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I have a 318 JD I restored and I am wondering what the gap on the front axle is. There is a 1 inch bolt with a locking nut on each side of the front axle that sits between two stops on the frame. Currently mine has about 1/8th to 3/16” of play. Just doesn’t seem right.the bolt I’m referring to is the one right behind the power steering arm on the frame. Here is a pic of my finished project
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The tech manual, TM1590, calls these "axle deflector adjustment bolts and states, 'axle should move freely up and down without sticking in one spot.'

There, I've answered your question with the correct adjustment procedure right out of the tech manual and I can leave this subject with a clear conscious. But, noooo, not me! I'll explain what/why/how as best I can!

As you're driving & doing whatever with your tractor, the front axle pivots up & down and also has some rearward force due to rolling resistance. The deflector bolts control/limit the rearward movement, but the pivot bushings in the center of the axle, the pivot bolt, the heads of the deflector bolts, and the plate on the frame can all wear. Eventually you'll get to a point where when you turn your steering wheel you'll see the axle move before the wheels start to turn (left or right). You may also notice that when driving straight and not turning the steering wheel, the front of the tractor may wander back & forth like a drunken sailor! You could adjust your bolts to remove this clearance, but you're going to run into another issue: your axle will bind when trying to go full travel up & down. If you look at the picture you posted of the bolts, you'll seed the paint is off of the top of the axle from the axle HAVING full travel.

I would start at the root cause, axle center pivot. Jack tractor, support on jack stands under the frame, and remove both front tires. Loosen/remove nut in center of axle for pivot bolt. Support axle with blocking of some sort and pull/drive pivot pin out. Drop axle to ground and try pivot bolt into bushings. If it seems excessively loose, replace bushing AND inspect pivot bolt for wear... replace if nec. While axle is out, inspect plates where bolts hit on each side. The plates should be flat, but are probably worn concave. JD used to supply a "kit" to repair this area, but now supplies individual parts: wear plates, bolts, and nuts... which, btw, are M16 and not 1".

You can go to your dealer and get 2 M88755 plates @ $17+ each or go to a box store and get a piece of steel the correct thickness & width and cut to length. I don't have a 318 so I can't supply details on that! Also, since your replacement plates are sitting on a concave surface, I'd put epoxy between the two surfaces. A piece of tape on the back of the replacement plate will prevent the epoxy from adhering to the plate. The head of the screw should also be filed/ground flat to prevent premature wear on the plates.

Once whatever parts are installed, tighten axle pivot so you have a light drag when trying to pivot axle, then back off about 1 flat of the nut until axle pivots freely/kinda coasts. Adjust deflector bolts ensuring axle doesn't bind at either end of travel. Ideally a VERY light drag should be required to rotate the axle through full travel. Do NOT lube plates! This will attract debris and wear bolts & plates.

Thankfully, that's all I've got! Bob

OK, one more! GREAT job on your restoration. It's nice to have a tractor that works good but nicer to have one that also looks good too!
 

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The tech manual, TM1590, calls these "axle deflector adjustment bolts and states, 'axle should move freely up and down without sticking in one spot.'

There, I've answered your question with the correct adjustment procedure right out of the tech manual and I can leave this subject with a clear conscious. But, noooo, not me! I'll explain what/why/how as best I can!

As you're driving & doing whatever with your tractor, the front axle pivots up & down and also has some rearward force due to rolling resistance. The deflector bolts control/limit the rearward movement, but the pivot bushings in the center of the axle, the pivot bolt, the heads of the deflector bolts, and the plate on the frame can all wear. Eventually you'll get to a point where when you turn your steering wheel you'll see the axle move before the wheels start to turn (left or right). You may also notice that when driving straight and not turning the steering wheel, the front of the tractor may wander back & forth like a drunken sailor! You could adjust your bolts to remove this clearance, but you're going to run into another issue: your axle will bind when trying to go full travel up & down. If you look at the picture you posted of the bolts, you'll seed the paint is off of the top of the axle from the axle HAVING full travel.

I would start at the root cause, axle center pivot. Jack tractor, support on jack stands under the frame, and remove both front tires. Loosen/remove nut in center of axle for pivot bolt. Support axle with blocking of some sort and pull/drive pivot pin out. Drop axle to ground and try pivot bolt into bushings. If it seems excessively loose, replace bushing AND inspect pivot bolt for wear... replace if nec. While axle is out, inspect plates where bolts hit on each side. The plates should be flat, but are probably worn concave. JD used to supply a "kit" to repair this area, but now supplies individual parts: wear plates, bolts, and nuts... which, btw, are M16 and not 1".

You can go to your dealer and get 2 M88755 plates @ $17+ each or go to a box store and get a piece of steel the correct thickness & width and cut to length. I don't have a 318 so I can't supply details on that! Also, since your replacement plates are sitting on a concave surface, I'd put epoxy between the two surfaces. A piece of tape on the back of the replacement plate will prevent the epoxy from adhering to the plate. The head of the screw should also be filed/ground flat to prevent premature wear on the plates.

Once whatever parts are installed, tighten axle pivot so you have a light drag when trying to pivot axle, then back off about 1 flat of the nut until axle pivots freely/kinda coasts. Adjust deflector bolts ensuring axle doesn't bind at either end of travel. Ideally a VERY light drag should be required to rotate the axle through full travel. Do NOT lube plates! This will attract debris and wear bolts & plates.

Thankfully, that's all I've got! Bob

OK, one more! GREAT job on your restoration. It's nice to have a tractor that works good but nicer to have one that also looks good too!
thanks
just wanted to make sure the gap wasn't going to hurt anything. I don't have a technical manual. only an owners manual. This was my late father in laws tractor he bought new in the early 80's. I bought the loader. I also have the mower deck, the original JD cab and blower, and wheel chains. I bought new wheel weights. My mother in law and my wife cried when they saw it after I restored it. Original engine. 934 hours. went through and put new gaskets and seals in the motor. other than that it is all original. the only thing I need to get is the rear light harness.
 
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