My new Craftsman garden tractor needs an alignment bad!!!

Just took delivery of the tractor (a 28750) and it runs very well, I'm very happy with it.
One thing though, when I stand in front of the tractor the front wheels clearly show an excessive toe in. I'd say if you'd draw a line from each wheel forward, the lines would cross at about 50 feet, which is pretty bad.
I know that in the long term, the forces generated on the wheels will wear the bearings, tires and steering system, not mentioning the extra fuel consumption. Not sure it will damage the grass in the long run, but it's certainly not a good thing for it.
The steering system is probably identical on the large Husqvarnas and Cratfsman, and Husqvarna publishes their owners manuals on the web. I looked for a toe adjustment of any type in the manual as well as on the tractor and could not find one. Everything's fixed.
One possibility is the two drag links that go from the Gear sector plate to the spindles. Those are already bent in two places, and unbending them a bit would push the toe out.
Thanks in advance for any suggestion.
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snipped-for-privacy@hawk.igs.net wrote:

I have a new craftsman also, it to has a lot of tow in, I have been back to Sears to look at the floor models, they all appear to be the same. I think your toe in is normal, and it helps with your turn radius.
I'm sure one of regulars will chime up with advice, lookout for 10' pine stick jokes, (long story)
Clark
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On 9/25/2007 3:00 PM, Clark wrote:

plenty long enough.)
--
Ted
I wasn't born in Texas but
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xPosTech wrote:

Maybe subconsciously I'm trying to re-write history?
Did I mention the new mower is fantastic? I'm telling ya, the first mower being bad was a fluke
Clark
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So did you bend those tie rods taking the tractor off your pickup - or were you trying to squeeze it between two stumps ? Or did you try to drive over a 10" pine stick and it kicked up and bent the tie rod ?
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How come everyone seems to know about the 10" pine sticks but me? Why the hell isn't that mentioned in the obsessive first 43 pages of Safety warnings in the owner's manual? I got a whole field of 10" pine sticks and now I'm being told my garden tractor can't mow them? That's it. I'm getting my money back.
The tie rods are bent by design, in order to clear the passage for some attachments or a front belt, I guess. I figured they only need 1/4" more, so straightening them which will make them deviate from their path very little.
Gonna kerosene those pine sticks to hell tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.
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snipped-for-privacy@hawk.igs.net wrote:

Clark
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jeannot wrote:

http://groups.google.com/groups?as_q=pine+stick&num &scoring=r&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_ugroup=alt.home.lawn.garden&as_usubject=&as_uauthors=%3CClark snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com%3E&lr=&as_qdr=&as_drrb=b&as_mind=1&as_minm=5&as_miny 07&as_maxd1&as_maxm=7&as_maxy 07&safe=off

good move on the money back while you can.
think about it. you bought a machine built by the low bidder who did not have to put their name on it and will never hear from anyone who hit a pine stick....

on each end of the tie rod there is a ball joint. the ball joint is threaded onto the tie rob and set with a set nut. the tie rob is lengthen or shortened by screwing in or out of the ball joints. before you can make the adjustment you'll need to disconnect the ball joint from the wheel.
but, rather than do that I'd get my money back then go and make the purchase of a machine where the manufacturer of the machine thought enough of the machine to place their name on it.

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I just unscrewed the joint from the wheel spindle, and found no adjustment. The axis of the bolt is vertical, so even trying to set the nut ta a different position has no effect.

Of course I was not serious about getting my money back. I got a 26hp (with the Briggs Extended Life Service), 54" cut with the beefy K66 Tuff Torq and a 10-gauge deck for $1999. They can keep my money. If the worst problem is the alignment, I'll deal with it with a wide grin.
It appears I will have to take the rods out and straighten them. I'll keep you posted on how it went.
Thanks for the help and entertainment so far.
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Problem solved, tractor aligned.
First, I needed a way to measure the toe. I installed a pair of 48" steel rods to the outside of the front wheels, making sure that they touch the front and rear of the rim. With the wheels perfectly aligned, they should be parallel and have the same distance between them next to the wheels and at their end. Initially, my suspicions were confirmed: 37.25 inches at the wheel, 35 inches 40" further. 2.25 inches in 40" is 3.2 degrees.
I thought I should make my alignment easily adjustable, so bending the rods was out. The steering shaft with a gear at its bottom and the steering plate gear are held on a steel plate that is screwed to the frame. That plate ensures a correct gap between the two gears and is held in place to the frame by 4 screws. A bit of geometry convinced me that if that plate could move forward by only 1/4", it would provide me with plenty of toe adjustment range.
So I dismantled the steering shaft, the two links at the spindles and took out the 4 screws that hold the plate to the frame. I widened the 4 holes in the plate horizontally towards the back (the plate needs to move forward) by about 1/4". I put everything back together and left the 4 screws loose by about 1 turn. I then verified that I had a large play in the toe by playing with the two steel rods that were attached to the wheels. I made sure the distance between the rods read 37.25 inches both at the wheel and at their end and that whatever play there was in the system was creating a toe in. I then tightened the 4 screws. That way, while in motion the backward force would keep the toe at the end of its play and the wheels parallel.
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snipped-for-privacy@hawk.igs.net wrote:

Something I don't understand. If this is new, and you think it isn't right, why do you void what little warranty these things have by making "repairs" yourself? Why do you not go back to the dealer you bought it from and have them fix it right. It may not even need "fixed" and it may be that the toe in is correct for that tractor. I sure wouldn't be bending anything. Tinkerers.
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On Sep 26, 4:26 pm, do snipped-for-privacy@do.com wrote:

I will shed some light on this for you: The dealer/repair shop will say it's normal. And the reason why they will say that has nothing to do with the problem at hand, and everything to do with conservation of energy on their part. There is no toe adjustment on the tractor. Hence, they cannot fix the excessive toe, and I would not trust them to even try. They will offer my money back. I don't want money, I want a tractor. Which is consistent with me buying it.
If they void the warranty on my engine, deck or transmission because I fixed the alignment, my lawyer will explain to them how warranties work and why it is a very bad ideeyer for them to pursue that attitude.
As you can read above, my tractor now has an adjustable front wheel alignment, and is properly aligned as a result. I did not bend anything, just enlarged four holes and made the tractor better.
Considering 3.25 degrees as an acceptable angle between two wheels is a slap in the face of physics. If one's car had that much toe in, one would probably go (at 5 mpg) through a set of tires in less than 100 miles, assuming one wouldn't get a frame bender before.
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On 9/26/2007 4:19 PM, snipped-for-privacy@hawk.igs.net wrote:

all on its own. ;)
--
Ted
I wasn't born in Texas but
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Ah, yeah, the pine sticks. Well, it's the damnest thing. I was putting my tools away after the job was done, and I heard the sound of an engine starting and a loud screeching sound. All that was left of the tractor were two skid marks on the pavement. It then started getting really overcast, but there was not a cloud in the sky minutes before. Then I heard a horrible sound that had been going on for a few seconds but I guess my brain blocked it until my eyes saw the large cloud of reddish dust. I ran towards the field but could not see a foot ahead of me. Then the sound stopped. I swear it lasted less than a minute. After the dust had dissipated, there lied in front of me a pine stick- less landscape. No tractor in sight. Came back to the garage. There it was in exactly the same spot, engine stopped, with the tick-tick-tick sound typical of a hot engine cooling down. I may have been its way to thank me, but a trust was broken that will take a lot of time to heal.
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snipped-for-privacy@hawk.igs.net wrote:

most people don't understand a good imagination or a good daydream.
I kind of enjoyed yours.
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