John Deere A Diesel

By Staff
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Odon Machine and Mfg. Company 409 West Elnora Street Odon,
Indiana 47562

Having been raised on a farm and driving a tractor at an early
age, John Jones became partial to his father’s John Deere
‘A.’ Later when diesel tractors became popular, he often
dreamed about that old ‘A’ with a diesel engine to power

Now, nearly twenty-five years later, his dream has come true. He
has devised a way to install a conventional V-8 diesel engine in a
John Deere ‘A,’ while maintaining the original tractor
flywheel speed.

The engine being used is a 1981 Oldsmobile 350, using stock glow
plugs and sensor along with a turn-key ignition, stock throttle
linkage, and also the clutch. A T04 Airesearch turbocharger was
added, and the Roosemaster pump was adjusted 100% above
specifications, producing 240 HP.

The governors were set at 2600 r.p.m., to allow the original
flywheel speed of 1080 r.p.m., and the ring and pinion ratio of
2.42 to 1 coupled to a short drive shaft completes the

The engine fit into the tractor frame nicely, and so all the
sheet metal parts (hood, etc.) look the same as always, and the
engine oil cooler and stock radiator provide plenty of cooling.
Power steering also adds a little ‘finesse’ to the

Coming from a family which is mechanically inclined has led John
to these challenges of restoring and modifying antique tractors. It
also motivated John to become a self-employed machinist.

John has also restored a 1937 John Deere ‘A’ and a 1935
John Deere ‘B,’ which involved such things as making his
own original type steel front wheels, but he says the John Deere
‘A’ diesel has provided the best challenge.

John is an active member of the White River Valley Antique
Association, where his tractors and many others are displayed.

For further information, please contact John W. Jones at (812)
636-7781, or the above address.

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