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How to Fix a Tie Rod on a Cub Cadet GT 1554

The Cub Cadet GT1554 lawn tractor began production in 2006. The GT1554 was equipped with a Kohler two-cylinder engine that produced 27-horsepower. The GT1554 had a drag link steering system with adjustable ball joints. This type of setup is very similar to tie rods. The ball-joint ends attach to the wheel spindles, and can be rotated to move the alignment of the front wheels inward or outward. The drag links are attached directly to the steering gear at the bottom of the steering shaft.

Replacing the Drag Links

Chock the rear wheels of the tractor, with wheel chocks. Raise the front of the GT1554, using a suitable floor jack. Place jack stands beneath the sides of the chassis, directly in-line with the middle of the engine, from the front to the back of the tractor. Lower the tractor onto the jack stands.

Lay beneath the front end of the GT1554, and position yourself directly beneath the steering gear. This is the gear that is at the bottom end of the steering shaft, and is connected to the drag links. Remove the nuts from both drag links, using a ratchet and socket. If you do not have enough room for the ratchet and socket, use an open end wrench to remove the nuts on both drag links, at the steering gear. Move to the front of the tractor.

Remove the drag link mounting nuts from the spindles on both sides of the tractor. Allow the drags link to fall downward out of the spindles, or tap them out gently with a hammer. Do not strike the drag links hard, or you will have difficulties removing the link ends.

Remove the ball joints from both drag links. These are the inner threaded caps that are on the forward end of both links, with the stud that goes upward through the wheel spindles. Use pliers to hold the ball joints, and rotate the links counterclockwise to separate them from the ball joints.

Inspect the ball joints for excess corrosion, rust or damage. If the ball joints are insufficient, replace them with new ball joints. Apply a light coating of grease to the threaded ends of the new drag links. Make sure you have the links aligned on the proper sides of the tractor. The right side drag link is number 711-1408. The left side drag link is number 711-1409A. Both ball joints share the same part number. Spin the ball joints onto the drag links by hand, to ensure proper threading.

Lay beneath the front of the tractor. Install the new drag links onto the steering gear, and tighten the mounting nuts with your ratchet and socket. Do not tighten the nuts so far that the drag links do not pivot. Move to the front of the tractor.

Raise the front of the tractor off of the jack stands. Push the the ball joint studs up through the wheel spindles on both sides of the tractor. Tighten the mounting nuts on each spindle, using your ratchet and socket. Use the directions in Section 2 of this project to make alignment adjustments to the GT1554.

Drag Link Alignment Adjustments

Set the steering wheel to its centered position. Move to the front of the tractor, and view each wheel for proper alignment. Determine if either wheel is turned too far inward or outward.

Remove the ball joint mounting nut at the spindle, using a ratchet and socket. Rotate the ball joint clockwise or counterclockwise on the drag link, depending on which way your wheels were facing. Set the ball joint stud back through the wheel spindle, and spin the nut on temporarily by hand. Step back from the tractor and double check your wheel alignment.

Repeat Step 2 until you have both front wheel facing straight forward and rearward, by making the proper adjustments with the ball joints and drag links. Tighten the ball joint mounting nuts with your ratchet and socket.


When replacing drag links, it is recommended that you replace the ball joints as well. This will add congruity to your entire front end steering system.

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