Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cushman front frame repair ( upper control arm )

 The gardeners cushman I noticed when it was going by that the front wheel on one side was back further than the other and when he backed up it would straighten up again . After closer inspection I found the frame had crack and a few pieces where missing . I had to heat it red hot and use a bar to beat it straight to line the cracks back up for welding . This is an older machine and the front frame retails for around $2,000 so this repair is the only option . Remove tie rod off spindle . Remove the shock strut . The bolts may be seized to the rubber bushings you will have to work the bolts back and forth with lots of penetrating fluid . You can remove the upper control arm to frame bolts . I didn't find any need to remove ball joint nuts off spindle . I was able to move it to the side altogether for the repair .
 Disconnect battery before welding .
 After welding up the cracks I made up another plate ( same thickness)and drilled the hole out for the upper control arm mounting bolts and welded it in over the bad area . Install bolts and washers to hold plate in place then weld in place .
 Remove the bolts and washers and reassemble . Replace any shims that came out , you may have to remove a few shims to align it up better .
 Reassemble parts and replace any cotter pins with new ones .
Turned out ok , I may still have to remove 1 more shim . A few years back we did the same repair to the other side . I find cushmans tend to rust quickly around here so it may be wise to get some rust check spray cans and spray the frames down in the off season .Our new one is rust checked every winter and so far so good . When you see patterns of wear or conditions that can  wear out a machine prematurely try to figure out if there is  anything that can be done to  slow down the process .  This is a great hauler if you keep an eye on the frame you will get many years of trouble free service out of them .
PS. A lot of repairs at our ( golf course ) level  may be reflected by budgets / age of machinery / skill level and resources . At a dealership they would most likely suggest replacing the frame . In this case it's not so much the budget but the age of the machine versus it's worth/overall condition and the cost of the part . If I though buying the new frame would get me 5 more working years out of the machine it may be worth the expense . But in this case it is not .

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