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Sunstar 20 Steering VS John Deere power steering


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I now have 3 Sunstar 20's. Two are for my use and one is for parts. Here's the rub - I have a friend who also has a Sunstar 20 that he uses to mow his very large lawn. His tractor has been in my shop 6 times in the last year. Always for a different issue. I am learning a lot about how to fix my own when the need arises! I prefer NOT to use my parts tractor to fix his tractor. He is willing to pay whatever it takes. 

His power steering assembly starts to leak after he's been mowing awhile. I assume that the oil heats up and gets thin and then the leak happens. It DOESN'T leak when I look for the problem. So, I am thinking that the seals in the unit are going bad.

Three options that I am considering:

1) The "K" kit with the new seals, will cost about $100 plus my labor - and no guarantee that I won't screw it up.

2) Currently, on ebay, there are two Sunstar steering units for sale for $250 and $350 (the most expensive option)

3) There are an abundant supply of John Deere steering units for $150. They look nearly identical. The length is questionable. The least labor intensive option.

Does anybody know if a John Deere power steering unit (5 hole) will work as a replacement for the Sunstar 20 (5 hole)?

Edited by sblg43
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To answer your question in the simplest terms, yes the J.D. 5 port orbital valve is the same except for potential length. 

I have supplied a video that is uploaded here in the videos section that is a rebuild tutorial for the orbital valve.  I also have a manual uploaded here as well.  I would suggest the rebuild personally.  If you do decide to go that route, the "Deere" seal kit was cheaper than the "Simplicity" seal kit when I purchased my last one. 


The link within the above link does not work any longer to the repair manual so I just uploaded it to the "Downloads" section.


Edited by ShaunE
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Transplanted a 318/322/332 deere power steering system into a 314 Deere once. I think those columns are longer than Simplicity. Been a while, but I think that was the case.

Also transplanted a Cub Cadet PS sytem out of a Super GT into a 900 series AC once. That column was alot shorter than Simplicity.

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Just a thought but , I thought Deere used a completely different hose and fittings setup than the Sunstar

I have a Toro unit that has the same fittings and JD control valve I got off Stephen. Just asking as I'd like to be able to use this unit for a build I'm planning.

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PS: There are a lot of splined 3-spoke JD steering wheels that work fine with Simplicity Sovereign/Sunstar power steering columns.  Cheaper too. dOd

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On 6/11/2021 at 4:56 PM, CarlH said:

This may also be why the Sovereign's have power steering that is sluggish compared to Sunstars.  I plan to install PS on a Sovereign with the larger hoses.

My Sovereign steering is night and day different from my Sunstar. Same pump, same column/control. We all want to know how it turns out.

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  • 4 months later...

I decided to give up my own spare power steering column in order to fix my friends Sunstar. He got his machine back and spent 3 hours mowing his grass. After a short break, he went back out to do some more and the STARTER didn't work. I told him that I was done! I am no longer interested in fixing his machine and that he should just sell it to me for parts. He agreed. I now have a total of 4 Sunstar tractors. One of them is for parts only, one is in great running condition with a Johnny Bucket Jr on it. The other two have minor electrical issues to be fixed at some later date.

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