Restored G Is A Beauty

By Staff
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The tractor as found in October 1986.
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Restoration completed, October 10, 1987.
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Wheel weights added November 1988.
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Half-way point.
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Half-way point.
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Engine running, fan turning, oil pressure up. Note Edison-Splitdorf magneto.

Box 5032, Steamboat Springs, Colorado 80477

Reprinted with permission from the ‘November 1988 issue of
Green Magazine, Bee, ‘Nebraska.

John Deere #G6990 left the factory June 15, 1938 for the Kansas
City area, where it was bought by a Mr. Lyle Rule who brought it to
Routt County in Colorado the following year. Sometime following
WWII a local blacksmith, Ray Witherspoon, built a ten-foot wide
snowplow attachment for it. The tractor served three more owners
before being taken out of service about seven years ago. Meanwhile
I had been looking for a two-cylinder John Deere not only to
restore but to perform useful work such as plowing snow.
Understandably I was most interested when a friend told me of
#G6990 abandoned on a ranch 15 miles from my home. I checked it
over and while it was in rough shape the engine would turn over and
there were no major parts missing. I paid the owner $275 for it and
set about getting it running.

The governor bearings had been getting no oil and had failed
causing magneto shafts to break. This had to be repaired before it
could run well enough to load on a flat-bed trailer and bring home
to my garage. This was October, 1986. I started work on it April of
1987 when the weather warmed up and the garage was comfortable to
work in. All parts were removed, checked over, cleaned, repaired or
replaced as necessary. The engine was in good shape though an inch
of sludge, water and loose ball bearing had collected in the
crankcase, so thick that the oil wouldn’t drain out. Of course
this was cleaned out along with various other ‘horror
stories’ which were taken care of. For example, the flywheel
and clutch drive disc had been installed a few splines off. The
resulting imbalance caused the whole tractor to vibrate badly.

I worked all summer on the tractor in my spare time. No
sandblasting was done though all parts to be painted were
thoroughly wire brushed. Purists may object to (1) the toolbox, (2)
possibly incorrect decals, (3) the small gasoline tank and
three-way valve not connected and (4) my use of True-Value Medium
Green from spray cans rather than John Deere Green (more expensive
but convenient for me and my work schedule and a close enough match
for me). Keep in mind the end result of this project was not to be
a showpiece but a working tractor. Along this line I’ll mention
that the intake and exhaust stacks had to be shortened to clear my
garage door.

Work was completed October 10, 1987 with the installation of
‘new’ (used) rear wheels and tires from Goodman Tractor
Supply of Lincoln, Nebraska. Their cost came to nearly half of the
$1600 in materials I put into the tractor. Goodman also supplied a
replacement governor case, the original having been damaged due to
the problems with the governor shaft and bearings. I was fortunate
to get an old Edison-Splitdorf magneto from a local rancher who
gave it to me having no further use for it.

Once the tractor was in order I commenced work on the snowplow
which involved mostly welding and repairing worn parts and
painting. The plow is raised by a one-way hydraulic cylinder; the
pump is driven by chain from the power-take-off. The plow was ready
for our first major snowfall November 10, 1987. From December 23
through January our area received record breaking snowfalls. This
meant clearing a quarter mile of driveway for myself and two
neighbors 14 times in January or about every other day. The tractor
kept up this performance through the rest of the winter without a

One would think that after such a workout the tractor would get
a well deserved summer’s rest. No way! I removed the plow and
used the tractor to tow a wagonload of 4-H youngsters in our 4th of
July parade. I’m scheduled to do the same for our county fair
parade in September. I’m pleased to have been able to restore
this tractor which is not only a living piece of Routt County
history but a useful one as well.

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