1940 John Deere Model H
I found my John Deere H in Marksville, LA. I was negotiating with the owner for a stationary engine that I was interested in. Somewhere in the conversation he asked if I was interested in a tractor. I said sure. So, the following weekend I traveled to Marksville to look at the engine and tractor. I ended up buying them both. The picture to the right was taken right after unloading the tractor at my shop.
So began a two year restoration project. As you can see, the tractor was in pretty bad shape. But the engine wasn't stuck and the magneto was good. The previous owner told me that it had last run about three years before, but it had been sitting out in a field since then. I changed the oil, cleaned out the carburator, and rigged up a temporary gas tank. With a little bit of coaxing I was able to get it started.
I stripped it down all the way to the case cleaning off years of caked on grease and grime. As the picture to the right shows, I tore the tractor down as far as it could be torn down. Every piece on the tractor was either buffed or sandblasted down to bare metal. I found several gears in the transmission chewed up pretty bad and replaced them. One of the front wheels was not original but I was able to buy one from another local collector.
I was pleased to discover that parts were readily available both from used parts suppliers as well as the John Deere Dealer. I worked on it as I had time, which wasn't as often as I would have liked. Since I'm not a painter, I struggled with what to do about painting it. I discovered that Rustoleum paint was available in John Deere green and yellow and that our local hardware store had it in stock. Though some might frown on painting a tractor out of a spray can, it turned out pretty nice.
It was finally starting to look like a tractor again. By the time the picture at the right was taken, it was running again and I was actually able to drive it around the yard. Notice the temporary exhaust pipe fabricated for me by a local muffler shop. New tires were installed all around.
After two years of work, my tractor was finally complete.