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| March/April 1999

  • John Deere

  • John Deere

305 Farmwood Drive, Fountain Inn, SC 29644

In 1994, I was living just across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. My good friend Dennis Whitchurch was storing a John Deere 140 garden tractor that his dad had picked up for $200. Dennis had a collection of Cub Cadets and was anxious to get this 'John Deere' out of his way and off his property. At the time I had a John Deere 214 garden tractor that I had rebuilt to a good useable condition. During that project I learned that the John Deere dealer was able to get almost any part needed, but the parts were not cheap.

Figuring $200 worth of parts could easily be salvage, I offered to take it off his hands for what he paid for it, plus a cold soda. (I'm not sure he ever got that cold soda.)

I took it home and tried to get it running one Saturday. The tractor had no gas tank, and no wiring harness. After rigging up a fuel and an ignition system and cleaning the carburetor, I gave it a try. The motor would barely crank over and when it finally fired it would backfire through the carb. I checked the point gap and tried again with the same result. I finally came to the conclusion that it was probably the crankshaft to camshaft timing and would require disassembly of the engine to check. I pushed it under cover where it sat. (Wasps need a place to live too!!)

We moved to South Carolina in June of '96, and I took the John Deere back to Dennis for storage until I could come get' it. He piled enough material (junk by most other people's definition) around it to keep it hidden from any visitor's sight. I was down for a visit in April '97 and brought the John Deere home to South Carolina. I think I saw him say 'good riddance' upon glancing up in my rear view mirror.

Well about September, my hat holder started thinking about needing a project for winter, and decided to at least get the John Deere running. If it ran, the decision could be made to either restore it, or keep the engine and part out the rest. I ordered the parts and service manual from a local John Deere dealer and started to tear down the tractor and engine. My keen perception noticed that the parts that had not been repainted green were an off-white color. I sanded through the parts that were painted green and found they were also white. What kind of machine is this?? I looked at the manufacturer tag again just to be sure it said John Deere-it did. A John Deere that was not painted green and yellow was like a McDonald's without arches.


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