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Discussion Starter #1
I managed to find a brantly power steering kit for the 317 a while ago. I was wondering if anyone had some install instructions, I'm aware of the instructions on wfmfiles but the pictures are unusable. I was also wondering if anyone knows where I can buy a re-seal kit for the unit, I want to rebuild it before I put it on the machine. I also plan to install the rear hydraulic kit that I bought a while ago. Any tips and info is greatly appreciated, thanks in advance.
 

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Gabby is very knowledgeable about these units. He can also tell you about the other wear points to look for that will make the steering very sloppy. Unfortunately those parts are not available anymore so if there are worn out they would need some machine work to bring them back into spec.

Ryan
 

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Thanks Ryan, I was typing reply when your update came through.

WFMFiles is the only installation instructions I am aware of. It is a simple installation but hardest part is connecting to control valve when installing the in-line relief valve.
  • Page 4 of the file ... http://www.wfmfiles.com/download/314_317_Brantly_920-24_Power_Steering_Mounting_Instructions.pdf ... shows the installation with the relief valve.
  • Mount the cylinder
    • Mounting the steering cylinder is two bolts. Holes are already in the frame. Front bolt may require removing other hardware to access but still fairly simple.
    • Loosen the two lock nuts on steering rod (M82552) as length of rod will likely need adjustment.
    • Remove steering rod ball joint from steering arm (M48594).
      • Measure distance of lock nut from end so they can be returned to near original setting.
      • I remove the stud and use a thread die to clean old dried on paint and make adjustment easier..
    • This ball joint reconnects to the flat plate attached to steering cylinder.
    • Final connection is to connect rod, pitman (key 4 - JC32-001 from chart) to the arm where you removed the ball joint.
    • We will get into adjustments later.
  • It is common among members to not install the relief valve.
    • The purpose of the valve is to provide priority oil flow to steering if used with high flow attachments like a loader. Your call there. Personally I have mine connected.
    • Eliminating the relief valve really simplifies the installation.
      • Refer to chart. Keys 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 are not needed
      • Hoses # 5 and 6 you only need one each.
      • Since you are not installing Tee at valve inlet original valve inlet tube does not require length change. Nothing to do here.
    • Connecting return from valve to steering cylinder and cylinder to reservoir are the only connections you will need to make.
      • Didn't say earlier but installation will be simpler if right rear tire, fender pan, and fuel tank are removed.
      • The power beyond (return) port is on top of the valve and can be accessed with the fuel tank removed (was easier for me).
      • You may need to change different adapters to connect return hose to cylinder.
      • Return tube from control valve to sump return will be replaced with hose from cylinder to sump return.
  • If relief valve is installed disregard last section. You will need to install all these items including length adjust to valve inlet.
It is installed.

I have errands to run. We will get into adjustments when I get home ... Gabby
 
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Just my opinion and a little experience to offer. But I recently installed a 400 steering system in one of my 317's. Now that's it's complete I'm satisfied with the results and it was really a very easy install. I have writeups on one of these sites. My only beef is that with only a mower deck hanging below it really doesn't offer much of if any improvement over the standard 317 steering. It may even slow it down some. The only time you really notice an improvement is when the machine is standing still. This arraignment does remove quite a lot of stress off the rather weak 317 steering components so there's some advantage there. But side by side with my other stock 317, the power steering is harder to drive.

Perhaps it would be a good mod for a machine that had a front loader or even a heavy blower. If your lucky enough to have a loader it's a good mod. I don't know if a blower would be worth it. I did it for experience and the challenge but I would never suggest doing it as an improvement. And as Ryan mentioned above, any slop in the system is amplified with the power steering. I spent far more time and money getting rid of all that slop than the install itself. Those rod ends and bushings are not cheap.
 

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I agree with JetJoe and Ryan about slop/looseness in the steering system needs to be addressed or tractor steering wanders all over the place. The Brantly system however is 100% power steering. There is no feedback feel which I do not like. Steering is effortless.

My 317 needs steering system service.
  1. The slot in the mounting bracket needs to fit snug with the flat plate attached to cylinder. I have looseness here and it is felt in the steering.
  2. All the ball joints need to fit tight with no slop.
  3. Wheel spindles/bushings cause looseness as well as front axle pivot bolt.
  4. Finally the Ross steering gearbox needs to be adjusted and lubricated properly.
  5. I have not done this but have read that adding a thrust bearing on the gearbox reduces steering effort. I think this is more effective on non-power steering setups.
I have not had my 314 running yet this year so will not comment on function on that tractor.

Adjusting the setup.
  1. You need to know the number of turns of the steering wheel from full left to full right turns.
  2. This needs to be set at 1/2 number of turns and front wheels are straight ahead.
  3. Next disconnect the steering rod to the flat plate and with hoses disconnected you need to find the mid stroke measurement so you have same amount of stroke for left and right steer.
  4. Forgot a step.You may need to adjust length of feedback rod between steering cylinder and steering arm so stroke midpoint is set to wheels in straight forward position.
  5. With everything set at midpoint adjust the length of the steering rod to the front spindle making sure not to move components off mid point.
  6. Tighten everything to spec and start tractor. You will probably need to install fuel tank to do this.
  7. I did not need to bleed the steering system. Check steering to see if it functions correctly and steering is balanced left to right and right to left.
  8. You may need to tweek adjustments to set it to your liking.
Let me know if you need some photos.

One more little tidbit of info. Early Ford Mustangs used Brantly power steering.

Gabby
 

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I agree with JetJoe and Ryan about slop/looseness in the steering system needs to be addressed or tractor steering wanders all over the place. The Brantly system however is 100% power steering. There is no feedback feel which I do not like. Steering is effortless.

My 317 needs steering system service.
  1. The slot in the mounting bracket needs to fit snug with the flat plate attached to cylinder. I have looseness here and it is felt in the steering.
  2. All the ball joints need to fit tight with no slop.
  3. Wheel spindles/bushings cause looseness as well as front axle pivot bolt.
  4. Finally the Ross steering gearbox needs to be adjusted and lubricated properly.
  5. I have not done this but have read that adding a thrust bearing on the gearbox reduces steering effort. I think this is more effective on non-power steering setups.
I have not had my 314 running yet this year so will not comment on function on that tractor.

Adjusting the setup.
  1. You need to know the number of turns of the steering wheel from full left to full right turns.
  2. This needs to be set at 1/2 number of turns and front wheels are straight ahead.
  3. Next disconnect the steering rod to the flat plate and with hoses disconnected you need to find the mid stroke measurement so you have same amount of stroke for left and right steer.
  4. Forgot a step.You may need to adjust length of feedback rod between steering cylinder and steering arm so stroke midpoint is set to wheels in straight forward position.
  5. With everything set at midpoint adjust the length of the steering rod to the front spindle making sure not to move components off mid point.
  6. Tighten everything to spec and start tractor. You will probably need to install fuel tank to do this.
  7. I did not need to bleed the steering system. Check steering to see if it functions correctly and steering is balanced left to right and right to left.
  8. You may need to tweek adjustments to set it to your liking.
Let me know if you need some photos.

One more little tidbit of info. Early Ford Mustangs used Brantly power steering.

Gabby
As I mentioned often before, these systems are found on many fork lift and heavy equipment machines. They're certainly not exclusive to John Deere or any other garden tractor.

I have added the thrust bearing to the gearbox on two tractors. Again, I couldn't distinguish any difference before and after. I have read more than one comment that seems to bear that out.

And, I too have found the axle pivot bolt is a major contributor to sloppy steering. What seems to be a small amount of slope gets greatly exaggerated at the steering wheel. Not only the pin (bolt) but the frame becomes distorted after years of hitting pot holes, stumps and curbing's. I've found that the best solution for this is to tighten the bolt as tight as possible to squeeze the frame back together. Then loosen the bolt just enough to allow the axle to pivot. I've tried shimming this with poor results as the shims soon disappear. This is another nasty area where greasing is tough and it tends to collect a lot of debris from the mower. The axle bushing and bolt were worn on every tractor I've owned.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Sorry for the late response and thanks for all the useful info. I plan on replacing all the bearings/bushings for the steering this winter. I've already rebuilt the steering column and did the thrust bearing mod but there is still too much slop in the system to really tell the difference. I want to repack the cylinder before I put it on the machine and the slot is heavily worn. How do you fix that slot? Do you just build it up with weld? Also the hoses need replaced but I assume you just go to a hydraulic shop and have them make new hoses. I've attached a pic so you can see the unit and when I get the chance I'll get a pic of the slot.
 

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This is off topic but have any of you had to replace a lug bolt in the brake drum? I need to replace one and was hoping I could just replace it instead of the drum.
 

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This is off topic but have any of you had to replace a lug bolt in the brake drum? I need to replace one and was hoping I could just replace it instead of the drum.
The studs just drive in and out. You should find these at most auto stores.
 

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Sorry for the late response and thanks for all the useful info. I plan on replacing all the bearings/bushings for the steering this winter. I've already rebuilt the steering column and did the thrust bearing mod but there is still too much slop in the system to really tell the difference. I want to repack the cylinder before I put it on the machine and the slot is heavily worn. How do you fix that slot? Do you just build it up with weld? Also the hoses need replaced but I assume you just go to a hydraulic shop and have them make new hoses. I've attached a pic so you can see the unit and when I get the chance I'll get a pic of the slot.
Your correct about the hoses. A good hydraulic shop and set you up in a few minutes. As for the steering sector wear, you can certainly try welding it and grinding it smooth. But any little defect will be felt in the steering. If the groove is too tight, it will jamb up easily. Also, the stud that follows in this track also wears and needs attention. Some of these sectors the stud is a bolt sort of thing that can be rotated. Others are mounted solidly. This is am issue with all 317's. So finding one any better is unlikely. But you never know.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I replaced the stud in mine last year so I don't think it's to terribly worn. I was over zealous with the grease so I think I'll be fine. Mid summer I ordered all the bearings and bushings and plan on resealing the and painting the engine this winter (might make a thread on). At this point I should probably just take the cylinder to a hydraulic shop since I can't seem to find a repacking kit.
 

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Sounds like you'll have it under control but I have another comment about the greasing of these things. I have on my last project piped a tube from the sector (gearbox) grease zerk to an easily accessible place. Thinking it would make greasing easier. But there is only so much grease you can pump into that cavity before you start pushing out the seals. What seals there are.

With every one of these I have disassembled, I've always found the grease to be coagulated and stiff to the point non of it was doing anything more than keeping water out. The surfaces that do the work with the screw and pin are always completely bare of grease. I usually limit the pump of grease to an absolute minimum hoping the grease will be forced into the screw. But? Who knows? I really doubt it accomplishes much.

I think I will purchase another steering sector, rebuild it and see if it will handle gear oil rather than grease. Maybe that's what was intended all along as to be honest I never really looked to see what was recommended. Like I said, every one of these I disassembled was full of stiff grease. Usually oozing out the shaft seal from over greasing. And in the 317 manual I have there is no mention of greasing it.

If I can get it to hold oil I think things would work much better than grease. I recently installed the power steering (assist) from a 400 series and if nothing else that does take a lot of the strain off the steering gearbox. But I do know this tractors steering was not in great condition before I did that. It's my next project. My main goal on this latest project was to make all the weak points of the 317 better.

I wonder if anybody else has tried oil over grease?
 

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The wear to the steering cylinder bracket needs to be welded and resized to reduce looseness. Joe, the seals are not oil seals so do not think that is a solution ... Gabby
 

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I got some spare time tonight to tear down the assembly and this is the wear that I have found. All the hoses are shot and it looks like someone has painted it multiple times. When I go and get this welded up does the flat bar have to be a snug fit or does it have to have a little bit of play? The flat bar has a little bit of wear but the support piece is in far worse shape. Do I need to have it built up be perpendicular with the frame or does this bar need to sit on a slight angle? Pictures of the assembly and tolerances would be appreciated.
 

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I would think there needs to be a slight amount of clearance unless you can come up with some way of inserting some type of composite material to use as a bushing. The flat plate needs to slide easily in the bracket and not bind.
 

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I have never used JBWeld before so do not know the wear characteristic. It may be. I may try it just to see how i works.
 

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Jb weld is good for a lot of things, but I wouldn't suggest bearing material as being one of them. It sands rather easily.

If it were me, I'd braze it up. Brass has a nice friction coefficient on steel...even without lubrication, and should wear well.

This Brantley power steering unit is interesting. Anyone have good pics of a tear down?

Al
 

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I am not sure this is the same cylinder that Brantly uses. Front of cylinder that attaches to the spindle steering arm is not the same as Brantly.
 
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