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dpregs

Simplicity Steering issues, help needed

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dpregs

First let me say hi.  I know this is my first post, but it won't be my last! I hail from the great Taxnecticut (aka Connecticut....and it isn't all that great).  I was given Simplicity Prestige 23hp by my brother when I moved into my new house and I have been working on it ever since.  The biggest issue has been the steeringto keep it straight I need to be constantly adjusting the wheel which makes it look like I've had a few too many while cutting the lawn. In fact, I have tried having a few too many to see if the lines would be straighter, it didn't work. Anyways, the steering is so bad I needed to dig into it and see what I could do. SO....I've gotten places, but I am stuck in places and I would appreciate any help you could give.

Initial Problems:
1. Parking brake would not engage. Found plate where brake rod connects was cracked
2. Torque generator leaking
3. Steering all over the place, would randomly turn left/right, not holding straight

First what I have done:
1. Remove seat pan, fender pan, tower, pedals
2. Remove linkages to foot pedal plate and remove plate
3. Have parking brake connection welded
4. Remove all steering components from wheel down to steering linkage
5. Remove front axle and wheels

What I've found:
1. Looks like someone has been into steering before. Found two nylon bushings sitting on frame. Looks like wear plates on axle has been welded to beef up?
2. One of the couplers on the steering column is elongated more by wear
3. The steering shaft is worn down by at least 1/8 of an inch
4. Flanged bearing appears to be worn out
5. The brake rod was seriously worn out where it connects in back of machine...probably more of the problem than the front connection

My questions:
1. Is the flanged bearing supposed to spin? The new one I have will barely move https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X31u5FvIEZI
2. How to I get the steering/tire arm off the left side? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4uIip2J_2o
3. Is there normally play in the the shaft where the tire arm connects to the axle? (I've got new bushings on the way, but the old ones seem okay)
4. Is there normally this much up and down play in the axle connected to frame? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-my2Xnvqy4

5. Is the coupler that connects on the top and the bottom of the torque generator supposed to be loose?
6. What am I missing?

Again, thank you for any and all advice, it is greatly appreciated!!!

Steering arm left/right and how do I get off?

 

Axle welds

axlewelds.thumb.jpg.9aee42c899cbeb4c97080c92b3f3ebc4.jpg

axleWeld.jpg

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SmilinSam

Looks to be worn about as bad as the steering on my early Prestige was. I ended up swapping all the front axle/steering components out for less worn ones off a Broadmoor of the same hood design that had a lot less hours on it, and that had been regularly greasesd.

The front axle /steering system is the same for the Broadmoor/Conquest/Prestige of the same hood design and age group. Only difference is that the Broadmoors use smaller front tires/wheels. That, and the Prestiges have a power steering system in the mix to operate the  steering.

On the flanged bearing/bushing. Its supposed to be tight in the metal flange. Only should move in that just to get the angle right and hold the shaft in place. Most assemblies like that are merely bushings, not ball bearings. They are meant to hold a shaft in place, like an upper steering shaft where it goes through a dash support.

The control arm on the left spindle is welded on. Dont know that it was designed to come off without grinding the welds. (One reason I just swapped out the entire assembly from another tractor with less wear.)

 

The welds were someones attempt to get rid of the axle side to side play and roll.  That there are welds on the axle where they are suggests to me you are missing the plate that goes between the frame and the axle on the back side of the axle. That and I dont see it in place in you last video.    The plate has a "U" shaped cup at the bottom edge.

large.DSCN2263.JPG.32bfe662ff4ceb4265d12

I really think you need to find a whole axle assembly from a tractor with less wear.  1st choice would be from a Broadmoor with a smaller deck. The bigger decks , especially a 54" deck, makes for a lot of wear to the axles on these early Prestiges.

Also, unless you are able to buy the axle locally , you really wont be able to tell how much wear is on it. So I dont know about buying an Ebay axle sight unseen.

Even with a tight front end, these power steering prestiges do have a slight amount of wander and also need to be continually corrected with the steering wheel. However , such would not be near as bad as what you have experienced with all the wear to your steering system.

Edited by SmilinSam
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dpregs

Thank you for the lengthy reply!  I'll keep my eye out for some broadmoors around me, but I don't see many Simplicitys come up for sale.  Bummer to know this all may be for naught in the end and I will still have a drunk tractor.

Flanged Bearing: Good to know that the new one isn't supposed to spin freely and only move/rock to align the shaft because it is damn tight.  Here is why I thought it was supposed to spin, the old shaft is worn about and 1/8" down where the flanged bearing sits!  Also interesting is that I found two nylon bushings sitting on the frame, you can see two in the pic.

steeringshaft2.thumb.jpg.97756c0ce0ff05d2f85d5484c35a04c9.jpg steeringshaft1.thumb.jpg.ceab27397938eff2dc55bfd9501677dc.jpg nylonbushing.thumb.jpg.44cf3146c7d40482037e9ded403a605b.jpg

 

I don't see that u-channel anywhere in the parts list for my tractor.  I was going to weld on a new plate or washer or something to beef up the hole on the axle as it is elongated, but I see that it is only $20 on line for a new one, so that just might be easier.

axle3.thumb.jpg.f2211412345b5846fa40a12b6592825b.jpg axle4.thumb.jpg.057882c71858cf1d6fda3487e12d62e2.jpg axle5.thumb.jpg.de572931abca688b6df79ff08f49b59c.jpg

Axle Plate: I don't see where I could fit anything between the two axle plates as it is fairly tight in there.  there isn't much front to back movement, it seems to be all up/down and side/side.  I replaced the bushings and sleeve, so that might have tightened it up a bit.  Here is a pic of the where the parking brake plate was welded. 

sim-12.thumb.jpg.bb1629dfa72a3bdcf471e5da8c6c70aa.jpg 

Control arm:  looks like I got some grinding to do because I am not spending another $170 for that piece replacement piece yet! (well not yet) The replacement control arm has a bolt instead of a weld....grrr

Brake Rod: Another fun time.  Started to put linkages back together as I got the pedal plate back and welded up and I noticed that the post that the brake rod sits on is worn down too.  Whoever had this tractor before me was a monster! 

brakerod1.thumb.jpg.e573590212039a71a9123f275fa149d3.jpg brakerod2.thumb.jpg.07f7dba09b61cbfaaae01f65be42abe4.jpg

 

Torque generator: I bought a new seal kit for the Steering pump/Torque Generator as I had a small, but constant drip coming off the the steering shaft.  I figure trying a $30 kit is a lot cheaper than $500+ and if it drips in the end....it drips for the next guy too. The couplers are not tight, not sure if they are supposed to be though.  Also, one is elongated/worn out over the other.  Those things are not cheap either!

cleanedup.thumb.jpg.bf52a0f5e7a6b9d09bac4a1215fc8568.jpg couplers.thumb.jpg.abe87ea671dc90ce473429f4898e136b.jpg

 

This tractor has been a saga since it was gifted to me!  I've had the deck sand blasted and repowder coated because it was a mess, replaced all bearing and spindles on it because they were bent (that was my own fault, you shouldn't drive over the tongue of a cart.  BUT, it was impressive that it sheered the top part of the tongue off and put one***of a slice in the solid metal!!!). I've had to tear down the carb and rebuild because it would always backfire.  Replaced the seals on the valve covers. Did the filters for what seemed like the first time ever.  

 

sim-13.jpg

sim-18.jpg

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rbstuartjr

Just reading along with what you have going on with this machine is making me glad I have stayed with my 900 / Sovereign series tractor. Some of my machines are 40 years old, that have been snowblowing, tilling and mowing 4 acres, that don’t have the wear and breakage that this Prestige has. If any of my machines had the amount of issues as this, it would be become a parts tractor. I wish you luck with your tractor and will be following along.

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SmilinSam

I agree with the "should have been a parts tractor" sentiment. way too much wear and tear on it. 

How many hours does the meter show?

On the flange bushing/bearing, the wear to the steering shaft is why I try to lubricate the area once in a while with  oil, graphite, or some grease.

If there is slop in the connectors to the torque generator, that will cause more excess travel in/at  the steering wheel.

Another thing that concerns me from past experience is that with the amount of wear in your spindle assembles, the spindles and the axle may be worn into the metal. Did a early Legacy as bad as this a couple years ago. Had to have everything bored out at a machine shop and rebushed with oversized bushings, and had the spindles welded up and ground back to spec. I should have just junked the tractor......was the sentiment $300+ later.

If you look at my picture, you will see 2 bolts , one on either side of the axle pivot in the rear support plate. They hold the plate on that I mentioed above. I dont see those bolt holes in your machine. If they are not there, you may not have that plate I have.  If thats the case you may have a real early tractor, and I have heard the first ones out had real bad axle problems, and that "improvements"  were made. My only first hand experience is the ones like  I pictured above. So, I really dont know what those so called "improvements" were.

You can still fix the one you have affordably, but its going to take an inventive mindset, and alot hours of work. All I can say is work to eliminate as much play in all the connections as possible. From what you have shown here, anything you do should work to make improvement to the situation.

Edited by SmilinSam

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dpregs

Unfortunately, the parts tractor idea is WAY out the door.  For the price paid, putting in a few hundred wouldn't be the worst loss in the world.  I could have done without the extensive deck damage I did at my own accord, so I am not counting that in my final tally to fix the tractor.  The deck is so nice now, I could probably sell it and recoup a large share.  ANYWAYS...

Hours: 841

Flanged Bearing: I will remember to grease/oil it as it is crazy how worn down the shaft got. I thought that it spun all the time from looking at it.

Spindles: The spindle (I haven't cut the weld on the left side yet) doesn't look to have a lot of wear, if any.  The new bushing had to be hammered into the assembly as well.  Leads me to believe the majority of the slop is coming from the axle connection, ie bolt holes, the loose couplers, and other parts in the steering column that I am replacing.

Axle: AH...I see them now.  I will go look after class.  The only thing I had off in the front besides the axle is the where the deck hangs from

Thank you again for all the help, and I'll report back.  Off to teach.

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Chris727

I have heard of these tractors going over 2000 hrs but not sure what had to be replaced during those hours. I have a Landlord DLX which also has the torque generator and have not been happy with its steering. It's also leaking and now seems as though the "power assist" is gone. Mine has around 750 hours on it. It's also needing the tie rod ends replaced and the steering gears are nearly stripped out. Not impressed With this machine compared to competive units. I just bought a 2011 Prestige in December to replace the Landlord DLX. Somewhere around 2009 the steering was upgraded to "full-hydraulic" and the torque generator was done away with. Much tighter and more responsive control. It has 650 hours but I put it on the rack and looked over the wear points and everything looks pretty good aside from the front gage wheels and bolts being worn out. 

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PhanDad

Been reading this post for info and understanding.  At one time I was thinking of switching to a "newer" fleet - Landlord DLX's and/or Prestige's.  The Legacy is just too much tractor for my situation.  

I now echo @rbstuartjr 's sentiment - glad I stuck with "Sovereigns".  They're like the Energizer Bunny - with proper care, they just keep going and going.  

I'm curious as to @dpregs Prestige "vintage".  Please post the MFG# of your Prestige. 

One way to "date" the newer tractors is to use the Simplicity Engine Info Manual that was provided to me by @BLT (and uploaded to the "Downloads" forum).  The Prestiges first show up in the 2002 listing as MFG#'s 1694015, 16, and 17.  The '17 was 23HP.  (There are other MFG#s for the companion brands).  

The last year of listings is for 2005; the Prestige MFG#s are 1694617 &18.   They are both 23HP. 

 

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PhanDad
59 minutes ago, Chris727 said:

I just bought a 2011 Prestige in December to replace the Landlord DLX.

Chris, how do you "date" a tractor?  Is there a listing available somewhere?  

 

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dpregs

The heartache continues.  Ugh.  So, one of the reasons I started into this was that the parking brake mysteriously stopped engaging last year around this time.  After lots of poking around and looking and trying to fix it, I found a crack in the pedal plate bracket that the brake rod attaches too.  Because I needed to mow the yard I let it go all season and decided to tackle it this preseason along with the steering.  I took off the pedal assembly and brought it to a welder who pulled the bracket back into place and welded it up.  Today I got the pedal assembly back on and set to try to it.....well no luck.  The damn thing still won't engage the parking brake.  The plate with the notch just won't pull forward enough to engage the notch into the frame where it sits.  I am pulling my hair out to see what I am missing.  What adjustment am I missing?  I've turned the brake rod nut and spring far in beyond spec and far out beyond spec! Here are a few videos, about 2 mins a piece.  I am about to cut the notch deeper so it sits in.

Today:

https://youtu.be/CkPYfHFny2Y

Last year:
https://youtu.be/4-ALT_o2ZTo

 

sim-6.jpg

Edited by dpregs

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dpregs

I should have posted this in the first post:

Tractor Model: 1694017

Tractor Serial:  01120

Deck Model: 1694040

Deck Serial: 01990

Engine Model: CV23S

Engine Serial: 3212310791

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SmilinSam

You need to adjust the travel so that the pedal pushes the mechanism back farther so when you pull the cam up it is behind the edge its supposed to catch on. It appears that by tightening the retaining nut on the spring, you are actually making the cam further away from the edge it catches on.  Did you try loosening that nut?  Something in the mix there will allow the brake pedal to carry the mechanism back to where it needs to be.

 I know that my tractors have to have the brake pedal pushes all the way forward for the parking brake to catch.

Edited by SmilinSam

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SmilinSam
1 hour ago, PhanDad said:

I now echo @rbstuartjr 's sentiment - glad I stuck with "Sovereigns".  They're like the Energizer Bunny - with proper care, they just keep going and going.  

 

With proper care the Prestiges also work quite well.  I myself have had uncared for Soveriegns with seemingly few hours that were rendered parts tractors by their owners

 

Bill, as to identifying years of Prestiges, there is one clear milemarker. somwhere in 04/05 they added a big yellow safety paddle switch on the dash to shut down the reverse kill safety feature. Been on all the tractors since. so, all 02 and 03 tractors do not have this switch.

My tractor here at home is also  a 1694017. Serial number 03068.

Edited by SmilinSam
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Brettw
33 minutes ago, SmilinSam said:

With proper care the Prestiges also work quite well.  I myself have had uncared for Soveriegns with seemingly few hours that were rendered parts tractors by their owners

I think this is true of all tools, tractors, and general items.  If they are cared for, they last much longer.  There are those that at the time bought the 5k Sovereign and used it for simply mowing a nice flat lawn.  Always stored inside and off to the dealer seasonally for an inspection and servicing.  Those are the ideal finds.  Then there are those that simply use the bejeesus out of them and their idea of changing the oil is to continually top it off as it burns away.  Filters are lifetime items.  A tarp might provide some protection from the weather.  These are the parts tractors, beaten and abused, rode hard and put away wet.

But there are those of us in the middle too.  I use my tractors and tools a lot.  And sometimes I work them quite hard, sometimes at the edge of their design capabilities.   But, I also take very good care of them.  Repairs are handled quickly, worn parts replaced, adjustments made as needed, quality fluids, filters  and general maintenance always and regularly.  They sleep out of the weather.   These can be very good tractors too, with the patina of experience and the polish of caring.  I'll be happy to take those and keep them alive and ticking whenever I can.

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PhanDad
2 hours ago, SmilinSam said:

With proper care the Prestiges also work quite well.  I myself have had uncared for Soveriegns with seemingly few hours that were rendered parts tractors by their owners

Sam, I'm sure you're correct.

But at this stage of my life, "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't"- especially when you've built up a bunch of spare assemblies and parts.  sm03

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Chris727
5 hours ago, PhanDad said:

Chris, how do you "date" a tractor?  Is there a listing available somewhere?  

 

There's is a manufacturing date on the MFR tag of the newer machines. 

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dpregs

On to the front axle. I put it up in place and see very little space for forward to backward play. All of the play seems to be coming from the front mounting plate for the axle. The hole is elongated. Going to try to weld another plate to outside and redrill to make hole not elongated. 

Also, took off steering arm connector and replaced.

 

20200324_132613.jpg

20200324_133505.jpg

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SmilinSam
On 3/23/2020 at 4:51 AM, dpregs said:

axle3.thumb.jpg.f2211412345b5846fa40a12b6592825b.jpg axle4.thumb.jpg.057882c71858cf1d6fda3487e12d62e2.jpg axle5.thumb.jpg.de572931abca688b6df79ff08f49b59c.jpg

Axle Plate: I don't see where I could fit anything between the two axle plates as it is fairly tight in there. 

I have been looking at your pictures of your axle system - above...and the one on mine  - below. 

large.DSCN2263.JPG.32bfe662ff4ceb4265d12

Your rear plate is definately different than mine. Mine has the two bolt holes to mount the wear plate to , and I also have 2 grease zerks  going through about where you seem to have wear pads welded on. I wonder if the axles themselves are different?

Must be some truth in what I heard about them changing the front axle design after having problems.

Your tractor and mine are the same model number, but yours is (by the serial numbers) 1078 tractors older than mine. So, somewhere between yours and mine they changed things. And, for another note the 05 Broadmoor I stripped for parts and its axle, its axle system was the same as this 02 (as per Bills info above) Prestige  of mine. So Simplicity made these changes before the first year of production was over apparently.

However....

I looked up all three model numbers that @PhanDad posted for the 2002 models, and all of the parts manuals for those numbers show my type of front end. They all show #38  part # 1724801ASM  - 1 PLATE, Axle Wear . A part that does not look to be on dpregs tractor above.

Not sure what to think really....

Did they just change the parts manuals after they altered the design? Usually they make a notation of serial numbers prior to, and after such a change in parts manuals.

Looks to me like one could install the new plate system by grinding off the welded on wear pads. Then getting a wear plate, marking and drilling mounting holes, and marking/drilling/tapping zerk holes and installing zerks.

Edited by SmilinSam
corrections

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PhanDad
4 hours ago, SmilinSam said:

by grinding off the welded on wear pads.

A PO repair and "improvement"?

@dpregs - You said you were given the Prestige by your Brother.  Does he know the history of the tractor? 

I agree with Sam that Simplicity used to be very good noting parts changes by serial number for the same MFG# tractor.  BUT I don't know if that same attention to detail was maintained as Briggs "assimilated"  Simplicity (think Borg from TNG).  

 

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dpregs

Front axle plate is at the welder getting a beef up and the axle is getting the tire spindle grinded off, bushings replaced, beefed up if necessary or sleeved, and welded back together.  The torque generator is at the hydraulic shop getting new seals.

 

Fingers crossed.

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dpregs

Got both pieces back. Front axle has 1/4 plate welded on. Tire assembly was ground off, but was so badly worn they added welds and then ground it down. Put in new bushings and welded back together.  There is zero play in it now.

 

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20200327_150401.jpg

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