Please help with loose steering repair - Craftsman 917.258540

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  #1  
Old 06-10-10, 12:52 AM
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Please help with loose steering repair - Craftsman 917.258540

Hello!
What a great forum you have here.
I normally frequent forums like this for a/v electronics, and try to help those in need when I can.
Now it seems the shoe is on the other foot, and I know little about lawn mowers, as mechanics is not my forte.
So, I hope someone here can lend a helping hand.

The steering is very sloppy on this Craftsman model # 917.258540.
I tried searching the forums for similar solutions, but the older threads seemed to only have different models from mine, where the steering assembly is different.
I'm pretty sure I need to look at linkage and joints, just not sure exactly where.

I can see under the console, and when turning the wheel, I can see the two linkages meshing together.
They move in sync back and forth, like the cogs of a clock.
However, they seem to move about an inch back, and an inch forward, before the actual wheels of the tractor move.
The result is very sloppy steering.

I see on the Sears Parts website that I can purchase the entire steering package, but that is very costly.
Is there some common part(s) that will go bad that I should replace.
It seems that the actual problem is maybe underneath or out of eyesight, and I'm not sure what parts to get.

Please help if you can.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-10-10, 03:38 AM
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Jack the front end up and see how much play you have in the front wheels and spindles. If the wheels and steering spindles haven't been greased regularly you will get enough wear in these areas to cause a lot of play. New bushings can be purchased but I use brass and or stainless sheet stock to re-bush these areas.
 
  #3  
Old 06-10-10, 07:55 AM
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A common probleb on these is the Support shaft cracks. #19.

Here is a diagram of the steering system:
http://www.searspartsdirect.com/part...4768-00004.png

Photo & parts number. Again #19.
http://www.searspartsdirect.com/part...0044768&blt=06
 
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Old 06-10-10, 03:58 PM
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Thanks so much for the help guys!!

Ok, so I looked again at the shaft and where it meets the support at the bottom...

When I turn the steering wheel, the spot where the shaft meets the support is gaping and a bit loose.
I'm pretty sure that this is the problem, because when it's loose, it's not putting pressure on the linkage, so the wheel keeps turning (either to the left or right) for a few inches until the connection binds hard enough to move the sector gear.

So even though when turning the steering wheel, the gear on the steering shaft is moving and meshing correctly with the sector gear, it isn't actually moving the sector gear until it gets a good bind.

So, with the (hopefully understandable) description I have given, do I need to purchase the SUPPORT SHAFT (part #19 as suggested earlier, the STEERING SHAFT (part #17), or both?

Thanks again, and any and all responses or advice is most appreciated!!
 
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Old 06-10-10, 04:29 PM
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I would say just the support shaft #19 should fix it.
 
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Old 06-10-10, 06:24 PM
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Generally the shaft support and the bushing on the other shaft are all that is needed to fix the sloppy steering on that setup. Occasionally the sector gear is also worn enough to warrant replacement. If the teeth of the gear are worn to the point that they are pointed at the ends of the teeth then it is worn out and should also be replaced.
 
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Old 06-10-10, 07:41 PM
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Thanks again guys.

@ cheese: What do you mean by "the bushing on the other shaft"?

Thanks!
 
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Old 06-11-10, 12:21 AM
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The sears site is down right now so I can't tell you the number, but the shaft that goes through the big hole at the bottom of the shaft support is the one I'm talking about. The bushing at the end of it is the one I am talking about. It goes between the shaft and the bracket that it mounts in.
 
  #9  
Old 06-11-10, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by cheese View Post
The sears site is down right now so I can't tell you the number, but the shaft that goes through the big hole at the bottom of the shaft support is the one I'm talking about. The bushing at the end of it is the one I am talking about. It goes between the shaft and the bracket that it mounts in.
Like HERE? pg10, #18?
They call it a "washer thrust".

Sigh... I literally just placed the order for a few parts including the shaft support like 15 minutes ago.
Did not include a washer thrust... didn't even think of it.

Thanks again!
 
  #10  
Old 06-11-10, 09:04 AM
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No. number 66, part number 154404... pittman arm bearing. You can get rid of the problem without replacing this part, however, this part often has wear enough to warrant replacement by the time the shaft support is worn and I replace both at the same time. The shaft support is the main reason for your excessive play in the steering.
 
  #11  
Old 06-11-10, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by cheese View Post
No. number 66, part number 154404... pittman arm bearing. You can get rid of the problem without replacing this part, however, this part often has wear enough to warrant replacement by the time the shaft support is worn and I replace both at the same time. The shaft support is the main reason for your excessive play in the steering.
Thanks again cheese.

Another potential problem I ran into yesterday,..
I was in the middle of mowing and threw the deck belt.
At that point I was done, and didn't run it anymore.
This moring I looked at it and the belt easily slipped back on, but it is very loose.
The belt looks to be in very good shape, just slightly too big... barely holding on to the pulleys.
Is the tightness on the belt adjustable?
 
  #12  
Old 06-12-10, 12:39 AM
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With the blades turned off, the belt should be loose. Engage the blades and see if it is still loose.
 
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