Nicholas Fluhart

February 11, 2010

Project: John Deere Model M

Filed under: Project: John Deere M,Trucks & Equipment — Nicholas Fluhart @ 10:47 pm

Here’s a fun project I completed a while back. I like to buy, fix up, and sell a variety of machines, so when I heard a friend had this old John Deere M for sale I was quick to check it out. He called and indicated he had inherited the old tractor from a relative and no longer needed it because he bought a new Kubota 4×4 with a front-end loader. He wanted $1000 for the tractor, but there was one problem: it didn’t run…



So I grabbed one of my mechanics, some tools, hooked up to a trailer and drove up to Fordyce, Arkansas. When I arrived, it was a sad sight. The tires were flat and it was clear that the tractor had not run in years. There was no point in trying to get it running on site, but one thing was certain: I was not going to give $1000 for it. In fact, I opted for half that. I figured at $500 if the tractor didn’t pan out as would be the worst case scenario, I could part it out or sell it as a project/parts tractor for $600 and relatively break even. Or, best case scenario it wouldn’t take much to fix and I could sell it for a big profit. Either way, it would be an enjoyable project. …Oh, and he took the $500.

The first thing we had to do was get it loaded and get it back to the shop. We used the owner’s new Kubota to push it up on the trailer and then we headed south to El Dorado.

Once at the shop, I had one of my guys check it out. I wanted to check the fire, compression, and carburetor to see what it may take to get it running. The points were corroded but salvageable. We cleaned the ignition components and found that we had good spark. However, the carburetor was a disaster and one cylinder was low on compression. We pulled the valve cover for further inspection…

We found that the cylinder with low compression had a sticky valve, which is good news because we were able to use some penetrating oil and free up the valve. Had it been a damaged piston or rings it would have made for much bigger problems. The carburetor had four rusted and broken bolts that had to be extracted and replaced. After we got it all back together the moment of truth arrived. Did it run? Well, check out the video below and see…

Alright, now that we’ve got it lined out mechanically it’s on to the cosmetic restoration. Sadly, I don’t think I have any pictures of the knitty-gritty but I’ll explain what took place. I took my pressure washer and did my best to wash the dirt and old grease off of it. I got most of the dirt, but I wasn’t able to get all the grease off the belly of the tractor. The grease was old and like concrete, so all I could do was scrape and chisel it off the best I could. I hammered as many dings out of the sheet metal as I could and then sanded it. Then I went over the axles, transmission, etc. with a cup brush on my angle grinder. Note, I was not going for a show-quality paint job here. That would have taken much longer and cost far more than would have been feasible for my purposes. I simply wanted a decent, good looking paint job that would enhance the cosmetic appeal of the tractor….oh, and I may have painted over some of the grease on the bottom of the tractor, but don’t tell anyone. LOL OK, so I primed the bare surfaces and then painted the tractor John Deere Green with yellow wheels and new decals. Now check out the next video clip and see if you can tell a difference…

And here are some pictures of the finished product.

And that pretty much does it. Oh wait, how about the cost breakdown? OK, well I paid $500 for the tractor, and I estimate the cost of transport, shop labor (not including my personal labor), and supplies at about $300 which puts me at about $800 on the total. The entire process took about three weeks and it was ready to sell. The tractor sold within 7 days and it brought $1,850.00. It cost me about $50 to sell it on eBay so my overall estimated profit is $1000.00.

All in all it was a fun learning experience and I walked away with an extra thousand bucks in my pocket.

On to the next one…



  1. Very nice finish, you did a good job!

    Comment by walkerplant — March 29, 2010 @ 7:16 pm | Reply

    • Thanks. I’m currently working on a Ford 8N. The 8N project is a bit more in-depth than my John Deere M was, but I hope to make a post on it in the near future.

      Comment by nfluhart — June 27, 2010 @ 2:47 am | Reply

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