Restoring the Steering Box 
Yikes, almost another year without a blog post... I've haven't totally abandoned the tractor though!
Since the last entry I have been restoring the steering box casting and taking loads photos at each stage to present all at once showing my progress from start to finish.

First the all important "before" photo:



What you can't really see from the photo is the places where the alloy has turned to a porous, crumbly, oxide which doesn't hold back the oil in the box. Also the old leather drop arm seals are completely rotten.

The next two photos show the inside of the casting during the removal of most of the crumbly oxide:


The casting was corroded right through in two places, and almost all the way through at the rear.

I built the metal back up using "Evo-stik Hard & Fast Metal Epoxy Putty". This stuff is like really foul smelling play-doh and it doesn't give you much working time. It does sand fairly easily when cured though.




Normal acrylic primer doesn't adhere well to the "electron" alloy the steering box is cast from, therefore an etch primer must be used. I use "U-POL Acid #8"



Next the bronze bushes were replaced in the casting. These were very easy to drift out when I dismantled the box, but almost impossible to get back in without the proper tools etc. I'm embarrassed to say I distorted them and had to resort to carefully sanding them back until the shafts fitted in the end. If I were to do this again I would absolutely leave the bushes in situ.

As mentioned at the beginning the drop arm seals also had to be replaced. It is no longer possible to obtain the original leather seals and the modern neoprene replacements simply push into the casting without a metal carrier. It is possible to disguise them by cutting down the original seal carriers so that's what I did.
I cut the front disc of the seal carrier as flush as I could manage with a hacksaw, then ground the metal and old leather away with a rotary tool until enough metal was removed so that the disc fitted flush to the side of the casting over the new seal.
I affixed the discs with "Loctite Power-Flex" superglue before giving the whole thing a couple of coats of acrylic primer.



The final photos show the casting bolted back onto the tractor.
Annoyingly I chipped the paint in a couple of places with the spanner but at least it's only the primer.



I filled the box with most of a 3kg tin of "Comma Multipurpose Lithium Grease" delivered like cake icing with a makeshift piping bag. I'd like to see that try to leak out of the steering seals!


Comments

Jim McLaughlin 
Do you know where i could get a steering box for a Ferguson TEF 20. A friend in Germany is restorng one and needs a steering box?

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