Sears Craftsman 42" Mower Lawn Tractor Steering Problem

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  #41  
Old 03-20-11, 04:27 PM
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Hey,cheese, how to I get the steering shaft out to replace it?

I had it all out to replace the support shaft, however, it is still slipping when turn right. I guess I will replace the strg shaft and the sector shaft, but I have no idea how to get the steering shaft out of the mower. Can you help?
Thanks
 
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  #42  
Old 03-20-11, 06:24 PM
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Depends on which model you have. You'll at least need to remove the bushing at the dash, and possibly the fuel tank and/or other things.
 
  #43  
Old 03-21-11, 05:43 AM
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This sounds like the problem I had when I put everything back together (my post about 3-4 posts down). With the battery tray out, I turned the steering wheel to see why/how it was slipping. I then saw that the steering shaft was pushing the sector gear away from it, which let it slip. This was due to the missing shim. Once I put the shim back in, it doesnt slip now. You could probably do the same visual test, if you see the two parts pushing away from each other, then you probably dont need a new steering shaft, just another shim perhaps to snug things up.
 
  #44  
Old 04-05-11, 08:43 PM
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Same basic question about excess steering slack

I have model 917.259572 and wanted to get your thoughts. Most people seem to get by with part #19 and 66. I didn't know for sure what those parts were called and so I wanted to make sure they are what I probably need...19 is the support shaft and 66 is a bearing arm. Is that what most have been replacing to stop the steering wheel slack? Also it seems overly hard to steer, more so when backing up, is that due to the worn parts? I have greased the front spindles and checked the air pressure and that is all ok.
 
  #45  
Old 04-05-11, 09:52 PM
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The hard steering could be binding linkages or rusty/stuck pivot points. The parts you mentioned are usually what are needed and your descriptions are correct. Use the part numbers though, not the #19 and 66 from the diagram.
 
  #46  
Old 04-14-11, 05:15 AM
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If I have an older Craftsman (917.252520), there is no part #66 for the bearing arm. I ordering a new support shaft (#19), but I am not sure if I also need to order something to take the spot of #66 in the newer models. Any thoughts?
 
  #47  
Old 04-14-11, 09:46 AM
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Just the nyliner bushings on the shaft.
 
  #48  
Old 05-16-11, 08:46 AM
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Wondering if my spindle assy is bent?

Just noticed two issues over this past weekend - both with the RH side of tractor.
1. If I set the left wheel pointing straight ahead, the right wheel is somewhat facing more to the right.
2. My bigger concern is that the top of that RH grease fitting is closer to the body of the tractor than the LH side. Could this be solely related to a bent spindle?

I very much appreciate any assistance or suggestions. Thanks again.
 
  #49  
Old 05-17-11, 08:04 PM
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The front axle is bent from your description.
 
  #50  
Old 05-26-11, 02:43 PM
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Steering still slips at shaft assembly and sector gear

I replaced parts 17, 19, 27, and 66 in Sears Craftsman Model 917.270841. After all is back together it is still slipping some where the shaft assembly meets the sector gear. There are no shim washers with this model, if one is needed what do I buy.
 
  #51  
Old 05-26-11, 05:23 PM
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With all those parts, you'd have been better off replacing #62 as a whole new unit. You replaced the parts that are normal wear parts, so I don't know what else to recommend. You'll have to look at the assembly as it moves and stresses to see where the play is coming from. Did you put the clip back on the shaft at the sector gear?
 
  #52  
Old 05-26-11, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by cheese View Post
This is a run-of-the-mill job at my shop. We do this particular steering repair frequently. I say this so you realize I am not a stranger to the problem you have and take confidence in my advice. As I mentioned, as long as the gears are ok, then #19 and 66 will fix the problem. The support wears out and moves like you described. It's just normal wear and a new one will be tight again. Generally this wear is accelerated by running with low front tires (require more effort to turn, which translates into stress and friction on the bearing surfaces in the shaft support). Keep the front tires at 15 psi and grease the front axle fittings to avoid having this problem again in the future.
with respect to part 66 is the issue wear where it rides the cross shaft or the steering wheel shaft. I have excessive steering play resulting in the left wheel jamming on full (too full I guess) left turns. I took it apart and I can rock part 66 on the steering shaft end. I got it out without removing deck but I removed the dash panel.
 
  #53  
Old 05-26-11, 09:25 PM
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Yep, it wears where the shaft goes through it but it also wears at the point where it touches the bracket that holds it. It gets a notch worn into it over time.
 
  #54  
Old 05-27-11, 03:11 PM
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Cheese, I didn't notice the kit when ordering. I am returning the parts and reordering the kit. Thanks for your help.
 
  #55  
Old 06-07-11, 08:21 PM
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I have a different steering problem on my Model 917.275041. The steering drag link popped out of the socket on the spindle that it was fitted into. My drag link differs from the parts diagram as it is just a ball the was pressed in a socket on the spindle. It appears that now the part is bolted through. Is there any way to fix this? I tried pressing it in again which worked for one mowing but now it is so loose it won't stay in the socket. Any ideas????
 
  #56  
Old 06-07-11, 09:15 PM
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No, it needs to be replaced. The new ones are the same as the old. The ball is in a socket, and a nut holds the ball joint on at the other end.
 
  #57  
Old 07-08-11, 07:39 PM
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Cheese,
I found this website through a google search and found your advice very useful! I ended up replacing the entire steering assembly on my 1998 Craftsmen 42" mower and everything works great now. I tore down the steering assembly several times thinking I could tighten things up, but the bottom line is the gears where too worn to actually work. I bought replacement items from a local tractor repair store and it was actually cheaper than the searspartsonline.com site. Thank you to A1 Mower in Akron, Oh for reasonable prices and quick delivery. Everything works well now and hopefully my 14 year old son can avoid hitting that lamp post now that the steering actually works!
Once again cheese, thanks for your help on this forum!
 
  #58  
Old 07-28-11, 09:25 PM
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Hello Cheese, new member here.
Same steering problem as everyone else has...I read all of this info, ordered some parts and tore down my mower. Everything seemed to be going well. Got the bracket off and removed clip & sector gear, bolt from the steering shaft, etc. Took off steering wheel, removed bolt & nut from extension but I cannot pull the extension piece (44) off the shaft so I can r&r 17 (I am replacing 17,19,27&66) 44 seems to be frozen on 17...how do I pull it off and use it to put back on the new 17?

Thanks for all of your previous instructions, they were excellent!
 
  #59  
Old 07-29-11, 10:15 AM
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That's one of the first things that would be removed. Take the bolt out and put the steering wheel on it and turn it until it reaches the end of the steering travel, then keep turning it to break loose the extension and lift it off the shaft while turning.
 
  #60  
Old 08-02-11, 07:31 PM
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Thanks again for the advice, Cheese! #44 came right off with a hard turn of the wheel, (with the steering shaft held by vice grips). I was afraid it was a pretty dumb question but I just could not get it off.

Waiting on a part...I hope everything goes back together without too much trouble and I don't have to bother you again. But...this is my first steering repair job...
 
  #61  
Old 08-02-11, 08:02 PM
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No problem. If you run into a snag, just holler...
 
  #62  
Old 08-08-11, 02:00 PM
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Hey Cheese... Got everything back together much easier than anticipated. New steering shaft & sector gear really tightened it up. The tie rod (axle?) was bent upward (and wheels were askew as "Jucee" described) so I removed it and straightened it out and that took the remaining play out of steering. I can almost steer with one hand, I can't believe how much I was fighting it the last few years. Sharpened the blades and it cuts & steers like it was new.

At first this project seemed like it would be a major hassle. Reading the thread a few times and especially your suggestions made it doable for me.
Thanks again for everything.
Mark
 
  #63  
Old 08-08-11, 06:05 PM
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No problem, Glad I could help!!
 
  #64  
Old 08-21-11, 10:32 AM
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917.256511 Next Step?

My mower is 917.256511 and I have downloaded the manual and parts list for it. I've read this thread and found it helpful but am still uncertain of the next steps.

I will use this only for transportation around the place and perhaps light tractor duty so have removed the deck and everything associated with it. This gives me a bit more space around the steering assembly to work on it.

The gears appear to be only slightly worn, the main problem being the Support Shaft #19. I have the replacement for it and the Nyliner #24 ready.

I have removed the bolts holding the steering bracket #25. I have removed the outer ring clip # 8 and the washer (there was only one although there are two in the diagram) #5. I have disconnected the Link Drag #10.

What do I do next?

Oops this seems to have come up other than at the end of the tread......Can it be fixed?
 
  #65  
Old 08-21-11, 10:36 AM
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My mower is 917.256511 and I have downloaded the manual and parts list for it. I've read this thread and found it helpful but am still uncertain of the next steps.

I will use this only for transportation around the place and perhaps light tractor duty so have removed the deck and everything associated with it. This gives me a bit more space around the steering assembly to work on it.

The gears appear to be only slightly worn, the main problem being the Support Shaft #19. I have the replacement for it and the Nyliner #24 ready.

I have removed the bolts holding the steering bracket #25. I have removed the outer ring clip # 8 and the washer (there was only one although there are two in the diagram) #5. I have disconnected the Link Drag #10.

What do I do next?
 
  #66  
Old 08-21-11, 12:35 PM
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Start to slip the bracket off and the shaft support off enough to remove the clip that keeps the gear in place on the shaft, and slide the shaft out of the gear and the rest of the parts.
 
  #67  
Old 08-21-11, 04:26 PM
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Thank you Cheese. That went fairly smooth. I have the new Shaft Support and Nyliner installed and am ready to do the reassembly. I need your advice on getting the gear in the right position.

Is there anything else I need to be mindful of?

The inner clip was rather sprung out of shape in removing it. I'll put the good clip in that posistion for now so I can get on with the work.
 
  #68  
Old 08-21-11, 08:15 PM
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There is a spline in the gear that is wider than the rest. This goes onto the spline on the shaft that corresponds to it. There is a line cast into the gear pointing to the wider spline notch.
 
  #69  
Old 08-22-11, 04:51 AM
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Thank you Cheese. I thought I could see that but my 73 year old eyes will need a magnifying glass.

The only thing left will be how to get the steering wheel position centered?
 
  #70  
Old 08-22-11, 09:27 AM
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Don't worry about that, you can just take the steering wheel loose and center it after the job is done.
 
  #71  
Old 08-22-11, 10:16 AM
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Thank you Cheese, it is all back together and much improved, safe to drive now compared to before. There is still some play but it is all up in the front somewhere so I'll track it down when I get a chance. If I need help with that would it be an extention of this thread?

You have been a big help to me, I appreciate you very much.
 
  #72  
Old 08-22-11, 06:36 PM
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No problem. If you have other issues with the steering, make a new thread to discuss it in since it will be related to a different area and repair.
 
  #73  
Old 09-10-11, 04:06 PM
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Cheese I have another problem. Twice now the Ring Klip (key #8 in the diagram) and thrust washer (key #5 in the diagram) have come off leaving me afoot. After the first time I got a new Ring Klip and I thought it was well seated in the groove. I had driven around the yard several times for a few days with no problem and was out on a very rough patch of road when it came off. I notice in the diagram it shows 2 of the thrust washers but there was only one on it when I disassembled to replace the shaft support and I am still using it. It didn't look as if there were room enough for 2. I have also noticed there are 2 different styles of e rings sold to replace this part (12000029).
 
  #74  
Old 09-11-11, 12:45 AM
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Sometimes you have to take the end of a flat head screwdriver and put it on the edge of the clip and tap the clip down into the groove for it to fully seat. Sounds like it's not seating well or the groove is damaged.
 
  #75  
Old 09-11-11, 06:20 AM
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Thank you Cheese. That is how tapped it in and thought it was seated, but I don't see well. Will try again with younger eyes to help.

What about the diagram showing 2 thrust washers?

http://www.managemylife.com/mmh/lis_...M/L1005584.pdf
 
  #76  
Old 09-11-11, 06:42 PM
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If 1 came off, 1 is all you need unless you see that there is enough slack to warrant installing another. I rarely have to shim any more than what it had when disassembled.
 
  #77  
Old 09-24-11, 05:28 PM
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I have an alignment problem on a Sears 42" mower. When the steering wheel is pointed straight, both wheels point out, one a little worse than the other. Nothing appears to be bent. What are my options?
 
  #78  
Old 09-24-11, 05:37 PM
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The link that runs between the two wheels under the mower frame is bent. Take it off, straighten it, and you'll be back in business.
 
  #79  
Old 10-15-11, 08:50 AM
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Steering Column and Sector Gear Replacement

Cheese

I'm in the process of taking the steering assembly out of my craftsman tractor, do I have to remove the bracket that hold the pitman arm assembly? What is the easiest way to replace the steering pinion gear and the sector gear?

Thank you in advance,
 
  #80  
Old 10-15-11, 09:44 AM
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Yes, you have to remove the 4 bolts and the drag link to get the bracket out. Take that loose and remove the steering wheel, shaft extension is it has one, and the bushing in the dash and then remove the steering sector assembly from the mower. If you intend to replace both gears, then I suggest replacing the entire assembly instead of individual parts or it will cost you more and take longer to do.
 
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