John Deere Model A Tractor

Below is a portion of Equipment Manual No. 158: John Deere Model A Tractor. This information was originally published by John Deere, but has been reprinted by and appeared in the Small Farmer’s Journal.


John Deere Model A Tractor

John Deere Model A Tractor


CAPACITY: 2-16” plow bottoms or a 2-bottom bedder under normal conditions or 3-14” plow bottoms or a 4-bottom bedder under favorable soil conditions.

Maximum Belt Horsepower: 29.59

Maximum Drawbar Horsepower: 26.20

Maximum Pull: 4110 lbs. at 2.25 M.P.H. (Nebraska Tractor Test No. 335)


Forward: 2-1/2, 3-1/4, 4-1/4, 5-1/2, 7-1/3 and 12-2/3 M.P.H. on 11-38 (regular) pneumatic tires

Reverse: 4 M.P.H.


Engine: Two-cylinder cast in block—valves in head.

Engine Speed: 975 R.P.M. (Load)

Bore and Stroke: 5-1/2” x 6-3/4”

Displacement: 321 cubic inches

Compression Ratio: 4.50 to 1

Carburetor: Natural-draft type

Magneto: High-tension with automatic impulse

Spark Plugs: 18 mm. Champion No. 8 Com. C. or Edison Z-19. Spark plug gap .030”.

Lubrication: Full force-feed pressure system; with Purolator oil filter element. Total oil capacity—9 U.S. quarts.

Cooling System: Thermo-siphon system with a water capacity of 9-1/4 U.S. gallons.

Air Cleaner: Oil-wash type.

Fuel System: Gravity-feed fuel system. Gasoline tank capacity—1 U.S. gallon. Fuel tank capacity—15 U.S. gallons.

Clutch: Hand operated two 10” dry disks.

Belt Pulley: Diameter 12-3/4”; width 7-3/8”; 975 R.P.M.; Belt Speed 3270 F.P.M.


Transmission: Six speeds forward and one in reverse.

Gears: Selective type straight spur cut gears, forged, cut, and heat-treated.

Bearings: Shafts operate on 2 Hyatt Rollers, 4 Timken-tapered, and 6 new Departure ball bearings. Oil capacity—8 U.S. gallons.

REAR AXLES: 2-3/4” diameter. Mounted on 4 Timken-tapered roller bearings.

REAR WHEELS: 11-38 6-ply tires, mounted on cast disk wheels, recommended for average field conditions. NOTE: Cast disk wheels approximately 250 pounds heavier than steel wheels. Steel spoke wheels wit lugs available as special equipment. Diameter 50”. Face 6”. (furnished with 4 speeds only.)

REAR WHEEL BRAKES: Two automotive type internal expanding rear wheel brakes.

FRONT WHEELS: Reversible for added clearance. 5:50 x 16” 4-ply rubber tires. Mounted on 4 Timken-tapered roller bearings. Steel spoke wheels with guide bands available as special equipment. Diameter 24”. Face 4”.

DIMENSIONS: On regular 11-38 pneumatic tires. Wheel base 90”; over-all height 80”; height to radiator cap 62-3/4”; over-all length 131”; width 82-3/8”; rear wheel tread adjustable from 56” to 88”; clearance 26”; turning radius 8’ 7-1/2”. Drawbar conforms with A.S.A.E. standards.

POWER TAKE-OFF: Shaft diameter 7/8” to 1-3/8”; R.P.M. 546; splined end is 23” above ground, right of center-line of tractor and 14” ahead of hitch. Conforms with A.S.A.E. standards.

SHIPPING WEIGHT: 3962 lbs. on steel wheels, 3978 lbs. on 11-38 6-ply pneumatic rear tires, pressed steel wheels, and 5:50 x 16” 4-ply front tires.

Clutch lever, throttle, fuel control and radiator shutter control are reached easily from the operator’s seat. Under your feet are the brakes, hydraulic power lift foot control pedal, and a large, comfortable platform on which you can stand if you so desire.

Familiarize yourself with all the controls provided for safe and easy operation of your new tractor. Regardless of your previous tractor experience, study this section covering controls carefully before you operate your tractor.

John Deere Model A Tractor

John Deere Model A Tractor


The large, bucket-type seat is high up and well forward. You are generally out of the dust where you have a clear, unobstructed view of your work.

The seat (and seat standard) ride on a coil spring that can be tightened or loosened to conform with the operator’s weight for improved riding comfort. When working on rough ground or for heavy operators, more compression should be applied to the coil spring.

Whether you are tall or short, the seat can be adjusted backward or forward to a comfortable position by means of seat attaching bolt located directly under the seat.

John Deere Model A Tractor


Due to the high, centered seat location, tapered fuel tank, and narrow, streamlined design, you can easily see what you are doing at either side. This design, coupled with a steering mechanism built to eliminate entirely objectionable wobble, backlash, or whipping of the steering wheel, even in the roughest going, permits you to work in freedom and comfort.

Smooth, responsive steering can be maintained throughout the life of your tractor by means of the adjustments provided for this purpose.

Adjustments can be quickly and easily made by your John Deere dealer’s serviceman.

John Deere Model A Tractor


The temperature of the tractor is effectively controlled from the driver’s seat by means of a manually operated radiator shutter.

The engine temperature gauge is located in plain sight of the operator and indicates when to adjust the shutter.

For best operation, the engine should always be operated up to its proper temperature, which is 190°F. registered on heat indicator. This results in greater all-around economy, better lubrication and more power.

A convenient, three-way fuel control lever, located on the instrument panel, enables the operator to switch from gasoline to low-cost fuel or to shut off the fuel supply entirely without leaving his position at the wheel.

Also located on the instrument panel is the oil pressure gauge. This gauge does not in any way tell the amount or condition of the oil in the crankcase. It only indicates whether the oil pump is working. The indicator hand of the gauge should rest between the letters “M” and “H” when the engine is running fast idle. If pressure is not registered on the oil gauge when the engine is started, stop the engine immediately.

John Deere Model A Tractor

John Deere Model A Tractor


When starting the engine, set choke in full choke position. (On tractors equipped with electric starters, choking is accomplished by a button, mounted on the instrument panel.) On tractors not equipped with electric starters, choke lever is on the carburetor.

Over-choking or excessive use of the choke will flood the engine, causing hard starting.

John Deere Model A Tractor


Hand Cranking: The flywheel method of starting is simple, safe, and easy. You simply grasp the flywheel and roll it forward slowly.

All controls are within easy reach.

Electric Starting: To start the tractor, pull choke, and step on starter lever.

The starter motor is geared into the flywheel which is protected by a guard.

John Deere Model A Tractor


Individually foot-operated differential brakes makes possible short turns to right or left at the row ends.

If the brakes are pressed simultaneously with both feet, they assure you safe stopping at high transport speeds.

A brake latch is conveniently located for locking each brake when doing belt work or when stopping the tractor on a hill or incline.

John Deere Model A Tractor

John Deere Model A Tractor

John Deere Model A Tractor


The power required in putting the tractor in motion is gradually and smoothly applied to the drive system by slowly pushing the clutch lever forward. As the tractor picks up speed, give the lever a quick forward thrust until the clutch snaps into engagement.

By pulling back on the clutch lever, the clutch is released and the engine disconnected from the transmission. The pulley brake, which is a part of the clutch lever, stops the pulley from rotating, permitting easy shifting of the transmission gears.

When the engine is running and the tractor is not moving, the life of the clutch parts and pulley bearings can be prolonged by shifting the gear shift lever into neutral and engaging the clutch. This allows the pulley and crankshaft to turn as one unit, reducing frictional wear, and lengthening the life of clutch parts.

John Deere Model A Tractor

John Deere Model A Tractor

John Deere Model A Tractor


Familiarize yourself with the shifting diagrams before you attempt to operate the tractor.

If gears do not shift freely, move clutch lever forward until pulley turns slowly. This allows gear teeth to line up for shifting.

Avoid clashing of gears. This causes unnecessary wear and possible breakage.


The power shaft is started and stopped with the clutch lever and can be operated whether the tractor is moving or not. To put the power shaft into operation, first move the power shaft shift lever to the engaged position, with gears in mesh. With the engine running, engage the clutch and the power shaft will operate.

Whenever the use of the power shaft is not required, disengage the power shaft shift lever.

The power shaft flipper guard should never be removed from the tractor. Do not operate the tractor with the end of the power shaft exposed. If the flipper guard is damaged, repair or replace it immediately.

Note: Make it a standing rule never to dismount from the tractor without first disengaging the power shaft lever.


The hydraulic power lift is simple and positive in action and provides a cushioned drop for all equipment. To put the power lift into operation, first move the power shaft shift lever to the engaged position. With the engine running and the clutch engaged, the power lift is now ready to function. To operate the power lift, step down on either pedal with the heel of either foot.

Equipment can be raised or lowered while the tractor is in motion or standing still.


Before attempting to start or operate the tractor, familiarize yourself with the tractor and its various controls. Also check the following:

  1. Check radiator water level, and, if necessary, add water up to bottom of baffle. (Use soft water or rain water if possible.) During freezing weather—where water has been drained to prevent freezing, do not start the engine before drain plug has been installed in bottom of cylinder head and radiator filled with water. (Capacity of cooling system, 9 U.S. gallons.)
  2. Check amount of fuel in front tank. Always use clean fuel of the type recommended for your tractor. (Capacity of fuel tank, 15 U.S. gallons.) Gasoline in the small rear tank is used for starting and warming up the engine. Fill with clean gasoline. (Capacity, 1 U.S. gallon.)
  3. Check oil in the air cleaner for quality, weight, and amount.
  4. Check crankcase oil level. If necessary, add a good grade of 10-W oil until oil runs out at the oil level cock. Note this oil must be drained after 20-hour “breaking-in” period and refilled with the weight of oil recommended in “Weight of Oil” chart.
  5. Check air pressure in pneumatic tires before moving the tractor. Inflate to correct pressure according to inflation chart. Tire inflation should be checked at least every two weeks.


  1. Close the radiator shutter, set gear shift lever in neutral and pull the clutch lever back into the disengaged position.
  2. Advance speed control lever halfway.
  3. If the engine had been burning low-cost fuel when it was stopped, drain the carburetor.
  4. If the carburetor adjustments have been changed, adjust load and idle needle according to instructions in “Adjusting the Carburetor.”
  5. Turn on gasoline by turning the fuel control lever to the mark “G”.
  6. Open compression relief cocks.
  7. Place choke in closed position. (For hand cranking, choking is done at the carburetor. With electric starter, choking is done by pulling choke button on dash.)
  8. For hand cranking, roll top of flywheel forward to start engine. With electric starter, step on starter control lever located on starting motor.
  9. As soon as engine fires, open choke immediately to prevent flooding.
  10. With engine running with speed control lever in forward position, the hand of the oil pressure gauge must be between “M” and “H”.
  11. Close the compression relief cocks.
  13. Maintain an engine temperature of 190°F. by either opening or closing the radiator shutter.
  14. Regulate engine speed by the speed control lever.
  15. The engine is set to run at the correct speed when the tractor leaves the factory; 975 R.P.M. for full load and approximately 1075 R.P.M. for fast idle. Caution: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THE ENGINE BE OPERATED AT AN IDLE SPEED OVER 1075 R.P.M.


Before you put your tractor on full load or into too high a gear, be sure it is warmed up (190°F.). This will give the oil a chance to circulate freely and will save undue wear on piston rings, cylinders, and bearings. Avoid racing the engine during the warm-up period because this wastes fuel.


Your John Deere Tractor has a range of speeds. These various speeds not only give you the flexibility and adaptability you want, but also they enable you to balance the load and the speed for maximum economy. However, if you are handling a light load and want to travel at slow speed, it is far better to put your tractor into the gear which gives you the speed you want than to use a higher gear and throttle down.


  1. With the engine running, release the brake latches on both rear wheel brakes.
  2. If necessary, pull the clutch lever back until pulley brake stops the pulley from rotating.
  3. Shift the gear shift lever into the gear speed desired. If gears do not shift freely, move the clutch lever forward slightly, permitting the pulley to turn slowly. This allows gear teeth to line up for each shifting. SHIFT GEARS CAREFULLY. CLASHING GEARS CAUSES UNNECESSARY WEAR AND BREAKAGE. BE SURE THE GEAR SHIFT LEVER IS MOVED FAR ENOUGH TO PLACE GEARS IN FULL MESH.
  4. When gears are shifted, push clutch lever forward slowly until the tractor picks up speed, then give the clutch lever a quick forward thrust until the clutch snaps into engagement.


  1. Reduce speed when turning or applying individual brakes.
  2. Watch for obstructions. Be cautious near ditches or on steep hillsides.
  3. Allow no riders unless seat is provided.
  4. Never operate tractor unless power take-off is shielded.
  5. Read and observe safety rules.


The purpose of the high speed in your tractor is to save you time on highways or on smooth-surfaced secondary roads and in going to and from your fields. Regardless of road or field conditions, use care in driving your tractor in high gear. Fast driving is the cause of many accidents. As a safety factor, shift to a lower gear, particularly over rough ground and save your tractor and tires from under strain and possible breakage.

Caution: At high speed (5th and 6th speeds), the brakes should be adjusted evenly to avoid drawing the tractor to one side. However, independent brakes on your John Deere tractor enable you to correct or compensate for brakes that are not equally adjusted by merely changing the amount of foot pressure you apply.

Do not jam on brakes especially when one wheel is spinning because this suddenly throws a tremendous load on the transmission and can cause breakage.

Note: Reduce engine speed first before applying brakes.


All drawn tools should be hitched to the drawbar. Do not draw or pull anything from any other place on the tractor.

When hitching the tractor to a stump or heavy load by means of a long chain, take out any slack in the chain before the power is applied to eliminate jerking into the load.


Your tractor is designed and built to handle economically and efficiently all jobs within its range of power. To use your tractor on loads beyond its power range results in undue strain on all of its parts and will eventually result in unnecessary repair expense and impaired efficiency of operation.

Your tractor was designed to pull its normal load with the throttle lever near the three-quarter open position, but 20 to 25 percent of its power beyond the normal load is available to pull you through tough spots in the field or to clean out a belt machine that has been fed unevenly. As soon as the throttle reaches the full open position, you are using its full power. Beyond this, you are overloading your tractor. An overloaded tractor usually can be detected by a gradual slowing down in speed and a slowing down and laboring of the engine.
John Deere Model A Tractor


Never leave the tractor running unattended when adjustments are being made on the driven machine, even though the clutch is disengaged.

Never use a stick to force a belt on or off a revolving pulley. To put on or take off belt, move tractor forward to provide slack. After backing tractor into belt, be sure the tractor is well blocked and both rear wheel brakes are locked. Always start a belt load slowly.

Note: After backing the tractor into the belt and setting each brake latch, it may be difficult to get the gear shift lever into neutral. This is due to bind on the gear teeth caused by the pull of the belt. To relieve the bind, turn the belt pulley backwards by pulling on the belt, after which the gears can be shifted easily into neutral.


Regardless of how familiar you are with the type of equipment used with your tractor, take the time to study the recommendations made by the manufacturer in the instruction book that came with the equipment.


In your everyday work around farm equipment remember this: An accident is usually caused by someone’s carelessness, neglect, or oversight. Safety rules, if practiced, will make your farm safer for you and those who work for you.


To stop the tractor, throttle engine down, disengage the clutch by pulling the clutch lever clear back. As soon as the clutch is disengaged, the rear wheel brakes can be used to bring the tractor to a full stop. DO NOT USE THE PULLEY BRAKE TO STOP THE TRACTOR. This shortens the life of the pulley brake lining.

To reduce wear on clutch facings, always place gear shift lever in neutral after disengaging clutch, and then re-engage clutch again if engine is idling. This is important.

If the tractor is burning low-cost fuel during the time the engine is idling, a more satisfactory engine temperature can be maintained more easily by closing the radiator shutter and placing the throttle lever in the half-open position.


In cold or freezing weather, idle your tractor a few minutes before you stop it, to cool it off gradually. Sudden cooling of a hot engine causes extreme contraction of the heated metal parts. In freezing weather, never drain the water immediately after stopping, for the same reason. You are assured of better performance year in and year out if you follow this practice.

While there are several ways of stopping your tractor, there is only one correct way. By following this, you can be assured of easier starting.

To stop the engine, especially if it is burning the low-cost fuels, shut off the fuel at the fuel control lever and drain the carburetor bowl. This cuts off the fuel supply to the engine and , after a few revolutions, the engine will stop, leaving the combustion chambers dry—an important contribution to easy starting of the engine.

Caution: Do not stop the engine by pulling back on the hand throttle or by shorting the magneto. This leaves several charges of unburnt fuel in the cylinders, which will reliquefy as the engine cools and permit this liquid fuel to lay on the electrode and porcelain of the spark plugs to provide a path for the spark to escape and result in hard starting. Liquid fuel left in the combustion chamber will also wash the lubricating oil off the pistons, rings, and cylinders, thus breaking the oil seal and causing poor compression—also a factor in hard starting.
John Deere Model A Tractor


Effective lubrication of your tractor is perhaps the most important step towards low upkeep cost, long life, and satisfactory service, for without oil or grease you can ruin the important working parts of your tractor in a very few minutes’ time in the field.


You use oil and grease in your tractor to separate metal parts that otherwise would work against one another. If properly lubricated, these parts never touch. Oil of the right weight acts much the same as tiny ball bearings to keep the wearing parts separated.


Your new tractor is equipped with various safeguards such as an air cleaner, oil filter, crankcase breather and ventilator—safeguards designed to keep dust, dirt, and other abrasives from reaching operating parts. You can increase the efficiency of these safeguards by using clean containers for storing and for handling all of the lubricants. See that only clean lubricants go into the working parts of your tractor.

John Deere Model A Tractor


Quality of Oil

The engine of this tractor, with its full force-feed pressure lubricating system, has one of the finest oiling systems it is possible to produce. Do not handicap it by trying to save money with cheap oil. High-grade oils withstand heat and wear for a longer time. Cheap oils soon become thin and lose their lubricating qualities.

It is impossible to determine the quality of oil by its appearance. As a result, inferior oil often is sold as a quality product at a lower price. It pays to buy only nationally known, high-quality brands of oil. Don’t take chances.

Weight of Oil

Your John Deere tractor was made with the same precision as a fine automobile, with clearances between bearing surfaces as fine as a ten-thousandth part of an inch. If oil is expected to lubricate these surfaces, it first must get there. Therefore, weight or viscosity of the oil is very important.

As soon as oil of the correct weight and quality reaches bearing surfaces, it immediately begins functioning to relieve friction, carry off heat, to create an oil seal between rings and cylinders, thus preventing blow-by and loss of power, and last, to carry away elements such as carbon, dirt, and other abrasive materials that are harmful if left between metal working surfaces.

Oil of the wrong weight can result in loss of power, excessive fuel consumption, undue wear on moving parts, and eventual replacement of costly parts.

Remember this: the temperature in the crankcase correspondingly varies with the outside temperature. Therefore, it is important to use oil in the new engine according to the recommended temperature and weight chart below which has been scientifically worked out with leading oil companies.

Temperature Engine Air

Crankcase Cleaners

Above 90°F. S.A.E. 50 S.A.E. 50

65°F. TO 90°F. S.A.E 40 S.A.E 40

32°F. to 65°F. S.A.E. 30 S.A.E. 30

10°F. TO 32°F. S.A.E. 20-W S.A.E. 20-W

Below 10°F. S.A.E. 10-W S.A.E. 10-W

Crankcase oil capacity: 8 U.S. quarts, including oil filter compartment.

John Deere Model A Tractor


Lubrication of the transmission and differential is entirely automatic—it starts and stops with the engine. The differential and final drive gears are partially submerged in transmission oil and when they revolve, oil is carried up to all transmission parts, completely bathing gears, shafts, and bearings.

Changing seasons and temperatures, together with heating and cooling of the tractor, cause condensation and eventually an accumulation of water in the main transmission case. This water breaks down the lubricating quality of the oil and is one reason why transmission oil should be changed regularly.

Each spring the transmission should be drained and washed out.

Weight of Oil

Temperature S.A.E. Viscosity Numbers Oil Capacity

U.S. Measure

32 F. and up 140 8 gal.

Below 32 F. 90—or dilute the

Transmission oil with

No 10-W (See Yearly Service)

John Deere Model A Tractor



At the end of each ten-hour run: (1) Check the oil level in the crankcase; (2) change the oil in air cleaner cup; (3) service crankcase breather core; and (4) service all grease fittings.

Note: If tractor is operated in extremely dirty conditions or operating at maximum load, it may be necessary to check and service your tractor at the end of five hours’ run.

Checking Crankcase Oil Level.

If oil level in the crankcase is low, remove breather stack and filter core and add a good quality oil of the correct weight until it runs out of the oil level cock. For instructions on changing crankcase oil, see “120-Hour Service.”

Servicing Air Cleaner

The air cleaner is built into the tractor to prolong its life and usefulness by preventing dirt, sand, and grit from going into the engine, which will cause wear on all of the operating parts. The air cleaner requires attention every ten hours of operation.

To service—remove oil sediment cup from lower part of air cleaner; pour out oil and sediment. Wash out cup with fuel. Refill cup to mark “Oil Level” with new engine oil.

Under extremely dusty conditions, service cleaner twice a day.

Note: Do not service air cleaner with engine running.

Servicing Crankcase Breather Core.

To service, remove stack, lift out filter core and wash it thoroughly. Shake core vigorously to remove fuel from core, and submerge in clean engine oil for five minutes until core is thoroughly soaked. Install breather core and replace stack.

Servicing Grease Fittings.

Service all grease fittings with pressure gun grease, wiping off fittings beforehand. Chart indicates frequency and amount of grease for each fitting.


At the end of each 60-hour: (1) check the power lift oil level; (2) service the power-lift grease fittings; (3) lubricate the generator. Read instructions below.

Checking Power-Lift Oil Level.

If your tractor is equipped with a power lift, check the oil level, and if necessary, add S.A.E. 30 oil at the filler opening until it runs out at the oil level plug opening. (Oil capacity—5 U.S. quarts.)

Be sure oil used in the power lift is free from water for satisfactory operation and to prevent water freezing in the pump.

Greasing the Power Lift.

Grease fittings on the outer ends of the power lift housing with two shots of pressure-gun grease.

Trip Pedal Shaft Lubrication.

To eliminate shaft sticking, which would cause the power lift to fail, occasionally lubricate the trip pedal shafts with engine oil.

Generator Lubrication.

If your tractor is equipped with electric starter or lighting equipment, the generator must be lubricated with 8 to 10 drops of light engine oil in both oil cups every 60 hours. Lubricate the generator when the tractor engine is stopped. For starting motor lubrication, see instructions under “300-Hour Service.”


Changing the Engine Oil and Filter.

After completing 120 hours of tractor operation, the crankcase oil and the oil filter should be changed.

To drain the crankcase oil, simply remove the drain plug as shown in the illustration below. While the oil is draining, remove the oil filter cap, pull out the old filter and discard. See “Replacing Oil Filter.”

Flushing Crankcase.

During a period of several months of operation, sludge may form in the crankcase and other foreign matter may collect on the engine parts. Make it a practice to flush the crankcase thoroughly at regular periods. Distillate serves as a good flushing and cleaning agent.

After draining out crankcase, pour in 1 gallon of flushing oil, run the engine a few seconds, then drain and change oil filter element. After the flushing oil has had a chance to drain out thoroughly, and filter element has been changed, remove breather stack filter core and pour in new oil of the proper weight until the oil drips out at the oil test cock. Close test cock. Be sure to add one extra quart of oil, which is necessary to replace oil drained out when the oil filter element was removed. This extra quart of oil will not run into the filter compartment until the engine starts. Total approximate crankcase capacity: 8 U.S. quarts.

Replacing Oil Filter.

When you replace the crankcase oil, replace the old filter element with a new one. Notice the long stud over which the filter element fits. If it is bent out of center position, straighten it by tapping with a soft hammer. If the rubber gasket that seals the filter cap becomes damaged, oil will leak at the cap. Remove the old gasket, using an ice pick or some similar tool, and replace gasket with a new one. Draw filter cap up snug. Damage may result from over-tightening.

Always carry replacement filter elements on hand so that there will be no reason for using an element more than 120 hours.

Note: John Deere engineers have made exhaustive tests on all types, makes, and kinds of oil filters to find the filter which would keep the oil free from contamination for the longest operating period. These tests have proved that the replacement oil filter recommended and supplied by your John Deere dealer is the most effective.


At the end of each 500 hour run: (1) check the steering gear oil level; (2) lubricate the rear wheel brakes and magneto. See instructions below.

Steering Gear Oil Level.

To lubricate the gears in the top housing of the front steering pedestal, remove the medallion and housing cover. Add transmission oil to the steering gear housing until the oil is even with the bottom of the sector gear. If too much oil is added to this housing, the excess will run down the pedestal shaft and leak out at the bottom of the pedestal housing.

Foot Brakes.

Rear wheel brakes are lubricated with new engine oil, same weight as used in the crankcase. Fill each brake bearing oil cup to overflowing.

A few drops of light engine oil placed on the brake pedal shaft, where the shaft enters into the main housing, will prevent the foot pedal from sticking and improve the brake pedal action.


Lubricate the magneto by removing the oil plug and filling the oil compartment with a good quality of S.A.E. 20 oil. Lubricate the magneto when the engine is stopped.

Caution: Overlubricating has damaged more magnetos than not enough lubrication. Follow directions for best results.


Changing Transmission Oil.

Draining, flushing, and refilling the transmission with high-quality transmission oil should be done at least once a year, preferably before the spring work begins. To do a thorough job of draining, remove both transmission and rear axle drain plugs.

Flushing Transmission Case.

To flush case, after draining out old oil, replace plugs, add 3 gallons of flushing oil. Then jack up one rear wheel, start the engine, shift into gear and engage clutch. Run for a few minutes, then drain. Add transmission oil of the proper weight.

If your tractor will be used a few hours on light work during cold weather (below 32°F,), and it has S.A.E. 140 oil in the transmission, drain out one gallon of oil and replace it with one gallon of S.A.E.10-W engine oil. Caution: Be sure and replace diluted mixture with S.A.E. 140 oil the following spring.

If you do not desire to dilute the transmission oil for cold weather operation, use a good quality of S.A.E.90 oil in the transmission and add new oil in the spring. (Oil capacity—8 U.S. gallons.)

Changing Power Lift Oil.

Change oil in the power lift once a year, preferably each spring. The drain plug is located on the underside of the main power lift housing. (See Figure 32.)

After draining and flushing the power lift housing with fuel, add good-quality new S.A.E. 30 oil at the filler opening until it runs out at the oil level plug opening. (Oil capacity—5 U.S. quarts.)

John Deere Model A Tractor

John Deere Model A Tractor

John Deere Model A Tractor

John Deere Model A Tractor

John Deere Model A Tractor


Inspection of Fuel System.

Uniform efficiency of the fuel system will be assured by an occasional inspection and cleaning, if necessary. The logical place to start is the source of fuel supply—the fuel tank.

First, shut off at the fuel filter by turning the shut-off valve to the horizontal position. Then remove glass bowl and clean thoroughly. With glass bowl removed, turn the shut-off valve to the vertical position to see if fuel flows readily from the tank. If not, tank must be cleaned. When replacing the filter bowl, be sure the cork gasket which fits between the bowl and screen is in good condition; if not, renew it. All fuel lines should be checked.

To clean the carburetor strainer assembly, remove strainer retaining screw and drain plug and flush strainer housing by turning on fuel. Replace strainer screen assembly by screwing up tight with fingers and tightening it one-half turn with wrench. If fuel leaks at strainer assembly, install a new gasket.

Adjusting the Carburetor.

The carburetor mixes liquid fuel and air together to form a fuel vapor. The carburetor is provided with adjustments for smooth engine operation, fuel economy, and maximum power.

In making carburetor adjustments, the engine must be warmed up first. Then, with the speed control lever in the fast idle position, adjust the idle needle until the engine runs evenly. In warm weather, this varies from 1-1/2 to1-3/4 turns on low-cost fuel and slightly less on gasoline. This setting may vary on individual tractors, and when once made, should not be changed unless a different fuel is used.

For all-around maximum economy, apply a load (belt load preferred) to the engine which will operate the carburetor throttle lever in approximately the ¾ open position. Adjust the load needle, turning it down until the engine loses power or backfires, then open one, two, or three notches—whichever gives desired performance. In warm weather, this should leave load needle open approximately ¾ to 1 turn on low-cost fuel and slightly less on gasoline. This adjustment will give best economy for all loads and should not be changed unless cold weather causes a lean mixture or a change has been made in the fuel used.

If governor closes throttle entirely when load is released to cause uneven running, screw the throttle lever stop screw in against stop spring until tractor idles satisfactorily.



The entire ignition system—which consists of a magneto, two spark plugs, and two spark plug cables-must function efficiently to get first-class performance and maximum operating efficiency from your tractor.

Check the Ignition System Periodically.

If necessary: (1) clean and adjust the spark plugs; (2) hone and adjust the magneto breaker points; (3) check ignition timing; (4) inspect the spark plug cables for breaks or shorts.

Spark Plugs.

There are two things that will cause a grounded electric current through the spark plugs—a heavy coating of carbon and a cracked porcelain. If the plug is dirty, scrape or clean the plug. If the porcelain is cracked, the plug must be replaced. Check electrode gap and see that it is spaced to .030-inch. In adjusting the gap, bend only the outer electrode. Always use a feeler gauge to get correct setting.

To prolong the life of the spark plug, be sure to install the gasket which is provided with all new plugs. If the plug is tight against the gasket, the heat is permitted to escape from the plug through the gasket into the water jacket of the cylinder block, insuring longer life of the plug.

To obtain the best performance and to secure maximum efficiency from the engine, use only size 18 mm. Champion No. 8 Com. C or Edison Z-19 spark plugs.

Spark Plug Cables.

Keep cables clean to prevent shorting. Under certain weather conditions, cables may eventually become hard and cracked and require replacement. The cable terminals should fit snugly in the socket of the distributor cap of the magneto. Be sure each cable is securely fastened to the spark plug terminal.

Magneto Distributor.

If you are experiencing ignition trouble, first check spark plugs and spark plug cables. If these are in good condition, only then remove the distributor cap and check the magneto.

After removing the distributor cap, wipe it out thoroughly with a clean rag and be sure that ventilator holes are open. Inspect the cap carefully and if cracks are found, replace with a new one.

Remove the distributor arm from the shaft by pulling straight out, then wipe arm and cam clean. If on examination you find breaker points are worn, pitted, or dirty, carefully remove both points from the magneto. After cleaning the points, hone each point to a smooth, flat surface, using a fine bone. (If points are badly pitted or worn, they should be replaced with a set of new genuine breaker points.)

Then install the points in magneto and turn flywheel until the cam is in position as shown in Figure 38. Adjust the points to a gap of .015-inch. Examine the breaker bar for free movement.

Replace the distributor arm and distributor cap. Make sure the gasket is in place and in good condition. Replace cables, upper terminal to spark plug on flywheel side and lower terminal to spark plug on pulley side.

These simple operations will locate and correct all ordinary magneto troubles. If no spark is obtained after these operations are completed, the magneto should be removed and taken to your John Deere dealer who has the facilities for checking overhauling it.

Installing Magneto on Tractor.

Installing the magneto after it has been removed from the tractor can be done easily as follows: First, remove the spark plug on the flywheel side. Place your finger over the hole and rotate the flywheel in the running direction until you feel a pressure of air in the cylinder. Continue turning the flywheel slowly until the “L. H. Impulse” mark, stamped on the flywheel, lines with timing mark on the tractor. See Figure 39. In this position the slot in the coupling on the governor shaft will be horizontal. Figure 40.

Next, secure a short piece of wire and insert one end in the upper terminal of the distributor cap on the magneto, bend the other end around to within 1/8-inch of some metal part on the magneto frame. Hold the magneto solidly in the same upright position as when mounted on the tractor.

Grip the driving lug on the impulse coupling firmly and turn the impulse slowly in a left-hand direction (counter-clockwise). Stop instantly when impulse trips and spark occurs between end of wire and magneto frame. When impulse trips, driving lugs on the impulse coupling will be in a horizontal position.

Replace magneto and gasket on the governor case, making sure the impulse coupling lugs engage slots on the governor drive coupling. A gasket must be used between bolting flanges. After tightening the two cap screws firmly with the fingers, rotate the top of magneto toward front of tractor as far as possible. Then rotate the flywheel one complete turn and line the flywheel mark “L. H. Impulse” exactly with the timing mark on the tractor. Now tap the top of the magneto toward the rear of the tractor a little at a time until the impulse trips.

Tighten cap screw holding magneto to governor case and install spark plug cables. Left-hand spark plug cable must be installed in upper distributor cap terminal.



Your new tractor engine is water-cooled by the thermo-siphon cooling system—an automatic circulation system which eliminates the need for both a water pump and thermostat.

The circulation is governed automatically by the requirements of the engine. This system not only gives a more uniform engine temperature, but also eliminates delays in the field.

Engine Temperature.

In order to compensate for varying loads and changing weather conditions, your tractor is equipped with a radiator shutter conveniently operated from the tractor seat. It is highly important to maintain an engine temperature of at least 190°, as indicated on gauge, to insure complete burning of the fuel, greater economy, better lubrication, and steady power.

Cleaning the Cooling System.

Efficient operation of the cooling system calls for an occasional cleaning just like the radiator of your car or truck. Clean the radiator as follows:

Run the engine for a few minutes to stir up any rust or sediment. Stop the engine and drain the cooling system completely before sediment settles again. Replace drain plug and fill the cooling system with a solution composed of one pound of washing soda per gallon of water. (Cooling system capacity—9-1/4 U.S. gallons.) Install the filler cap and run the engine for half an hour. Then drain out the solution, add fresh water, start the engine, and let the water circulate for a few minutes. Stop the engine and drain out this flushing water. Fill with fresh water up to baffle. Following this procedure once or twice a year will keep the inside of the cooling system operating efficiently.

In order to do a thorough job of cleaning the cooling system, the radiator grille and shutter should be removed in order to examine all air passages in radiator core, remove all chaff and dirt and straighten bent fins.

In filling the radiator, soft water should be used whenever available. Well water often contains lime and other minerals which eventually may clog the radiator cores and reduce the cooling efficiency.

Cold Weather Operation.

In using the tractor regularly in freezing weather, an anti-freeze solution will eliminate filling and draining the radiator daily. This mixture should have a boiling point of not less than 212°.

If you operate your tractor only occasionally in freezing weather, you can use water only and drain the radiator each time.

Caution: Do not put hot water in a cold engine or cold water in a hot engine at any time. You may crack the head or cylinder block. Do not operate the tractor without water for even a few minutes.


Through the medium of the clutch on your tractor, the power of the engine is transferred to the transmission. With the simple forward movement of the clutch lever, you engage the clutch, and the power of the engine is transferred to the drive wheels or to the belt pulley.

The adjustment of the clutch determines whether or not you get maximum power developed by the engine to the drive wheels. A loose clutch, one which requires little or no effort to engage, will slip, causing loss of power, overheating of the clutch and pulley. And will result in early replacement of clutch facings.

Adjusting the Clutch.

To adjust the clutch, first set the clutch lever in the engaged position; then, remove pulley cover; tighten each of the three nuts a little at a time to an equal tension. This you can determine by the effort required to turn the nuts. Now, try the clutch lever. It should go into engaged or operating position with a snap requiring some pressure.

Replacing Clutch Facings.

To replace the clutch facings, first study Figure 45 because it shows the arrangement of parts. Be sure that they are replaced in the order s shown.

Two half-inch machine bolts and nuts can be used as a puller for removing the driving disk from the crankshaft. Caution: Revolve pulley so that ends of bolts do not rest on swedged head of clutch cone drive pin when bolts are tightened.

In replacing , be sure rivet in driving disk hub lines up with the flat spot at end of one of the crankshaft splines. The nut holding the driving disk on the crankshaft must be tight.

After installing the new facings and all other parts, adjust the clutch as described previously.


When properly adjusted, tappets will seldom need attention. However, an occasional checking is advisable. All adjustments should be made with a cold engine.

Adjusting the Tappets.

To adjust the tappets, remove the tappet cover from the front of the cylinder head and both spark plugs from the cylinders. Turn the flywheel until the piston on flywheel side is at the end of the compression stroke. Now adjust the two left-hand tappets. To adjust the two right-hand tappets, the flywheel must again be turned until the piston on pulley side is at the end of the compression stroke. Then adjust the two right-hand tappets.

Tappets are adjusted by turning the adjusting screws in until there is no movement in the tappet levers; then turn the adjusting screw out 1/3 turn, or until there is .020-inch clearance between the end of the tappet lever and valve stem. A feeler gauge will eliminate guesswork.

After each adjustment is made, lock tight the adjusting nut. In replacing the tappet cover, use a good gasket.


Foot-operated rear wheel or differential brakes have three important purposes: Used separately, the tractor can be turned extremely short to right or left at row ends. Used together, they act as emergency brakes on hills or grades. Locked by means of latches provided, they hold the tractor into the belt.

Operating the Wheel Brakes.

Pressure should be applied gradually, particularly wen traveling in high speed or under icy or muddy conditions where the wheels are inclined to spin.


To adjust the brakes, tighten the adjusting screw, then back off five notches. This adjustment should permit about 2-3/4- to 3-1/4-inch pedal movement before you feel the brake shoe contacting the drum.

Whenever a brake adjustment will not correct or improve defective brake action, have the brakes relined.


The purpose of the pulley brake on the clutch lever assembly is to stop the pulley from rotating when lever is pulled back, thus making it easy to shift gears. Caution: Do not use the pulley brake to stop the tractor; this shortens the life of the pulley brake lining.


To adjust the pulley brake, loosen the brake adjusting screw lock nut and turn in the adjusting screw until the brake keeps the pulley from turning when the clutch is disengaged and clutch lever is held back. Then tighten the lock nut.

Note: After backing the tractor into the belt and setting each brake latch, it may be difficult to get the gear shift lever into neutral. This is due to binding on the gear teeth caused by the tightness of the belt. To relieve binding, turn the belt pulley backwards by pulling on the belt. The gears then can be shifted easily into neutral.


A saving of one hour in every ten—elimination of the back-breaking work of lowering and raising the equipment by hand and of stopping at the two ends—these are the practical advantages of the hydraulic power lift, pioneered and developed by John Deere.

The power lift is practically trouble-free and requires very little attention other than regular lubrication service. (See “Lubrication.”)


Care should be exercised not to overload the lift. If the implement to be lifted is equipped with auxiliary lifting springs but will not rise when power lift pedals are depressed, the springs should be adjusted. The drop regulating valve should be properly adjusted if a cushioned drop of the implement is desired. Because of the variance in weights of the implements used with the power lift, it may be necessary to make this adjustment each time an implement is changed on the tractor. The lowering speed of the implement can be regulated by turning the valve control screw “in” to lower implement faster and turning the screw “out” to lower implement slower.

To avoid heating the oil, disengage the power shaft when the power shaft or lift are not used on the work you are doing.


The front wheels on your tractor are carried on tapered roller bearings that must be kept in adjustment to assure long bearing life. Twice a year check the front wheels for end play. Raise the wheels off the ground and if end play is evident, the bearings need adjustment.

Adjustment on “A”, “AW”, and “AWH” Tractors.

First, remove the hub cap and cotter key and loosen the lock screw. With a 12-inch wrench, draw adjusting nut up tight. If any other length wrench is used, draw the adjusting nut up until a slight drag is felt when the wheel is rotated. (If the adjusting nut is turned 3 to 4 castellations before it is drawn tight, the wheel should be disassembled and bearings inspected.) After adjusting nut is drawn tight, back it off one full castellation, plus any additional amount required for inserting the cotter key. Install cotter key, tighten lock screw and replace hub cap. Both wheels must be adjusted alike.

Adjustment on “AN” and “ANH” Tractors.

To adjust, back off the front axle bearing lock plate screw; then tighten the adjusting nut until the wheel rotates with a slight drag. Lock the adjustment in the notch closest to this position.

When Should Wheels Be Removed?

At least once a year the front wheels should be removed and all parts of hub and spindle washed clean to remove dirt and the old grease. Examine the bearings, felt washers, and felt retainers and replace if worn.

If bearings are removed, new felt retainers must be used when reassembling.

Front Wheel Spacing for Regular “A” Tractor Only.

In territories where listed crops are grown, it will be easier for the operator to keep the front wheels on the listed ridges if the spacing between the front tires is increased by removing the six hub bolts and reversing the wheels. This changes the clearance at the narrowest point between the two tires from 2-3/8” to 6-1/4”.

This extra clearance is an advantage when the tractor is operated in muddy conditions. Mud will not accumulate under the frame or “ball up” between the wheels.

To provide easier steering during normal field operations, the wheels should be set to the narrow position.


No matter what crops you grow—corn, cotton, potatoes, tobacco, vegetables, beets, beans, or lettuce—no matter what row spacings are required, you can get the exact wheel tread you need.

Extent of Adjustment

When the spoke-type or cast disk wheels are placed on the rear axles with the hub clamps on the outside, the wheels are adjustable from 56 to 73 inches (56 to 80 inches on “ANH” and “AWH” tractors) measured from center to center of treads.

When the wheels are reversed with the hub clamp on the inside, the wheels are adjustable from 71 to 88 inches (80 to 104 inches on “ANH” and “AWH” tractors) measured from center to center of treads.

On tractors equipped with pressed steel wheels, the hub clamp position is reversed.

Changing Rear Wheel Tread.

To change the rear wheel tread on tractors equipped with spoke type, cast disk, or pressed steel wheels, remove the bolts in hub clamp. Screw the bolts into the threaded holes in the hub clamp until the inner end of each bolt contacts the main hub of the wheel. Apply pressure uniformly to bolts until hub clamp is loosened. The wheel can then be moved to any desired position on the axle.

When in desired setting, remove the bolts from the threaded holes in the hub clamp and install them in their original position. Draw up bolts uniformly tight.

It is impossible to remove the hub clamp bolts on pressed steel wheels if they are in the narrow position (56-inch tread).

To loosen the hub clamp so wheels can be moved out, loosen hub clamp bolts and drive against the hub clamp, using a large punch through the openings in the rear wheel hub.

When changing rear wheels from the widest tread position to the narrow position, or vice versa, the wheels must be changed from one side of the tractor to the other if wheels are equipped with rubber tires that have non-reversible tread or steel wheels with spade lugs.

Caution: When changing wheels from one side to the other, always block up tractor securely to prevent damage or accidents.

Preventing Hub Clamps from Freezing to Hub.

After wheel has been properly set on axle but before tightening bolts, slip a piece of wax paper between hub clamp and wheel. This wax paper will aid in removing the hub clamp when wheel tread is to be changed again.


It is important to maintain the proper tire pressure under all conditions. The life of rubber tires can be affected materially by both under and overinflation.


This condition may cause the tire to slip on the rim and tear out valve stems or buckling of the sidewalls, fabric breaks and uneven tire wear.

In plowing, because of the change in weight distribution, the furrow wheel tire usually requires more air than the land wheel tire. Observe the tire from the tractor seat under actual operating conditions. If the tire buckles or wrinkles, increase the tire pressure. (See tire inflation recommendations.)


Overinflation reduces traction, increases wheel slippage, and results in excessive tread wear and fuel consumption.


Rear Tires

Maximum Permissible

Additional Weight per

Inflation Pressure Wheel at Maximum

Tire Ply Without Added Recommended

Wheel Weight Inflation Pressure

Tractor equipped with Pressed Steel Wheels:

11-38 6 12 lbs. 1550 at 20 lbs.

Tractor equipped with Cast Disk Wheels:

11-38 6 12 lbs. 1250 at 20 lbs.

Tractor equipped with Spoke type Wheels:

9.00-40 4 12 lbs. 650 at 14 lbs.


When using mounted implements, consult implement instructions for tire pressures.

Front Tires (All Sizes)

4-Ply – 28 lbs.

6-Ply – 36 lbs.

8-Ply – 44 lbs.

Checking Air Pressure.

Air pressures should be checked every two or three weeks and should not be allowed to drop below the recommendations as shown in the “Rubber Tire Inflation Chart.”

A special low-pressure gauge, with one pound graduations, is necessary in order to get accurate inflation. This gauge should be checked occasionally for accuracy. It may get out of order requiring a correction in the reading.

A special air-water gauge should be secured for testing tires filled with water or calcium chloride solution.

Always replace the screw valve caps and be sure they are on tight to provide a positive air seal.

In the third column of the rubber tire inflation chart are shown minimum air pressures. If additional traction is required, add weight to the wheels. Lowering the air pressure will make little difference in the traction and may ruin the tires.


Why Use Wheel Weights?

Power can be lost in the field and tire life cut drastically by wheel slippage. Wheel slippage can be largely corrected by weighting the rear wheels either by a liquid solution in the tires or by adding cast-iron wheel weights.

Extra weight is needed only for heavy pulling. It is not required for road operation and light work such as planting, harrowing, or cultivating, or when heavy equipment is mounted on the tractor.

Liquid Weight.

Water and calcium chloride solution is an economical means of adding weight to rear wheels equipped with rubber tires. This solution will not damage the inner tube or tire if used in proper proportions and its use has the full approval of the tire companies. Calcium chloride solution is recommended rather than water as it will not freeze. (See your John Deere dealer for this service.)

Cast-Iron Weights.

Where weight in addition to the liquid weight is required or where weight other than a liquid solution is desirable, cast-iron wheel weights, each weighing approximately 150 pounds, can be bolted to the rear wheels. This type of weight can be secured from your John Deere dealer.

In plowing, best results are generally obtained by taking one weight from the furrow wheel and adding it to the land wheel. The tilting of the tractor in plowing throws additional weight on the furrow wheel. Furthermore, the traction in the furrow is usually better than that on unplowed land. By adding weight to the land wheel, there is more uniform distribution of weight over the drive wheels, which is important.


Grease and Oil Shorten Rubber Tire Life.

Tires should not stand on oil-soaked floors and should not come in contact with fuel or oil. Oil softens and deteriorates the rubber, shortening the life of the tires.

Sunlight Shortens Rubber Tire Life.

Bright sunlight causes the surface of the tires to check and harden. When not in use, keep tractor out of the sun if possible. When it is to be stored for any length of time, store it in a cool, dark place, with the tires relieved of their load by jacking up the tractor. If the tractor is stored in the open, it should be covered with canvas or some other suitable material.

Chemicals Shorten Rubber Tire Life.

When using a tractor in spraying and dusting operations, especially with Paris Green and Bordeaux mixtures which contain copper, the tires should be cleaned thoroughly with clean water after each spraying operation.

Careless Driving Shortens Rubber Tire Life.

Driving over rough ground at high speed puts an undue strain on fabric and very definitely shortens tire life. Driving over rocks, stones, tree stumps, etc., is hard on tires.

If your tires frequently run over objects which would pierce them, such as citrus tree thorns, cactus, and certain kinds of stubble, a heavy inner liner should be used between the tire and the tube. This will prevent most punctures. Get inner liners from a tire dealer.

Inspecting Tires.

Inspect your tires at regular intervals for possible injuries. The sidewall or tread rubber may be cut through, exposing the fabric so that moisture and dirt can get in and cause rotting of the fabric. There are rubber compounds on the market for filling these cuts. If the break is more than 2 inches long, have it vulcanized for permanency. Your John Deere dealer may be able to do this for you.


All drawn equipment should be hitched only to the drawbar.

The drawbar is provided with three main adjustments which, together with adjustments provided on the plow or other drawn equipment, enable the operator to obtain a correct line of draft. Correct line of draft is essential for greatest amount of drawbar pull, easy steering, and least amount of rear wheel slippage.

Lengthwise Adjustment.

The swinging drawbar is provided with two lengthwise adjustments so that the drawn implement can be hitched closer to or farther from the tractor.

Tractors are shipped from the factory with the swinging drawbar in the short position; that is, with the square end to the rear. The position is recommended for general work and when the D834A Non-Swinging Drawbar Plow Clevis is used.

To change the lengthwise adjustment, remove the roller and two bolts that hold the swinging drawbar to the drawbar tongue. Reverse drawbar end for end, replace roller with large end to rear, and install the two drawbar bolts.

Horizontal Adjustment.

The crossbar upon which the swinging drawbar swings has a series of holes which are used for locking the swinging drawbar in any one of a number of fixed horizontal positions. Bolts or pins dropped in the holes on both sides of the swinging drawbar will hold it in place.

For plowing, locate the center of load and attach tractor to plow with a correct line of draft. (See Figure 57.) The plow drawbar from “E” to “B” should be about parallel with the line of travel. The swinging drawbar should be locked in position for plowing.

Note: To find the center of load: First, find total cut of plow. Half of total cut is center of cut. Measure to left of center of cut ¼ the width of cut of one bottom to get center of load.

When power shaft is used, set swinging drawbar in line vertically with center of power shaft. The drawbar height should be adjusted so that the hitch hole is about six inches below the power shaft center.

For disking, harrowing, and other similar work where it is necessary to turn corners under load, the drawbar should be free to swing.

Vertical Adjustment.

Due to variable land conditions and variable heights of hitch points on tractor-drawn implements, the drawbar may have to be raised or lowered to obtain maximum traction and effective steering. Three vertical adjustments are provided. (See Figure 58.)

If the tractor drawbar at “B” is placed too high, the pull of the drawn implement unbalances the tractor pulling down on rear end and up on front which causes difficult steering. This frequently occurs when plowing up hill and under these conditions the tractor drawbar should be lowered.

If the tractor drawbar is too low, it tends to raise the rear wheels causing wheel slippage and loss of power at the drawbar. This frequently occurs when drawing equipment with higher hitch points than the tractor drawbar. The tractor drawbar should be raised to secure traction.

The above figure illustrates the correct vertical hitch adjustment for tractor-drawn plows. The hitch is in line with line of draft as shown by dotted line between “B”, the hitch point, and “C”, the center of load.

The correct hitch at “A” is the place where “A” is in a true line between point of hitch “B” and the center of the load “C” on the plow.


If your tractor is equipped with electric starter or lights, follow the simple precautions and service operations below for maximum satisfaction.


The battery is used for storing chemical energy which is converted into electrical energy whenever you demand the use of the starting motor or lights. For the battery to continually perform these functions, it is necessary that current withdrawals be replaced by current from the generator.

Battery life will depend upon how religiously you adhere to the following suggestions.

Cleaning Battery.

At least once a week wipe off the top of the battery with a cloth dampened with water. If corrosion is present around the terminal connections, loosen it up with a stiff bristle brush and then apply a solution consisting of ¼ pound of soda added to one quart of water. Then flush the battery with clear water. After cleaning, examine the vent holes in each cap, making sure they are open. Battery connections must be clean as well as tight. A thorough coating of vaseline on each terminal connection will greatly aid in retarding the accumulation of corrosion.

Checking Water Level.

Check the electrolyte (acid and water solution) in the battery for proper level. If the electrolyte level is low, add distilled water or any water that you would be willing to drink, until the level recommended is reached. As this level varies in batteries made by different manufacturers, consult the dealer from whom you purchased the battery. The electrolyte level, however, should never be permitted to go lower than the top of the cell plates. In freezing weather, do not add water until after the engine has started, as water will not mix with the electrolyte until the generator passes a charging current into the battery.

Checking Specific Gravity.

The specific gravity of the electrolyte should be checked with an accurate hydrometer before adding water. If liquid level is too low to check, add water, run the engine for a few minutes—permitting the water and electrolyte to mix—then check. Specific gravity should not go below 1.225 which is half charge. When fully charged, the reading will be 1.280 to 1.300. Note. Because temperature affects batteries, some manufacturers make a special battery for tropical areas. The specific gravity reading on a fully-charged tropical battery will be between 1.210 and 1.230.

Cold Weather Operation.

If the tractor is not used enough in cold weather to maintain specific gravity of the battery electrolyte above half-charge, the battery should be removed to a cool place (above freezing) and should be checked and recharged every thirty days to prevent damage to the plates.

Caution: If necessary to operate the tractor without the battery, remove the field wire from the generator marked “F” on the generator frame; otherwise, the generator will be damaged.

Do not place battery on a concrete floor, as cold concrete tends to draw strength from the battery. Where the temperature drops below freezing, precautions should be taken to avoid damage to the cells from freezing. A badly discharged battery freezes more quickly than one that is well charged. For example, a battery with a specific gravity reading of 1.175 (discharged) will freeze at 4°F., and a battery with a specific gravity reading 1.300 (fully charged) will not freeze until temperature reaches –95°F. Freezing weather will not damage charged batteries.

Battery Installation.

The battery should not be permitted to bounce around in the battery compartment as this will jar active material off the cell plates, shortening the life of the battery. Neither should the battery hold-down bracket be tightened too tight as this will buckle the battery case causing the cell plates to crack. Caution: When working with the battery, remember that all its exposed metal parts are “alive.”

Danger Connected with Battery.

Avoid laying a tool or wire across the terminals as a spark or short circuit will result. All sparks or open flames must be kept away from the battery as the gas given off by the electrolyte is highly inflammable. If electrolyte is spilled on clothing, damage will result if diluted ammonia or some other counteracting agent is not applied immediately to affected parts.


The generator is a means of converting mechanical energy into electrical energy. The generator used on your tractor is of the belt-driven, adjustable third brush type. The charging rate, after once set inside the generator, is controlled by a “two-step charge rate” hand control built into the light switch. See section on “The Light Switch.”

The purpose of the generator is to supply current for lights and keep the battery in a charged condition by replacing in the battery the energy consumed by the cranking motor in starting.

If at any time you find it necessary to operate the tractor without the battery, remove the field wire from generator terminal marked “F” on generator frame or slip off the generator belt and wire it back against the fan shaft. If generator runs without the battery, excessive voltage will built up on the generator causing damage to the generator windings.

Adjusting Drive Belt Tension.

To adjust belt tension, rotate generator drive pulley until all slack in the belt is on top. Loosen the screw through slotted strap and two mounting bolt nuts. Move generator out or in until belt is adjusted with one-inch up and down movement at the center of the belt between the two pulleys. After tension is adjusted, tighten screw and nuts. To install a new generator belt, loosen generator and slip belt over fan blade and onto generator and generator drive pulleys. Adjust belt as mentioned above.

Checking and Adjusting Charge Rate.

To check the generator charging rate, first, push the light switch all the way in. Run the tractor engine at fast idle (1075 R.P.M.). If you operate your tractor without the use of the lights or use them only occasionally, the generator charging rate should be adjusted to approximately 2 ampere charge on the ammeter located on instrument panel. If during busy seasons you operate all night, the charge rate must be set so ammeter shows a 4-1/2 ampere charge. To change charging rate, remove the generator dust band and loosen the brush holder screw. Move the brush in direction armature rotates to increase, and move in opposite direction to decrease. After obtaining desired charging rate, tighten the rush holding screw. Replace the cover band, making sure it is tight and covers the openings properly.

If irregularities occur in the charging rate during the operation of the tractor, an investigation should be made immediately to determine the cause.

See “Generator Lubrication.”


The light and generator charging rate control switch is designed to operate in three positions. The results obtained in each of the three positions are as follows:

  1. When switch is pushed all the way in, generator output is regulated for normal use and tractor should be operated with switch in this position at all times except when battery charge is noticeably low.
  2. When switch is pulled out to first notch, the generator output is increased. This position is intended for use only when the battery charge is too low for satisfactory operation. Caution: Check and add water to battery as required before operating on high charge rate. Do not operate more than five hours at a time on this setting.
  3. When switch is pulled all the way out, the lights are turned on and the higher generator output is maintained to take care of the lamp load.

Note: See that all connections to switch, generator and ammeter are tight. (Do not tighten connections when generator is running.) If generator does not charge when light switch is all the way in but does charge in any of the other switch positions it indicates that the resistance unit is burned out and a new switch should be installed.


The starting motor used on your tractor is of the heavy-duty type, built to carry a big load for a short period of time. Considerable amperage is required from the battery whenever the starting motor is used. As this drain is heavy on the battery and creates considerable heat in the cranking motor, it is advisable to limit the length of time the cranking motor is used to ½ minute. A two minute rest period is then recommended to permit time for the electrolyte to again work on the active material of each plate, restoring the battery to a more satisfactory charge. This rest period will also allow the heat to escape from the starting motor.

If Starting Motor Fails.

If starting motor fails to function when the starting switch is operated, a complete inspection should be made as follows:

  • See if the battery has a high enough charge.
  • Check for defective cables, loose or corroded connections. Any of these conditions will result in poor starting-motor performance.
  • Do not lubricate drive member as oil collects dust and grit which will encourage sticking and cause rapid wear.
  • Should the battery charge be too low, the tractor can be cranked by hand. To do this, remove the tractor steering wheel, insert the stub shaft with cross pin and engage with crank ratchet on flywheel.


The fuse is located in the lead wire which connects the light switch and ammeter. If the lights fail check the fuse. If fuse continues to burn out check wiring for short circuits or loose connections. It is important to use a 20 ampere fuse. A smaller or larger capacity fuse will not do.

A fuse is not used on tractors equipped with electric starter only (without lights) and the light switch is used to control high and low generator charge rate only.


Tractor lights require 6-8 volt, 32 candle power, single contact type bulbs.


Tractor should not be started for a few minutes after gasoline has been accidentally spilled over the starting motor. Gasoline spilled may ignite when starting motor is operated.


  • Keep your tractor clean, well lubricated, and adjusted properly. Remember the old saying, “A farmer is judged by the appearance and condition of his farm machinery.”
  • Use clean water in the cooling system. Don’t start the engine unless the cooling system is full of water.
  • When stopping the engine, shut off the fuel control valve and then drain the carburetor.
  • Avoid over-choking in starting.
  • Be sure all air intake connections to the carburetor are tight.
  • Be sure oil gauge registers immediately after engine starts.
  • Be sure rear wheels are tight on rear axle splines before driving tractor.
  • Avoid clashing gears in shifting. Let pulley rotate very slowly for easy shifting.
  • Fix at once leaky fuel tanks, lines or filter bowl bodies. Eliminate fire hazards.
  • Use a feeler gauge for setting such clearances as valve tappets, spark plug gap and magneto breaker points.
  • Storage batteries should be inspected once a week. Check specific gravity and solution level according to instructions.
  • Avoid racing and overloading the engine during the warm-up period, especially during cold weather. Save eventual trouble and expense.
  • Make it a practice to inspect your tractor periodically for loose nuts, bolts, cap screws, and cracked castings. Overlooking the little things can often be the cause of loss of time and added expense.
  • Caution: Do not tighten the cap screws or remove the two covers as shown in the figure at right because the position of these two covers controls gear adjustments inside the governor.


  • If your tractor is to be put in storage or laid up for the winter months, these suggestions, if followed, will prevent excessive deterioration.
  • The tractor should be cleaned thoroughly and stored in a dry place.
  • Drain all oil from crankcase and oil filter, wash case with fuel. Refill with proper amount of S.A.E. 10-W oil, run engine idle for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • All water should be drained by removing the drain plug in bottom of cylinder head. Flush the cooling system to wash out any sediment which may have collected during the season’s work. The water drain plug should be left out so that any water which might collect in the radiator or the water jacket by condensation will drain out.
  • All fuels should be thoroughly drained out and the drain valve left open. Caution: If fuel is allowed to stand in tanks, fuel lines, and carburetors, a gummy substance will form in the carburetor jets and passage and will cause plenty of trouble.
  • With the engine cold, put one-half pint of good engine oil in each cylinder through spark plug holes. Replace plugs and turn engine over several times to work the oil in between the piston and the cylinder.
  • Tractors equipped with rubber tires should be relieved of all weight by blocking up tractor. Raise tractor high enough so tires do not touch ground. Protect tires from heat and light to prevent undue deterioration. Before putting tractor back in service, tires should be properly inflated.
  • If tractor is equipped with steel wheels, it should be driven up on boards. This will prevent the lugs from being frozen in the ground. The tractor will then be available for use.
  • Protect the battery from freezing as described in “Cold Weather Operation.”
  • Inspect tractor for worn or damaged parts which may later cause expensive delays.
  • Between tractor working seasons is a good time to repair, clean, and paint the tractor. This can be done by your John Deere dealer at a nominal cost and will prove a profitable investment as paint prevents rust, corrosion, and deterioration.


  • According to safety authorities, agriculture is one of the most hazardous of all industries. More farmers were killed by accident during the last year on record than construction workers, miners, or factory workers. Careless use of the tractor and other farm machinery causes 29 out of every 100 farm accidents. The following rules are based on a study of thousands of farm accidents and, if followed, will make your farm a safer place on which to live and work. Study these rules carefully. Follow them yourself and insist that they be followed by those working with you and for you.
  • All machinery should be operated only by those who are responsible and delegated to do so.
  • Only one person—the operator—should be permitted on the tractor platform when tractor is in operation.
  • The rate of tractor travel on hillsides and curves should always be such that there is no danger from tipping.
  • Refuel your tractor only when the engine has been shut off. Do not smoke or use an oil lantern while refueling.
  • Refill the radiator only when the engine is idling. Be sure that there is no steam pressure back of the radiator cap to cause scalding when cap is removed.
  • Be sure power take-off shields and guards are in place and in good order before starting field work.
  • Tractor brakes should be properly adjusted.
  • Do not oil, grease, or adjust a farm machine that is in motion.
  • Clothing worn by tractor or machine operator should be fairly tight and belted. Loose jackets, skirts, shirts, or sleeves should not be permitted because of the danger of getting into moving parts.
  • All women operators should wear trousers or slacks.
  • Never drive a tractor too close to the edge of a ditch or creek.
  • Never operate your tractor in a closed garage or shed.
  • Be sure that gear shift lever of your tractor is in neutral before starting the engine.
  • When your tractor is hitched to a stump or heavy load, always hitch to drawbar and never take up the slack in chain with a jerk.
  • Always keep tractor in gear when going down steep grades.
  • Never ride on drawbar of tractor or drawn implement.
  • Drive at speeds slow enough to insure your safety. Reduce to low speed before turning quickly or apply individual brakes. Drive slowly over rough ground.
  • Do not ride or permit others to ride on any machine unless the person is on the seat or platform provided for the operator.
  • Do not leave the engine running unattended, even though the clutch is disengaged, while anyone is adjusting or repairing the machine to which the tractor is belted.
  • Inspect the clutch and pulley brake mechanism frequently. See that it is in good condition.
  • Never engage the clutch unless you are in a position to disengage it if necessary.
  • Keep a firm grip on the steering wheel at all times when the speed is increased.
  • In hitching a drawn implement to the tractor, back the tractor past the clevis. Then move it slowly forward so that, in making the connection, the tractor will be moving away from you.
  • Provide a first-aid kit at the house for use in case of accident, and use the proper antiseptics on scratches, cuts, etc., without delay, to prevent the possibility of blood poisoning.
  • Finally, remember this: An accident is usually caused by someone’s carelessness, neglect, or oversight.



  • Possible Cause/Possible Remedy:
  • No gasoline in starting tank. Fill with fresh gasoline.
  • Old gasoline in start tank. Drain and fill with fresh gasoline.
  • Distillate or tractor fuel left in carburetor. Drain carburetor and fill with fresh gasoline.
  • No gasoline to carburetor. Clean gasoline tank screen and fuel lines.
  • Water in fuel. Drain fuel. Clean plugs.
  • No spark. See “Ignition System.”
  • Poor compression. Leaky valves. Worn or stuck rings. Call service man.
  • Water in cylinder. Leaking head gasket. Have service man check.


  • Improper carburetor setting. See “Adjusting the Carburetor.”
  • Improper spark plug spacing. Space spark plugs at .030”.
  • Irregular spark. Dirty points. See “Magneto Distributor.”
  • Irregular governor action. Have service man check.
  • Improper carburetor linkage. Have service man check.
  • Worn throttle shaft bushing. Have service man check and replace.
  • Governor to carburetor linkage binding. Clean and relieve bind.


  • Throttle not wide open. Open throttle.
  • Carburetor adjusted too lean. Adjust. See “Adjusting the Carburetor.”
  • Unsatisfactory fuel. Change fuels.
  • Engine not up to temperature. Close shutter and operate on gasoline until engine temperature is 180°F.
  • Air cleaner dirty or obstructed. Clean cup and inspect filter pack. Wash out with gasoline or tractor fuel if clogged.
  • Obstruction in fuel system. See “Fuel System.”
  • Engine speed too low. Have service man check and set speed.
  • Magneto timed too late. See “Installing Magneto on Tractor.”
  • Vent in fuel tank cap obstructed. Clean vent. Wash in gasoline and blow out with air.
  • Too heavy an oil in air cleaner. Use same weight of oil as in engine crankcase.
  • Crankcase oil too heavy. See “Viscosity of Oil.”
  • Engine knocks excessively. Using fuel with too low an octane. Change fuel.
  • Engine overheating. See that shutter is operating correctly. Clean trash from radiator core. Flush cooling system.
  • Poor compression. Leaky valves. Worn or stuck rings. Call service man to check.
  • Improper hitching of belting to equipment. See instruction book accompanying equipment for proper hitching or belting.
  • Operating in too fast gear. Shift to a lower speed.


  • Magneto timed too early. See “Installing Magneto on Tractor.”
  • Excessive carbon in engine. Call service man to clean and reset valves.
  • Low octane fuel. Change to fuel with higher octane.
  • Engine overheating. Check water level. Clean core and remove chaff and trash.
  • Worn bearings, bushings, etc. Call service man.


  • Temperature gauge defective. Check water with thermometer. Have service man replace gauge if defective. (To overheat, a tractor must use water.)*
  • Chaff and trash in radiator core. Clean core by flushing out chaff.
  • Radiator shutter will not go to the wide open position. Check adjustment. Lubricate control screw.
  • Radiator system limed up. Add radiator cleaner solution to dissolve lime deposits and flush out radiator.
  • Use of fuel that causes knocking. Change to a better fuel.


  • Crankcase oil too light. See “Viscosity of Oil.”
  • Engine speed too high. Have service man check and set.
  • Oil pressure too high. Have service man check and adjust.
  • External leaks. Check gaskets and plugs. Replace if necessary.
  • Loose connecting rod bearings. Have service man adjust.
  • Piston rings worn or stuck. Have service man replace.
  • Cylinders worn. See your dealer for rebored or new block assembly.


  • Using too heavy a fuel. Change fuel.
  • Running engine too cold. Maintain 190°F. engine temperature.
  • Idling engine for long periods. Shut engine off or idle on gasoline.
  • Using too light a crankcase oil. See “Viscosity of Oil.”
  • Worn engine piston rings or cylinders. Have service man check.
  • Oil pressure too low. Have service man check and adjust.


  • Defective gauge. Have service man check with master gauge.
  • Loose or broken oil line. Have service man check and repair at once.
  • Improper weight of oil. See “Viscosity of Oil.”
  • Pressure regulating valve stuck. Have service man check.
  • Bearings worn and loose. Have service man adjust.


  • Improper carburetor adjustment. See “Adjusting the Carburetor.”
  • Float level too high. Have service man adjust.
  • Engine not operated up to proper temperature. Maintain 190°F. engine temperature.
  • Engine overloaded. Lighten load or shift to a slower speed.
  • Improper hitch of drawn implement. See implement instruction book for proper hitch.
  • Engine speed too fast. Have service man check and reset.
  • Poor compression. Have service man check valves and rings.


  • Low engine temperature. Keep engine above 190°F.
  • Too heavy a fuel. Change to more suitable fuel.
  • Mixed fuel. Keep engine above 190°F.
  • Wrong heat range plug. See “Spark Plug.”
  • Piston rings worn. Have service man replace rings.


  • Improperly adjusted. See “Rear wheel Brakes.”
  • Over lubricated. Have service man remove and clean out.
  • Brake lining worn. Have service man replace.
  • Brake squeak. Have service man clean.
  • Brake pedal sticking. Clean brake shaft with distillate and lubricate.


  • Out of adjustment. See “Pulley Brake.”
  • Lining worn. Have service man replace.


  • Power shaft not engaged. Engage power shaft.
  • Low oil level. See “Power Lift.”
  • Pedal travel restricted. Eliminate interference.
  • Overloaded. Adjust auxiliary springs on mounted equipment.
  • Cylinder gaskets or leather leaking. Have service man check and correct.


  • Cylinder gaskets or leather leaking. Have service man check and correct.
  • Control valve leaking. Have service man reseat valve.


  • Overloaded. Adjust auxiliary springs on mounted equipment.


  • Too slow a drop. See “Power Lift.”
  • Too fast a drop. See “Power Lift.”


  • Leaky gaskets. Have service man replace.
  • Leaky oil seals. Have service man replace.