My First Experience With A John Deere Tractor

John Deere Tractor

1952 John Deere G
1952 John Deere G

First Experience With A John Deere Tractor Repair

Back in May of 2009 a friend of mine, Bill, asked if I could take a look at his tractor that was not running up to par. Bill wanted the carburetor rebuilt and a few other things done. Not knowing what the tractor was, I agreed. How hard could it be I've been working on machinery for some 40 years now.
We got to Bill's friend Johnny's house where the tractor was being kept, after the 40 minute introduction we finally went to the back of the barn under a lean-to. There it was, a 1952 John Deere G restored tractor, nothing any bigger than I had used working on a farm years ago but it had a different type of appearance. The only thing I did the first day was to remove the carburetor and get the numbers off of the tractor.
I found the parts I needed online, a carburetor kit, new gas lines, new points and a condenser. I looked up the specifications for the tractor and ordered the parts. The carburetor got rebuilt and the fuel lines shaped and painted and we decided that the following Thursday would be a good day to get back and get the tractor running.
Thursday comes and at 8:15 we are at the tractor ready to get started. After installing the carburetor I flushed the gas tank with some fresh gas through the gas lines, drained that, got them connected and opened the valves.
At this time the first glitch presented itself as fuel leaks. After a little more tightening and concluding that the large nut on the bottom of the carburetor bowl can not be tightened any more, it must have a small crack in it. I removed the bowl but could not find a crack or anything that might resemble a crack. The gasket got repositioned and the bowl was installed for the second time, opened the gas valve and there was no more gas leak. Now we were ready to check the distributor, before I took anything apart I looked at the point gap, it was set to .012, not quite enough to create a good spark. The points and condenser were removed and the new set was installed to the proper specs.
I opened the gas valve and turned the key on and hit the starter and the damn thing popped. I opened the choke and hit the starter again and we were off and running. I made adjustments to the idle setting on the carburetor and all sounded good until the next glitch showed itself. I walked to the other side of the tractor to adjust the load needle on the carburetor and as I looked at everything on the way over I happened to notice the fan belt was not turning. I shut the tractor off and removed the fan belt and found the water pump to be froze up.
I tried for 45 minutes to turn the pulley on the pump while it was still on the tractor, with no success. I decided to take the back plate off of the water pump while it was still mounted on the tractor. So here we go draining all 44 quarts of antifreeze so I could take the pump apart. After the pump was apart I was able to hold both ends of the frozen shaft to get it to turn. After a while of rotating it by hand it seemed to turn free enough to put it back together and try it again. The water pump bearing had rust in it from a former leak and created rust over time.
The next feat was to get all 44 quarts of antifreeze out of the three 5 gallon pails and six foot in the air and into the radiator. This took about 20 minutes and many trips up and down the ladder with a small pitcher. I finally got everything set and started it again and watched the water pump for a while. It would turn and stop and turn and stop, this went on for 5 minutes and it finally cleared up. Next thing was to watch the temperature and make sure the thermostat was going to open and work properly. I let it run for about 30 minutes and tinkered with a few things in the meantime.
I had to ask Bill if this was the way the tractor was supposed to sound like and run because I had never heard an old John Deere run before, he assured me it sounded great and that all the old John Deere tractors sound like that. Good for me I guess. The thermostat finally opened at 210 degrees, thank God.
We were ready for a test run now. Bill climbed up and into the seat put it in gear and pushed the hand clutch, which I never saw that before either, and away he went in low gear. That went fine then the next run was in high gear, this is where the problem was before, away he went and it ran fine with no popping or funny sounds.
Both Bill and Johnny were happy and I was also. Bill told me he wanted to bring the tractor to his house now so he could wash it and clean it up. He found a guy with a flat bed that would be able to move it at 3:30pm. I packed my things up and got home about 2:15pm and enjoyed a beer. I unloaded my truck and put all my tools back in their correct places so I could find them the next time they were needed. A little after 3:00pm the phone rings, it is Bill letting me know that the tractor will not start. I went through a few things with him over the phone and gave him a few minutes to do that and called him back to hear him say "no good". I told him I would get back over there and see what was wrong. Back out to the garage I go and put all the tools I had just put away back in my tool bag and away I went. After the 25 minute drive I got back to Johnny's house and there they were, sitting in lawn chairs facing the tractor and chatting away. At this point I am laughing my ass off just to see these two older gray haired men looking at this tractor and trying to imagine what was going through both of their minds looking at this big green tractor that does not start.
I looked at a few things on the tractor and it all looked ok so I opened the gas, pulled the choke knob, turned the switch on and hit the starter pedal and it popped. I opened the choke and hit the starter again and away she went, both of the boys looked at me as if I booby trapped the tractor. The only thing that I could figure out was that the gas valve was not fully opened, it is hard too turn and it is also a three way valve.
We let it run until the owner of the flat bed showed and we loaded the tractor and away went Bill and his tractor. I called Bill about 1-1/2 hours later and he said he didn't have any problems getting the tractor started and getting it off of the flat bed.
Needless to say it was an all day affair which was very interesting and full of laughs.

Thanks for reading!!!

Comments 3 comments

John 6 years ago

My father in-law just restored an old John Deere. Amazing piece of equipment


Chris 5 years ago

I just bought me a GN johndeere that I'm going to fix up and restore then take to shows


Chris 5 years ago

I just bought me a GN johndeere that I'm going to fix up and restore then take to shows. It's also with two of my other tractors that is a John deere mi and a AR and with my dads collection. We also fix up tractors and restore them for people

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