When I first bought my TO-20 in 2012, I was unable to adjust the steering tubes to get the proper “toe-in” on the front wheels: even with the drag link ends/tubes adjusted to be as short as possible, I still had “toe-out”, rather than “toe-in.” I blamed the problem, at least in part, on worn out spindles/bushings, pivot pin/bushing and drag link ends, all of which I replaced. Even with all of the new parts, however, the tubes/ends were still too long. (The steering arms are timed correctly, per the manual.)
An additional issue also appeared to be that the new front drag link ends had a longer threaded shank than the old ones, which caused the front drag link ends to “bottom out” in the tube. With the shorter tubes, it looks like there’s a very long portion of the threaded shank of the drag link ends exposed, and it doesn’t look quite right. Have you run into this before?
Is it OK to use the shorter steering tubes, even though it looks like a lot of thread is exposed? July 23, 2014.
It is possible your tractor has a mix of TO and TE parts. The steering parts are similar but not the same. I do not have the measurements for the different tubes. The tube assembly, tube pus ends, is serviced with the same part number but the ends are different for the TO and TE models. Not sure what the exact difference is however but over the years I have found when there is a problem with the ends being right for the tractor, going to the other part number for the ends solved the problem.
There is also the possibility there might be TO-35 tube assemblies involved. The early TO-35 assemblies were similar to the TO-20 and TO-30. I would suggest finding a TO tractor with correct tubes for a TO and measuring the tubes and comparing them to the length of yours. If the lengths of the tubes are the same as those on your tractor and the ends seem correct the problem must be in the gear timing. When correctly timed the end of the arms should be directly over the foot pegs.
Looking at the picture you sent I think your steering is times correctly. I am curious to see how the ends of the arms would look if they were timed so they were back one gear tooth further. If the tube lengths check out, I would be tempted to try timing the arms so they were just a bit farther back.
There is one other possibility. The spindles may be reversed. The spindles are left and right hand. With the axle pointing straight down to the ground, the key-way on the right hand spindle should be to the right of vertical and the key-way on the left spindle should be to the left of vertical when the spindle shaft is viewed from the top down. I’ll send you a picture from the shop manual.