|Power Steering Kit on 801? (part 1)|
|12/16/2010 - by Travis|
|In looking for power steering options for my Ford 861, I have found these options:|
1) Convert to factor power steering -- hard to track down and very expensive
2) Use the Jackson power steering kit -- looks very nice, but very expensive
3) Complete DIY system -- something like orbital valve, tie rod, priority valve, cylinders
4) Modify an aftermarket kit -- very hard to tell what exactly you get
5) Complete DIY system -- use a torque generator ahead of the steering box.
I began down path #4 primarily because it was basically in my price range and I didn't feel like I had the necessary expertise to tackle #3. If I was doing this today, I'd likely lean toward option #3 since I now have a lot better idea what is involved. One reason not to do #3 was that I wanted to leave things such that conversion back to the original manual steering wasn't a monumental task. #5 could also be a neat, relatively inexpensive, and nicely contained way to do it. I was uncertain if I could fit everything and was worried that it may be too much stress on the steering gears.
At this point, I started emailing people and asking lots of questions. There were plenty of pictures of these kits online, but they are all tiny, low-resolution pictures that don't show much detail. For example. I did learn that the core component to this kit is an "actuated cylinder". What does that mean, you may ask? Getting the terminology down was the first hurdle. Well, what it means is that the cylinder is made up of 2 parts: a spool valve and a cylinder. What that means is that there is no need for an external valve such as an orbital steering valve as was used on the factory power steering. Instead, it works like the row-crop power steering system. The cylinder unit has a stud sticking out which is linearly activated to cause it to extend or retract.
So, the system works by using the original steering system to trigger this valve. Both steering arms (drag links) are removed from the steering arms on the steering gear box and one is replaced with a linkage from steering arm to new actuated cylinder. The cylinder is attached somewhere near the radius arm ball and then to a the front LH spindle via a new steering arm. This new arm also has a drop arm with attachment for a tie-rod to the RH side.
Well, I wasn't sure if I wanted to head down this path or not. Unfortunately, all the available kits are for either a 3000 or 4000/5000 series. I had no idea what would fit although I did know the 4000 series is very very similar to the 801 series. However, the 3000 kit appeared to be more likely customizable for my 801 application. The big negative to me was that the cylinder appeared to be a custom unit and probably very difficult to replace (and maybe rebuild) if it ever goes south. Well, during this period of uncertainty, I was given an offer from Glemco tractor that I couldn't pass up. They had a return unit for a 3000 that was unused but opened. Someone bought it and found it didn't fit with their loader. I decided I had to give it a go...