Cub Cadet FAQ's
Front Axle Upgrade
Info by Wyatt Compton & Ken Updike
Look for any of the following: 1340, 1535, 1541, 1860, 1862. Essentially the
782-type frame'd "cyclops" style
Cub Cadets without power steering. From memory, I remember that it's not necessarily found on all of these models because it was used in only some serial number ranges. As for price, it all depends, it's pretty pricey new. Best thing to do is to ask around with the pullers, they tend to use or make a smaller and lighter front axle and chuck these into the parts box.
Also, I forgot, Denny's right on about the pitman arm on the spindle being splined. The whole design is very robust, it's as if some engineer stood up and asked "what's the perfect front axle" and did exactly what he was told.
If you do the conversion, get the wheels, wheel bearings, the tie rod, the drag link, all the tie rod ends. Only thing you'll need to add is a 3/4" bolt, some thin machine washers, a 3/4" jam nut (no room for a full size nut) and some Loctite.
One word of caution on narrow frames, the axle has machined pads where it looks like play was adjusted out of the axle by way of jam nuts. The axle will probably break off the springs off the QA (if they aren't already). This isn't that big of a deal since most people use another means of holding the bail for the QA up. On wide frames this isn't a problem.
I canít be credited with this idea either, itís the brainchild of Ken Updike given to me on one of my Saturday morning parts runs to Carter and Gruenwald Implement. He pointed out a newer Cub Cadet, something like a 1861 or 1541, and showed me how incredibly tight they steered. This is accomplished with a greater kingpin angle (in the fore-aft plane) on the tractor. This allows the tires to ďlay downĒ when turning. Ken also noted that these newer tractors will wear out the sides of the tires before even the rears because they do so much work steering. These pieces are very well engineered from MTD. The spindle is one piece of one-inch steel with a belcrank welded on for the tie rod. What I really liked was the belcrank that was splined and clamped to the spindle. This is the ultimate as far as Iíve seen in Cub Cadet spindle design, though itís more expensive than drilling and pinning like the old ones, I like this MUCH better. Also note in the pictures below that the axle is slightly swept forward, I assume this just gives the added benefit of more stability if anything. One more great thing about this axle is it has replaceable bushings for the spindles and the center pivot. For those keeping track of steering diameter, we decreased the steering circle by at least 22". For mowing in tight places, this might as well be a mile.