1980 case 448 Restoration - Page 2

A "power steering" system that fits in the palm of your hand !  Meet the device often called a steering "quickener". Thousands if not tens of thousands of race car drivers have installed one of these little units in their cars to make the cars steering system react quicker. If you put one in backwards, it makes it slower... gears it down. This one is a 2:1 ratio unit. The other popular ration is 1.5:1. When you get to be an old man, that Snowcaster hanging off the front gets to be quite the chore to point in the desired direction. This little palm sized miracle is nothing short of FANTASTIC. If your tearing down a tractor, PUT ONE IN. You will love it. 

I don't think that a person would want to attempt putting one in without having the engine and pump out of the frame. The thing is, it fits PERFECT, but only if you can get up under the dash area and modify the bottom side of the dash, where Case welded in a bracket to hold the upper steering tube. During mock up, I was able to identify the best mounting location possible. In this location, the minimum clearance to anything is right around 1/4". Once you put everything back into place, you really do feel like this could.... perhaps SHOULD have been a factory option because it fits so well. Below is an early mock up of the selected location for the unit.


Here you can see the unit from the rear. Note that I took the liberty to open up the inspection plate opening to the size I feel it should have been opened to by the factory. This much larger opening will make life less miserable down the road when the time comes to work on anything under the dash, be it the choke/throttle assembly or even access to the PTO neutral safety switch. One little tip on the choke/throttle assembly, weld NUTS to the one that will be the lower of the two, and install the setup using stainless steel socket head cap screws from the top. Later on, your going to be happy you did it this way!


A few notes on the above photo. The quickener has a 1/2" offset between shafts. In other words, the input and output shafts are parallel, but they are not inline with each other. I found that there was enough slop in the steering gear bracket's mounting screws that the whole bracket could be swiveled enough to adjust for this offset, and, swiveling it this small amount doesn't affect anything else. Another thing to note is those two larger threaded holes on the unit. These are the main anchor points that keep this whole unit from turning when you turn the steering wheel. The angle of this mounting location does not match the angle of the steering tower, and as such, the inspection cover itself will need an inset /recessed cutout area for two bolts to affix the unit. While that sounds difficult, its just a matter of cutting 3 slots in the plate, then bending it inwards so the angle matches the gearbox. Then you weld sides and a bottom into that cutout.

You may have noticed that the whole unit rides pretty close to the top of the dash, and that I shortened the tube that stuck through the dash a little. In order to keep the dash from bending if you pull on the steering wheel, I had to create some new bracketry to spread the load out. below you can see the start of this reinforcement.


If your really paying attention, you probably also notice the "adapters" that have to be made to go from female spline to 5/8" shaft. There is a word of caution here too. The female spine adapters they offer are a little sloppy. When you slide them onto the spline and then tighten the lock screw, they do not turn concentric. During mock up, it became immediate that you can not have this condition with this short of shafting on each end. The shafts must end up turning concentric to the spline shaft... NOT the adapters. So, I did have to take my time with these to get them right. I did not do anything sophisticated. First, I cut key ways into plain old shaft collars, then key ways into some new 5/8" shaft. The spline shafts on the steering gear have a hollow in each end, so I turned the ends of the 5/8" shaft down to fit into the ends of the spline shafts snugly. This way, during mock up and tacking, the straight shaft turned concentric with the spline shaft and the female spline could be tightened up and welded to the collars accurately.

Below, I show the shaft prep and the tacked up adapters to welding. After welding, I cut those turned area off of the shafts.



Jumping ahead to an assembly photo, you can see the final outcome of the steering gear installation.


As you can see, the unit is super compact and fits perfect. The larger inspection plate opening offers plenty of room to get at anything that could go wrong down the road. The opening is also large enough to allow complete removal of this gear for service if necessary. When the oil tank is installed, the square shaped cutout in the back of the tank coincides perfectly with the steering reduction gear and even allows perfectly open access to those cap screws in the top of it if you want to check the grease in the gear.The minimum clearance is about 1/4" at the closest point, so there is nothing to rub or rattle.... anywhere.

The GREAT NEWS is that if the gear ever completely fails and you have no other repair options......
you can slide an original shaft back in its place and return to the original setup !! Now you cant beat that.

These have been the most important modifications I wanted to make to this particular tractor. Next, its on to Foot Control !

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