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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello from the world of stroke recovery! I've had a rough time of it but am almost back to normal. I just bought an X500 that is hard to steer and it appears to be the gear. The pinion looks good with no apparent wear but with the front end off of the ground, I can turn the steering wheel with one finger. Both front wheels turn freely left and right. Have any of you found this issue? I tried to find a video of the replacement but I could only find the cheaper models like the L, D. models. One documented repair took the entire steering system apart including the instrument island. I was hoping that wasn't necessary. Any help would be appreciated.
 

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Are you talking about when sitting still or in motion? Since it is not power assisted it is expected to be more difficult when not in motion because of the friction force on the tires. When moving the friction forces are greatly reduced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I understand but it is difficult even when moving. Sitting still is a two-handed job but once underway it is just hard and I have owned many of this model and none have ever been this hard to steer. The pinon looks good with no apparent wear but the big gear is a little too shiny. The PO had a Powerflo bagger on it and I think that may be why it is so worn. Many owners do not realize that the if PowerFlo blower is on the ground and that makes it much harder to steer.
 

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wishing you the best on your recovery and hoping you can return to your pre-stroke life!

I would look at the steering control spindle arm! I believe there are 2 holes in it,make sure your steering rod is in the end hole! next I would check the spindles for play, may be worn and with load on something binding. adding a little air to the front tires may help! I always felt they were a little hard to steer myself, but guffawed at power steering until I added the x540 to the game and now the x500 feels even harder! I use a spinner on the wheel and sometimes that is an advantage giving other options for gripping the wheel! I added 18x8.5 front tires which made it a little harder as well when steering while stopped.
 

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Hello from the world of stroke recovery! I've had a rough time of it but am almost back to normal. I just bought an X500 that is hard to steer and it appears to be the gear. The pinion looks good with no apparent wear but with the front end off of the ground, I can turn the steering wheel with one finger. Both front wheels turn freely left and right. Have any of you found this issue? I tried to find a video of the replacement but I could only find the cheaper models like the L, D. models. One documented repair took the entire steering system apart including the instrument island. I was hoping that wasn't necessary. Any help would be appreciated.
Wow, sorry to hear about the stroke but glad you are almost fully recovered. Here's hoping that you make a full recovery and get back to completely normal activity.
 

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Best wishes to complete your full recovery.

My X500 steers very freely when moving, with the 48" deck. Even the Cyclone Rake adds only a little extra effort.

As you lift the front tires up off the ground to test it for binding, did you notice any shifting or fore/aft tilting of the axle? Also check all the parts for looseness. May be OK with no weight on it, but if loose can shift into a binding situation when the tractor weight is applied. Check all, including the front spindles for excess wear.

I had a Craftsman that became increasingly difficult to steer. Turns out, the axle pivot mounting had cracked and allowed the axle to shift slightly. Viewed from the side, it laid back just a bit as the tractor weight was put on it. Steering became very hard before I jacked it up to look at it and noticed that as the weight came off, the whole front axle assembly slightly tilted forward. It was enough to cause binding and hard steering. I would guess that a worn axle pivot could allow some of the same tilting. Also, as I recall hat pivot zerk can be overlooked when greasing the machine.

Hope it is something simple to fix.
 

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If it has the optional front rocker for a plow or blower, check to make sure everything related to the linkage for that is in its proper place. If not, they can intrfere with the steering.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
After taking some of the instrument panel apart, I realized I am missing a piece that holds the fuel/hour gauge in place. The PO had used a zip tie to hold the gauge in place and I cannot figure out what is missing. There is nothing broken but there are two slots just below the gauge that something fits into. Could someone take a picture up inside the instrument cluster in the area of the gauge that shows what holds it in place? I've looked at all of the JD catalogs and none of them show any separate pieces. It might be part of the center panel but none of the pictures are ever of the underside. This isn't a great picture but you can see the two slots at the top where something fits into them and there is a clip at the bottom of the picture that is hard to see.
Thanks,
Rudy
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Automotive lighting Automotive tire Automotive exterior Bumper Font
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for taking those pictures. I know what a tough spot that is because I have spent hours looking at it. I see the front tab which I have but I can't quite make out the rear tabs. I can see that there is nothing like I thought there might be to hold the gauge in. The way JD made this is like the gauge would be taken in and out frequently which makes no sense. One other observation is that if that tiny plastic front tab gets broken, the entire panel,$42, has to be replaced! If someone happens to have the center panel out of their tractor I would appreciate a picture of this area. Thanks again for your help. Rudy
 

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I had a shoulder injury a few years ago. My L100 was difficult for me to steer. I put thrust bearings where the spindles go through the axle and that helped a bit. Then I put Vredestein V61 tires on the front and "WOW", it is like having power steering. I also have a x590, so I know what power steering is like.
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Hello from the world of stroke recovery! I've had a rough time of it but am almost back to normal. I just bought an X500 that is hard to steer and it appears to be the gear. The pinion looks good with no apparent wear but with the front end off of the ground, I can turn the steering wheel with one finger. Both front wheels turn freely left and right. Have any of you found this issue? I tried to find a video of the replacement but I could only find the cheaper models like the L, D. models. One documented repair took the entire steering system apart including the instrument island. I was hoping that wasn't necessary. Any help would be appreciated.
Welcome back and your on my prayer list. When I saw your name my first thought was, I haven't seen Rudy post in a while. I'm glad your recovery is going well enough you can fight with tractors. Keep your health on the top row of the list of things to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
It's good to be back and my hands are dirty again! OK, I have a new problem with this X500. I spent all day trying to remove the steering wheel with no luck. First I tried wood beneath the spokes and it broke the wood. I cut a "U" shaped slot in a 3/16 thick piece of metal that would fit in the slot between the wheel and the panel below it. Then I hooked my gear puller up and turned away. All I got was a bent piece of metal that no matches the shape of the wheel hub! I heated the shaft head and even applied a little heat to the plastic hub but no luck. I've got the puller on it under tremendous pressure with a lot of PB Blaster in the threads. I'm going to leave it overnight and see what happens. Any further ideas? I'll have to cut it off if I can't get it off normally. Now I have to look up a used steering wheel on eBay. BTW, thank you Rarefish for your thoughts and prayers.
 

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One thing I did when I was trying to remove a steering wheel was I hit it from the bottom side with a rubber mallet or dead blow hammer in several spots and finally popped loose.
 
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...as well, striking it while it's under tension (say, with your puller) can also get it loose...
Or launch it, if there is too much tension. :) They can fly pretty far. (don't ask how I know.)

Chemicals can be your friend too. A generous application of PB Blaster on the shaft, tap it with a steel hammer. (just tap, the idea is for the vibrations to allow the lubricant to penetrate....)
 

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Hey @inspectorudy so glad you are back...I realized that you had not been around and wondered what happened, but did not know you had a stroke...I really hope you have recovered fully...as far as your steering wheel...I had to just leave a puller on one and squirt it with ATF mixed half and half with acetone...I would put a turn or a turn and a half on the driving bolt every morning and again in the afternoon...a bit of heat every few times, and a few raps with a hammer to vibrate it a little...it finally popped off ..I used never seize when I put it back on....a bearing splitter works better than a wheel puller on them
 

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Glad you're back!

My X 500 steering wheel wouldn't come off by pulling or prying. If came off with door framing type shims wedged as hard as I dared behind the steering wheel to provide some decent force on it. Then put the retaining nut back on it so it protected the threads and end of the steering shaft. I took a regular framing hammer and gave it a very hard, sharp smack on the end of the shaft and it popped off. But this one has been stored indoor all its life. If corroded, you may need to use MarkLI's method of gradual penetrant soaking and increasing pressure.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you all for relating your own experiences with these JD wheels. Maybe if they had used a smidgen of anti-seize at the factory none of us would have had this issue. I got it off with my big gear puller and a bearing spreader or puller. It is the thing that looks like a donut but is split down the middle and then the two halves bolt together. Once I got that under the steering wheel hub, my gear puller had something firm to grab onto and off it came with a loud pop. My other issue about the fuel/hour gauge not staying in place was caused by one tiny little plastic tab less than an inch long being broken off. I can either buy a new panel for $42 or figure out some way to make a tab. I think I'll opt for the fabrication. What a lousy design! Now for the hard part. I have to remove both steering linkages and then the big-toothed gear that turns them. Strangely, the deck is in very good shape with no rust and almost no rubbing wear on the trim side. The PO did have a PowerFlo and bagger the whole time so that is probably why the steering gear is worn out. I've rehabbed several that had this setup and some of them had the bottom of the PowerFlo blower bottom completely worn through from dragging on the ground. I can imagine that would put a strain on the steering. BTW, I had my stroke a little over one month after getting the booster Covid vaccine. Now they are saying people over 65 may have a stroke after the booster. Thanks a lot, CDC! I'll never trust those liars again nor will I ever take one of the untested vaccines again.
 
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