Craftsman Steering Problem

jimbeau

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I have a GT6000 with 'tight turn' steering. When turning all the way either right or left the inside wheel flops to 90º of travel. I have replaced all the steering parts and have good alignment. The mower steers fine until I make a hard turn. Ideas?
 

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bertsmobile1

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IF it is brand new send it back
A view of the underside with the mower standing vertical would be good
I have never seen one of this style of steering let alone worked on one
From the IPL I can not see anything obvious that would make the wheels turn too far yet still have them pointing strait ahead
I can see only 3 things that would cause this problem
1) wrong Selector plate gear part # 35 in the Sears diagram Part #440770
2) wrong Lawn tractor steering plate # 19 in the Sears Diagram Part #194729
3) Lawn tractor sector gear cap shown as #122 in the Sears diagram Part #444962
The first if too big would allow the drag links to move too much
The plate has 2 slots that the caps run in which looks like what acts as a steering stop
If they fall out of the slots then there is no steering stop
To me it looks very much like they are drawn in upside down and the flange would go to the top to prevent them falling out of the hole
I also noticed that no nuts & washers are shown so unless the selector plate is threaded I can not see what holds the drag links to the gear plate
Again this is just an IDEA from what I see in the diagram
However I note that all of the steering parts are flagged as "best sellers" so it looks like you are not alone .
A horriidly complicated work around for not using adjustable drag links in the first place
There is an old engineering addage which which goes something like this
"There is no design so simple that works so well that it can not be made more unreliable by making it more complicated "
A long winded way of expressing the KISS principle .
 

jimbeau

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Thanks. I have a YT3000 'freebie' that has the same setup and steers ok. I swapped the plate, drag links, etc. with my GT6000 and have the same symptoms. I tried caps on the drag links where they go in the steering plate. They don't quite reach the end of the steering slot. I agree that the lack of a steering stop is the likely culprit but am at a loss of how it works. The front wheels have a metal stop on the inside of the spindle but by the time it makes contact the opposite wheel has turned sideways. I can think of several 'fixes' that involve welding or modifying drag links but I think that installing new parts should restore the steering function.
FYI: The drag link goes up into the steering plate and has a washer and locknut. The cap sets on top of the locknut. This all has to be assembled while the steering plate is off, or loosely attached, in order to get a wrench on the locknut.
 

sgkent

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you write you used the parts from the other mower. You are unclear whether the problem changed mowers or the problem remained with the same mower. If the problem stayed with the same mower, I would put the mower up on stands in the garage on a swept clean floor. Using some chalk and a plumb line drop to the floor and mark some spots that are consistent between mowers - e.g., where the axles are, center of the tire, frame points etc., and distance above the floor, then measure diagonally side to side on the points, e;g, front left to right rear and front right to left rear. When you move the mower you can use a tape on the spots to see if the frame is square or bent. If the frame is square, try putting the other mower up and see it the spots align or if there is a noticeable difference. You may find that the frame is tweaked to where the geometry is way off. In order for the one wheel to swing further, the arc between sides they travel have to be measurably different somewhere as in an inch or so. A slight 1/8" difference here and there isn't going to matter.

Just a wild guess looking at the parts diagram I would make sure that the front piece that everything mounts to is not tweaked either front to back on one side, twisted, or camber. If any of those dimensions are way off, say from hitting something or a cracked member somewhere, the arc the arms and rods travel will change. The same may be true if the ride height on one side changes as in the frame being torqued. Also make sure the center plate is not tweaked or someone drilled new bolt holes moving it or where the steering bolts or clamps to it.
 
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StarTech

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The NZTR steering is very sensitive to wear. And yes the inside turn wheel will go to nearly 90 degrees especially if wheels are toed out when going straight. Many of these mowers came out of the factory toed out which was many customers complaint as it cause both tire wear and steering problems.

The problem I have seen with the NZTR steering is the toe problems where a 1/8" bend adjustment can change the toe adjustment by as much as one inch. Usually when I repairing these system, every part get replaced with new parts. The short links usually has to be bent more to get the toe alignment right. Most times I only bend them where they are up to a 1/16" shorter each overall using a hydraulic press. Just putting on new parts will correct the toe problem without further bending of the new parts.

This NZTR steering is not DIYer friendly repair wise. I can spend several hours getting it right with the tools and experience I have with it.

On the following diagram items 80 thru 86 are the parts that wear the heaviest along with the ball joints in the items 61 and 62. Also items 67 can some alignment problems too.
1665643362942.png.
 

bertsmobile1

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FWIW with all of these non adjustable steering set up's I put a threaded adjuster in some how
Some times the drag links are a suitable size to the threaded for a std tie rod end , some times I cut a strait section of a drag link then thread it and use a long sleeve nut ( called joiners for some strange reason ) and 1/2 width lock nuts
Whoever thought this system up was an idiot
While it will work perfectly backwards , front wards all that will happen is the wheels lock and the mower slide like what used to happen with solid rear axels
Probably the easiest thing to do would be to put a dolop of weld on the last 1 or 2 spaces between the teeth on the steering gear thus preventing it turning too far .
 

StarTech

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I agree it is a very dumb design as its way over complicated. The designer was just trying to meet the demand for extra tight turning radius that only a true ZTR can do.

As the system develop wear which happens rather quickly depending on usage the mower can have correctly toed one direction and when going in the opposite direction have the toe change a lot. As I said before to correct the system when worn takes replacing every steering component. Even then you are very lucky if the alignment is right.

On this system adding adjustable ball joints or adjustable sleeves on items 61 and 62 don't really help that much as items 81 are the one that affects the adjustment the most. As if the 81s out whack by under a 16th of inch they can cause over an inch of alignment problem.

Now limiting the steering sector by welding up the last teeth on each side is something I haven't tried here to limit the overall turning radius but that should would work as an aftermarket design change. Just wish both spindles would turn the same amount at the max turning point but they don't due to play in the system. Luckily most customers don't need that tight of a turn when mowing.
 

bertsmobile1

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Well whoever designed it had no idea how to split vectors a 1st year engineering subject
Anything over 45 deg and you are at the mercy of the diff to enact a turn
It would work well with rear wheel steering & front drive wheels but with that set up it would be a disaster
Obviously some shinny bum demanded that "they produce a tractor that steered as tight as a ZTR " because the results from the focus group stated the biggest problem with tractors was the turning radius
Then of course it would have been demonstrated in the car park on bitumen but not on grass where the friction is way way less.
I am amazed they have not been burried under a pile of law suits from people who did a very tight turn to avoid an object but the mower just kept on going strait & either hit it or went over the edge.
I did a recovery from a swimming pool last year because a McCulloh with the old tight turn failed to respond to a tight turn and just kept on going into the swimming pool
 

jimbeau

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FWIW with all of these non adjustable steering set up's I put a threaded adjuster in some how
Some times the drag links are a suitable size to the threaded for a std tie rod end , some times I cut a strait section of a drag link then thread it and use a long sleeve nut ( called joiners for some strange reason ) and 1/2 width lock nuts
Whoever thought this system up was an idiot
While it will work perfectly backwards , front wards all that will happen is the wheels lock and the mower slide like what used to happen with solid rear axels
Probably the easiest thing to do would be to put a dolop of weld on the last 1 or 2 spaces between the teeth on the steering gear thus preventing it turning too far .
Thanks. I think that will work.
 

Hammermechanicman

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