The story of my Bs restoration up to this point.


Bemidji, MN
I had been sending my Great Great Uncle Norris letters asking if I could buy a John Deere tractor (he owns at least 50 tractors of various makes, mostly International Harvester. He also has 4 or 5 sheds packed with all sorts of antiques) from him for four or five years . We (My father, mother, sister and brother) went to the annual family picnic held at a church that borders Norris property on July 16, 2022. We had two hayrides, (he lives in the country) one pulled by an Allis Chalmers C and the other with an Oliver 1850T. When we got back to the church I was standing next to the C, talking about tractors with Norris and Ted Ryden. I had been listing off tractors I'd driven, including a John Deere 4620. I had just said that I had yet to drive any two-cylinder tractors when Norris asked "Were you the one asking about buying a John Deere?" I said, " Yeah, that was me." Then he said "Well, you can have one, for nothing." I said in disbelief, "Seriously, I can have one for free?" He nodded. Ted said, "Well, you better go see what he s got." I said, "Yeah, I should." I thanked Norris several times and set out to find a tractor. As I mentioned above he has a lot of tractors so I had a few choices. I settled on a John Deere B with good sheet metal and that looked to be in overall good condition, except for the fact it was missing its mag. (It actually was the one I had my eye on the whole time. Back 4 or 5 years before this took place my family and I had walked around his property and I had set my heart on that tractor since the first time I saw it.) I looked for a serial number plate but couldn t find any. When inspecting it, I saw that it had flat spoke rear wheels and round spoke front, all on rubber. I showed it to Norris and he said, "If you want it, take it." He also explained that the guy he bought the tractor had taken off the mag and put it in a shed, which burnt down. That explained why the mag was gone. I thanked him many times before we headed home.
About a month later, August 6 to be exact, Dad, Uncle Daniel, and I went out to collect the tractor. Uncle Daniel brought a trailer and a Suburban, as well as some boards to use as a ramp, even though they didn t have to be used. I brought a tool box stuffed with tools. Dad came to assist in any way he could and to bring me. Dad and I arrived at Norris at eight and readied the B, as well as discovered the serial number plate which at the time was unreadable because of the grease and rust, not to mention that it looked like somebody beat it with a hammer. We then wandered around his tractors until about nine when we went in to tell him we were there. Maybe 10 minutes later Uncle Daniel arrived. We went out to hook up the Suburban to the tractor. Norris said that we could use his Farmall M to pull it out of the row of tractors. We hooked up the M and tried to pull it out, but the B was stuck in gear and both brakes were locked up, so the M just slipped. After two more failed attempts we hooked the Suburban up as well and it jerked forward, and I was able to slam the B out of gear and bang the left brake loose with a hammer. The right brake was still locked up, so the wheel didn t turn. I steered the tractor and used the clutch as a brake since the engine was seized up. Mark Syverson came by to see if he could help get the brake unlocked. Unfortunately we couldn t figure out how to get the brake loose. So Norris used the M to load the B on the trailer. We hung around and talked for a while, and Norris said he was glad to give a tractor to somebody he knew would value it. I thanked him again and said I'd see him at Rollag (Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag, MN) and we left. We unloaded the tractor at our house and then talked for a while. I ran out of patience for the brake and took a hammer and WD-40 under the tractor and hosed it down and banged several times. It worked, the wheel turned. Uncle Daniel left and that ended that part of the adventure.
The first thing I took off was the carburetor. After I removed it, dismantled it and removed the rust. In reassembly I discovered that it had the wrong bowl for that type of carb. It is a DLTX-34, but it had a DLT-7 bowl instead of the DLT-13 bowl that a DLTX-34 should have. So I ordered a DLT-13 bowl.
I then got a propane torch, a scotch brite scrubber, WD-40, and a wet rag and polished the serial number plate. It turns out that heat is very good for removing grease and some of the rust on serial number plates just so long you are careful not to apply too much heat and just make two or three passes with the torch. I sprayed a light mist of WD-40 and scrubbed until it was shiny, and then wiped off with the wet rag. Now I could read the number, it was B 138090. I originally thought that the number was 138630. I asked Mr.Thinker of Green Magazine what year it was and he said if it had a steel frame it was 42 or 44 and if it had a cast iron frame, which it does, it was 42 or 43. Not one serial number list matches another one so I didn t know what to think.
I bought a gallon of WD-40 and removed the spark plugs and filled the bores with it. My father and I bolted a threaded rod to both of the flywheel holes. Then we hooked a chain to one of the rods and a comelong to the other. The idea was to put a lot of pulling force on the flywheel, which would break the pistons loose. Unfortunately that idea didn t work.
We removed everything in front of the block. I discovered that mice had made nests in the radiator. We removed the head and put an empty Tidy Cats cat sand container under to catch the WD-40.
It was a big fight to get the block off. I removed the connecting rod cap on the right side since it was at the top. I got the bottom connecting rod bolt off but the other one refused to move. I couldn't get to the other connecting rod cap because of the oil filter housing. I started to worm it off when the upper connecting rod bolt hit the camshaft and jammed the block. I spent the next three days carefully trying to remove the bolt. WD-40 and a channel lock solved the problem. Dad and I pulled it off and sat it on a couple of cement blocks. We then filled the bores with the WD-40 that I saved. I heated the pistons and drove one of them out. The other is still stuck.
I removed the bottom of the filter case and discovered that the filter element was gone. The crankcase had about two inches of oil in it, which would explain why the engine was in such horrible shape. The babbitt connecting rod bearings were almost completely worn off. Also the crankshaft s connecting rod bearing surfaces were worn and gouged. For the first time I spun the flywheel, it felt good except for a little roughness in the main bearings.

So that's the story, my hope is to see it running for the John Deere Expo at Rollag, MN. Come and see her if she is. If I have my way she'll be one of the only Bs on steel. She originally was on steel and is now on cutoffs. Do any of you know were to get 12 spline rear steel wheels and round spoke front wheels?
I just got a 1944 B last week and have it tore down from the block forward. It has been sitting in a barn for 22 years and was not locked up. The guy I got it from said it was his grandpas and he grew up
disking with it. Said it ran great when he parked it. I thought it would be easy to clean carb, mag, gas tank and see it would go---no no not going to happen. Carb had some light rust in it, thankfully
they drained the tank and carb when parked. No compression, valves stuck. I got them loose but could tell there was something under the seats, gunk? Pulling the head off revealed that mice and drug junk
in there causing valves to hang. Oh, they forgot to drain the water out so the head has a freeze crack in it. I removed the oil drain, nothing came out at first. Stuck a screw driver in and water and
grease like sludge stars dripping out. Pull the top cover and find there is 2 inches of sludge down there. At that point I realized this is going to be a complete tear down and restore. Good news is the
cylinders dont have a lot of wear but I will bore them anyway. The bearings are great still full shim packs in them. I hope yours isnt as dirty as mine is inside. You might want to look in the crank
case. I had to remove the frame to get the block off because the bottom of the block flange hit the opening in the bottom of the frame and wouldnt move up enough to clear. It will be fun to bring it back
to new and better. This is my first JD, I have restored several Allis chalmers. Best of luck to you!
I won't argue with the Register, but....

The 1942 B model year started at serial # 126345 on July 1, 1941 and ended at serial # 143419 on June 30, 1942. A JD tractor built in August 1942 should be a 1943 model.

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