John Deere 'B' tractor

Ralph C. Heem

Content Tools

Route 1, Wadena, Minnesota 56482

This is the story of my 1938 John Deere 'B' tractor which has become rather unique. Although the tractor is not in its original condition, I've made some adaptations that are interesting and make it more useful to me and my needs.

When I bought this 'B' it had welded on rear spoke rims. I've added cast iron wheels with removable hubs. I also added lights and a starter. The 1939 or 1940 model will adapt. I also added Roll-o-matic from a 1946 'A'. The steering shaft is the same size. I put on a newer style seat as is found on a 1947-52. I put on an automatic fuel shut-off found on later model 50's and 60's. Years ago, I built a snow pusher that has served the purpose well. Lifting and guiding parts are from an older model JD cultivator.

I use the tractor in the winter to clear snow at home as well as for a number of my neighbors. For extreme cold weather, I added a pulsating tank heater. It forces hot water in the drain plug and takes it out the upper water pipe where the temperature gauge goes in. I tried a regular tank heater that circulated the other way but this did not heat in the right place. For easier starting and smoother idling, I replaced the Wico mag with a Delco Remy distributor found on the later models B, A, and G. I made a pair of snow chains for it so it doesn't slip much.

In the summer, the 'old B' is used for plowing and cultivating the garden. The cultivator is a BG200 with a Quik-tach. It fits perfectly!

In the fall I use it to pull an old walking type potato digger. When Grandma gets it into high gear, I really have to take l-o-n-g steps!

Our garage isn't very large but the tractor is always put in when not in use. This does away with moisture problems in the carb, sediment bowl, and crankcase and transmission.

I worked for John Deere from 1950-1955 so learned quite a bit about them. I love the sound of the old two cylinder and the extra lugging power that really hangs in there.

'When the going gets tough, the tough John Deeres keep going!'