1102 Peach Street, Abilene, Texas 79602.
Most of my tractor experience has been on John Deeres,
LeTourneau Tournadozer, and Caterpillar, but I have interviewed
some old timers on Rumely Oilpull and I believe them when they say
Oilpull was an excellent kerosene tractor.
The late Buster Hatchett, of Callahan County, Texas, would set
aside modern tractors to plow with his Oil-pulls. He used Oilpulls
into the 1980’s.
I have noticed in the Rumely literature a few similarities
between Oilpull and John Deere Poppin’ Johnny. They were both
two cylinder valve-in-head engines with parallel and horizontal
cylinders, neither vertical nor opposed. Both used the 180 degree
The Rumely and the Johnny both used a high temperature cooling
system. The Oilpull accomplished this by using oil as coolant and a
special exhaust induced draft radiator. John Deere accomplished
this with thermo-siphon water circulation plus a radiator curtain
Both the Oilpull and the John Deere Popper used a big bore-long
stroke-low r.p.m.-high torque engine. The Rumely used bores up to
10′, while the Johnny used bores up to 6?’ and Poppers up
to 7 inches. The larger Oilpull ran 375 r.p.m., while the larger
Johnny ran 900 r.p.m. Both exhibited high torque and good lugging
The Pull and the Johnny both used a pressure lubrication system.
The Johnny used a low 10-15 psi oil pressure so the oil passages
must have been ample because they were well lubricated. Oilpull
used Madison-Kipp force feed lubrication to mains, rods, pistons,
and pins plus the rods dipped into oil and churned up a heavy mist
of oil to all moving parts.
Long before the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions
requirements were effected, both tractors had positive crankcase
ventilation. I always thought they used positive crankcase
ventilation to extend the life of the lube oil and the engine.
Both tractors delivered belt power directly from the crankshaft.
Both used all-spur gear transmission and final drive running in
enclosed oil bath on roller or ball bearings, and both tractors
used a high-tension magneto ignition system.
Now we come to their fuel systems. There have been good articles
on the Oilpull fuel system; I do not have enough hands-on
experience with Oilpull carburetion to amplify upon what has
already been written, but it can be said safely that it was a
kerosene-vaporizing/water-injected fuel system. None of the John
Deere Poppers I ran had water injection, but the vaporization of
the kerosene was aided by running the intake manifold through the
Dissimilarities may outnumber similarities, but I think the
success of the Poppin’ Johnny was the result of a wise
selection of successful and proven features from prior makes of
tractors, including the Rumely Oilpull.