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Steering Slack


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Can anyone tell me if you can adjust the slack out of the steering box on my AC312H. It steers like a boat with a good 1/3 of a turn of slack. I have tried moving the plug on the bottom of the box but could only get it to go about 3/4 of a turn and it didn't seem to make much diff. Looked at all the tie rod links and all are tight, slack is in box.
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Dean, I'm not familiar with the AC 314 but the steering slack in a B series comes from the square sided hole in the driven or pie shaped gear becoming hourglass shaped. This causes the gear to rock on the steering shaft and produces at least a 1/3 of a turn slack at the steering wheel. The AC 314 may have a similar problem even if a different steer box setup. Tim
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The 300/400 use the smaller Ross steering gear which is common on many tractors. It is a "Cam and Stud" type gear with three adjustments.
Disconnect the drag link from the lever assembly (the side plate that rotates).
(Preliminary): On the lever assembly is a threaded stud locked with a nut. Loosen the locknut and back the stud out until it stops (it will not come out).
NOTE: After removing the cotter pin the slotted adjustment plug at the bottom of the box will come all the way out, but don't do this unless you must disassemble the box.
The plug must rotate freely though, for proper adjustment. Turn it back and forth, lubricate, whatever you must do to free it up.
(Bearing preload adjustment): Tighten the plug to 10 to 14 lb-ft. Check steering shaft for free rotation. It may pick up and move the lever via the stud, but there should be enough free travel for you to determine the adjustment. Check it through the full range of rotation.
Back off the plug to the first available slot. If it feels as though you have lost all preload, tighten it one slot, unless it binds up at that point.
Lock it to the housing hole with a 1/8 X 3/4 cotter. (Difficult size to find; cut down a longer one if necessary. Bend outward only the longer tab to retain.)
NOTE: Between the lever and housing is a thin aluminum (or aluminium, for those in the Great White North ;<) ) seal retainer and a foam seal.
(Lever adjustment): If the adjustment looks OK as-is and the lever rotates freely, leave it alone. If not, adjust the two locknuts on the lever shaft so that the seal is in full contact with the housing but not compressed. Hold the inner nut from rotating while tightening the outer.
(Stud adjustment): Rotate the lever and shaft such that the lever is in mid-travel position (mid way between full left and full right turn).
Tighten the stud to obtain zero backlash and snug the locknut.
Rotate the gear through full travel to check for binding. If any exists, back the stud out VERY SLIGHTLY and snug the locknut.
When satisfied with the adjustment, tighten the locknut firmly WITHOUT ROTATING the stud. Recheck for binding through full travel.
Lubricate the steering gear with #1 (lighter, NOT standard #2, lithium-base grease.
Lubricate the seal and bushing at the top of the steering shaft with graphite or similar.
When reconnecting the drag link, make any available adjustment to center the travel of the steering gear between full left and right wheel turn. The steering should 'stop' on the wheel stops rather than on the gear travel.
NOTE: With as much slop as you describe, over time the stud may have worn rough such that it doesn't run smoothly in the cam. If so, parts replacement is the only option. The seal and the ball bearings carrying the shaft are also replaceable. Those generic parts for these gears are available from several tractor brands' dealers. Ask back if you have need.
Happy steering,
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