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Bill McCusker
Bill McCusker, Mechanic
Category: Small Engine
Satisfied Customers: 55
Experience:  Mechanic at Rhode Island Harvesting Co
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Have an SST18 JD that has lost all steering. Replaced

Customer Question

Have an SST18 JD that has lost all steering. Replaced filters and cleaned around switches. Still no steering. Had to charge a low battery prior to this happening.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. How long have you been dealing with this?
Customer: Just recently. Mower has been sitting for a few months prior to issues.
JA: What's the make and model of the mower? And can you guesstimate how old it is?
Customer: Manual in garage, but John Deere SST 18, approximately 7yrs old
JA: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?
Customer: If possible
JA: Anything else we should know to help you best?
Customer: Not sure
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Small Engine
Expert:  Curtis B. replied 4 months ago.

Welcome to JUST ANSWER small engines, let me try to help you !! I don't know it all, but maybe together we can get you a satisfactory answer!

Expert:  Curtis B. replied 4 months ago.

Steering on the SST is through the vacuum actuators. do you have vacuum to the actuators from the intake manifold?

Expert:  Curtis B. replied 4 months ago.

See link above.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I am familiar with the two actuators, but how do you check vacuum from intake manifold?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Also, the link above showed a nice diagram of components, however, there is no list of parts to coincide with the diagram!!!!
Expert:  Curtis B. replied 4 months ago.

You need a vacuum gage to check vacuum or just feel for it with your finger over the line. I can give you the Deere parts link, you will need to input model number and go to the parts list.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I wrote earlier, but no response. Yes the vacuum is good to the actuators, however, I used a small shop vac attached to the vacuum connection portal on the actuator to get a response. One side blew the air bag up, but the other side had no reaction. I saw no visible pin holes in the bag. Could this be related to the switch on that side and if so, how do you check it?
Expert:  Curtis B. replied 4 months ago.

So you have one bad actuator. And both should have held the vacuum. You really need vacuum tester,but you can just suck on the switches to see if they will hold vacuum. But from what I gather, the actuator that did nothing, likley is bad.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Update: Both actuators seem to be working to manual suction. Vacuum tester showed 18 psi on each and holding pressure. Can move forward and reverse, but no steering. Steering wheel does turn the actuators from side to side.
Expert:  Curtis B. replied 4 months ago.

All linkage in place and the the actuators are getting vacuum from the engine intake line? See link above, there is a s/n break, but very little difference between the two s/n breaks.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I am not sure what you mean by the abbreviation s/n. I assume you are saying that somewhere in the steering system, there is a break. Can you clarify please!
Expert:  Curtis B. replied 4 months ago.

S/N is series number break. The break is up to 050000, and after 050001. The second link I sent is the 50001 and up. The first was 50000 and before. You say you lost all steering, so either the actuators are not moving the linkage, or something has came loose! If you have unit raised, can you get any movement from the steer wheels?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
No movement in wheels.
Expert:  Curtis B. replied 4 months ago.

Can wheels be locked? Or can you move the wheels manually?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Locked
Expert:  Curtis B. replied 4 months ago.

Tractor runs, but will only drive forward and back, with no steering movement? What would lock both front wheels? I assume the drive belt is on between the engine and transmission.

Expert:  Curtis B. replied 4 months ago.

See drive belt routing above.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Sorry, I thought you meant the rear wheels that actually control the steering. The front Caster wheels do turn freely. And that drive belt is on, in the right position
Expert:  Curtis B. replied 4 months ago.

The rear axle drives f/r to steer like a zero turn, do you have f/r from the trans-axle? You may have drive problem, and not a steering problem.? I'm having a hard time determining what is not working!

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
This zero turn mower will move forward and reverse, but not left or right
Expert:  Curtis B. replied 4 months ago.

Is the linkage from the hand wheel all attached and is moving when you turn the hand wheel?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
all linkage seems to be moving fine
Expert:  Curtis B. replied 4 months ago.

Here is link to the steering adjustment. Have you checked the manual?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thanks. Yes I have...first thing I did. There is no movement at all, not just out of agjustment
Expert:  Curtis B. replied 4 months ago.

I'm at a loss. Let me opt out, maybe someone else has idea! Sorry. Please do NOT respond to me or it will lock your question.

Expert:  Bill McCusker replied 4 months ago.

hello My name is***** do have a few ideas or thoughts in this matter..

eerything is in working order like the sterring gear etc?

Expert:  Bill McCusker replied 4 months ago.

you might have a bad gear or maybe a bushing that might no good.. Can you still move the sterring wheel?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Steering wheel working good enough to turn the actuators from side to side.
Expert:  Bill McCusker replied 4 months ago.

have you checked the tranny?

is there anything inside that might be slipping or locked up..

http://jdpc.deere.com/jdpc/servlet/com.deere.u90490.partscatalog.view.servlets.HomePageServlet_Alt

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Moves forward and reverse just fine
Expert:  Bill McCusker replied 4 months ago.
the link I sent didn't go through. Sorry but inside your tranny there a few things and I will send you a new pic.. That do the turning so you can zero turn so I'm saying could be bound up in there you might look at.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Sending me diagrams won't help me as a novice mechanic! Need more details...if not, I'm done! Sorry I wasted everyone's time and my money!!!!
Expert:  Bill McCusker replied 4 months ago.
I understand. Its hard for us to diagnosis something without seeing or fully understanding the problem.. I will opt out.. Good luck..