljoint back into the socket but it just pops out again. I'd glue it but the balljoint has to pivot within the socket.

Anyone know how to fix this? Is there a teflon insert that I can put into the socket to make it tighter and then press the balljoint into it?
 

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I looked again and realized that the ball joint didn't break. What's happening is that the balljoint is coming out of the socket.

The balljoint is located at the other end of the steering linkage as shown in the picture---almost right below the steering wheel. The balljoint fits into a socket on an arm that connects to linkage to the wheels.

I can press the balljoint back into the socket but it just pops out again. I'd glue it but the balljoint has to pivot within the socket.

Anyone know how to fix this? Is there a teflon insert that I can put into the socket to make it tighter and then press the balljoint into it?
The photo set above using the U Clip and clamp should be able to keep it in there. I had to think about the concept, but the U clip will fit just below the ball and the radiator clamp to clamp it up against the steering rod will hold the ball joint up in the socket. I see the mechanical connection and while it looks ugly, and might not be a permanent fix, I'm guessing it will be a workable set up and could be "permanent" eventually. I'm of the opinion that if something works, and "fixes" the problem, why change it. Now if you see a junker setting on the side of the road for free, by all means pick it up for parts and put the proper steering rod back on. But that fix above, is as good a fix as any I've seen.
 

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There's a few ways to fix this...if the steering rod with the failed ball socket does not have a replaceable end (it would unthread if it did),you can cut off that part of the rod and thread it for a replaceable end,or weld on a 3/8" bolt that a replaceable ball joint or heim joint can thread onto..as a semi-permanent fix,you can drill a hole thru where the ball socket fell out and use a bolt with double nuts to attach the steering rod back onto the steering arm,tighten one nut just enough to remove all end play,then tighten the other to lock it in place..I've had tractors I did that too last for years!..
 

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I looked again and realized that the ball joint didn't break. What's happening is that the balljoint is coming out of the socket.

The balljoint is located at the other end of the steering linkage as shown in the picture---almost right below the steering wheel. The balljoint fits into a socket on an arm that connects to linkage to the wheels.

I can press the balljoint back into the socket but it just pops out again. I'd glue it but the balljoint has to pivot within the socket.

Anyone know how to fix this? Is there a teflon insert that I can put into the socket to make it tighter and then press the balljoint into it?
The sector end of the rod I photo'd is repaired in exactly the same manner. It is cheap and readily available and has held up for several years now, so what is not to like about the patch?

The factory simply dropped the ball stud in the hole and then staked the hole to capture it. Over time the rotation of the stud and the shock loading of normal operation over rough terrain has worn the stakes away and the ball stud has come loose. The hair clip fix is cheap requires nothing special that wouldn't be found in the average garage and cost a couple of bucks if you have to buy everything new.

This is a lawn tractor, it really isn't that big of deal. If the patch were to break in a year then it ain't gonna be any more broke then it is right now. And, if the patch breaks next year you will only have to replace the hair clip as the hose clamp is probably going to be re-usable.

The alternative is to turn a couple of bungs on your lathe (you do have a $5,000 metal lathe in your shop, don't you?) thread them for 1/4 28 TPI spherical rod ends and (Hiem is simply a trade name). Cut off the pulled out socket and TIG weld the bungs in place on the drag link (You do have a $3,000 TIG welder in your shop?) Procure a couple of dash 4 rod ends (a trip to the bearing supply house). Now back to the lathe and turn a couple of ball spacers so you don't pinch the rod ends from rotating when installed. Re-install the above assembly using the appropriate sized hardware (Probably another trip to the hardware store). Total time invested about half a day plus a large chunk of change.

Now don't get me wrong, if this was an aircraft or race car I would have no problem in doing the above prescribed fix ( I do have the lathe, TIG and more to play with, along with bins of AN hardware and rod ends in stock).

To quote one of my fellow fabricator buddies, "Life is too short to struggle needlessly" (Racin Jason).
 

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This is a lawn tractor, it really isn't that big of deal. If the patch were to break in a year then it ain't gonna be any more broke then it is right now. And, if the patch breaks next year you will only have to replace the hair clip as the hose clamp is probably going to be re-usable.

I totally agree......once I saw the concept and how it worked, I was sold and will use the fix in my future fixes. To date, whenever I had that happen, I removed the steering rod and punched the edges of the socket to close the hole around the ball, but that wasn't always a good fix. By hammering the punch on one side of the socket it loosened the other side from the shock of the hammering. This is a much simpler fix and as Rog02 says, it is a lawn tractor. If the fix breaks loose again, replace the fix and repeat....Quite simply, it is cheap and simple, so why not at least try it. Perfect lawn tractors are the new on the show room floor, lawn tractors. If the engine is running strong and the blades are turning and cutting, and the tranny is moving it, then if it takes $2.50 to fix the steering, you've saved about $899 for the cheapest new lawn tractor at the big box home store.
 

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For about $12.50 you can do this, if you are confident in your welding.

MTD, Ball Joint, PN, 723-0448 $11.00

9/16 X 20 bolt $0.97

9l16 X 20 Nut $0.35

This will do the the end that hooks to the sector gear. If you need the other end you will have to use a different join because the top threaded part is not long enough to go through the drag link arm, but anyway you get the idea. Hope this helps.
 

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Yep this a fix^^^^^^^^^^

Couple of points though The linkage rod end is a 3/8X24 and available from any decent farm implement source for about half what MTD is ripping you for. I had an MTD mower and became quite familiar with those things as they separated on a regular basis as well.

The bolt and nut in question are 3/8X24. SAE and USS nuts and bolts are sized by thread size not wrench size. Whitworth and a couple of other British oddities are a different story:fing20:.

Just clarifying a couple of things.
 

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I used that joint because it is bigger and looked heavier made (looked at about 10 different ones). The thread size is 7/16 X 20 on both bolt, nut and female end of joint, I did post it wrond above, so if you use the PN I sent it will be that size. I am not saying I am right in what i used but that is what I usedit and 7/16is the correct size using that # joint. Also Rog02 don't take what I am saying the wrong way. I am not trying to be a but-head Just clarifying a couple of things like you said, with this particular joint PN .

http://www.mowergraveyard.com/right-hand-ball-joint-replaces-mtd-9230448a-72304487230448a-p-787.html
 

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No offense intended or taken.

You are quite correct in the varying quality of those rod ends. Since I live in the middle of nowhere about 2 miles from the end of the world, we have lots of suppliers for things like that as they are common to much equipment. The MTD ones do have the appearance of a better quality one such as a Morse Cable end.

For the spindle arm end you might look at http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/116/1181/=8ulwy1

the stud length for a 7/16 spherical ball rod end is 1 1/16" which might be enough. If not then one of these will suit your needs as you can use any length bolt required. http://www.mcmaster.com/#rod-ends/=8um2ez
A word of caution on using the spherical rod ends however, a spacer may be required to provide adequate rotation for full axial motion without binding the linkage.
 
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