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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1962 4010 Diesel and the steering motor is leaking pretty good. I've ordered the replacement seals and been doing some research. Seems like there are two ways to go about fixing it: take off one of the side frame rails to get to the end plugs on the steering motor, or take everything off the top and take out the motor itself. I don't mind taking the front end apart but if there's a simpler way then I'm all for it. I also don't like the idea of working under a front end without some substantial supports if the axle needed to come off so I'm more inclined to work from the top if there isn't a better way.

How could I go about removing one of the side frame rails? I see that people do it but I'm not sure what it takes. It it possible to only remove the bolts that connect one side of the pivot bracket to its frame rail and then remove that rail without taking out the entire axle and pivot bracket? Seems like jacking up the front end to get the weight off of things but leaving the front axle under the front end (and bolted to the other side frame rail) would be easier and safer. Any thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Well, I got the job done and I figured I'd post some info here for anyone else who may run into the same thing. First of all, I thought I was going to get at the steering motor from the top. While I think that's possible (and maybe not any more work than getting at it from the bottom), it seemed messier so I opted to go the route I read about on a different forum and remove the side frame rail to replace the cylinder seals in the steering motor rather than taking the top apart or following the instructions in the service manual. The manual says to take of the left side frame and remove the steering motor, but I think that's a little bit of a pipe dream given how the hydraulics are plumbed up, especially if you don't take off the front axle frame. If you use this method, you will only replace the end plug seals on the side you're using to access the pistons; since you won't have taken off the other side frame rail, those seals will remain original unless you decide to take off the opposing frame rail and replace them too.

In any case, a few pointers: you can take off either side frame, but if you don't remove the unit, you'll need to:
  1. Make sure you have a lot of substantial jacks and jack stands on hand. I ended up using an 8000-lb farm jack, two 30" jack stands and two 6-ton 24" jack stands along with two floor jacks.
  2. Loosen the bolts on the steering arm before unbolting the tie rod ends. If you take them off first, you can't get enough leverage without turning the steering motor to break the bolts free.
  3. Take off the front axle to get the steering arm off and to get the steering spindle out from underneath. I originally thought taking off the front axle was too much for me to handle because of the weight, but I decided to give it a go once getting at the steering motor from the top seemed like too much. Getting it off isn't hard as there are only four bolts holding the whole assembly on, but a word of advice: take the front wheels off, lower the entire front end down, put jack stands under both the front and rear of the axle frame, lower the frame down onto the jack stands, remove the bolts, and then jack the front end of the tractor back up and away from the axle frame (then support it with more jack stands). Doing it this way will make putting the front axle back on much easier when the job is done, although it could be a little in the way depending on the type of jack stands you're using and where you need to locate them.
  4. Take the end plugs out of the steering motor and measure the distance each piston is in before taking out the spindle. That will help you to put them back in the same spot when you're reassembling things. In my case, both the front and rear pistons were 3 9/16" in since it was steered dead in the middle.
  5. Getting the snap rings out seems impossible. I ended up building a tool I read about on a different forum by grinding a notch out the the side of a flat head screwdriver to make a hook. This worked extremely well and reduced the amount of frustration by a lot.
  6. If one of the end plugs seems stuck, don't force it. I did and paid the price. There was a small piece of something stuck in one of the channels that holds in the snap rings (I obviously didn't know it) and while forcing the plug out with the bolt, I scored the side of it to the point I had to weld a bead of steel over it and grind and file it down to repair it. So far it's holding, but that was a lot of time I could have saved if I had more experience to tell me that it should come out relatively easy and that I shouldn't have forced it.
  7. Replacing the seals is the simple part. Put the pistons back in at the same distance as before. When you get ready to put the spindle assembly back in, note that it is directional: the large "V" stamped on it goes towards the rear and the small "v" points to the front. Ask me how I know. The bolt holes for the steering arm are in the shape of a trapezoid and if you put the spindle and retainer in backwards the steering arm will face the wrong direction. That thing is heavy too, so if you lift it into place by hand, have a helper handy to start one of the bolts since you'll be trying to get it to line up with the splines in the pistons without moving them.
  8. Put everything back together and bleed the system per the service manual. That part was not hard, but watching the front wheels move on their own was a little surprising.
I hope this helps someone. I did weeks of reading before attempting this and still needed to discover most of it on my own anyway. I'm glad it's done and it's working, so hopefully that's another job I won't ever need to do again.

And to answer about the side frame rail: getting it off is not really a big deal. You may need to take off the tool box and some brackets near the rear, but it's really only held on by a handful of bolts and it isn't crucial to holding the front end together (at least while you're working on it).
 

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Sorry nobody here had the experience to give you any insight on the repair, but thanks for taking the time to explain it.
Hopefully it helps someone when they need it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sorry nobody here had the experience to give you any insight on the repair, but thanks for taking the time to explain it.
Hopefully it helps someone when they need it.
Thanks Dave! No need to be sorry! This is an old tractor and I'm sure a lot of the knowledge about it is gone now, so I figured getting an answer was a long shot anyway :) I'm glad for places like this where I can read about similar situations and be able to glean bits and pieces that make it easier to move forward.
 
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