Discussion:
Steering Problem on Craftsman Lawn Tractor
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Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
2009-04-15 01:43:21 UTC
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I just started using my tractor having bought it new at the end of the
summer 2005 mowing season.

Every year at this time I faithfully tune it up - change oil/oil
filter/spark plugs/air filter/fuel filter, clean the carb, take off the
deck/sharpen the blades, check the belts, ...

Having just completed all of the above, I'm finding the steering to be very
difficult. It feels like a car with power steering but the power is off -
much more force is required to turn the steering wheel. It is also
difficult to steer back to straight from a hard turn.

What could be the problem? Could it be a simple lubrication solution, or
something more significant like a bearing/bushing in a wheel/axle assembly?
I see no obvious visual indications.

The model is 917.275702, 24 hp, 48" deck.
Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
2009-04-15 01:45:34 UTC
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Post by Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
I just started using my tractor having bought it new at the end of the
summer 2005 mowing season.
Every year at this time I faithfully tune it up - change oil/oil
filter/spark plugs/air filter/fuel filter, clean the carb, take off the
deck/sharpen the blades, check the belts, ...
Having just completed all of the above, I'm finding the steering to be
very difficult. It feels like a car with power steering but the power is
off - much more force is required to turn the steering wheel. It is also
difficult to steer back to straight from a hard turn.
What could be the problem? Could it be a simple lubrication solution, or
something more significant like a bearing/bushing in a wheel/axle
assembly? I see no obvious visual indications.
The model is 917.275702, 24 hp, 48" deck.
Let me clarify my first sentence - I bought it in 2005 at the end of the
cutting season but have used it every cutting season since, so used it
through 2006, 2007, and 2008. Now all of a sudden the steering is
difficult.
EXT
2009-04-15 15:12:10 UTC
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Post by Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
Post by Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
I just started using my tractor having bought it new at the end of the
summer 2005 mowing season.
Every year at this time I faithfully tune it up - change oil/oil
filter/spark plugs/air filter/fuel filter, clean the carb, take off the
deck/sharpen the blades, check the belts, ...
Having just completed all of the above, I'm finding the steering to be
very difficult. It feels like a car with power steering but the power is
off - much more force is required to turn the steering wheel. It is also
difficult to steer back to straight from a hard turn.
What could be the problem? Could it be a simple lubrication solution, or
something more significant like a bearing/bushing in a wheel/axle
assembly? I see no obvious visual indications.
The model is 917.275702, 24 hp, 48" deck.
Let me clarify my first sentence - I bought it in 2005 at the end of the
cutting season but have used it every cutting season since, so used it
through 2006, 2007, and 2008. Now all of a sudden the steering is
difficult.
Last time I checked out Sears lawn tractors, I decided not to buy because
one weak area that I noted was the flimsy front axle and steering mechanism.
Much of it is made of pressed sheet metal and could easily bend out of
alignment. Check yours, a bump at some time may have bent something in the
front end resulting in stiff steering.

I ended up with a John Deere, its front end is really heavy duty, easy to
lubricate and very light to steer.
WW
2009-04-15 02:12:31 UTC
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Post by Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
I just started using my tractor having bought it new at the end of the
summer 2005 mowing season.
Every year at this time I faithfully tune it up - change oil/oil
filter/spark plugs/air filter/fuel filter, clean the carb, take off the
deck/sharpen the blades, check the belts, ...
Having just completed all of the above, I'm finding the steering to be
very difficult. It feels like a car with power steering but the power is
off - much more force is required to turn the steering wheel. It is also
difficult to steer back to straight from a hard turn.
What could be the problem? Could it be a simple lubrication solution, or
something more significant like a bearing/bushing in a wheel/axle
assembly? I see no obvious visual indications.
The model is 917.275702, 24 hp, 48" deck.
Maybe a dumb answer, but have you checked tire pressure. Assuming they are
that type. WW
l***@invalid.com
2009-04-15 02:24:39 UTC
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Post by Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
I just started using my tractor having bought it new at the end of the
summer 2005 mowing season.
Every year at this time I faithfully tune it up - change oil/oil
filter/spark plugs/air filter/fuel filter, clean the carb, take off the
deck/sharpen the blades, check the belts, ...
Having just completed all of the above, I'm finding the steering to be
very difficult. It feels like a car with power steering but the power is
off - much more force is required to turn the steering wheel. It is also
difficult to steer back to straight from a hard turn.
What could be the problem? Could it be a simple lubrication solution, or
something more significant like a bearing/bushing in a wheel/axle
assembly? I see no obvious visual indications.
The model is 917.275702, 24 hp, 48" deck.
Maybe a dumb answer, but have you checked tire pressure. Assuming they are
that type. WW
That was a real useful reply. I just love people who quote a message
and dont add anything !!!!

To the OP. Lawn tractors are notorious for having problems with the
steering gears. I's look at them. They easily wear out. Of course
you should be lubricating them too, as well as all the bearings from
the steering wheel to the tires. This includes the swivels, or in car
terminology, tie rod ends. Lube the entire sterring assembly and look
for worn parts. Dont forget to lube all wheel bearings too.
hr(bob) hofmann@att.net
2009-04-15 03:31:35 UTC
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Post by Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
I just started using my tractor having bought it new at the end of the
summer 2005 mowing season.
Every year at this time I faithfully tune it up - change oil/oil
filter/spark plugs/air filter/fuel filter, clean the carb, take off the
deck/sharpen the blades, check the belts, ...
Having just completed all of the above, I'm finding the steering to be
very difficult.  It feels like a car with power steering but the power is
off - much more force is required to turn the steering wheel.  It is also
difficult to steer back to straight from a hard turn.
What could be the problem?  Could it be a simple lubrication solution, or
something more significant like a bearing/bushing in a wheel/axle
assembly? I see no obvious visual indications.
The model is 917.275702, 24 hp, 48" deck.
Maybe a dumb answer, but have you checked tire pressure. Assuming they are
that type. WW
That was a real useful reply.  I just love people who quote a message
and dont add anything !!!!
To the OP.  Lawn tractors are notorious for having problems with the
steering gears.  I's look at them.  They easily wear out.  Of course
you should be lubricating them too, as well as all the bearings from
the steering wheel to the tires.  This includes the swivels, or in car
terminology, tie rod ends.  Lube the entire sterring assembly and look
for worn parts.  Dont forget to lube all wheel bearings too.  - Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
How does it steer if the front wheels are off the ground, is it still
stiff?
Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
2009-04-15 11:38:55 UTC
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Post by Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
I just started using my tractor having bought it new at the end of the
summer 2005 mowing season.
Every year at this time I faithfully tune it up - change oil/oil
filter/spark plugs/air filter/fuel filter, clean the carb, take off the
deck/sharpen the blades, check the belts, ...
Having just completed all of the above, I'm finding the steering to be
very difficult. It feels like a car with power steering but the power
is
off - much more force is required to turn the steering wheel. It is
also
difficult to steer back to straight from a hard turn.
What could be the problem? Could it be a simple lubrication solution,
or
something more significant like a bearing/bushing in a wheel/axle
assembly? I see no obvious visual indications.
The model is 917.275702, 24 hp, 48" deck.
Maybe a dumb answer, but have you checked tire pressure. Assuming they are
that type. WW
That was a real useful reply. I just love people who quote a message
and dont add anything !!!!
To the OP. Lawn tractors are notorious for having problems with the
steering gears. I's look at them. They easily wear out. Of course
you should be lubricating them too, as well as all the bearings from
the steering wheel to the tires. This includes the swivels, or in car
terminology, tie rod ends. Lube the entire sterring assembly and look
for worn parts. Dont forget to lube all wheel bearings too. - Hide quoted
text -
- Show quoted text -
How does it steer if the front wheels are off the ground, is it still
stiff?

______________________

I haven't tried that yet, but when on my driveway it is not as stiff as when
it is on the grass.
Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
2009-04-19 16:32:02 UTC
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Post by Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
I just started using my tractor having bought it new at the end of the
summer 2005 mowing season.
Every year at this time I faithfully tune it up - change oil/oil
filter/spark plugs/air filter/fuel filter, clean the carb, take off the
deck/sharpen the blades, check the belts, ...
Having just completed all of the above, I'm finding the steering to be
very difficult. It feels like a car with power steering but the power
is
off - much more force is required to turn the steering wheel. It is
also
difficult to steer back to straight from a hard turn.
What could be the problem? Could it be a simple lubrication solution,
or
something more significant like a bearing/bushing in a wheel/axle
assembly? I see no obvious visual indications.
The model is 917.275702, 24 hp, 48" deck.
Maybe a dumb answer, but have you checked tire pressure. Assuming they are
that type. WW
That was a real useful reply. I just love people who quote a message
and dont add anything !!!!
To the OP. Lawn tractors are notorious for having problems with the
steering gears. I's look at them. They easily wear out. Of course
you should be lubricating them too, as well as all the bearings from
the steering wheel to the tires. This includes the swivels, or in car
terminology, tie rod ends. Lube the entire sterring assembly and look
for worn parts. Dont forget to lube all wheel bearings too. - Hide quoted
text -
- Show quoted text -
How does it steer if the front wheels are off the ground, is it still
stiff?

_________________

I jacked the front off the ground. Steering is still quite stiff, though
not quite as stiff as on the ground.

If anything, tire pressure was high. I adjusted all tires to spec pressure.

I lubricated all steering mechanisms with WD-40. This helped somewhat, but
there is still some degree of stiffness. At times I hear a squeak on turns
as well.

Whatever the source of the stiffness is, is still there, not quite as severe
with the WD-40.

Now what?
Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
2009-04-19 16:44:46 UTC
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Post by hr(bob) ***@att.net
Post by Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
I just started using my tractor having bought it new at the end of the
summer 2005 mowing season.
Every year at this time I faithfully tune it up - change oil/oil
filter/spark plugs/air filter/fuel filter, clean the carb, take off the
deck/sharpen the blades, check the belts, ...
Having just completed all of the above, I'm finding the steering to be
very difficult. It feels like a car with power steering but the power
is
off - much more force is required to turn the steering wheel. It is
also
difficult to steer back to straight from a hard turn.
What could be the problem? Could it be a simple lubrication solution,
or
something more significant like a bearing/bushing in a wheel/axle
assembly? I see no obvious visual indications.
The model is 917.275702, 24 hp, 48" deck.
Maybe a dumb answer, but have you checked tire pressure. Assuming they are
that type. WW
That was a real useful reply. I just love people who quote a message
and dont add anything !!!!
To the OP. Lawn tractors are notorious for having problems with the
steering gears. I's look at them. They easily wear out. Of course
you should be lubricating them too, as well as all the bearings from
the steering wheel to the tires. This includes the swivels, or in car
terminology, tie rod ends. Lube the entire sterring assembly and look
for worn parts. Dont forget to lube all wheel bearings too. - Hide quoted
text -
- Show quoted text -
How does it steer if the front wheels are off the ground, is it still
stiff?
_________________
I jacked the front off the ground. Steering is still quite stiff, though
not quite as stiff as on the ground.
If anything, tire pressure was high. I adjusted all tires to spec pressure.
I lubricated all steering mechanisms with WD-40. This helped somewhat,
but there is still some degree of stiffness. At times I hear a squeak on
turns as well.
Whatever the source of the stiffness is, is still there, not quite as
severe with the WD-40.
Now what?
Also, no obvious visual issues.

I'm not sure how the wheel bearings could be a potential issue. This is for
wheel forward rotation, not lateral rotation. Besides, when I had the
tractor jacked up, the wheels spun freely just fine.

There is an axle assembly out of which the left and right spindle assemblies
come out to go to the wheels. I don't know if there is a bearing or bushing
inside where the spindles come out that could be the issue.
Steve Barker
2009-04-19 16:51:23 UTC
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Post by hr(bob) ***@att.net
Post by Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
I just started using my tractor having bought it new at the end of the
summer 2005 mowing season.
Every year at this time I faithfully tune it up - change oil/oil
filter/spark plugs/air filter/fuel filter, clean the carb, take off the
deck/sharpen the blades, check the belts, ...
Having just completed all of the above, I'm finding the steering to be
very difficult. It feels like a car with power steering but the power
is
off - much more force is required to turn the steering wheel. It is
also
difficult to steer back to straight from a hard turn.
What could be the problem? Could it be a simple lubrication solution,
or
something more significant like a bearing/bushing in a wheel/axle
assembly? I see no obvious visual indications.
The model is 917.275702, 24 hp, 48" deck.
Maybe a dumb answer, but have you checked tire pressure. Assuming they are
that type. WW
That was a real useful reply. I just love people who quote a message
and dont add anything !!!!
To the OP. Lawn tractors are notorious for having problems with the
steering gears. I's look at them. They easily wear out. Of course
you should be lubricating them too, as well as all the bearings from
the steering wheel to the tires. This includes the swivels, or in car
terminology, tie rod ends. Lube the entire sterring assembly and look
for worn parts. Dont forget to lube all wheel bearings too. - Hide quoted
text -
- Show quoted text -
How does it steer if the front wheels are off the ground, is it still
stiff?
_________________
I jacked the front off the ground. Steering is still quite stiff, though
not quite as stiff as on the ground.
If anything, tire pressure was high. I adjusted all tires to spec pressure.
I lubricated all steering mechanisms with WD-40. This helped somewhat, but
there is still some degree of stiffness. At times I hear a squeak on turns
as well.
Whatever the source of the stiffness is, is still there, not quite as severe
with the WD-40.
Now what?
Well first of all you didn't LUBRICATE anything with WD-40. It's not a
lubricant. What you need to do is lubricate the moving parts and
different spots with chassis grease. Not oil, not graphite, not pam.
GREASE. Get in there and find all the places where things touch and
GREASE them.
Smitty Two
2009-04-20 01:06:25 UTC
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Post by Steve Barker
Well first of all you didn't LUBRICATE anything with WD-40. It's not a
lubricant. What you need to do is lubricate the moving parts and
different spots with chassis grease. Not oil, not graphite, not pam.
GREASE. Get in there and find all the places where things touch and
GREASE them.
Aw, c'mon, Steve. First you diss WD-40, and now you're claiming PAM
isn't a lubricant, either. Next thing you know, you'll be telling the OP
not to use Astroglide on the tractor.
Steve Barker
2009-04-20 01:07:28 UTC
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Post by Smitty Two
Post by Steve Barker
Well first of all you didn't LUBRICATE anything with WD-40. It's not a
lubricant. What you need to do is lubricate the moving parts and
different spots with chassis grease. Not oil, not graphite, not pam.
GREASE. Get in there and find all the places where things touch and
GREASE them.
Aw, c'mon, Steve. First you diss WD-40, and now you're claiming PAM
isn't a lubricant, either. Next thing you know, you'll be telling the OP
not to use Astroglide on the tractor.
ROTFLMMFAO!!! had to google that one!

s
Maggie
2017-07-16 17:14:02 UTC
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replying to Steve Barker, Maggie wrote:
Were you able to find and fix the problem with the unbelievably tight
steering? I'm having the exact problem you are. I've done all the stuff
you've done with the greasing everything, checking tire pressure etc... but
like with you it hasn't helped me either. Any help with how you fixed yours
would be great. Thanks so much! Have a great day

--
for full context, visit https://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/steering-problem-on-craftsman-lawn-tractor-368371-.htm
WW
2009-04-15 14:14:59 UTC
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Post by l***@invalid.com
Post by Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
I just started using my tractor having bought it new at the end of the
summer 2005 mowing season.
Every year at this time I faithfully tune it up - change oil/oil
filter/spark plugs/air filter/fuel filter, clean the carb, take off the
deck/sharpen the blades, check the belts, ...
Having just completed all of the above, I'm finding the steering to be
very difficult. It feels like a car with power steering but the power is
off - much more force is required to turn the steering wheel. It is also
difficult to steer back to straight from a hard turn.
What could be the problem? Could it be a simple lubrication solution, or
something more significant like a bearing/bushing in a wheel/axle
assembly? I see no obvious visual indications.
The model is 917.275702, 24 hp, 48" deck.
Maybe a dumb answer, but have you checked tire pressure. Assuming they are
that type. WW
That was a real useful reply. I just love people who quote a message
and dont add anything !!!!
READ it again. I asked about tire pressure. WW
Post by l***@invalid.com
To the OP. Lawn tractors are notorious for having problems with the
steering gears. I's look at them. They easily wear out. Of course
you should be lubricating them too, as well as all the bearings from
the steering wheel to the tires. This includes the swivels, or in car
terminology, tie rod ends. Lube the entire sterring assembly and look
for worn parts. Dont forget to lube all wheel bearings too.
Hustlin' Hank
2009-04-15 09:23:09 UTC
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Post by Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
I just started using my tractor having bought it new at the end of the
summer 2005 mowing season.
Every year at this time I faithfully tune it up - change oil/oil
filter/spark plugs/air filter/fuel filter, clean the carb, take off the
deck/sharpen the blades, check the belts, ...
Having just completed all of the above, I'm finding the steering to be very
difficult. �It feels like a car with power steering but the power is off -
much more force is required to turn the steering wheel. �It is also
difficult to steer back to straight from a hard turn.
What could be the problem? �Could it be a simple lubrication solution, or
something more significant like a bearing/bushing in a wheel/axle assembly?
I see no obvious visual indications.
The model is 917.275702, 24 hp, 48" deck.
I can't fix your problem, but I do have a BRAND NEW steering assembly
that fits a model 917.258552. Part number is 16702-917. If you need
this part it is appox. $85 + shipping from Sears. I'll sell it to you
for $50 + shippping. I bought a used rider and this came with it. I
sold the mower and not the assembly. Check yours out, it may use the
same part. If you want it, contact me ***@aol.comdelete this. I
will then give you my phone number.

Hank
dadiOH
2009-04-15 09:48:47 UTC
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Post by Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
I just started using my tractor having bought it new at the end of the
summer 2005 mowing season.
Every year at this time I faithfully tune it up - change oil/oil
filter/spark plugs/air filter/fuel filter, clean the carb, take off
the deck/sharpen the blades, check the belts, ...
Having just completed all of the above, I'm finding the steering to
be very difficult. It feels like a car with power steering but the
power is off - much more force is required to turn the steering
wheel. It is also difficult to steer back to straight from a hard
turn.
What could be the problem? Could it be a simple lubrication
solution, or something more significant like a bearing/bushing in a
wheel/axle assembly? I see no obvious visual indications.
The model is 917.275702, 24 hp, 48" deck.
Step #1 - check the tire pressure
--
dadiOH
____________________________

dadiOH's dandies v3.06...
...a help file of info about MP3s, recording from
LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that.
Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
Eric in North TX
2009-04-15 13:34:01 UTC
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Post by Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
I just started using my tractor having bought it new at the end of the
summer 2005 mowing season.
Every year at this time I faithfully tune it up - change oil/oil
filter/spark plugs/air filter/fuel filter, clean the carb, take off the
deck/sharpen the blades, check the belts, ...
Having just completed all of the above, I'm finding the steering to be very
difficult.  It feels like a car with power steering but the power is off -
much more force is required to turn the steering wheel.  It is also
difficult to steer back to straight from a hard turn.
What could be the problem?  Could it be a simple lubrication solution, or
something more significant like a bearing/bushing in a wheel/axle assembly?
I see no obvious visual indications.
The model is 917.275702, 24 hp, 48" deck.
Most tractors could stand to have the steering knuckles removed every
few years and cleaned & greased, even ones with grease fittings there.
If you really want light steering take them to a bearing shop and fit
the part that goes through the Axel with thrust washers at the bottom
assuming there is room.
m***@gmail.com
2017-07-16 16:59:03 UTC
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Did you ever find the problem with your steering and if so how did you fix it? I'm having the same problem. I've greased everything and checked the tire pressure as well as checked as well as possible for any bends but everything seems to be how it should but the death thing still wont turn! Any help or advice would be great! Thanks in advance.
Maggie
Roy
2017-07-17 00:35:03 UTC
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Post by Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
I just started using my tractor having bought it new at the end of the
summer 2005 mowing season.
Every year at this time I faithfully tune it up - change oil/oil
filter/spark plugs/air filter/fuel filter, clean the carb, take off the
deck/sharpen the blades, check the belts, ...
Having just completed all of the above, I'm finding the steering to be very
difficult. It feels like a car with power steering but the power is off -
much more force is required to turn the steering wheel. It is also
difficult to steer back to straight from a hard turn.
What could be the problem? Could it be a simple lubrication solution, or
something more significant like a bearing/bushing in a wheel/axle assembly?
I see no obvious visual indications.
The model is 917.275702, 24 hp, 48" deck.
POOR freaking design. I have one of these machines.
m***@yahoo.com
2017-07-17 14:39:27 UTC
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Post by Roy
Post by Dimitrios Paskoudniakis
I just started using my tractor having bought it new at the end of the
summer 2005 mowing season.
Every year at this time I faithfully tune it up - change oil/oil
filter/spark plugs/air filter/fuel filter, clean the carb, take off the
deck/sharpen the blades, check the belts, ...
Having just completed all of the above, I'm finding the steering to be very
difficult. It feels like a car with power steering but the power is off -
much more force is required to turn the steering wheel. It is also
difficult to steer back to straight from a hard turn.
What could be the problem? Could it be a simple lubrication solution, or
something more significant like a bearing/bushing in a wheel/axle assembly?
I see no obvious visual indications.
The model is 917.275702, 24 hp, 48" deck.
POOR freaking design. I have one of these machines.
you need to look under the machine while someone turns the steering wheel and see which parts rub and which parts may already have grooves worn into them

I have resolved the groove issue in mine by pulling UP on the steering wheel and using a hose clamp around the steering wheel shaft housing to hold it in the elevated position. This moves the steering rod up to a new position so the groove is in a new position.

Look under there while turning the wheel and the problem should become clear.

m

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