Growing Up With Deeres - By Eric Thatcher

I currently don't own one. I just recently sold my 1949 John Deere "G". However, I do intend to replace it as soon as possible with another 2 cylinder Deere product. I used mine not only as a hobby interest but to do real work. My "G" was fitted with an after market "Yakima" 3 point hitch (which I kept when I sold the tractor), and I used it with a blade for grading work around my place and with a bush hog mower to keep my pastures trimmed.

I grew up with John Deeres. My Dad farmed with a '47 "B" which he bought new with all the equipment and a '49 "A" which he bought used in 1952. I put lots of hours on both of them. The "B" must have been an early production run of the new styled "B's" that came out that year with the bigger engine, pressed steel frame rails, electric start with a fully enclosed flywheel, and power troll.

For some reason this tractor was a problem in the beginning. The dealer attributed it to sloppy manufacturing following the War. Whatever the case, it could never be timed properly according to factory specs and with it's existing flywheel marks. According to the factory at the time, some of these early "B's" had the wrong number of teeth on the gear inside the governor box.

The fix at that time was to remark the flywheel and time it according to that point. This may have been a dealer "fix" rather than factory sanctioned. It seemed they had a real reluctance to bother anything involving the governor assembly.

At any rate, the old "B" served us for about 17 years before we traded it off. I used to love to mow with it using a No. 5 semi-mounted mower. With mower lead set right, a sharpe syckle, and a smooth field, you could sometimes mow alfalfa in 5th gear.....although 4th was usually the norm.

We found our "A" didn't have quite enough power for 3-14's... so early on we had it bored out and aluminum pistons installed. This boosted our horsepower on a PTO dynomometer to about 42 (on a good day). We also went from 11-38 tires to 12-38 tires which seemed to make it considerably faster. With that configuration we pulled 3-14's in 2nd gear in nearly all conditions and 3rd gear in some lighter soils in cool weather. Third gear proved to be almost too fast for most plowing after we increased the tire size.

The biggest problem we found with the "A" was that without the water pump installed on later models, it tended to overheat under prolonged hard pulls in hot weather. I can remember working down plowed ground with a 12 ft International followed by a 13 ft Deere heavy harrow. With one eye glued to the temperature guage I prayed I would make it to the end of the field so I could turn around and go back the other way with the wind in my face so the "A" would cool back down.

Anyway....hope I haven't gone on too long. Just thought I might share these experiences with you. Keep up the good work. EMT

Eric Thatcher

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