Loading a John Deere Model B

| 2/17/2010 11:50:09 AM

Sam Moore  
Sam Moore   

Long ago, I saw an old rust-covered tractor for sale beside the road and immediately stopped.

Upon closer scrutiny, the derelict turned out to be a 1939 John Deere Model B, serial number 79014, equipped with steel rear wheels and rubber-tired fronts that still held a little air. The fenders, rare in this area, were in fair shape and the hood, although rusty, was straight and hadn’t been butchered around the muffler opening. The lower one-third of the grille halves were rusted out, but the WICO Model C magneto was there, and all the other bits and pieces seemed to be intact. The hand-start engine was loose and turned over easily. It was love at first sight, at least on my part, and I called the number listed on the sign.

The owner and I quickly agreed on a price (actually, he quoted a price and I agreed), and I was the proud owner of the forlorn little B. All I now had to do was get a non-running tractor with steel lug wheels onto my trailer for the ride home. At the time, I was a novice when it came to loading machinery and, while I had a trailer, I had no winch or come-along of any kind.

The B had a front hitch and one of my two running tractors, a 1948 John Deere BN, had a similar hitch, so I decided to make a short push bar to go between the two and then push the old B backward up the ramps and onto the trailer. It sounded simple enough (and I guess it was simple, as in simple-minded).

So one Saturday morning, I recruited the help of my friend Willy, loaded the BN and the push bar, and set out to retrieve my treasure. I parked the trailer beside the B and we connected the two tractors nose-to-nose with the 6-foot bar. Willy mounted the B and I manned the BN and, as the loading operation commenced, things seemed to be proceeding nicely.

I easily pulled the B into a position behind the trailer where it was roughly lined up with the ramps, although Willy was having trouble steering, since the tires were nearly flat and the steering gear badly needed lubrication. It was when I began to push the old tractor backward that the fun began.


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