Can't get steering shaft back in without binding

Sun Aug 29, 2004 7:25 am

I am having trouble putting the steering back together on my 51 Cub. Basically, I can’t get the two thrust washers that go on either side of the worm gear of the steering shaft back in. If I install them as they originally were, I can’t bolt the steering shaft bearing all the way on. I end up with about a 3/16 inch gap that I can’t close. I have to leave both out to do so. Even leaving one out and installing the other isn’t enough. Without both of them, while I can I bolt the steering shaft bearing on, I end up with (I’m estimating) 1/16 inch motion along the shaft, and looseness in rotating the steering shaft. The thrust washers are just under 1/8 inch thick. Have I done something wrong, or can I get thinner thrust washers?

I had taken everything apart to change the two seals (steering shaft and worm wheel shaft) - and clean and paint. I removed the front end (manual calls it “steering gear housing”) and the housing base to get at everything. I also had to replace the large steering worm wheel bronze thrust washer only because the first time I reassembled the housing base I accidently drove the Woodruff key through it by accident, but that’s another story.

I reinstalled everything in a different sequence than the manual - I don’t think that could cause my problem - because working alone I thought it would be easier. I first reinstalled the steering gear housing (with radiator) to the engine/frame. Then, after putting in a new seal and thrust washer, I bolted up the steering gear housing base. Everything was tight on the steering worm wheel shaft. There was no slack on the steering arm and it moved smoothly. The problem came when I tried installing the steering shaft. I had no problem getting the steering shaft down into the housing, but it is too tight. It seems like I now need much thinner thrust washers on the steering shaft? The steering worm wheel thrust washer I replaced was from Case and was the same thickness as the original. I’m really stumped. I’d appreciate your help.

Sun Aug 29, 2004 11:21 am


The two thrust washers are different. Make sure you have them in the correct place. I can't remember which one goes where at the moment.

Not much help :oops:

Sun Aug 29, 2004 11:55 am

The two thrust washers that were there were identical. It seemed that the lower one should have had a smaller ID than the top one because it doesn't fit tightly on the shaft like the top one does (closest to the steering wheel). But it worked before I took it apart. AND The main thing now is that they both seem to be way too thick.

I wonder now if I could have flipped the worm wheel gear upside down. The teeth still go the right way - wheel turns the arm fine.

I could sure use some ideas . . . .

Sun Aug 29, 2004 12:08 pm

If you still have your original thrust washers compare them to the new ones and see if there is a big difference between new & old. Your supplier might have sold you the wrong ones. That would be a simple start to maybe finding out what your problem is?.