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Interesting.

Are we talking wheel play, hub play or axle play? I sure hope it isn't the latter.

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Discussion Starter #42 (Edited)
I think wheel play. It feels normal to me—it feels similar to the play in a trailer wheel. I was just surprised because the opposite side doesn’t seem to have any play at all.
 

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Sorry to take so long to reply. I located the serial number below the air filter —15896A. Does this make the tractor a 1973? I did find 11-18-72 stamped on the side though (pic attached).

I noticed a hose tucked under the air filter, which I pulled out for a pic (attached). The hose wasn’t connected to anything on one side. Should it be? What’s that part it’s attached to in the pic?

I also noticed the rear driver’s side (left) wheel has about 1/8” of play, whereas the other side does not. Is this ok? Pics are attached showing the difference.


Yes, your 816 is a 1973. My guess is that the 11-8-72 stamped on the trans. housing is the casting date of the housing. Rumer had it that a some early '73 tractors may have had leftover '72 transmissions installed. Your tractor being 5xx into '73 production would make me think not, but yet, if your trans. with it's casting date of 11-8-72 happened to be preassembled some time before the tractor was built...?

Regarding the 1/8" axle space, you may want to check to see that the outer axle end is flush with the outer hub center. If the axle end is 1/8" inward of the hub center, then the hub's set bolt needs to be loosened, so that you can push the hub inward on the axle (a little persuasion with a rubber mallet may help). You can also check the axle/hub end position against the other axle/hub end position. If this is the case, but the hub doesn't want to budge, no problem. The hub set bolts should be checked for tightness from time to time.

That piece is the crankcase breather. The rubber hose connects to the underside of the air filter housing.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
I see one axle set bolt on the rear right (passenger) side. I’ve attached a pic to make sure I’m looking at the right thing?

With the rear end lifted, I noticed the following...

On the side with the set bolt, the hub (?) that the wheel bolts to sticks out past the wheel just a fraction, and there is no play between the ring that holds the wheel in place and the wheel itself.

From either side, and axle can be pushed/pulled approximately 3/16” of an inch. The play on the sloppy side is approximately 1/8” in addition to that by moving against the ring that holds the wheel in place.

On the side with play, the wheel can be jiggled all directions. Time for new bearings?
 

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Discussion Starter #46
I took a couple videos showing the movement. One shows the in and out movement of the axle. The other shows the slop in the wheel. I imagine due to storage space concerns there’s no way to attach these?
 

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Discussion Starter #47
A couple more pics. With the wheel off, the flange can jiggle about 1/16”. The inward and outward play along the axle relative to the snap ring remains about 1/8”. There is a spot for a tightening bolt, but a thread hole isn’t there.
 

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Some in-out axle play is normal; the axles are retained in the differential housing by a snap ring and they can move in slightly until the axle shafts ride against the spider gear blocks. The axle itself should not have any lateral play... this could indicate a bearing issue. If you do have a bearing issue, the most likely culprit is the outer bearing in the outer axle housing, which can be replaced without taking the trans apart.

But, without seeing photos or video, I will say that the most common issue in my experience is that the Wooddruff key (which is hardened) wallowed out the key way in the hub, axle, or both. Depending on the severity, this will allow the hub and wheel to move around in all directions with respect to the axle shaft. In many cases, you can get away with a new hub and key. If you need an axle, the trans needs to be dismantled (you may just want to live with the slop!).

Also, expect the hub to be a huge pita to remove if the key way is beat up. :/ I converted to later model tapered shafts for this reason exactly.
 

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See your pics... looks like a key way issue. Pop that e-ring off, cross your fingers, and see if your hub slides off the axle... and let's see what you got. :)

*enjoying this thread
 

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Some in-out axle play is normal; the axles are retained in the differential housing by a snap ring and they can move in slightly until the axle shafts ride against the spider gear blocks. The axle itself should not have any lateral play... this could indicate a bearing issue. If you do have a bearing issue, the most likely culprit is the outer bearing in the outer axle housing, which can be replaced without taking the trans apart.

But, without seeing photos or video, I will say that the most common issue in my experience is that the Wooddruff key (which is hardened) wallowed out the key way in the hub, axle, or both. Depending on the severity, this will allow the hub and wheel to move around in all directions with respect to the axle shaft. In many cases, you can get away with a new hub and key. If you need an axle, the trans needs to be dismantled (you may just want to live with the slop!).

Also, expect the hub to be a huge pita to remove if the key way is beat up. :/ I converted to later model tapered shafts for this reason exactly.
:ditto: what jj94tt wrote in his posts, incl inward/outward axle movement). The fact that the set bolt which keeps the hub in place against the axle is missing on the loose hub makes it more likely that the hub's keyway has been wallowed out, allowing the hub to move all around on the axle. When you pull the hub (you will likely need to use a puller, but if it's *that* loose, you may be able to pull it by hand) to check the keyway, you may also find that the inner bore of the hub is out of round from it's movement around the axle. Try to center the hub midway through it's arc of travel before pulling it so you have a better chance of the key being aligned with both the axle, and what's left of the hub keyways. And take you time.

On one occasion I had to carefully cut the hub away from the axle with an angle grinder after the puller broke the hub face. I completed the task of splitting it with a metal chisel

Regarding the front axle center bolt, yes it should be tightened. There is also a grease fitting on the center underside of the axle.
 

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Discussion Starter #52
The play in the axle itself is minimal. Just a little inward and outward, but nothing major.

I popped the snap ring off and could get the hub to slide a couple inches, but then it stops. It also rotates a lot, so I bet that key is the issue. I don’t have a puller (any recommendations?) and I wasn’t sure how hard to hit it front the inside without damaging something.
 

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The axle sounds good. As jj94tt said, it's normal.

The key is likely hanging up. Try repositioning the hub slightly side to side while pulling slightly. You may be able to feel the key find the center of what was the hub's keyway. I would also spray some PB Blaster, or the like into the hub's keyway detent using a straw. There could be a little rust in there. Don't be afraid to give the hub a few taps around it's circumference with a hammer.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
Thanks you all. I can definitely feel the key as I pull the hub. Once it grabs, the slop stops. I can pull it about 1 inch and that’s it. I’ll squirt some PB Blaster in there and see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
So the hub appears wallowed out and the key way doesn’t look so hot. I guess a call to Richard’s for a new hub and key way is in order.

Thanks to everyone for the help!
 

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Not a bad idea. I would, just so I wouldn't have to worry about having to pull the hub again in the near future. I don't believe that the hubs come with set bolts, and jam nuts, so you might want to ask Richards when you call.

Very important! Be sure to jack the tractor way up at a steep angle on the side that you are replacing the axle seal before removing the old seal. Doing so will shift the transmission oil filling the axle housing to the opposite side enough so that it's 5qts. of transmission oil don't come gushing out of the axle housing.

The hub, and key both seen better days. That's why it's important that we check the set bolts, and jam nuts for tightness every once in a while. You should check them on your good hub.

I guess your not mentioning the axle's keyway is a good sign. It's usually the hub that does all the wallowing. You may want to turn the axle itself back and forth by hand just to see how much travel there is. A little travel back and forth is normal. Have the tractor in gear when you do it.
 

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Another possible fix is to cut a newkey way 180 degrees from the first one.

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Discussion Starter #59
Axle looks pretty good. Very minor movement in gear. Key slot looks pretty good. A little worn on the axle surface adjacent to the slot, but it doesn’t look too bad to me.

Good idea on cutting a new key way, but I’ve sourced a used hub with threaded bolt that appears to be in good shape with an even key slot. Richard is including a new key and jam nut with other parts in my order—grille insert, air filter, outer bearing seal, mower belt, and in-line fuel filter.

I think I just realized the jam nut is just a nut to hold the tightening bolt in place, and nothing special that I don’t have already. Guess I didn’t need to ask for that, but Richard is including it.

Richard mentioned the same thing about jacking up that side of the tractor. He said I’d have to unfasten the 4 bolts to change the outer seal. It looks like the seal can be popped out without removing those 4 bolts, but that’s not the case?
 

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