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Submitted Article
Restoration Story
1964 JD 2010 Diesel - Part 2
by Jim Nielsen

Click here for Part One of this story.

Despite having to disassemble the majority of my John Deere 2010's diesel engine, I was still hopeful I could leave the engine-complete with crankshaft and camshaft-in the tractor. This would make the whole engine rebuild job much easier-and much less expensive! I soon found however, that the #4 conrod bearing had disintegrated, taking with it chunks of the crankshaft journal. As a result, I needed to remove the crankshaft so that the journals could be machined at an engineering workshop. Now, with this style of tractor, the designers saw fit to bolt the axles directly onto the front of the engine, so getting the crankshaft out is quite a lot of work. You actually need to take out the entire front axle and wheel assembly in order to remove the crank! Following the advice given in my I&T shop manual, and in Yost's "How to" tractor books, I went to my local 'Hire' store and rented an engine crane for a day ($22 USD), and also purchased an engine stand ($40 USD). If all went well, I figured I'd only need the jack for one day, but the engine might be on the stand for months.

Armed with the right equipment, the procedure was now simple enough; using the engine crane, I lifted the front axle and raised the tractor about one foot off the ground. I hunted around for some scrap lumber to make a wood 'stand' to support the tractor under the clutch housing, before lowering the tractor back down, leaving the front wheels an inch or two above the ground. With Mal's help, I then removed the four large bolts that attached the front axle assembly to the engine, and wheeled the whole thing to the rear of the shed with the crane. Now the entire engine hung in space-looking somewhat like a man about to dive from the high diving tower at the Olympics-supported only by its connection to the clutch housing! But, hey, I'm assured that this is how it should be done! The next step involved moving the engine hoist back into position at the front of the tractor, taking up the engine's weight with a sling and then removing the six bolts that hold the engine to the clutch housing. This stage was almost as simple as that. The bolts were tight, but not too tight, and once these were removed, I was able to pull the engine hoist back. The engine came away cleanly with the flywheel and clutch attached.

I was a little confused at this point as to whether the flywheel, and/or the clutch, should be removed prior to placing the engine on its stand. A little further reading soon convinced me there was no way to mount the engine with all that stuff attached! So, I lowered the engine onto some lumps of wood near the base of the engine hoist, and proceeded to remove the clutch. It came off quite easily, in two parts: the pressure plate, then the clutch plate. Next for the flywheel -four bolts, surely only a minutes work? Unfortunately, no. The bolts were done up very tightly-not rusted or anything-but big bolts on tight, and with the crankshaft now free to turn, we couldn't get enough force on the bolts without turning the crankshaft. Even when we wedged a block of wood inside the block, we couldn't stop the rotation. Fortunately Mal had encountered this problem before, on his Alfa Romeo car. He had made a small, toothed tool, which engages the teeth of the flywheel, holding it immobile so that the nuts securing the flywheel to the crank can be undone. Designed for an Alfa, the tool didn't fit a John Deere tractor of course, so we attached it to the flywheel with a pair of large 'visegrips'. Sounds primitive, but it worked like a charm! With the flywheel gone, we raised the engine again and bolted it up to the engine stand. I was very relieved and quite proud to have progressed this far! The engine may never get back in to the tractor, but heck, we'd gotten the darn thing out!

I went out to the hardware store the day before to buy some 'grade 8' hardened bolts to attach the engine to the stand. The bolts are eight inches long, and I almost died when I had to pay $20 USD for 4 bolts. At that rate, the engine - which is full of hardened bolts - must be worth about a million dollars already! The engine stand may look a little flimsy (and it was built in Korea..) but a little plaque on its side claims that its 'Safe Working Load' is 1250 lbs! I decided I'd better get darn strong bolts just in case - maybe $20 isn't much to pay for an insurance policy?

With the engine safely (well I hope its safely!) on the stand, I spun the engine upside down permitting easy access to the main bearing bolts that attach the crank to the block. There are 5 main bearings on this engine, so 10 bolts in all. They are supposed to be tightened to 175 ft/lbs - according to the I&T manual. Yeah right! I had to call for reinforcements! I believe I did loosen one, of the bolts but the others Mal had to do for me, while both myself and my brother in law, Phil, hugged the engine like bears so that it wouldn't move when the bolts were finally undone. It surprises me that when you undo bolts like this, at first there is a loud 'crack' as the bolt give up the fight, I always think "my god, the bolt has broken!" We did get them all out in one piece however.

I blame Phil for what happened next. Having removed the main bearing bolts, bearing caps and bearings, we went inside for lunch. After a beer or two, we went back out to the workshop to remove the crankshaft, which came away quite easily. I set the crank aside on the bench. It was then that I remembered the exhortations in Yost's books about examining the crank and cam gears for timing marks, before removing them - so that the system can be reassembled correctly! Hmm. I'd forgotten to do that. A frantic look on the gears of both the cam and the crank yielded no marks to aid in reassembly. Yost said that now I'd be in for an "exercise in frustration" when it came to timing the engine. Oh well. Dejected and with the light fading, I headed inside, and spent a mostly sleepless night worrying about the vagaries of trying to reassemble an engine with no way of knowing how the cam and crank timing gears went together. I rose early, having mulled in my mind a thousand ways to get out of this predicament. What I should have done, simply enough, was to use a metal punch to mark both the gears so they could be reinstalled back in the same locations - no timing issues. But I'd forgotten to do that in my haste to see the gleaming crankshaft out and on the workbench.

I had not been able to locate anything that looked like a timing mark after realizing my mistake, the previous evening, but now, as I wire brushed frantically on the cam timing gear, I at last removed enough gunk to uncover a cryptic message which read 'Timing mark 115 | all others .'

Well I thought long and hard, but I had not the vaguest notion what the message could mean. I decided my only way forward was more 'wire brushing' in the hope of uncovering a clue. About half an hour of further degreasing and brushing revealed a "|" mark on the cam gear, and finally a ".". In a flash of insight I realized it was telling me that the "|" was the timing mark for 115 cubic inch engines, and the "." was the mark for all other cubic inch engine measurements! Back at the I&T manual, I discovered that mine was a 145 Cubic inch engine, so the "." was the timing mark required for the camshaft timing gear. Ok!! Now we were getting somewhere. Maybe I could find something on that crankshaft gear after all? I worked furiously with the wire brush, almost convinced there would be nothing, then at last, beneath the baked on oil, almost hidden under the 'oil slinger' was a tiny, tiny dot. I'd found it. A moment of triumph born from the most amateurish of mistakes; now I'd made a recovery! I may never be able to make this engine go again, but I will be certain that the timing gears are aligned properly anyway!

Well, now that minor indiscretion had been dealt with, I had time to actually have a look at the main bearings and journals. The journals looked pretty good to me. The bearings were another story though, without exception, the babit bearing material was missing entirely, and some disintegration was evident on all of them. I called my 'friendly' local John Deere dealer, and he cheerfully informed me that a new set of conrod and main bearing would cost $436.00 USD (ouch again!) - but, hey, that included the $80 for a set of new conrod end bolts - so maybe its' not a bad deal, right?? I took the crank to an engineering workshop here called 'Repco' and they reground the four conrod journals and the five main journals ($108.00 USD). I had the mains ground down ten thousandths and the conrod journals thirty thousandths after first checking on availability of the oversize bearings. Even with grinding down #4 conrod bearing thirty thou, there was still some small marks on it, but thirty thou is the biggest oversize bearing I can get, so it will have to do.

Looking at the price of spare parts, I'm sure I don't want to replace every moving part on the engine. Yep, I'm beginning to see how John Deere has stayed in business all these years! This engine-in spare part prices-would equal the national debt of most third world nations!

I examined the camshaft next. I really did consider just leaving it in the block, and not looking too closely at the camshaft bearings just in case they too needed replacing. With not a lot to do one day, however, I pulled it out, only to discover very worrying signs on the cam bearings: lots of big black marks and very little bearing material. Oh, well, at $94.88 USD at least they're slightly more 'economical'-and I use that term lightly-to replace. The cam bearings are 'press fit', so having decided to replace them the problem now is that I don't have the tools to either remove the old bearings, or install the new ones. I'll need to take the block to Repco and have this done (a steal at $25.00 USD). While I'm there, I may as well have the block 'hot tanked' too (another $25.00 USD).

I had removed the head a few days earlier, and decided now was the time to have a close look at its condition. If you have read the first article in this series, you will have seen the picture of the head as it came off the block-here it is again, just in case you missed it. Mal removed the valves and springs with a valve compressor, while I prudently placed them all in carefully labeled little 'zip-lock' sandwich bags. The head was really a bit of a mess, so after half an hour with the degreaser spray and wire brush I put it in the truck and took it to Repco also. Needless to say, the Repco guys and I are getting quite close! I did consider lapping the valves myself, but the Repco guys told me the head needed new valve guides (stems), in addition to which all the valve faces in the head needed to be reground. So I took the valves in as well as the head. A mere $136.00 USD later, I had a head that looked as near to new as any old JD farm tractor head has a right to. There is some pretty bad pitting on the underside of the #2 but its sure a lot better than it was!

While I'm waiting for the new parts to arrive from JD (most have to come from the good old US of A), I've been cleaning the bits and pieces that need to be bolted back onto the engine during reassembly. I started with the sump. When I first drove this tractor to my farm, I checked the oil on the dipstick - yep, black as tar, but lots of it. When I undid the drain plug for the sump with newly purchased red plastic bucket at the ready, I was surprised to find that nothing whatsoever came out. I stuck my finger in the hole, and met with a hard surface...hmm. I got a screwdriver and punched a hole through whatever was preventing the oil from running into my bucket. Gradually a slow trickle of quite disgusting treacle-like substance, which once may have been oil, emerged. I was amazed to see what this looked like when the sump was removed.

The sludge in the sump was so thick it had congealed into a very hard substance, like toffee, and was very difficult to remove it from the sump pan. Using by turns a garden trowel, chisel and wire brush on a hand held drill, I cleaned up the sump. It's amazing this tractor was running at all! Is it possible that this 2010 missed its last scheduled 3000-mile oil change? I then cleaned up the block. Here is a 'before' shot for you. I also cleaned up the water pump assembly, oil cleaner, rocker gear, oil pump, fuel filters, rocker cover and inlet manifold. I'm currently working on the exhaust manifold. Even with all my cleaning, I can't really remove all the lumps from the old exhaust manifold gasket, so I'm debating whether or not to take it to Repco, and have it refaced.

Most recently I've cleaned the pushrods. All of them have some pitting from rust, an indication that there must have been water inside this engine at some stage. Interestingly, I discovered that the pushrod for the #2 exhaust valve was quite bent. I suspect this was a key cause of the engine being in the state I found it. Oh and yes, you can still buy pushrods for the 2010 diesel, the John Deere man cheerily told me-just $42.75 each! I guess it's fortunate I only need one and not a full set!

With the engine now fully disassembled, I have to wait a while for the various parts I've ordered to come in to my local John Deere dealer (my wife has told me I also have to wait a while before I spend any more on this tractor!!) I decided this would be a perfect time to take a look at the throttle mechanism. I had noticed it was very stiff, making it difficult to control the tractor's revs, and also to get the engine to turn off-a pretty handy feature when you're done using it! The throttle control lever is located quite neatly on the steering column, so I thought I'd simply 'pop' off the steering wheel, enabling me to disassemble the throttle mechanism and see what the issue was. The big nut that secured the wheel to the steering shaft came off quite easily, so I anticipated removing steering wheel right away. Not exactly. After a little tugging I realized the wheel was on the shaft quite tightly, and that I'd better get out the wire brush and clean things up a little to see what was holding it. A few minutes work, and I could see that the shaft and the wheel had fine 'splines' to prevent it rotating on the shaft, I guess. The various bits were well and truly rusted together! I gave the whole mechanism a liberal dose of 'bolt loosening liquid' and retired for the evening.

The next day, I tried a little tapping, and pulling with a 'puller' but nothing moved. I paid another visit to Bendigo Hire and hired a thing I'd seen there a few days ago and thought could be rather handy one day-a slide hammer. Basically it has the same bottom end as a pully remover, but with a shaft, and a lump of steel that you slide up as hard as you can to encourage the sheering wheel from the shaft. Well I tried; my friend Mal tried; we made a LOT of noise, but the wheel didn't move one billionth of an inch. Eventually it got dark and we called it a day. I took the ineffectual slide hammer back to the hire place and spent the evening pondering options.

Next day, we decided to bring out the 'heavy equipment'. The steering wheel was in pretty poor condition, and I doubt it could be restored in any real way, so after a call to John Deere to make sure I could procure a brand new one (at $189 USD), we decided the wheel-if need be-could be sacrificed. First we tried heating the steel wheel hub with a propane torch, and attached a standard sort of puller to apply some force, however, this started to burn the Bakelite wheel with no discernable progress towards removing the wheel. OK. It was time for drastic action - the angle grinder. We decided to cut the hub as far through as was possible without damaging the shaft. This took a while, but it worked very well and we were able to make our cut without damaging any other fittings. We then used a crowbar to open up the crack a little, and a puller to finally remove the wheel. The wheel is pretty much useless now, but at least I can fix the throttle problem! The next day I had some better luck: I found a secondhand steering wheel in Western Australia (about 2000 miles away) for only $51 USD. Hey, wait 'til my wife hears about this great saving!

The following week, I drove 40 miles to the nearest JD dealer and picked up a complete engine gasket set, a set of 10 thou main bearings, and a set of cam bushings ($604 USD). I'd sort of like to just use the cam bushings as they are, but they really do have some major pitting, and most of the bearing surface is missing. Here's a picture of the front cam bushing; it has a nice pitting pattern-quite artistic really-but I don't think it will help the camshaft operate.

Now that I have the various bits and pieces from John Deere, I can start to get this engine back together. My first step will be getting the 'press fit' cam bushings installed by Repco, then hopefully I can do the rest of it on my own! Hey, if you're shaking your head, remember I'm totally new at this! If you want to leave me some helpful advice, please email me at jim@nielsen.org.

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