Almost The Same, But Not Quite


| October/November 1993

  • John Deere H Tractor

  • John Deere H Tractor

2731 Harmony Drive Bettendorf, Iowa 52722

When a viewer not familiar with the John Deere 'H' sees one, the dialogue can go like this: 'Is that a B?' 'No, it's an H, a little brother to the B.' 'Well, I'll be darned, sure looks like a B to me!'

Then, 'Hey, mister, the belt pulley is turning backward.' 'Yes, it is.' 'Well, did you put it together wrong?' 'No sir, you see, the pulley and clutch are mounted on the camshaft.' 'On what?' 'The camshaft, so the pulley then turns backwards.' 'Well, who ever heard of such a thing! But it is a cute little tractor.'

At the risk of boring some Deere collectors, I'll plunge ahead. The very well known John Deere A, B, and G are three sizes of practically the same design. The H differs mainly in these ways:

A) The belt pulley/clutch are on the end of a relatively heavy camshaft. The camshaft turns counterclockwise at 700 r.p.m. versus the crankshaft speed of 1400 r.p.m. So, normally you didn't cross the belt on belt work. B) It had only three forward speeds. C) It had a foot throttle override which could give a 7 1/2mph road speed. D) It had only one stack the exhaust muffler. Carburetor air was drawn through a small screened opening on the left side of the hood. E) The differential brakes were on the rear axles, inside the rear axle housings. F) The power-take-off was optional. G) It was always styled. H) It was not ever sold with steel wheels.

The little H produced a not-so-whopping 13 belt horsepower. (My lawn and garden tractor has more, but I wouldn't want to subject it to pulling a plow all day.)