John Deere

Content Tools

RR 6, Box 167, Frankfort, Indiana 46041

This will probably sound like a broken record and will apply to most of the readers of Gas Engine Magazine who restore a tractor, gas engine, or whatever, regardless of what make or model it is.

As a railroader and a farmer combined, I had to have dependable equipment. For tractors I selected John Deere. Those that just got old while I was using them included one each of 1944 and 1951 Model A, 1939 and 1944 Model B, a 1944 Model AR, and the 'new' 1954 Model 60. A few others were sold and scrapped.

I began taking the old 'AR' to shows around 1970. There just were no other Model AR tractors in the area.

My first 'restore' job was a 'basket case' Model G. I bought it in the fall of 1973 and rebuilt it during the winter and spring. It was one of the last open front Model G tractors built, being number 12060. It was built during the last week of October, 1941.

In February, 1983, I bought a 1937 Model A, running. Several months and dollars later I had it completely restored to the same condition as my original 1937 Model A, except that I had a new block and a complete set of new tires.

In May, 1983, I bought a 1937 Model B from a former neighbor's widow. I had it cleaned and painted on-the-spot and took it to a show right there. It looks and runs perfect, but I have purchased some $400.00 worth of parts to put on it to make it 'like new'. That made me a set of all three open front models.

In the 1960's I sold oats to a farmer who had an old Model BR. Somehow I fell in love with that little fellow and quietly hunted for one. There just were none around.

Early in November, 1984, my Gas Engine Magazine arrived listing two 'BR' tractors for sale. One was in Ohio, some 150-175 miles away. I called him, but his was sold and he had not yet got his copy of GEM. I called the other man, made an appointment to go see it the next day. When I arrived, he started it up. It ran, but ever so badly. I bought it. On the 8th I went up and got it. (It was only about 55 miles up a four lane highway.)

It was all painted up. The paint job matched its running. The inside of the fenders, under the platform, and half the flywheel got missed. The flywheel was half off. The tinwork was in excellent shape except that someone had gotten a new electric drill for Christmas at some time or other and tried it out on the fenders! The backs of the fenders were quite bent up. The foot brake was rusted tight, so some owner along the way must have lived in hilly ground and used wagons, pick-up truck bumbers, stumps, and trees to get it stopped.

The first thing I did was to remove the crank case drain plug. Then I removed the top crank case cover and pawed the oil over the drain plug hole and pushed it down through the hole with my index finger into a pile under the tractor. Then I washed out the crank case with gasoline. I filled it with a mixture of diesel fuel and used auto crank case oil to splash and flush out the oil lines. I checked the bearings, which were tight. It had real good compression. I tightened the flywheel, rebuilt the carburetor, had the magneto rebuilt, got new spark plug wires and compression release cocks, and started up the tractor. It still ran badly. A new oil pressure gauge in place of the little pipe plug showed the pressure to be a bit high. The tractor started extremely easily, but I just could not smooth out the idle.

All the neighbors heard it start up. It sounded like a 1927 Model D. It had the remains of the original B-773-R muffler on it with a two-foot section of Chevrolet tail pipe on it, sticking up. I ordered a new B-773-R from our local John Deere dealer. When it came I asked him what that cute little thing was. 'Your new muffler,' he said. I put it on sticking up, like the A, B, G, and all the rest.

Our son's father-in-law had a picture of a Model BO, which he sent up for me to look at. It showed the muffler sticking down, so I did a 180 degree turn. What's good for the BO is good for the BR. In prior years I had seen a total of three BO, six BR, and two Lindemann Crawlers. I had photographed two BR and two BO tractors, and hunting these photos I found three mufflers sticking down, and one BR with a welded-on upright pipe. My 1985 show visits revealed the mufflers sticking in every direction except back. Two had the correct muffler on. All had the remains of B-773-R mufflers with various inventions applied. One Lindemann Crawler had a long curved pipe welded on which stuck front and curved down onto the front cross member which replaced the front axle of a BR or BO tractor.

My new BR is a 1944 model, serial number 333353. During that year there were just 1063 of them built, being numbers 333,156 to 334,218 inclusive. Also mine has a dealer's name plate rivetted on the tool box. It was sold by George White & Sons, Limited, of London, Ontario, Canada, and is stamped '1944.'

I removed the wheels so I could paint the inside of the fenders and the inside of the wheels. I removed the foot brake pedal, cleaned it, greased it, and put it back on, complete with new cotters and bolts. I removed the drawbar, painted and applied new bolts. I removed the hood, and gas tank. I painted the inside of the hood, and all around the gas tank, added a new cut-off valve and sediment bowl, and new gas line. Then a set of decals from Jack Maple were applied. The air cleaner was dismantled and cleaned and painted. New hoses and clamps were applied.

At the Tipton, Indiana show I bought a reprint of an original operator's manual. Looking through it I found that the rear wheels were on backwards. I knew the lugs were on the inside and one valve was on the inside. I also found that the B-773-R muffler was supposed to stick front on Model BR and down on the Model BO, so I made another 90 degree about-face with the muffler. I removed those heavy cast iron rear wheels and turned them around so the lugs are on the outside where they are supposed to be. I applied one rim and tire. It fit perfect, but on the other one I had to drill the rim on the other side and plug the old valve hole so the valves would be on the outside.

The cast clutch disc was all cracked up, so I got a new one. The facings were like new. Then I added a crankshaft gasket on the flywheel side, put a bottom in the tool box, removed the 'Fordson' seat and installed a proper seat that had come on my 1937 Model A. Then it was time to put all of the cleaned, repaired, and painted parts together again.

The tractor still has 5.50x16 front implement tires on and over-size 12x26 rear tires on it. That is a winter-time job.

I might add that the governor housing needed every shaft, pin, ball, bushing, etc. in it. Also it was packed and crusted with you-name-it.

The tractor now looks like a brand new one, but when I started it up I just could not get the idle smoothed out. Our local John Deere dealer told me how to test John Deere carburetors. I screwed the idle jet all the way in. Then I took it all the way out. Then I held my finger on the hole tight, and in all these positions there was no difference in the idle performance. A new carburetor made it run like new.

Then the radiator capI had an extra one. I used a new gasket and baffle plate in it.

I might add that the BR, BO, and the Lindemann Crawlers were all numbered in the same series. The years of production were from 1935 through 1947, and the serial numbers were 325,000 to 337,514 for a total of 12,2515 tractors. As the model year usually changed around November 1, my BR may have actually been built in late 1943.