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Ford 3000 - odd steering problem following line replacement


 
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RandomEmployee
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:56 pm    Post subject: Ford 3000 - odd steering problem following line replacement Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Hi guys.

I'm employed by a small town out in the middle of nowhere, and among other things I have the (at times dubious) pleasure of maintaining an old Ford 3000.

When cold weather hit, the hydraulics became a shuddery, nearly-useless mess. Roughly the same time, one of the rigid steel lines running to the right-hand steering cylinder snapped off at the end and the fluid emptied before I realized I no longer had assist.

This evening, I finally got around to draining and replacing the main hydraulic and transmission fluids, and replaced the steel line with a rubber one fabricated by a local shop.
Main hydraulics are now working smoothly and strongly, and the transmission is shifting better now - their previous fluids appeared to be used motor oil and melted vanilla ice cream, respectively - but the steering is acting oddly. Basically, the power assist is working fine for the most part, but there's a spot around centered (seems very slightly to the left) where the assist stiffens up, then "pops" and continues on just fine. Almost feels like it's catching on something.

Normally I wouldn't really care, but when it pops, the steering jerks, usually to the left. This is more than a tad bit dangerous at speed, since it occasionally happens when I'm making normal steering adjustments...we have paved roads around here, but they're not in the best of shape.

The steering hydraulics were working perfectly prior to the line break, with smooth movement throughout the range. It has mechanical issues - namely a lot of play that I should probably get around to fixing one of these days - but nothing new as of late that would explain this.

I used Walmart UTF for replacing the transmission and main hydraulic fluids, and since I had more left than expected, used the same for the steering system; figured it wouldn't hurt it, since it was essentially the main hydraulics on a smaller scale. Was this my mistake? It does seem that power steering fluid is a bit lighter weight...

Any ideas?


I have very little experience with hydraulics in general, since up until now there have been no problems, so if I've said or done something stupid, uh...be gentle :\
 
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Ultradog MN
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:03 am    Post subject: Re: Ford 3000 - odd steering problem following line replacem Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Random,
Welcome to the Ford Board.
Can't sleep here. Dunno why.
First off the UTF you're using is fine. That's what I use in mine - what most of us here use with good results.
The problem has to be in the hydraulic actuating block in the steering column.
But I can't tell you exactly what. Yet...
It could be a piece of crud that got knocked loose and is caught in one of the plungers or the center spool.
Try this once.
Tractor running about 1K rpm try moving the steering wheel slightly back and forth.
Watch closely as you turn the wheel. The wheel should lift and lower slightly - about 1/32" in either direction. That up/down movement is what actuates the plungers inside and directs oil to the steering cylinders. Less than 1/32" and it could be crud and rust inside preventing movement on the center spool. More than that likely means the nut on the steering shaft has come loose. (which is what I suspect)
See if you can make it pop and tell us what it's doing (ie, up/down) when that happens.
I am mostly a dunce about hydraulics but have found those steering systems are really rather easy.
Worst thing is you have to pull the center hood and cowel around the fuel tank to get at the column.
But hey, you bureaucrats just sit around and drink coffee all day anyway don't you? So you may as well learn a little about power steering while you're on the clock. wink
Post back. It's a great bunch of folks here.
I'm sure your problem can be solved if you are willing to follow through.
Those are great small tractors.
 
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souNdguy
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:09 am    Post subject: Re: Ford 3000 - odd steering problem following line replacem Reply to specific post Reply with quote

don't let UD fool you. he's REAL good on them ps systems, and them blue tractors in general.
 
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RandomEmployee
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Ford 3000 - odd steering problem following line replacem Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply.


What is this "coffee" you speak of? Is that the stuff they sip while administering my daily whipping to make me work faster? All I get is some treacle in an old tomato soap can...

Tach is busted (don't look at me, it was that way when I came in), but with the tractor sitting still at a moderate idle, the following happens when slowly turning the wheel right to left:
Right stop is the lowest point.
Turning makes the wheel climb, to a total of roughly 1/8" difference from the lowest where the wheel stiffens just before it "pops". Yes, 1/8", unfortunately not a typo.
When it "pops", the wheel drops back down to normal height.
Continuing turning to the left makes the wheel climb again. I didn't notice last night, but it refuses to go all the way to the left stop while sitting still. It just gets stiff to the point where I can't manhandle it further. I would guess this because the assist is no longer assisting at this point.

Left to right is the opposite; the wheel starts high on the left, drops all the way down, "pops" up around center, then goes back down as it approaches the right stop.

I can turn it stop to stop no problem while moving, but I suppose that's to be expected.

The nut under the center cover is tight (probably frozen, actually), not sure if this is the one you meant.
Looking at some schematics online (for manual steering, Google can't seem to find any for the hydraulic version), it seems to me that the top thrust bearing might be shot, causing excessive play in the shaft and thus the hydraulics to be actuated incorrectly or not at all, respectively...but you would know better than I.

Edit: Looking into what said bearing would cost, it seems like you've seen this sort of thing before.
 


Last edited by RandomEmployee on Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:33 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Ultradog MN
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Ford 3000 - odd steering problem following line replacem Reply to specific post Reply with quote

The link you posted has to do with Non PS steering box so different.
I just looked at mine and will say it lifts/lowers maybe 3/32 but not a full 1/8".
I do think it is your locknut #21 in the photo but can't say why the popping. Could be a broken spring washer - #20 that might pop.
Slight chance it is crud preventing the center spool in the hyd block from moving smoothly too.
It's in your hyd block though - pretty sure of that.
If you do go in to the block I strongly suggest that you replace the upper and lower seals - #35 and #14. Upper one especially is a known failure item and will puke oil out from under the steering wheel. Seals, etc not expensive from CNH dealer.
I always replace the 2 orings too - #33
Do you have a manual? It does help to at least have the I&T FO31 manual. It will show proper tightening procedure and staking the nut so it doesn't loosen on you.
Again, they're really not hard to fix. Worst part is pulling the tin.
I have other photos, etc that show where the proper plungers go in the hyd block so if you need it ask.
Glad you have a sense of humor.


 
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RandomEmployee
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Ford 3000 - odd steering problem following line replacem Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Ah. I had thought that that diagram was for a different model.

No manual; the previous employee was apparently too busy stealing gas and taking tools home to do any maintenance on...well, anything, let alone the tractor. I'll see about requesting one for future projects.

The tin wasn't too bad to detach, fortunately I didn't have to disconnect the tach, just swung the whole thing aside. Pulling the top section of the steering column got me pieces of a blackened steel washer tinkling down onto the transmission housing. The locknut was indeed not locked; turning it down to its stop and bolting the steering column for a quick test found the steering working better, with less play. Still started catching a bit after a few turns back and forth, though, pretty sure that nut backed right back off. Tsk. Is staking the nut something you can describe, or am I going to need a manual for the visual aid?

I can't seem to find a washer in that area in the diagram, but it seems like it went between the locknut and spring washer...even with the nut at its stop, that line of components seemed a little loose. But then, the hydraulic block was just floating there, what with being unbolted, so maybe that's why. Still doesn't explain where these pieces came from...
The spring washer and whatever that is under it (#19) seem to be intact and fine. The #35 seal looks to be in good shape.

Though I really, really don't want to, I'll probably go ahead and mark the lines, disconnect them, and pull the block to see if it needs cleaned. So yes, if it isn't any trouble, pictures of where all the bits and pieces go after they inevitably fall all over the transmission and ground will probably be useful. I would guess that my habit of having parts left over after putting things back together would be a bad thing to exercise in this instance, heh.
 
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Jetbird
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Ford 3000 - odd steering problem following line replacem Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Hey Random. I rebuilt the steering box on my 3400 recently. Staking the nut to the shaft is simple. The manual says to tighten the nut until all slack is removed, meaning just tight enough so the shaft can't be moved up and down, but no tighter. Then back off the nut about 1/6 turn, and stake nut to shaft. What they mean is use a hammer and a punch to peen the thin rim at the top of the nut into the slot that is machined into the steering shaft. This will lock the nut in place. I don't know what those blackened washer peices might be. My box had a broken washer under the nut, but yours is intact it sounds like. Got me there. When it comes to removing the hydraulic block, I was able to do it without losing the internals by cutting a coffee can lid in half, then cutting a notch in each half so it would fit around the shaft. I then slid the coffee can lid peices in from each side under the block while lifting the block slightly. Once the plungers are supported with the lid, you can lift the lid and the block off the shaft all together.
 
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Ford 3000 - odd steering problem following line replacem Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Hey guys, long time no see.

I had to shelve the project when cold weather rolled in; staking the nut (thanks Jetbird!) on the steering shaft made the tractor manageable for when it was needed for snow plowing. Just recently rolled it back out and pulled it back apart again to see what I can do with it.

I have both blocks above the main gear box (23 and 12) popped off. I was under the impression that at some point I was supposed to be watching out for a bunch of small pieces to make sure they didn't drop out everywhere; where are they? 23 seems to be the main hydraulic block (seeing as that's where all six lines go in), and all it appears to have in it are four pin-shaped bits that are quite happy to stay where they are.

Anyway, upon getting to the gear box, I found it completely empty of oil, save for a bit of greasy gunk sticking to the bottom of the box. The points on the gearing are nice and shiny from surface wear. Hooray for people not doing their jobs, eh? Though to be fair I probably should have found it myself before now.
I would guess that the popping feeling is from the worn teeth trying to jam instead of mesh properly.

Think I have some 80- or 90-weight out in the shed to drop into it for now, should hold it over until I find A: that the gearing is too badly worn to function properly even with lubrication and convince the city board to buy a new gear block, or B: It works perfectly fine and subsequently get ahold of some 00 grease to put in it.


The seals I've come across look good, the hydraulic block seems pretty clean, but I'm still mystified as to where that bloody washer came from. The only place I can see it going is under the locking nut, since even taking the nut to its stop leaves a little bit of play...but simply tightening the nut removed very nearly all play from the steering, so I can't see why someone would put another washer in for no discernible benefit.
Eh, whatever.
 
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