Question Diesel or Gas?
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    Question Diesel or Gas?

    I just saw a John Deere 40 that I was interested in.
    I am new to the tractor scene and I am looking to see what might be good for some mowing and maybe some plowing and also pulling a trailer.

    I had somebody tell me that getting a gas engine tractor was not a good idea that I should get a Diesel.

    What do you guys think about that?

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    Keeper of the GTT Cookies dieselshadow's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Welcome to GTT!

    First I moved your thread to the Johnny Poppers forum. The 40 is a cool antique tractor that is grouped with a bunch of old two-cylinder tractors. Most of John Deere's older utility and farm tractors only had two cylinders that made a popping noise as they ran, hence the nick name Johnny Poppers. You can literally hear each cylinder fire as it runs under a good load.

    Secondly, what exactly do you want to do with your new find? Just pull a few trailers around? How much plowing? The 40 is quite the capable machine that would be fairly economical to use. Parts are easy to come by and maintenance would be cheap and easy to do. The 40 should be very affordable. Overall considering it's size, it's a very good tractor. If you're looking to do some really heavy work or use it for extended periods of time, then yes diesel becomes a more viable option. You're not going to find an old JD little tractor such as the 40 in a diesel. Only the big boys were available as a diesel during that time period. Only when you get into more modern tractors will you find a machine of the same size and capability in a diesel, but the price goes up considerably.

    I love the old Poppers. They are die hard machines that will last a long time, easy to maintain, and built like a tank. And they sound cool!

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    DRobinson's Avatar
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    The 435 was a 430 (replaced the 420, which replaced the 40) tractor with a GM 2-53 diesel engine. I don't think there are many left.

    dieselshadow likes this.

    2320, 54D MMM, 200CX FEL, 54 Front Blade with Artillian Extensions, Omni Transformer Hitch
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    purplewg's Avatar
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    Collect gas tractors. Work diesel tractors would be my advice.
    Don't squat with your spurs on!
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    56FordGuy's Avatar
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    Just depends on the work you're doing. Diesels are more fuel efficient, but usually have a higher initial purchase price and higher maintenance costs than a similar sized gas tractor.

    Your mileage may vary.

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    I had a Deere 40 Utility before I bought my 2520. I had the 40 for 11 or 12 years. I completely rebuilt the tractor, and I would say the engine ran as good or better than the day it left the factory. I loved the old 40 and it had no problems running all day for mowing or digging post holes, or anything else you could use an old utility tractor for. I only traded up to the 2520 because I wanted 4WD and a belly mower.

    Here is what I found.
    The 2520 seems to have a little more power than the 40, even though the HP specs seem to suggest the 40 had a few more HP.
    The 2520 uses less fuel per hour, but then again diesel is more expensive than regular unleaded.
    The 2520 is shorter than the 40, but the engine on the 2520 shifts more weight forward so the 2520 can lift more with the 3-point before the front end gets light.
    The 2520 is about 10' long with the mid-mount mower on, the 40 was about 16' long with a finish mower hanging off the back.
    That said, the 40 was damn cool to be driving around on, and people always stopped to look at it. The 2520 is just a new compact utility tractor that people see all over. If I had room for the 40, I probably would have kept it and just used it for pulling a plow in the garden and maybe running a brush hog.
    Andy B.

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    Tractor that I used to own - 1954 40 Utility

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    tlock0331's Avatar
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    the little 435's are around, but those detroits are finicky little buggers...if your not at least a little familiar with a diesel, theory of operation etc etc, i wouldnt cut my teeth on one, that may ruin you forever hah

    that said, if you are going to do much mowing, then find a 40 with live power, other wise, you may not think much of mowing with it.

    you can also pick up a 420, essentially the same, the later models have a tad more hp and a few more creature comforts, or a 430...

    good luck with whichever direction you go, and if you get the 40 or something like it, make sure you post some pics to share with the group

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