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1940 Deere Fitted With Power Steering
When it turned 80, John Bipes gave his beloved 1940 John B tractor the gift of power steering. Bipes is just 4 years younger than his tractor and the two of them have been working buddies for decades.
    But after moving a lot of snow this past winter for a neighbor, which required a lot of hard cranking on the steering wheel, Bipes was left with aches and pains in his shoulders and arthritic joints.
    So he decided to find a way to add power steering to his old friend.
     The tractor’s hydraulics - 2 gal./min. @ 3000 psi – are enough to power an Eaton torque generator Bipes ordered off eBay (John added hydraulics to the tractor previously, as featured in Vol. 34, No. 1).
    “It broke my heart to take a hacksaw to her on her birthday,” Bipes says of his tractor. But he cut out about 8 in. of the steering shaft to make room for the torque generator and shaft couplings. Fortunately the shaft and generator fittings were both 7/8-in. Bipes decided to use parts he had on hand - and make parts - rather than go to a hardware store during the coronavirus pandemic this spring. He had one coupling on hand and machined the other one from a piece of water pipe. He also machined a port plate and a couple other small parts.
    There was one problem when finished. “When I put it together the torque generator would stick, making it jerky. I contacted the seller and he sent me a replacement right away. It’s velvet smooth,” Bipes says. He paid $275 for the torque generator (Eaton Part # 227-1051-002).
    The new power steering unit is placed in the existing Gresen 2515 dual control’s hydraulic return line. So, when operating the other hydraulic cylinders there’s no fluid for power steering but it works fine for the way the tractor is used. Because the Gresen’s relief is set at 3,000 psi for 3-pt. muscle power, Bipes phoned an Eaton engineer who recommended a limit of 1,000 psi. Bipes purchased a second relief valve ($40 from eBay) that is plumbed in parallel with the new torque generator and set to bypass at 1,000 psi. That diminishes potential damage to the new torque generator and the tractor’s steering sector gears.
    With help from his friend Mark, farm boy-turned-auto-mechanic, he finished the job and the steering system is now in top shape.
    With power steering, backing up equipment, lifting, loading and splitting logs for firewood (using other tools he made) is easier and there’s no pain afterward.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Follow-up, John Bipes, 906 Adams St., Mankato, Minn. 56001 (ph 507 387-3840; mobeng@hickorytech.net).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #4