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John Deere Tractors Discussion Forum
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John Deere A questions.

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10-26-2012 14:26:16

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Hi. I'm a woman in case you couldn't guess, I'm new to this forum and brand new to owning a John Deere A. I've always wanted one and was at an auction this past weekend and got one with good sheet metal for $1,350. I want to change the oil and found out how to do that, but how do you add oil back in? I know this probably sounds stupid, but I don"t have a clue. Also is it a big issue that when turning it over by hand that it only turns about half way in either direction? Thanks for any info you can provide.

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10-27-2012 12:10:43

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 Re: John Deere A questions. in reply to Hotflashjr, 10-26-2012 14:26:16  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

Does the clutch pully on the other side turn freely? I have an A that the last owner thought had a stuck motor. Turned out that dirt had accumulated behind the pulley, collected moisture, and rust welded everything together. Once I got it off the engine spun over nicely.

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10-27-2012 19:49:20

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 Re: John Deere A questions. in reply to clampdaddy, 10-27-2012 12:10:43  
It spins freely now. It didn't at the auction, would only turn about half way. Now with the tractor in gear and the clutch engaged, we can push the tractor and the clutch pulley turns completely around with no catching. Not sure if we broke something loose loading and unloading it from the rollback, or what. Just glad it rolls all the way over now.

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James Howell

10-27-2012 05:01:51

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 Re: John Deere A questions. in reply to AprilH, 10-26-2012 14:26:16  
Oil is added at the Breather Stack on the right side of your tractor.


Remove the breather stack (17) and lift out the filter core (19) and add oil.


Checked the Operator's Manual dated August 1945 on page 27 and it recommends approximately 8 quarts of oil.


Hope this helps and good luck with your tractor.

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10-26-2012 19:15:04

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 Re: John Deere A questions. in reply to AprilH, 10-26-2012 14:26:16  
Thankyou all for the help so far. Its a 1945 electric start. Battery is dead was trying to turn the pulley at the auction. It sold as being seized but my husband doesn"t think its too bad.

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10-26-2012 20:22:53

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 Re: John Deere A questions. in reply to AprilH, 10-26-2012 19:15:04  
The oil fill is on the right side ,just above the pulley. It's either a big screw on cap or a stack with spring clips. I would check and make sure the valves are not stuck.Ron Mn.

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10-26-2012 17:05:43

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 Re: John Deere A questions. in reply to AprilH, 10-26-2012 14:26:16  
If it"s a hand start (exposed flywheel - smooth around the perimeter), then there will be a tall breather as stated in an earlier post and that"s where the oil goes. If you don"t know the capacity, find out - manuals are still available. If a hand start, the reason you can"t turn the flywheel is that you"re coming up on the compression stroke. There should be a petcock by each spark plug that you open to make it easier to turn over when starting.

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10-26-2012 16:17:23

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 Re: John Deere A questions. in reply to AprilH, 10-26-2012 14:26:16  
Welcome!. jim

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10-26-2012 15:46:25

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 Re: John Deere A questions. in reply to AprilH, 10-26-2012 14:26:16  
If it's a handcrank tractor, look at the tall breatherstack ahead of the steering column, unhook the 2 hooks. You will put the oil in there.

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10-26-2012 15:34:45

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 Re: John Deere A questions. in reply to AprilH, 10-26-2012 14:26:16  
April: There are no dumb questions, however, there are a lot of stupid answers. To help prevent the later, please tell us what year the tractor was produced. That would be a good start for someone to help you find out important facts about your tractor. If you know the year of your tractor, immediately go to Ebay and search for an Operator's Manual for your tractor. This will answer most of your answers on how to service your tractor properly. I've known people who drained their engine oil and added the engine oil to the transmission case. Luckily someone discovered the mistake before any damage was done. My son once drained the transmission on his girlfriends new truck by mistake and overfilled the engine oil crankcase but he figured it out while checking the oil level. Point being, don't operate and service your tractor without an Operator's manual or some help from someone with experience with 2 cylinder tractors. I suspect your tractor is an older hand crank two cylinder tractor. The flywheel will turn left and right easily until the pistons start to develop compression on the firing cycle. If you have petcocks the compression will be lower until you close them after the tractor starts. If this doesn't make any sense you need to cease and get the manual. This forum is very helpful and I encourage you to use it answer your questions. It has saved me lots of time and money when I needed some help.

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10-27-2012 08:54:25

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 Re: John Deere A questions. in reply to jturbo10, 10-26-2012 15:34:45  
The tractor is either a 45 or 46 depending on whose table you look at. It is electric start, but the battery is dead, that is why we tried turning by hand. We talked to a guy at the auction that supposedly knew the guy that owned the tractor and used it for him. He said that it ran recently. My husband thinks that maybe it has some rust in there and that is causing it to stick. The guy said that the tractor only got used about once a year, the rest of the time it just sat around. My husband was thinking of pulling the spark plugs and putting some sort of lubricant down them, what would you suggest? Or would you suggest a different approach all together? I have ordered a service, operator and parts manual off of e-bay like you suggested. Thanks for all the help.

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10-27-2012 19:02:11

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 Re: John Deere A questions. in reply to AprilH, 10-27-2012 08:54:25  
Pulling the spark plugs and having a look in the cylinder is a good idea. As stated by others, a stuck valve can cause some resistance, as can junk in the clutch pulley. It won't hurt anything to shoot a little lube in the cylinder, if it's relatively clean inside. Try rolling it over with the plugs out, pull the clutch cover off and see if you can detect if something is dragging in the clutch. Take the valve cover off and look at the valvetrain to make sure it is moving freely. I wouldn't be to forceful until you know what is causing the problem. An Operaters Manual and Parts Book will be very helpful to you. If you are interested, I can roughly estimate when your tractor was built from the serial number and a little math, and tell you whether it is truly a 45 or 46 model. I'm guessing from what you said that it is between 555334 and 558817. I gather info on letter series tractors, in particular model "A". No pressure, and e-mail is open if you prefer.

Welcome to the forum and JD. Hope you get it going without too much cost or trouble..........especially the cost part.

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10-27-2012 19:44:51

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 Re: John Deere A questions. in reply to A GURU, 10-27-2012 19:02:11  
Thanks for the info and the welcome. The Serial Number is 554xxx. Didn"t put all the numbers in that is what the x"s are for. We put it in high gear, clutch engaged. Husband pushed on the tire and engine turned with little resistance and no noise. I guess now all we need to really worry about is electrical and fuel system. I have purchase all manuals off of e-bay.

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10-27-2012 21:55:39

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 Re: John Deere A questions. in reply to AprilH, 10-27-2012 19:44:51  
Glad to hear you got it rolling around okay. Once you get your service manuals you'll want to check out the different procedures for keeping them in good repair.
Your tractor is a 1945 model by any of the reliable lists available. If I split your number in the middle, 554500 would have likely been built fairly close to 5/12/45, as a pretty late 45 model.
Enjoy your tractor.

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10-26-2012 15:20:53

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 Re: John Deere A questions. in reply to AprilH, 10-26-2012 14:26:16  
I would take the valve cover off and check for a stuck valve or two. What year is the A? The serial number should either be to the left and toward the top of the flywheel on the crankcase or under the mag/distributor, on the clutch side.

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10-26-2012 15:12:19

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 Re: John Deere A questions. in reply to AprilH, 10-26-2012 14:26:16  
johndeere had some of brightest ideas for their era but also some of the most backward but practicle items also.As you sit on the tractor faceing forward look down at about your three o clock and you should see a female pipe thread plug thats where you add the oil. If you look at about your nine o clock half way down the tractor you should see a three quater inch bolt head that you crack open to let oil run out to let you know it's full. hope that helps you tim e tugboat

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