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Gotta find me a John Deere B

While living in Nebraska I had made friends with a retired electrician. He lived outside of town on a small acreage and Dick was always tinkering with things. Well one day I decided I was going to go out and visit Dick and possibly throw some horseshoes. When I pulled up I saw him standing beside a John Deere Tractor. I didn't know he had a JD, I knew he farmed alittle and put in a big garden, but never seen the tractor he used. So there was his machine. It was a 1941 JD B hand start, with a 3 point setup on it. Dick admitted he didn't build the 3point, but he did restore the old tractor. The tractor came with the acreage when he bought it back in the 1950's. I had never been this close to a John Deere, so Dick showed me all about the old girl. Then he asked me if I wanted to start it. I said sure and then Dick proceeded to show me how to turn on the fuel, move the throttle lever so far, then then adjust the choke on the carb, and then he opened up the petcocks. I was curious, why do they have those, so he explains to me about it helps lessen the pressure when turning the engine over by hand, then he shows me how to turn the flywheel. Well being a young guy I thought I will just throw this baby around like nothing, Huh, its not that easy, and Dick just chuckled, he showed me how to start the JD B, and once I heard the sound of that 2 cylinder engine I just knew I had to have one. So the hunt began to find myself a JD B. I hunted for 2 years. Oh sure I found JD B's but they were either to much money, or they were so parted out I didn't want to take on such a challenge, so one day I was looking in a Thrifty ad paper and spotted a JD B for sale, it had good steel, good tires and the guy was asking 975 for her. I should mention that we had moved from Nebraska to Iowa and this tractor was in York Nebraska. A week went by and then I told my wife about the tractor. She told me to call on it, I told her its gone, I know its gone, she said 'Call', so I called on a Wednesday evening. The tractor was still for sale. I asked the owner some questions and found out the tractor was electric start, and it had tires that were 3yrs old. I had to control myself from sounding excited. I told him I would be there Friday morning at 8am. So I called two of my Buddies, Bill and Tim, Bill was my John Deere expert since he owned 2 John Deere B's already and Tim just loved tractors so I knew he would like the road trip. We took off from Des Moines around 3am with the flatbed in tow. We stopped in Lincoln Nebraska for Breakfast at a nice diner on the North side. Since I lived in Lincoln for 12 yrs I knew about this place and they serve a good breakfast, so after filling up on good food, we headed for York Nebraska, we couldn't have timed our arrival any better, we arrived at 7:58am by my watch. The owner of the JD B met us at the street and said to pull down back thru the alley way and we could get to the tractor down through his pasture. I saw the old girl from the street. She was rusty with dingy green on her, someone had hand painted John Deere on the side of the hood. The muffler was an old car muffler, the lights were missing, the battery box covers were missing, the axle shafts leaked pretty good since the back tires were covered in gear lube. The radiator hoses leaked since there were signs of antifreeze leaking. Only the oil gauge was there out of all the gauges, and it was a car oil gauge. So the owner goes over to the JD and presses the starter button and the old girl spins over really slow, but after a few attempts she does start, and my friend Bill says she started pretty darn easy, so while the tractor is running we get the loading ramps mounted on the trailer, and then all three of us jump like we had been shot, the old JD made a big KaBoom and we turned around just in time to see a small mushroom cloud of black soot loft over head. I look at the owner and he just gives me a shoulder shrug, like he doesn't know why it happened, thats when I turn to Bill and he is busy troubleshooting in his mind what could be wrong, he comes to me and says ' Well it did start easy, it could be a stuck Intake valve, or the timing is off'. Just as Bill finishes his sentence to me the John Deere went KaBoom again, but this time I saw the fire shoot at least 2ft out of the muffler, but the tractor kept right on running. So I walked over to the owner and in doing so I reached into my front pocket and pull out the envelope full of cash. He looked surprised and said 'You are going to buy her?', and I told him 'Yes, I didn't come all this way to go home empty handed', so I have Bill drive the JD B up on the trailer. I am grinning now as I watch my new purchase drip oil and antifreeze on the trailer, but I know all those things are fixable. On our drive back home we sit and ponder what could be making the old girl backfire like that, finally we get to talking about other things. When we get home Bill tells me to drive my tractor off the trailer. So I jump up in the seat, Geez I feel like I am 8ft in the air, this is nothing like my little Ford 9N, and Bill sees the look of alarm in my eyes. I check and I do have brakes, so instead of starting her and driving off I just let the tractor roll off with my running a brake pedal. Once she is off the trailer I try starting her and after a few attempts the JD starts up, but once again she does her KaBoom, which scares the birds out of the trees. Bill and Tim just smile at me and say I will have fun figuring that one out. So my tired buddies leave me with my new purchase. I am tickled I have my John Deere B I have always wanted. OK, now to let you know what was causing the KaBoom, it was a simple fix, A sparkplug was bad, yup, the raw fuel was building up in the exhaust from the bad cylinder and then the other cylinder would finally ignite it and then you have your KaBoom. The John Deere is now 95% restored. Since that first day home she has been torn down, degreased, wasp nests removed, old rusty bolts replaced, sheet metal straightened, new hoses and gaskets. I bought a set of lights from Shorty Dear (bless his memory). The axles have new seals, new bearings, the gauges are all in place, the old girl has fenders, a 3 point system I built for her, converted to a 12Volt Sytem, overhauled hydraulic system, new paint, She even has a John Deere Umbrella, the only thing missing is Decals which I plan on putting on her this summer. She is tractor number two in my collection. Now I have the John Deere down in the Horsebarn, and the Ford 9N in the shop. The reason for my doing this, was an old farmer brought to my attention that if I put those two tractors in the same building by morning I wouldn't have a building standing. So not wanting to ruin a good building I keep them seperated. The friend of mine Dick in Nebraska, his John Deere B and my John Deere B are almost twins, there are only 25 serial numbers between our two, so that means they were on the assembly line together. I thought that was interesting since after all his John Deere B gave me the itch to find my own John Deere B. I plan on showing the tractor this year and possibly put her in a couple local parades. Also bought a John Deere pull type plow last year to restore and go along with the 1941 John Deere B.

Scott Rong, IA, entered 2003-02-18
My Email Address: Not Displayed

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