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Discussion Starter #1
Hauled the 'beast' down from the hill. The c1973 Wards 16hp Vari-Speed was put in the barn after sitting in the weather for maybe four years. Fresh oil, fresh gas, fresh battery, carb cleanout and it's a running machine! So pleased with it!! Except. ( Ihate those words), the darn steering gave up. The wheel will turn the fronts to the right, but will not turn to the left. Had to foot steer back to the barn. (aka: kick the tire to change direction). Everything is lubed and free. In fact, the steering wheel is Too free. It almost spins like a top to the left. Any suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Found the issue. The sector gear has some worn teeth right in the center. I have a choice: Either get a better one or try to dink with this one and a mig welder. Where can I scare one up that's in fair condition?
 

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Ah, the joys of owning an old tractor.
Do you have the parts breakdown with part numbers? If you do, you could check ebay, do a search with just the part number. You might be lucky.
If you have no numbers to go by, somebody may be along here with a similiar machine.
In the mean time, Wards had a cousin named Gilson, which looked just like one another. They even shared similiar parts and drive trains. When you said 'vari-drive', that caught my eye, since I have a Gilson that has vari-drive. I have a parts breakdown, but the list doesn't specifically say 'sector gear'. The pics aren't the best. I'll physically check my machine tomorrow and see what I have in there.
With all that said, there is a Gilson collectors forum up on www.yahoogroups.com . They have some good stuff (info) in their file section, too. They are also a good source of personal info and spare parts. MIght want to check up there.
I'll check tomorrow and get back to you as to what I have.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, it is a Gilson derivative. The part number in my manual says it's 12085 steering gear assembly. I did check EBay with no success. I'll look into the Yahoo Group for Gilson as you suggest. Thanks for the help, Engine2quarters.
 

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When I get home I can post some pics, but I have a good functional steering gear assembly out of a '68 Garden Mark Squire 12 that may fit. I have the parts manual too, I'll check the part number. Willing to sell cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That sector gear shaft is pretty well rusted in place. It's all dangling from the bottom of the tractor now, after I removed the mounting side plates. Wanted to remove the whole steering column from the bottom side to more easily work on it, but the darn steering shaft/wheel screw snapped. ANd the steering wheel is rusted tight to the shaft. On and on.... I'm going to lock the sector gear so it won't move and just lay beads of weld where the teeth are missing. The teeth at the ends are in brand new shape, as they never get used. I'll make a pattern from them and duplicate by grinding the welds back. God bless Dremel! It will be tedious, but it'll save an other wise good running machine. If that doesn't work, then I'll go to plan B. Which was the original plan A....
Just thought of it...I'll take pictures of the 'before', 'during' and 'after'.
 

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I checked my manual and the sector gear I have is also part number 12085. I removed the whole steering assembly as one piece out the bottom of the tractor. I also still have the steering wheel, which is in pretty good shape as well, and all the mounting hardware/trim for the wheel. I am willing to sell these parts for $30 plus shipping. I could have them in the mail tomorrow and you would probably have them Saturday. I don't have pics of the steering assembly removed but it is the mounting side plates, steering shaft, sector gear, pinion gear, and bracket assembly all as one unit. Here are pics of the steering wheel.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You sure did a good job getting that steering wheel off of the shaft, boss351c. Here's what I did today: These are the before showing the worn area of the teeth. I did get them welded up today and ground back. Tomorrow I'll blue them up and look for the high spots. I don't expect them to be perfect, but I'd like them closer than they are right now.
 

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Yeah, I got lucky and the wheel slid right off the shaft. The whole tractor was in pretty darn good shape for a '68. If you need any other parts let me know. I even have a front blade for it, but no mower deck. Oh, mine does not have the vari-drive or hydraulics.

Good luck with the repair.
 

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I am pleased with how the gear teeth came out. I'll post pics tomorrow. Put green layout dye on them and ran the pinion past several times looking for high spots. Dremeled them down and did another fit. Found the reason for years of difficult steering. No grease between the sector gear and it's shaft! Promptly drilled and tapped for a zerk. WOW! What a difference THAT made!! Steering is still sloppy, but that's because of a worn hole that the rear of the drag link fits in. Will get the weeds cut first and then over drill and bush that arm for the link. Very pleased today. As was my wife!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Here's the first pass with the dye. They did look good. I was surprised how well it came out. A few high spots got shaved off and tried again with a few more. The gears mesh quite nicely now and the darned thing is back to work!
 

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ANd then, two hours into some much needed grass cuttin' yesterday, IT QUIT!! At first I thought it ran out of gas, as did I. Today I found the tank still had a third left and thought "uh-oh!". Yep, it didn't start today. Well, this is a first for me. For all the capacitors I've changed in my life, never has it been because it went bad. Just because it was part of the kit. Well, that's what it was. Fortunately I had a new one and got back in business. Yeah. For about an hour and a half! Saw some serious oil smoke from the front of the engine. OH NO!!! The darned seal was sitting half way between the black and pulley! Yeah, I know why. The breather box must be plugged and shoved that seal out. After thirty years of use since it's rebuild and it comes out now??? I may get the grass finished by the weekend at this rate.
 

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ahhhh Welding The REAL MANS SUPER GLUE . lol

Nice job . :thThumbsU:trink40:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yeah, that glue gun (aka Hobart135) was a Christmas/father's day/birthday gift from my best male friend (aka eldest son...). An amazing tool.
 
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