The 420 Series     
And other Dubuque built Tractors of the 50's

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The different 420 styles:

   
A 420T with optional wide front. This tractor also has slab weights on the front and a straight chrome stack.     A 420 T with a narrow front and spin-out rears. It also has the side slab weights.

Tricycle - 420T Has a narrow front usually with 2 wheels set about 8 inches apart directly under the nose of the tractor and usually equipped with 34" rear wheels but could be special ordered with 28" spin-outs. However the 420Ts could be ordered with a narrow front (single front wheel) or an adjustable wide front (48 to 80 inch square axle) or an adjustable wide front (68 to 88 inch round axle). Confusing huh? Tread width - Min max - Long axle 48-96, with Short axle - 48-88. Ground clearance - w/10-34 rears, 5.00-15 front - 21". They came with the dual TOM standard.

Standard - 420S Wide front axle that has a narrower tread width than the 420T and were meant to be used as a one row tractor. They had 24" rear wheels either fixed or spin-outs. Tread width - Min max - 38-66, 48 52. Ground clearance w/10-24 rear, 5.00-15 fronts - 21". The dual TOM was an option.

A 1957 420W with straight pipe exhaust. It's missing it's battery door. A nicely restored 1958 420W owned by a good friend in a very picturesque PA farm setting.
Row Crop - Called the Row Crop Utility in the JD world, the 420W has a wide front adjustable axle (48 to 80 inch) or a sweep back wide front adjustable front. They had either 34" rears or 28" spinouts. Tread Width 48-98. With power adjust rear wheels 56-88. Ground clearance - w/10-34 rear, 6.00-16 front - 21". They came with the dual TOM standard.

Utility - The lowest ground clearance 420*. The 420U has a wide front and usually 24" or could have 26" rear wheels. Tread width 40-58. With optional deep dish rims. 46-56. With power adjust 41-68. Ground clearance - w/10-24 rears, 5.00-15 - 11". PTO and 3 pt was an option.

Hi Crop - The 420H was highest ground clearance 420. It had a wide front. They had only 38" rears. Tread width 54-84. Ground clearance w/7.50-16 front - 32 ". They came with the dual TOM standard.

Special - 420V In the JD world was called the Special but also called the Vegetable, which is why it has the V designation. It had a wide front and not quite as much ground clearance as the 420H. They had 34" rears standard but could be ordered 28" standard. Tread width 46-80. Clearance - 11-34 rear, 5.00-15 - 26 . They came with the dual TOM standard.

Industrial
A 1957 420I with direction reverser painted industrial yellow. Optional equipment includes rear wheel weights, pre-cleaner, and headlights.

Industrial - The 420I was a 420W painted yellow with an optional reverser shift. The Industrial name was really just a marketing thing. Could also be ordered without the PTO. It could also be purchased with the wide lug rear tires or turf tires.

*There was also a Special Utility - It was a Utility with a tuned back final and extended rear axles and wider front. Has the lowest ground clearance of any 420 (and more stable) when equipped with the 26 rears.

And Crawler - has tracks w/10-12-14 inch pads. Pads could be standard grouser, snow shoes, semi-grouser or street pads. 4 or 5 roller undercarriage. Ground clearance - 12". Could be equiped with a bulldozer blade, loader, 3 pt hitch, or pto. Other equipment from outside suppliers was also available through the John Deere dealers such as a winch.

I can tell you that they came with this tire or rim but fact is the factory would put anything on them you wanted. This situation became even worse out with the dealers as they were repaired in later years. This is just the specs from the service manual. The Utility did not come with PTO and 3 pt hitch as standard equipment. The T, W, V and H had a dual TOM - Touch-O-Matic lift for cultivation. It was an option on the S. After 57 you could get a 5 sp trans on any of them.

That's the main differences. A wide front on a T is still a T. It doesn't make it a row crop, even though it looks like one.

Some other characteristics from model year to model year where:
1956 models - painted all green.
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1957 models - Had a yellow stripe on the hood and front grill and a 5 speed tranmission could be ordered in place of the standard 4 speed.
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1958 models - Wheel tractors, except the LP gas versions, had the steering wheel turned upward toward the operator (Slant Steer). A new block with the oil fill moved to the right side.
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I would like to add some 420 photos of different models.  If you have a picture of your 420 you would like to share, send it to us.  A jpg image or bitmap image is preferred.  Please send your name, and any info about the tractor you would like and I'll add it to the caption.              Click to email photo.

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