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Barrette's Small Engines Inc. - SmallEngines.ca FAQ's
What causes the steering shaft to wear out?
If the steering shaft is wearing out prematurely, the main cause is likely a combination of: (a) rough terrain that is causing additional load between the steering segment gear and steering shaft and/or (b) the operator holding the steering wheel at the extreme left or right turn position while turning.
These two situations may cause the segment gear to cut into the worm gear across the intersect line. If the operator is making sharp turns on a downhill slope the load between these two gears is even greater. Operators are advised to make wider turns and reduce their ground speed over rough terrain. This will reduce excessive load between these two steering gears.
Additionally, the operator should be careful not to use the steering wheel as a pull bar to "pull" themselves onto the unit and lower themselves into the drivers seat as this may contribute to excessive stress and wear on these parts and gears.
Service Note:Be sure to replace the bushing at the bottom of the steering shaft when servicing these shafts. A worn bushing can also increase the end play and contribute to excessive wear between these gears.