Dangers of Driving Deeres

| 2/28/2012 10:50:13 AM

Tags: John Deere 70 Diesel, vintage farm equipment, century farm, antique farming, growing up on a farm, farm stories,

OSFB HeadshotOur vintage farm equipment sat idle a few years after Dad's retirement. Most of it has been in the family since before I was born, so I consider it all my brothers and sisters of iron. After a long rest, we went to work on checking and getting it field ready and back in the game.

Case hauling bales
Our Case 830 Diesel back to work hauling bales. After a careful disassembly and cleaning of the fuel injection pump, I gladly came back to life and preform its tasks as designed. 

We have four vintage tractors on the farm. The 830 Case, our biggest had set idle after the cows were sold off. It had been used to feed the large round bales. When the battery was charged and the jumper cables applied, we found the engine would turn over, but wouldn’t start. Also I wasn't getting the tell-tale diesel "smoke" from the stack that would have been a sign that the cylinders were getting fuel. I determined compression was OK because the engine would light off on good-ol gasket-blowin connecting rod bendin starting either.

Deere in weeds
The 70 Diesel had set for a longer period than the Case. With a check of the fluids, topping off of the gasoline, battery boost for the pony engine, John-John started on the first try. 

We then decided to take a page out of the old physics book regarding liquids and take the path of least resistance, which meant giving our 1955 John Deere 70 Diesel a run at the field. This tractor has been a good runner all of its life and despite a few eccentricities, it will give a good days work. The current ticks it has are very little brakes, the power steering sector hangs up, and we have little time or money to tend to either.

After checking the condition of all fluid levels, I climbed up, went through the pony engine gyrations to lite off some diesel fuel, prepared to snag an implement, and roll to the field. After attaching the chisel, I selected fourth gear like I had done years earlier, tapped the throttle, and firmly engaged the clutch. As the tractor lurched forward for the next few moments, I experienced an adrenaline rush equal to that of finding a bee’s nest in the pasture while mowing. The engine was strong and responded well to my commands; however the steering and brakes were less enthusiastic. I found myself putt-putting along at a lively gate for the house unable to control the direction of the equipment. As I jerked back on the clutch, I literally stood on both brakes with all my mental capacity focused on the conversations I was going to have on how the restoration of the house was taking a totally different direction with a hole through the bathroom wall and the tractor nestled comfortably in the dining room. A photo shoot of a 1880's farmhouse with a bay window in the privy could have been a trend setter - see who's driving in the yard or eating dinner while sit-in on the can.

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old school farm boy
3/20/2012 2:30:04 AM

Thanks for the welcome Mary, I love to hear and read stories of others experiences. I think I have heard other stories of Farmalls brakes going bye bye making trips down hills loaded a bit dicey.

old school farm boy
3/20/2012 2:22:44 AM

Thanks for the welcome Nebraska Dave. I am glad to hear that my stories are enjoyed and I do have many more to come. I have a tendency to lean to the mechanical side of story telling and wasn't sure if others would find the humor in it. I also enjoyed reading your reply with your childhood and the B working the fields. It sure was a great feeling to be turned loose with the equipment to do a days work. Spent so much time in the sun in those days I still have a permanent "farmers suntan"

nebraska dave
2/29/2012 2:59:59 PM

OSFB, Welcome to the GRIT blogging world. I enjoyed your first post and hope to read many more. Nice set of tractors. My tractor experience was back in my pre and early teens and gave me many hours of pure pleasure on the seat of a John Deere 1949 B. Later while in high school, I acquired a John Deere H but left it behind when I went to college never to return (to live) on the farm again. Those young years of farming were glorious years to remember. My first driving lessons were on the seat of a John Deere in front of my uncle. Soon by the age of 10 or maybe 11, I was driving the tractor by myself with close supervision from my uncle who was close by. At age 12, I was disking and harrowing with minimal supervision. All from the seat of that John Deere B tractor. I think that you are getting the idea that my favorite tractor would be the John Deere B model. It's a far cry from the monstrous four tire behemoths of today that could never be controlled by a 10 year old adolesant. Those early years set the course and work ethics that stuck with me for all my career working years. I followed another passion in life which was the budding technology path and now in retirement the DNA seeded into my life way back then has returned with a passion in gardening. Have a great tractor day.

mary carton
2/29/2012 4:03:09 AM

Welcome to GRIT. I blog as Rosedale Garden, a name from our dairy. Dad had an old farmall that didn't have brakes when it turned off. One day coming down the mountain with 5 tons of silage the thing turned off. While speeding down the hill he was finally able to get it stopped. I was so glad when he traded it for a new tractor.

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