Steering wheel with hydraulic steering - how to interface?

Hi all,

Planning on converting a Jacobsen T428D 72" mower. It’s powered by a 3 cylinder diesel and everything is hydraulic. The mower is rear steer, like a forklift (hydraulic cylinder pushes/pulls to steer), with the mowing deck out front. The steering is hydraulic with 5 hydraulic connections: in, out, right turn, left turn, and aux. Aux is currently being used by the deck height adjuster.

I’m mechanically inclined enough to tackle this, but I don’t have a working knowledge of hydraulics. Can I “T” into the connections at the steering cylinder and run a second hydraulic actuator to steer without changing the existing steering components, or would the pressures back feed to the existing steering valve and create havoc?

If tapping in is not the way to go, what would you suggest for steering actuation, while still retaining the ability to manually operate it? Gear and motor on the steering shaft? How big of a motor do I need?

I think I’d put a big (industrial) servo motor and gear on the steering shaft with a means to disengage it (swing it away from tooth engagement). Find a way to measure the torque required for steering, and use that spec to source the motor.

Yuri nailed it. I’d also go with a servo motor steering set-up. Should make a great mowing rig.

Did you find a solution?