1944 John Deere Model D

SN 155590


†† This model D entered the John Deere warehouse April 26, 1944 and was shipped April 29, 1944 destination Norton KS.[1]† The dealer in Norton was my Uncle, Jim Gallentine who managed that dealership from 1934 to 1944.† When he sold out in 1944 he kept this Model D.


†† I remember the tractor as an 8-year-old boy seeing his first new tractor!† Uncle Jim used it to pull a field cutter the fall of 1944 and I was to pack in the silo with Dadís 1931 JD GP.† Mother would deliver me to the silo after school and Dad would bring me home at quitting time.† Of course I got to ride on the new tractor in the field.


†† Uncle Jim took the tractor to his farm in Brewster KS the fall of 1944 where it was used until he quit farming in 1952.† That fall Dad purchased the tractor and other equipment from Jim.† The Tractor came with a Farm Hand loader on it.† The loader became its primary use for many years.† In 1970, I purchased Dadís machinery to include the D, which I used until mid 1970ís when I parked it as the loader had broken loose from the tractor.†


†† Iím not sure how many years it sat west of my brother Jerryís house, but it must have been close to 30 years.† The rear tires had fluid in them and the right one ruptured over time spilling the salty fluid over the rim and rusting it and the cast wheel badly.† The engine remained free.† It became evident in the fall of 2002 that the old tractor needed to be moved or junked.†


†† I began thinking of the old tractorís Gallentine connection and it became clear I needed to keep and restore it because of its considerable significance in my life.† So in Sept. of 2002 Jerry and I removed the loader and blocked up the rear of the old tractor.† First item to restore was the tires and one rim.† With the help of CWís Welding at Norcatur KS the rusted wheel was removed along with stud bolts that secured the rim.† I located a rim and used tires at Bridgeport NE and Ann and I picked them up Sept. 17.† Brian of Ronís Tire Oberlin KS mounted the tires and new tubes Sept 21 and neighbor Lee Eckhart and I pulled it home that day and put it in the shed.† (Total cost $864)


†† The most obvious problem was gas not entering the carburetor.† The gas tank was removed and drained.† The carburetor was removed after twisting off the bolts that held it to the manifold.† After cleaning the carburetor, a new kit was installed.† The bolts were extracted from the manifold and the carburetor put back on.† I was sure the tractor would now run and Ann pulled me with the pick-up.† It did not fire at all and it sounded funny.† Air was being pushed back through the carburetor and into the air cleaner.†


†† Next the tappet cover was removed but I could not see the valves.† After studying the manuals, I decided to remove the radiator and tappet case to reveal the valves.† Both exhaust valves were stuck badly. Next the head was removed and taken to the local John Deere dealer for repair.† It was also noted that the exhaust valve push rods were badly bent.† Upon opening the crankcase and exploring with light it was noted that the left cam follower was broken.† Now the search for repairs began.


†† I found that the John Deere dealer at Oberlin could secure many parts and gaskets. They were ordered as well as a new exhaust pipe.† A used cam follower and two push rods were purchased at Garyís Implement at Bridgeport NE.† (Cost for repairs at Garyís Imp. $80.51)


†† At this point I became apprehensive concerning my mechanical skill.† I knew that the connecting rods and pistons would need to be removed. The last time I saw that procedure was watching Dad when I was in grade school.† I had several questions and contacted Mike Williams of Clinton, IA who is a Technical Council Representative for the Two-Cylinder Club.† I am a member and as such I have access to their expertise.† He was great.† He encouraged me to continue and said he would talk me through any problem.† He is a Model D expert and accomplished machinist and restorer.†


†† I could see that a lot of heavy parts needed to be removed so began a search for an engine hoist on the internet and finding the best buy at Allpro of Oberlin.† The weather also was getting colder and many days I didnít work on it at all but continued to read all I could about the model D.† I also removed the upper water pipe from the block after many days of soaking the bolts loose. I finally disconnected the piston rods from the crankshaft and remove the block pistons and all as I didnít want to put on new rings.† The fly wheel was also removed.† Replacing the cam follower took only about 15 min. after the block was removed!† Now the block was reattached and the front wheels secured after broken stud bolts were removed.† I covered the tractor until the spring of 2003 when I decided to re-ring it with the encouragement of neighbor Lee Eckhart who was much experienced with the two cylinder tractors.† He was a great help in putting on the new rings, devising little tools to slide on the new rings. He also helped secure the rods to the crank shaft and showed me how to adjust using the shims. The head was still being repaired by the JD people.†


†† After four months the head was ready. It cost $1000 for the R and R but it came back all new, valves, seats, springs, guides and tested for cracks and warping.† It looked like chrome!† By this time I had purchased a torque wrench capable of tightening the block to 240 ft. lbs. and continued to use it on all bolts.† On Aug.17, 2003 the water pipe was reinstalled and tightened to 100 ft. lbs. and then the head attached and tightened to 208 ft. lbs.† The block connection was covered with grease as the sealant and the head gasket was covered with oil.† The interface for the water pipe was sealed with Form a Gasket on a home made gasket as I could not purchase one.† All the interfaces were cleaned thoroughly prior to instillation.†


†† While cleaning the tappet case a crease was noted in the oil line that feeds oil to the tappets and valve guides.† I was reasonable certain that the crease was there for a purpose as it appeared to be made on purpose and not accidental.† I also needed advice on adjusting the valve tappet clearance so I called Mike Williams again.† He assured me that the crease was on purpose and explained how to adjust the valves as follows:† 1) bring cylinder no. 1 up to the top of compression stroke and remove all clearance on its valves then back up one full turn and lock adjustment screw down; 2) Turn the flywheel Ĺ turn, 180 degrees, and adjust valves on no. 2 as on no. 1.†


†† On Aug. 20, 2003, with Leeís help the tappet case was replaced and the valves adjusted according to the above method.† We then rolled the engine to check our work and decided we had indeed done it correctly.† The temperature in the shop while we worked was 103 degrees. †


†† Next the radiator was installed using home made gaskets and Form a Gasket as a sealer.† Then the gas tank was fastened on and the new exhaust pipe attached.† Lee came down and cleaned the points in the magneto and determined how the spark plug wires should go.† New plugs were used.† Now we were ready to start it!† By removing the right front wheel, we were able to belt it to the ď70Ē and start it and it ran but not without the choker being half on.† Lee decided he had made an error in putting the carburetor to gather.† It was removed.† Also the fan shaft was rattling too much so I removed the radiator to find the cause.† I had put in a new front fan bearing and neglected to snug the bearing up to shoulder on the shaft giving the shaft to much end play.† That was corrected and the carburetor was again installed.†


On Sept.17, 2003, the old D came out of the shop on its on power.† It was started by hand cranking and ran quite well except the idle needle needed adjustment.†

[1] John Deere and Company Archives