John Deere STX46 hard steering

I grease every fitting pointed out in the owner's manual, but it is to the point now that I'm considering buying a new mower because this one is so hard to steer. Granted, it's old, but still a good mowing machine. I see in parts that it has a steering gear - would it help to replace this, or is the problem somewhere else? Tires are inflated to proper specs, too.

1 Answer

mark webbmark webb28 May 2008
Is the steering box[the item that the main shaft goes through] cracked?it can make steering difficult if this is the case.Also is the steering wheel tight on the shaft?[no loose play at all]. let me know and we'll look deeper. mark
authortaterman 30 May 2008
G'day Mark, and thanks for your help. I believe I've found the problem. I disassembled the mower to the point I could see the steering gear - no problems there. Reassembled, and attempted to add more grease to the front axle spindles, but it would not accept any. Removed the fittings and shot some PB Blaster (similar to WD40, but better) into the fitting hole. Apparently over the years, the grease/dust/dirt/moisture had almost seized up the spindles. Worked the steering back and forth about 5 minutes, and now it's free as can be. I'd like to remove the axle completely and soak those spindles overnight in kerosene to clean them really good, then shoot it full of grease again. I think that would take care of the problem. Once again, thanks for your help. Have a great weekend.
authortaterman 28 May 2008
The steering box (referred to as the instrument panel & pedestal in parts listing) is not cracked. The steering wheel is tight on the shaft, but there is maybe a quarter to half inch of slop in the turning of the wheel, in other words, I can turn the steering wheel a bit to the right and to the left VERY easily with no resistance - apparently the steering gear is not engaged at this point because the front wheels don't turn - just slop. Thanks.
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