When I'm servicing this machine for winter maintenance I remove the seat and body for easy access . unscrew the 2 panels and drop through body and remove shifting ball and lock nut . The shifting boot can stay on the body . Now back to the loose steering . I noticed when replacing a flat tire recently that the side wear on it was pretty extreme for only being 1 season old . There is a fair amount of play on the front wheel moving it left to right . At first it looked like a bad bushing that would have involved removing the engine . After looking a little closer I saw the ball joint on the hydraulic steering ram had some play . To get at this ram you have to unbolt and pull forward the panel with all the relays and fuses attached to it . First remove the battery cables , lots of electronics to short out easily .
Here it is directly in front of the motor .(above pic ) If you look straight down by the grease nipple is the bushing I was talking about earlier .
To get access to the nut I pulled up on electrical panel and used mechanics wire up to the steering wheel to hold out of the way . It looks like a tight spot and it is . I had to use a scratch awl and a bent flat screw driver and a pair of needle nose pliers to get the cotter pin out .
The nut was just loose . After I tightened it back up I checked for play in the steering . Most of it was gone but 3 of the 4 ball joints on the steering knuckles where worn out .
Ordered the parts for repair . My parts where in stock and are in next day usually . Now I'm getting the front end ready for the new parts when they arrive .Remove all the cotter pins .
Remove the lower ball joint nut and back the upper to almost off same for the outer tie rod ends .
A couple of good smacks with a heavy hammer here will loosen the joint off . The nut was left on to prevent the steering knuckle and lower control arm from swinging down towards the floor possibly taking the brake line with it . I think it's a torsion type suspension so there is little to NO spring pressure with the suspension hanging down . SAFETY TIP :When working on front suspensions understand if it is spring loaded or not . Read the service manual . You can prevent damage to the machine but most importantly yourself . If there was a large spring between or above the control arm than you would need support or a jack under the lower control arm to lower it slowly after the upper ball joint lets go . I have heard of near fatal injuries from this type of work on different equipment .
Now I'm taking my larger ball peen hammer and hitting it in this location to loosen them off . The nut is left on in case you miss swing and hit the threads .
I'll use the ball joint fork on the lower control arm .
Clean this area up good to expose the clips holding the ball joints in .
Remove the clips and soak down with a good penetrating fluid . Walk away and grab a coffee .
I'm using an impact socket just a little smaller than the top of the ball joint . Use some mechanics wire and wire up steering knuckle to keep it from falling to the ground . ( we only have so many hands ) I have an old impact extension to hit with a hammer to knock it out off the upper control arm .
Do the same for the lower . Mine are the original ones and came out OK .
My parts didn't show up in time so I placed jacks in place on lift arms to frame to help support the tripod jack . It's going to be in limbo for the week end .
On this model can you see where the cables attach well just below that you can see a bolt with a washer under it . Every winter I replace the nylon nut on the other side . It loosen off because staff forget that you have to put the key on/running and press down on the brake to get the shifting lever to work . When this bolt loosens off it causes all kinds of issues which go away after tightening it back up . If it loosen off in mid season or while spraying it can be a big job to fix with everything else going on .
Yes you might notice my battery is in a different location . The old location made it almost impossible or time consuming to jump start .