OH DEERE! OH DEERE?

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When Kurt Luecke bought these two in 1994. the 1952 John Deere B was perfect, but the Stover needed some work. To find out how he ended up with this pair, see his story.
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The picture is my recently constructed Johnny Popper Jr. Hit &. Miss tractor.
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Rt. 11, Box 493 Poplar Bluff, Missouri 63901

The Stover engine and the 1952 B series John Deere tractor were
purchased at a local farm auction in the spring of 1994. The
tractor had already been professionally restored and was in perfect
running condition. The Stover engine, on the other hand, was
mechanically free, had good compression and appeared to have been
well prepared for extended storage many years ago, although
hadn’t been run in over a decade. The engine sat around in my
barn for a year before I figured out what to do with it. I
occasionally attempted to start it with ether but could only get it
to hit two or three times at best.

After learning of an old timer 20 miles north of my hometown,
the engine was loaded up on a trailer and delivered to him. His
excitement with old engines did not allow him to waste any time
before beginning ‘operating’ on the old one lunger.
Although I was aware that there was still some trash in the fuel
tank after many flushings, I was unaware of a check valve at the
end of the siphon tube in the fuel tank. After many years of
storage, the check valve was totally gunked up and sealed shut with
varnish. After a good soaking in carburetor cleaner and blowing out
with pressurized air, the parts were reassembled, installed and the
engine was successfully started. What a treat it was to hear this
massive conglomeration of cast iron come to life after a 10-plus
year hiatus! It was also the first hit and miss I’ve ever heard
run.

The next step involved a mild teardown to prepare for a new coat
of green paint. Although the original paint appeared to be a dark
green, I elected to use John Deere Green. The Wico magneto brass
housing had been painted black somewhere along the way, but it
seemed a shame to hide what could easily become a highly polished
brass finish, so off came the black paint and on went the new
luster.

The next stumbling block to deal with after reassembly was what
to do with the finished product. I had somewhat considered ordering
a kit to build a little hand truck to tote the engine around, but
the sheer weight and bulkiness of the engine voted against this
option. The intense craving to harness the mechanical energy of
this little fire exhausting monster was catalyst enough to round up
a pickup load of odds and ends parts and structural steel to
assemble a tractor. Since I already had the ’52 B as sort of a
‘blueprint,’ I thought, well, why not build a Jr. sized
tractor modeled after the big one.

Exact duplication for authenticity’s sake was not really
what I was after, as the photos reveal, but I wanted the finished
tractor to suggest that the big JD was used as a rough draft. The
front I-Beam and rear 4-speed transaxle were obtained from a local
lawn-mower salvage yard and had previously been housed in two
different Ford garden tractors. The steering box came with the
front axle. After measuring the bolt pattern on the transaxle, it
was determined that full sized Dodge pickup truck wheels would bolt
right up. A local used tire store had a pair of like-new steel
belted radial snow tires for $50, so I picked up a pair of Dodge
wagon wheels that were compatible with the tires. The rear fenders
are 15 inch boat trailer fenders. The seat was obtained from a flea
market for $12 and was cushion mounted using a spring off a tool
and die machine. Two pairs of pillow block bearings holding two
jackshafts transfer the power back to the transaxle input pulley.
Pulley ratios were stepped up at every power transfer point to
allow the tractor to obtain a top speed in high gear similar to a
brisk walking speed. Two hitches installed at the rear enable the
tractor to pull a variety of trailers in parades, hay rides,
etc.

Both tractors pulled custom built Budweiser draft beer trailers
in our town’s recent Fourth of July parade and were on display
at the fair afterwards. Although some of the old timers may not
have been particularly impressed (being familiar with this type of
engine), the younger folks absolutely loved this display of
Americana from yesteryear!

This Stover engine was complete with the exception of the serial
and model number tag which appears to have been riveted to the top
angled side next to the hopper. Cast into the side of the block
opposite the magneto is 4CT2. I am curious to know the year and
horsepower. Any suggestions as to how I could find out?

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines