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Restoration & Repair Tips Board

IH 350 utility steering gear issue

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08-08-2012 07:19:03

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I've come to a crossroads with my 350U project. Bought this as a non runner, rebuilt the head, and got the motor running sweet only to find the power steering gear is broken. Tore the box down and found 2 issues. A small toothed bar called the rack is broken. Apparently a common issue because these are being sold aftermarket on a couple sites. the bigger problem is the special roller bearing that was used in this short lived configuration. this bearing does not exist in the manual steering gear box, and it cannot, I repeat cannot be crossed to any major bearing manufacturers. It is specially made to be install in sections so it can use the shaft as the inner race for the rollers, and the outer race just clears sector gears on both sides of the shaft. Might sound weird, but if you've ever seen one, you'd know what I mean. The only source for this part, are companies/ salvage yards that have a steering box, but they do not want to sell the bearing, only the complete box, and a refurbished box was offered to me for $1000, plus a core charge (they want my box). I wanted the tractor for loader work, and the loader, and truck tires up front is rough on these steering setups, so I am not confident in sinking that much more into it. I currently have it up for sale AS IS, but the current state of dis-assemblly makes it look un attractive to many who are not comfortable with working on machines. My current options are; 1) sell it AS IS, but with the rebuilt head, I won't take less than $2000, and I'm in Massachusetts, so most locals are scared away by the photos. 2) Part it out, with a good motor, hydraulic system, PTO, and tranny, and scrap metal value of what remains, I could do nicely, but that takes time, and I hate to see the old girl chopped up. 3) Have a machine shop make a new bearing ($$$??), then look into installing a bolt on power steering upgrade to take the force off the steering gear (jackson power steering system), again, more $$$ than I want to spend. 4) Install a completely differant steering system, somthing more conventional, with a sigle steering cylinder, and a tie rod. Problem is the way the front axle sits up into the front bolster to keep the front end low, creates problems with any tie rod setup I can think of. So I made this post, and look forward to any comments, and words of wisdom some mat have for me on the subject.

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08-15-2012 20:10:03

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 Re: IH 350 utility steering gear issue in reply to Stevewatr, 08-08-2012 07:19:03  
Steve, Really great to see the original manifold. They are getting scarce, and there is always some thoughtless butcher ready to chop the sheet metal and put in a straight up exhaust at the first sign of trouble. Then he forgets the bucket, it rains, and Presto, frozen up antique tractor with ruined sheet metal. I have had several of the 3xx series utilities, and frankly think the loaders are a terrible idea. I have not had one without a loader that had a power steering gear problem, and have not had a problem with power steering gear on one that DIDN'T have a loader. The little guys would perform just fine for chore work,mowing, blade work, etc., but the added strain of the truck tires and that heavy mass of metal, just too much. Of all the options you mentioned, why not sell the tractor without the loader to someone wanting to do a restoration, then go get yourself a stout tractor that can handle your loader? The 350 utility is a very desirable tractor to restore, and they do great once the loaders are removed. If I were a neighbor, I would be bugging you to sell it to me! Either way, good luck

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08-16-2012 05:17:13

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 Re: IH 350 utility steering gear issue in reply to Rustmonger, 08-15-2012 20:10:03  
Funny you should suggest this. I am in the prosess of acquiring a Oliver 770 industrial model with a diesel engine, bigger loader, and Ware backhoe attachment. It needs work, but will be a better fit for my current needs. What other tractors do you think the loader might fit, and what's a fair asking price for it?

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08-16-2012 07:01:16

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 Re: IH 350 utility steering gear issue in reply to Stevewatr, 08-16-2012 05:17:13  
Well there is a loader and blade on the local (West Texas, Lubbock) Craigslist this morning.It looks like the donor tractor is a Allis WD, although it doesn't show the tractor clearly. The loader is listed for 500 and the blade for 100. That sounds pretty fair to me, blades out here usually go for about 175 to 250. Good luck, and keep those rascals with the sawzalls away from the sheet metal! jt

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08-16-2012 09:25:23

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 Re: IH 350 utility steering gear issue in reply to Rustmonger, 08-16-2012 07:01:16  
Thanks for the advice! My neighbor says he can make me some replacement rollers for the broken bearing, and suggests I get a pro to weld the cracked race. He said then we can grind it smooth by hand, and put it all back together. I'll see in about a week if that'll work.
Regards, Steve W.

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bill b va

08-08-2012 11:33:31

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 Re: IH 350 utility steering gear issue in reply to Stevewatr, 08-08-2012 07:19:03  

a long shot in the dark . you could possibly make your own rollers from hardened steel shaft of the right diameter .the outter race from tubing that could be resized for your needs . i have made rollers before but never needed the outter race .

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08-08-2012 11:49:00

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 Re: IH 350 utility steering gear issue in reply to bill b va, 08-08-2012 11:33:31  
Thanks for your reply. I know of a small machine shop where the guy works out of his house, and makes broken things for people when they have no other source. I'll box up the parts and head over to see what he thinks one of these days.

Steve W.

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