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 Newbie from BC, Canada

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Rustbucket Garage
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeWed Feb 10, 2021 8:21 pm

Nice fab work! Good call on the heim joints Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 2731072446
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeWed Feb 10, 2021 9:37 pm

Excellent call! I've been wanting to do that with my LT craftsman mower. Looks like I have the rod now. Just need the heims!

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeThu Feb 11, 2021 12:01 am

Thanks, gentlemen!

The next thing on my agenda (if the snow holds off, that is - the tractor's outside under a tarp, and they're calling for 10" of snow tonight/tomorrow) is to do away with the plastic insert bushings in the spindle arms (where the tie rod goes through), as they're cheesy & worn.  In order to use the heims properly, I'm going to need to remove the plastic bushings and fabricate steel, bronze, or PTFE (Teflon) ones to replace them.

I'm leaning toward steel, as the heims can rotate inside themselves, so they can be solidly bolted to the spindle arms.  Gonna be a bit of a challenge, though - straight bushings would only be about 1/2" in diameter, with a 3/8" hole, and only about 1/4" thick, although I'm thinking of maybe a top-hat shape, like this, which would be way easier to machine (sorry about the crude drafting job - don't have software for that anymore, so I'm using PaintShopPro....NOT designed for mechanical drawings!):

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeThu Feb 11, 2021 8:33 pm

Well, I made the "top hat" bushings, out of T-6061-T6 aluminum, as I happened to have a slug of it lying around.  The bottom shoulder turned out to be 1/4" high, as the thickness of the spindle arm was thicker than I'd estimated.

They did fit, though, and the tie rod is perfect.  It got rid of all of the steering slop at the spindles (most of what remains is because the steel axle can rock back and forth in the frame 1/4" or so on each side), and I now have a small but noticeable amount of toe IN, rather than visible toe OUT.  That oughta improve the stability at speed some.....I hope!

In the pic you can see the aluminum top hat bushing just below the heim joint.

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeThu Feb 18, 2021 4:49 pm

Well, the snow's gone & I finally got a chance to try out the new tie rod. I set it to zero toe initially, and the tractor darted like crazy, left to right about 1'-2' as I drove down my driveway at about 20 mph.

I gradually increased the toe-in until it was actually visible. It's still a bit darty but, at least under the exact same conditions, it only darts back and forth 3"-4".

I've added in a bit more toe-in since then, but haven't had the chance to try it out again. I'm pretty hopeful that I can try it out at full speed soon!

I still have the age-old problem of the front axle shifting front-to-back on each side, and that figures heavily into the steering issues. I considered locking the articulation of the front axle, but driving this thing off-road seems like it would cause all sorts of other issues. At this point I'm trying to figure out how to save the articulation but tighten up the front axle. Haven't come up with anything concrete yet.

I'm thinking of ways to attach my new foot throttle. As it's a push-pull type, and I plan to leave the governor intact (at least for now), this makes the carburetor end seem simple. The original Craftsman throttle uses exactly the same type of cable & has all the attachment points required.

On the lighter side, my "belt keeper" at the rear end, though ugly, seems to work great. No more throwing the belt every time I shift into reverse!
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeThu Feb 18, 2021 7:31 pm

Meh, that's not a bad bushing to make. Especially if your lathe takes collets. you could part it off oversize and then hold the small diameter in a collet and face it to length and chamfer it. You can just get some 3/4" bar and turn a whole bunch out in a short amount of time. You can part off a bunch and then set your carriage to face them all at the same length too, that would make it a lot faster.
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeThu Feb 18, 2021 9:15 pm

I believe (don’t quote me on this, foggy memory) the spec’d toe in for bias ply tires (most LT/GT tires) is 1/8”. If you are having problems with darting steering that sounds like play in the linkages. These craftsmans are known for having worn out steering boxes.
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeThu Feb 18, 2021 10:28 pm

@Rustbucket Garage wrote:
I believe (don’t quote me on this, foggy memory) the spec’d toe in for bias ply tires (most LT/GT tires) is 1/8”. If you are having problems with darting steering that sounds like play in the linkages. These craftsmans are known for having worn out steering boxes.

It usually is, but you may both be right about this. If it's first gen, yeah your probably right, but the AYP's with the stamped steel axles (and even cast iron ones) always are worn out on the pivot. I've had three of these and my brother has 2, and only one of the 5 didn't have the play. Honestly every single thing on the first gen craftsman steering is nothing but scrap. I'd on honestly feel safer on MTD lawn tractor steering.
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Feb 19, 2021 2:17 am

Unfortunately, I don't have a collet holder or collets for my lathe, but there's (almost) always a way around that.  I love my lathe, and it never lets me down if I at least try to meet it halfway.  It's a cast iron 1947 (going on 75 years old!!!) South Bend 9" with change gears, and it's still capable of incredible precision.  It was in a machine shop, running all day every day, for 60 years before I got it, and it's never been rebuilt or tuned up.  I wish I could say the same for me!!

I haven't actually taken the front axle pivot apart to see how it works, and the owner's manual has a cheesy line drawing of the whole axle, with the pivot just shown as a couple of tiny circles & listed as "bearings".

With the torque forces at work, it amazes me that a bushing even lasts an hour or more!  It was never a great design, particularly with a pressed-sheet-metal axle.

I did rebuild the steering shaft knuckle (the plastic one that wears out oval & lets the steering shaft move around at the steering box) by line boring it on the lathe & sleeving it with a steel bushing I made.  No play at all there  Then there was the cheesy bolt-through the steering shaft up near the steering wheel.  The bolt was a LOT smaller than the hole, which gave almost a quarter turn of the wheel with no movement in the steering column!  I honed that out & installed a tapered pin I made, and there's no play at all there now.

I still haven't messed with the drag link, although it has a ball joint on the end & seems pretty tight.

So, now the majority of the slop is at the front axle pivot.  I guess my next move will be to pull out the front axle & see what I can do to fix that.  As RichieRichOverdrive said, the bushings aren't hard to make, so I guess I'll start there.  Anyone know if Oilite bronze bushing material can stand the forces in this application, or would brass or steel be better?

Strangely, when I looked up the part number for the axle pivot bearing/bushing (Craftsman #154779) it looks like a plastic sleeve!  If need be, I could make one out of PTFE (Teflon), as I have some, it's easy to machine, and it's pretty tough stuff.  Don't know if it's tough enough for this job, though.

Honestly, if I could find a small, cheap rack & pinion setup, I'd try to fit that in there.  NO play at all that way...unfortunately "cheap" and "rack and pinion" are words you don't find in the same sentence these days....
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Feb 19, 2021 8:51 am

Not sure if they make needle bearings in that size but I think those would work well. You would probably have to bore something out but it would probably hold up better.
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Feb 19, 2021 10:12 am

I expect you're right. I have no idea what the bearing/bushing dimensions are yet, as I haven't been able to find that information. I suspect I'm going to measure the O/D of the bolt & the I/D of the axle hole and start from there.
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Feb 19, 2021 6:48 pm

Just thought I'd throw in a pic of my rear pulley belt retainer.  It's ugly, but it works! The welds aren't as ugly as they look, I swear!! The prettier ones are hidden on the underside of the thing.... lol!

When the belt is tensioned (it's loose in the picture, as the parking brake is engaged) it doesn't touch the retainer anywhere, and it doesn't seem to be causing any wear on the belt. So far, so good. Those belts are expensive!!

Working on the foot throttle mount now...

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Feb 19, 2021 8:59 pm

Nice retainer! Is that pulley cast aluminum? If so, keep an eye on it. They tend to wear out pretty quick.

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Feb 19, 2021 10:40 pm

I'm not certain - it seems awfully heavy for aluminum. If I had to guess, I'd say it was some kind of zinc alloy...I will keep an eye on it, though! 'Course, there's no competition group or anything hereabouts, so it will only be used around the property when my wife wants stuff moved around etc., and when I feel like blasting around a bit Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 845561842

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Rustbucket Garage
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Feb 19, 2021 11:03 pm

To quote cars and cameras: “it’ll be fine” lol! I admire your thoroughness with this build.
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Feb 19, 2021 11:04 pm

I LOVE Cars and cameras!! I get a lot of my loony ideas there!!

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeFri Feb 19, 2021 11:57 pm

Those tend to grenade under power and will take the belt out with it. I DEFINITELY recommend a cast iron or steel rear pulley. Zinc or aluminum doesn’t matter, they’re still soft and WILL explode without warning. I’ve seen it happen...
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSat Feb 20, 2021 12:01 am

@CraftsmanQuad19 wrote:
Those tend to grenade under power and will take the belt out with it. I DEFINITELY recommend a cast iron or steel rear pulley. Zinc or aluminum doesn’t matter, they’re still soft and WILL explode without warning. I’ve seen it happen...

I have to agree here. Never seen one explode, but we've blown out 3 zinc/aluminum pullies ourselves. I would personally go ahead save myself some trouble and get a steel one, but it's your choice.
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSat Feb 20, 2021 2:49 am

Sounds like sage advice, guys - I'll go on the hunt for one. The only reason I chose this one is because that's all there was locally. I'll see what I can find!
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSun Feb 21, 2021 2:06 am

Wow!  Steel or cast iron 3" pulleys must actually be made of unobtainium - can't find one anywhere!  Locally I can only find 1.95" or 10+", nothing in between.  Gonna have to think on this....
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSun Feb 21, 2021 8:42 am

Do you have a Tractor Supply anywhere near you? They should have them. I admit they're pretty terrible about keeping their stuff in stock, but I know they carry them.

Honestly, you could just order it online. I don't think the aluminum pulley is gonna hurt anything for testing, as they usually go in about a month of hardcore use. I just wouldn't do much testing with it so that way I could get my money back for the pulley.
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSun Feb 21, 2021 9:47 am

I’m pretty sure he said he is from Canada. Maybe a Princess auto?

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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSun Feb 21, 2021 11:21 am

Yeah, I'm in Canada, so my go-to is Princess Auto (more or less the Canuck version of Harbor Freight).  Their catalog doesn't show much for pulleys in 3" except for the zinc ones.   There are steel sheaves with separate collars....but not in 3".  I'll keep on looking, though....

I did find one in the US that might work, but the seller only ships with UPS, which isn't viable for shipping to Canada due to their insane brokerage fees etc.

(**...and the price would have been $150 with shipping.....**) Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeSun Feb 21, 2021 9:42 pm

Woohoo!!  Found a source!  It helps if you don't use the word "pulley" and use the word "sheave" instead, apparently.

I can't get a 3" with a 5/8" bore, but I CAN get a 2.95" with that bore, made of cast iron.  Looks pretty heavy duty.  Looks like this - has two set screws 90* apart.

Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 HHSukhe

Supposedly there's one in stock at my local Princess Auto store only 25 minutes away. Guess I'll be heading there in the next few days.

By the way - has anyone here ever used shims to help stop an AYP pressed steel axle from shifting back and forth in the frame? I'm thinking of trying to do this, in addition to replacing the front axle bushing. Maybe Teflon sheet....tough stuff if there's enough surface area, and if I can reduce the fore-and-aft forces some, maybe the new bushing (bearings?) will last a while longer...
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeMon Feb 22, 2021 12:13 am

I also have another question for you knowledgeable folks: Where the heck is the clutch safety switch??? My tractor is similar to a Craftsman LT1000, and my clutch switch needs adjusting. With the parking brake lever engaged (and the clutch/brake pedal locked down) I still can't get off the tractor and have the engine run, or crank. If I REALLY stomp on the pedal, it starts etc. just fine. The brake works, and the clutch works, but I still can't get off the machine, and the force required is jamming the idler pulley into the engine pulley.

If I can find the switch, I'll figure out a way to adjust it so it works. It's not listed in my Craftsman shop manual anywhere. From research on the 'net, I suspect it might be a part #104445X, but I haven't been able to find it on the machine. One poster suggested that on tractors with my engine, it might be under the solenoid!

Any ideas??
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PostSubject: Re: Newbie from BC, Canada   Newbie from BC, Canada - Page 2 Icon_minitimeMon Feb 22, 2021 7:15 am

I think it’s down by the steering box on the pedal shaft that runs across the frame, but it’s been so long since I’ve taken mine apart
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