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Early Legacy : The axle problem to look for


SmilinSam

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Buying an Early Legacy ? Here are some pictures of the type of wear that you DONT want in a tractor you are looking to buy.

Most people would think its the center pivot. This particular axle does have some play in it, where you can visibly see the axle rock  on the pivot.  But as you can see in the next 2 pictures just too look you cant really readily notice the wear.

 

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Even so, to repair any rocking play in this still requires taking the piece to a machine shop , boring the hole out and sleeving it with a bushing. Might likely even require making a new pivot pin. 

However this isnt the main wear to watch for in these 1st gen Legacy tractors. The main wear problems are with the axle spindles and bushed holes in the cast cross axle, particularly on the steering cylinder side.

Here are shots of the side opposite of the steering cylinder. Note there is some wear in these...

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As you can see, not terrible, and most of the wear is in the top hole.

Now , take a look at the steering cylinder side.....

 

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Big difference. Again, the top hole has the most wear. This is so bad that boring it out and sleeving it may not be possible.

Worse yet, here is what the keyway looks like in the axle  that the cap goes on that the steering cylinder connects to... it has been worn and widened out to 3 times its normal width.

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Here is the cap. Wear is not as bad on it, but still bad enough to essentially ruin it.

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The axles on this tractor I believe to have been replaced, or welded up and ground back down to spec. I say this because I found a custom made babbit type piece in the widened hole in the cross axle for the steering spindle..

 

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The above axle was on a tractor equipped with a loader. However, I have had another tractor with as much , if not worse wear that was never equipped with anything more than a 48" mower deck,

 

If you are buying one of these tractors, you need to keep your wits about you and run some tests regarding the steering system.

Start it up and slowly steer it one way  then the other and take note of any movement in the steering cylinder and cap before it actually starts to engage and  turn the axle/wheel.

Stand in fron of the tractor and look at the wheels and see if that sit level, or are tilted in at the top.

Jack the tractor front end up and try and move things around by hand, rock and twist in different directions.

If you buy one with an axle like the above, you may well be spending between  $500-$1000 at a machine shop for a fix.

 

Hope this helps someone out sooner or later.

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The spindle bushing issue is often seen on Sunstars although I have never seen one that bad.  I have been thinking about removing the bushing and drilling the axles for needle bearings.

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I thought my problems were in the tilt  steering and on further inspection found it to be in the axle too.

 

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4 hours ago, PhanDad said:

Great post.

Any idea how many hours were on the tractor? 

 

The tractor /axle above has 1471 hours on it. the other one I mentioned that was in as bad if not worse shape  had 700 to 800 hours(CRS). Thats the one that no one ever greased apparently as it was dry.

The early Legacy I have been running the last few years has almost 1500 hours on it, and it does not have any worn steering issues as yet. Pretty sure its never been repaired either, other than the new screw on heim joint on the steering cylinder rod that I replaced.

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rbstuartjr

Just curious, do we see this type of wear in the Sovereign series axles with power steering cylinders as they are same power steering units as the Sunstars? Asking for a friend. 

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11 minutes ago, rbstuartjr said:

Just curious, do we see this type of wear in the Sovereign series axles with power steering cylinders as they are same power steering units as the Sunstars? Asking for a friend. 

Cant say as to power steering equipped Soveriegns, as I have never had a used one of those.  However there are a couple of points to make on that subject.

One is that the Soveriegn  cross axles are steel, while the Legacy cross axles are cast. In all the multitude of worn out manual steer Soveriegns I have had I have never seen wear like above to a Soveriegn axle. The spindles in those are what usually takes the brunt of the wear., and that kind of wear is pretty rare.

The other point is that  used parts for the Soverign front ends are super plentiful compared to being almost non- existant for Legacys. The PS Soveriegns use the same front axle and spindles as that class of tractos going back to the early  to mid 70's. The only part in that mix that is unique to the ps soveriegns is the cap piece that the steering cylinder arm attaches to, and that can be easily made/copied onto/ from a manual steer cap piece.

So I am going to say that this kind of wear is not as likely on a PS Soveriegn. And, if it is worn, its not going to be an expensive or difficult fix on those tractors. We will see what other here think on that....

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3 hours ago, rbstuartjr said:

Just curious, do we see this type of wear in the Sovereign series axles with power steering cylinders as they are same power steering units as the Sunstars? Asking for a friend. 

My experience is much more limited than @SmilinSam's, but I've only encountered 2 major issues with Sovereign front axles.  

The worst was the center pivot hole was wallered out by the PO(s) running the tractor with the bolt not tight; I bushed the hole and all is well.  

The other was what I would consider extreme wear on the bushings in the spindle axle tubes; the spindle itself wasn't worn.  New bushings and all was good.  

None of the above is with a loader tractor; I would think that would add to the key problem of the steering lever. 

IMO, another issue for steering issues is how one was "taught to drive".  As a youngster, before most vehicles had PS, you were taught to have the vehicle moving before starting to steer.  From what I've seen, that technique is lone gone.  The result is more force and wear on the steering components.  I'm sure it contributes to some of the abuse Sam has seen.  

 

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Power steering in most cases is to blame and the grease worms ( lack of grease ) seem to attack everything

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rbstuartjr

Thanks for the reply’s Phandad and Sam. I was just wondering if this is something else I should be looking for in my machines.

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rbstuartjr
8 hours ago, PhanDad said:

The worst was the center pivot hole was wallered out by the PO(s) running the tractor with the bolt not tight; I bushed the hole and all is well.  

I noticed the front axle would move forward and aft with the movement of the steering ram. Looked at the nut and bolt and it was loose. The whole is a little loose with bushing/ spacer, not enough for me to do anything with it. Tightened everything up tight and now the axle moves a lot less . Thanks for the heads up!

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Flannelman

Good advice. My Legacy at 900ish hours needed the cylinder side bushings replaced. The spindle has some minor wear but the axle is fine at least in the spindle whole area. I need to pull the axle and check the pivot as I have a fair amount of front to back play but nothing that should be fixable with new bushings. I'd also look at the power steering hoses both of mine needed replaced due to leakage when I got it. I really think that some owners are allergic to grease guns unfortunately.

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Thanks Sam now the rebuild starts

My plan is to rebuild the axle and related parts so when time comes to change all I have to do is swap them out and tractor won't be down for months. Even though this axle is badly worn I've never met a part that I couldn't fix. I posted this in what ya do in shop but will start a new thread when I get around to rebuilding it. May even build a new steel axle.

 

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Have Sam's axle in the mill started to bore the really bad side out , burnt up a 1 1/4 drill bit and then went to a 1 3/8 bit , seems extremely hard like someone has done some welding on it .

Anyway it's a start and we'll see where it goes from here

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  • 5 weeks later...

Here we are boring the back side out , finally got it done today with the help of a$108 drill bit

second picture is of pin a made and will push it in and weld in place then bore it for spindle, lots more to be done before I 'll be ready for the swap but at least we're headed that way.

I was going to start a new thread but think it better here as to all the discussion on the axle, so hope we can show what's involved in trying to save one of these tractors, I had considered a complete new steel axle but I want to try and keep this one as much original as I can.

I had considered adding bearings but seems there's not enough material to bore to a 1" id bearing, race and seal, 1.9690" od on race. Axle spindle end is only 2" od so without cutting off ends and getting tubing to install the bearings guess this is best for now. If I decide to go that route I'll build a new steel axle.

 

 

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Edited by 720nut
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I need to say too that I ordered bushing like 3 weeks ago there available but back ordered so I may be making them too

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