Inherited a 1944 John Deere LA - need information on finishing restoration
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Thread: Inherited a 1944 John Deere LA - need information on finishing restoration

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    Inherited a 1944 John Deere LA - need information on finishing restoration

    Greetings! I recently inherited a 1944 JD LA as "payment" for finishing restoration of several tractors for my Grandpa - 1935 JD B Brass Tag, 1940 JD H with hydraulic lift, 1967 JD 110 round fender, and a 1970 Cub Cadet 1650 w/50" belly mower. I have never really been able to spend time with him before, so this past week and a half working 18 hours/day finishing his projects has been a blessing and a gift. He's been a machinist for 40 years, but was recently diagnosed with liver cancer and had to shut his shop in Lampasas, TX down. These tractor restorations were all that are left in his shop and needed to be completed to be sold off. I would have spent the time and done the work without any form of compensation, but as a small business owner he believes in compensating people for their time, so I came home with a partially restored 1944 JD LA. The motor has been rebuilt and most of the paint work has been completed. This tractor has been sitting in the back of his shop for 20 years, and was one of the first tractors he purchased. He gave me the JD parts catalog for the LA, original Instructions booklet, and a specs manual for the L, LI, and LA tractors. I also received a full set of stickers, the original ID tag that was ripped off via workboot, and some pictures from the purchase and restoration. I am not new to classic JD tractors (thanks to him), but I am unfamiliar with some of the LA's inner workings. I am having problems finding much information online about this powerful little tractor. I have some questions, if anyone here has some information on them I would greatly appreciate it:

    ***I was given two throttle rods. One has an eye on the engine end and the other has a threaded end with jam nut. I assume this runs inside the driveshaft tunnel, but cannot figure out how. There is a slot in the front support for the tunnel that the throttle rod with the eye fits into, and extends to just past the vertical slot at the operator end of the tunnel. If left loose in the tunnel, the throttle rod makes contact with the rag joint at the differential. I assume there is a plate or mount that is supposed to be there to support it? Also, what goes on the end of the rod to connect to the governor arm? How does all this mount? Pictures would be great...

    ***This tractor has a starter, but the starter lever is on the carb side of the engine and interferes with the hood (you cannot mount the hood on the tractor with the starter actuation arm mounted to the starter). I took the actuation arm off the starter to mount the hood for the journey home, but would like to find out if I have the wrong starter or if it is just mounted wrong. I removed the set screw for the starter, and there is only one hole in the collar for the set screw to interface with, so I assume I have the wrong starter. However with a new starter going for around $300, I would like to make this one work (remote solenoid, perhaps?).

    ***I received a light for the tractor as well. My Grandpa told me that it mounts to the steering column support. While the light and mount need some serious cleaning and attention, they are serviceable. However, I have no idea how to route wiring, or even what wiring is required. I cannot find and pictures of this light online.

    ***Grandpa also gave me a generator to mount to my little LA, but I believe it is not the correct one. I do not have the mount, but can fabricate one. I see the threaded mounting bosses on the non-carb side of the engine, but do not see anywhere to mount the tensioning arm for the generator. There is also no regulator. Would it be possible to run my LA at 12v? I know that depends on the accessories I have, which takes us back to the expensive starter. We jump started it with my truck battery at 12v, and it appeared to handle it just fine (although it did not want to engage right away, due to corrosion on the contacts inside the actuating arm cover). Pics would be great...

    So the main thing right now is the throttle. I do not have a cable or any mounts - just the two throttle rods. I cannot use it without the throttle, as turning up the idle does not make use of the governor so the little LA bogs down very easily just idling it in gear. I have included a link to my Google Photos album of pics for this tractor. Thanks for any help you can give me!
    44JohnDeereBR and tldec50 like this.

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    Evergreen's Avatar
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    All things considered, it looks like it is in pretty good shape. Just the new tires will seriously reduce the amount of money you'll need to finish the restoration.

    L's and LA's don't seem to be to common, but I wouldn't call them rare either. I think part of the reason there aren't a whole lot around anymore is because nobody thought to keep them after they wore out. Unlike some of the bigger two-cylinders, an LA can't really do a whole lot around a modern farm. Back when they first hit the showroom they were something special; the last nail in the coffin for the horse as a viable farming tool.

    The first thing I would do is get a shop manual. Something like this (John Deere Models L La Li Y and 62 Tractors Service Manual Also Lu E Engines | eBay) will work just fine. The John Deere Website also provides PDF files of the complete parts manual for all of their tractors and equipment. I haven't searched on there for an LA, but I'm sure it is there. You can use the parts manual to start matching pictures and part numbers to some of your head scratcher pieces.

    Also, take lots of pictures. It is pretty cool to have a photo-journal of a restoration. Also handy when you forget how something goes back together. Guess how I know that?

    Good luck!
    44JohnDeereBR likes this.
    '50 Model M w/electronic ignition, 12v conversion, and a 3pt conversion plus a homemade snowplow, a Deere Model 51 trailer plow, a Woods RM59 finish mower, a Bark Buster splitter, and a few other toys.
    '69 Sears Suburban 14 48" deck and 42" back blade, an estate rake, and a sweeper.
    '07 F250 XL Powerstroke, crew cab, short box, 4x4.
    '85 F150... I finally sold my very first truck after racking up over half-a-million miles on the original drivetrain.

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