If you’ve ever owned a tractor before, with frequent or regular use, you’ll notice that the steering cylinder starts to leak.
While this leaking is sometimes manageable, at times it might cause too much trouble when operating the tractor. When the leak becomes uncontrollable, it’s better if you remove the steering cylinder and replace it with a new one.
Now, removing the steering cylinder from a tractor is quite a big deal. You don’t want to make any mistakes during this step. If you don’t know what you’re doing, fixing your mistakes could cost you a fortune.
That is why you need to know how to remove steering cylinder from tractor properly.
Thankfully with the right guidance, you can get this removal and replacement process done at home, on your own, without having to call for professional help.
So let’s get started, shall we?
When Should You Remove Steering Cylinder From Tractor?
With time, even the most high-end tractors need a steering cylinder change. It has nothing to do with the durability or the build of the tractor. It’s a part of its maintenance.
You could try to increase the time a steering cylinder lasts on your tractor by keeping an eye on it.
Frequent and regular oil changes, and rotating the cylinder are two other things that you could do to improve steering cylinder performance.
A clear sign that you have to remove and replace the steering cylinder from a tractor is when you notice leaks. One or two drops here and there are normal, but when the drip has a steady flow, it’s time for you to replace it.
How To Remove Steering Cylinder From Tractor- The Steps
If you follow the right steps, removing a steering cylinder from a tractor can actually be a pretty easy task. But remember, you have to replace the cylinders quite carefully so that you don’t harm any other parts of the tractor.
Here are the steps that you need to follow to successfully remove a New Holland skid cylinder from your tractor.
Step 1: Wash The Area
When working with the mechanics of a car or a tractor, it's always better to start with a clean area.
To ensure proper cleanup, we recommend using the pressure washing method. It is much quicker and can get all of the dirt, mud, and grime off of your tractor and the working area, in just about a few minutes.
If you don't have access to a pressure washer, you can also use a regular water hose to clean the tractor and the area that you are going to be working in.
Step 2: Add A Jack Underneath The Tractor
Now, to get better access to your working region, you have to add a jack underneath the tractor.
The jack will help elevate the axle of the tractor. To help see clearly, you should add the jack right beneath the belly of the tractor.
Step 3: Take The Weight Off Of The Wheels
When taking off the steering cylinder, you will have to move the front wheels of the tractor quite a lot. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get full access to the steering cylinder.
To make this movement easier for you, you should take the weights off of the wheels. Taking off the weight from the front wheels only will be just fine.
This way when you have to move the wheels, you don’t have to move the steering wheel. You can easily turn them using your hands.
Step 4: Remove The E-Clip
This step is quite a hard one. Removing the E-clip off of your tractor can be quite difficult.
An e-clip is added to your tractor so that it can keep the puck screw in place. It also helps add the locking mechanism to the tractor.
The reason you have to remove this clip is so that you can turn the jerk, using vice grips. Removing this clip will also allow you to use a 7/16 inch socket on the tractor's grease jerk.
There are three ways to remove the Jesus or E clip off of your tractor.
Using A E-Clip Remover
- If you have to remove steering cylinders off of tractors quite often, we recommend investing in an E-clip remover. This is a tool that you can use to take off the Jesus clip without making much of an effort.
- You align the E-clip removal tool with your E-clip and push upwards. The clip should come off smoothly.
- If you don't have an E-clip remover tool, you can take out the E-clip using pliers. It’s better if you go for thinner ones such as needle-nose pliers.
- Grab the center of the E-clip using your pliers, and pull them towards you. You might struggle a bit at first, but after a few seconds of pulling, the clip should come off successfully.
Using A Flathead Screwdriver
- Similar to the needle nose plier method, you need to squeeze your flathead screwdriver into the center of the E-clip.
- Keep a close eye on the E-clips, so that you can catch it when it comes off.
- Using the screwdriver, apply gentle pressure in an upwards motion. If the E-clip does not come off, you can increase the amount of pressure that you are using.
Step 5: Remove The Puck Screw
To remove the puck screw, you can use a drag link tool or a piece of flat stock, or even a file. With one of these, you need to take off the threaded puck screw retainers.
Step 6: Take Off The Rear Castel Nut
In this step, you will need a large size screwdriver with a wrench on it.
This is so that you can keep the ball on the head of the cylinder in position, because the whole thing turns. Using the tool you have to hold on to the ball on the end of the cylinder so that it does not move.
Now that you have that part in control, you can start to loosen up the rear castle nut. When you get this part loose, you should be able to unscrew the hose from the cylinder.
Be careful during this step, because any remaining oil in the cylinder might squirt out. To keep things clean, you should keep a rag or towel close to you.
It's better to stay a bit far from the cylinder at this point so that you can protect your eyes and face from getting splattered with oil.
Step 7: Remove The Pivot Pins
Although a lot of screws and nuts have been loosened up now, you will find that the cylinder still won't come off. This is because of the brace that is welded under the wishbone.
Look for the pivot pin. You will probably find this on the backside of the steering sector.
Here, you will find an Allen socket set screw that has a jam nut. Removing this jam nut will allow you to take out the pivot pin. You can remove the pins using a vice grip.
Step 8: Take Off The Cylinder
We’ve made it to the final step of the process. All you have to do is push the sector a little bit to the side, and the cylinder will fall.
Now you can start replacing this cylinder with a new one.
How to Replace Hydraulic Cylinder On A Compact Tractor
When it comes to replacing the cylinder on your tractor, replacing a hydraulic one is much easier. Here are the few steps involved in replacing a hydraulic cylinder with a compact tractor.
Step 1: Gather Your Tools
When removing a hydraulic cylinder, you only need a few tools.
Three of the main tools that you will be needing are-
- a socket set
- a hammer
- a wrench
You will need the hammer when you try and unhinge the pins of the cylinder. It’s not a must-have tool, as you will find out later on in the guide.
Step 2: Disjoint The Hydraulic Bolts And Lines
Using a wrench, you should disconnect the two hydraulic lines that are connected to the cylinder.
There is a 1-inch nut that helps hold the cylinder, which should be removed using a wrench as well.
Step 3: Disjoint The Cover Plate
You will have to go through the step if the steering cylinder has a cylinder guard or protective cover plate.
This cover plate is usually attached with about two to four bolts. Remove them, and the plate should come off easily.
Step 4: Get The Pins Out
There are two pins on the steering cylinder.
To remove them, you will firstly need to remove the snap rings. Pushing out the hinge pins after that is quite easy.
If you have some trouble pushing out the hinge pins, you can use a hammer or even the back of your wrench to slightly help push them off.
After the pins are off, the cylinder should come off easily.
Tips And Precautions You Should Take When Removing A Steering Cylinder From A Tractor
When removing the steering cylinder from your tractor, it's better if you follow a few tips and tricks. Taking these few extra measures will ensure a better and faster steering cylinder removal.
1. Keep A Rag Handy For When The Oil Spills
When you are removing the steering cylinder, especially a New Holland skid cylinder, there’s a high possibility of some oil spilling or squirting.
Cleaning tractor oil from your surroundings, your shirt, or your skin can be quite a hassle.
That is why at the final step when you are removing the pins and taking off the cylinder, it’s better if you are prepared with a towel.
You can also protect your work area by laying down sheets of old newspaper.
2. Call A Mechanic If You Feel Like You’re Doing Something Wrong
While removing and replacing a steering cylinder is a job that you can do at home with the right guidance, it’s better to be on the safe side at all times.
What we mean by this is that it’s better not to cause irreparable damage to your tractor. When you’re taking off a bolt, or a clip, and something just doesn’t feel right, you should surely stop, and call in for professional help.
Keep in mind that repairing the damage can cost you more than having to pay for a steering cylinder replacement and installation.
3. Prepare Your Toolkit Beforehand
If you want to get through the replacement process quicker, it’s better to arrange your tools beforehand.
All the tools that you will need, for example, a hammer, a wrench set, screwdrivers, pliers, or e-clip remover, should be kept close to you.
This way you won’t have to run around looking for the tools that you need for removing a tractor steering cylinder.
4. Make Sure You Remember Where Every Bolt Or Clip Removed For An Accurate Reinstallation
If you plan on reinstalling another steering cylinder onto the tractor by yourself, you should mark the bolts and clip that you remove.
When laying them down, you can place a sticky note around them, with details about where you removed them from.
This is not a step that professional or experienced people need. But if this is your first time removing and replacing a steering cylinder from your tractor, you should surely keep track of all the accessories that you are removing from your vehicle.
This way the reinstallation process will be much easier for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How To Maintain A Hydraulic Cylinder?
A great way to keep your hydraulic cylinder in good health is to keep on changing the oil regularly, rotating the cylinder, keeping the cylinder on a check, and inspecting the oil system.
If you regularly check the cylinder and keep on changing the fluid as necessary, you won't be needing a replacement too often.
2. How To Fix A Stuck Hydraulic Cylinder?
A great way to fix a hydraulic cylinder without replacing it is to add a good quality spray oil lubricator.
Let the oil soak in, and see if it fixes the hydraulic cylinder. If it doesn't fix it, a replacement is necessary.
3. Where Is The Power Steering Control Valve On A Tractor?
You can see the power steering control valve when you remove the branch tires of the vehicle.
An easier way to see the valve is to remove the weight off of the front wheels and move them for a clearer view.
4. How Often Should You Change The Hydraulic Fluid On The Steering Cylinder Of Your Tractor?
To keep the cylinder in good health, you should change the hydraulic fluid with the right replacement every 1200 hours of use.
This could be somewhere between 40 to 30 weeks of running depending on how many hours you use the tractor for on a daily basis.
With a little bit of guidance and the right instructions, you too can change the steering cylinder of your tractor.
The method of steering cylinder removal you choose will depend on the type of steering cylinder that your tractor has.
We’ve covered two of the most popular kinds of steering cylinder types in this article; Hydraulic and New Holland skid steering cylinder.
Now that you know how to remove steering cylinder from tractor, you can save up on the maintenance cost for the vehicle by doing this task at home!