Ask Mr. Thinker ®

Answers to your tractor questions from a cranky mechanic.

By The collective knowledge of many.

Mr. Thinker,

I recently stopped to look at a 4010LP that I saw sitting in a pasture. On

the way out to look at the tractor the elderly owner told me that it had a

1000 RPM PTO shaft only, no 540. I thought he didn’t know what he was

talking about but to my surprise he was right. I didn’t know Deere made

4010s this way, none of the books or brochures that I have shows 4010s with

a 1000 only. What gives?

T.C. Arkansas


What gives? The buyer of a 4010 gives money to the dealer. However if that buyer has no need for a 540 RPM PTO, he could give less money to the dealer. That’s because the dealer gave less money to the factory to buy the tractor because the factory gave less money to its workers because they didn’t have to put as many parts in the tractor, which would be all of those parts that give the tractor both 540 and 1000 RPM PTOs. There doesn’t appear to have been an option that would given the 4010 a 540 only PTO. MT




Mr. Thinker,

I am getting to be an old man and hand starting my “GP”s is fixing to be a problem.  Could you or perhaps your readers suggest a mechanical means of starting these hand start tractors?  My “GP”s start easy, but I'm getting weak.  I could go and start one of the other tractors with a starter, but I like my “GP”s best.

L.M. Kansas


Remember the article about “Sampson” the world’s strongest “GP” in our July 2008 issue? This “GP’s”  501 cubic inches and 8.1 to 1 compression ratio made it hard enough to turn over that its owner Cork Groth added a starter from a “G” and a flywheel with ring gear from an “A”. One man told Mr. Thinker that he attached a 13 inch ring gear to the PTO shaft of his unstyled “A”. He then mounted a starter to engage it. He uses a heavy duty electrical coupler from a snowplow to connect the starter to a battery which is kept on a two wheeled cart. There is also always the pulley to pulley belt trick, but that almost requires two people. Mr. Thinker also seems to remember once seeing some sort of contraption for a PTO to PTO start assist. Of course that would probably require an overrunning clutch and definitely a transmission to reverse the rotation. Finding easier ways to start unstyled tractors may be a growth industry. No one is getting any younger! MT 



Dear Mr. Thinker

Did John Deere put a three point hitch on some of the last “MT”s built in 1952?

T.T. via email


No, why do you ask? MT



Mr. Thinker,

What were the factory optional size of John Deere 1954 model 70 rear tires

and where to find documentation to prove this?  We need this for tractor

pulling   We are allowed two sizes over the largest stock option. 

R.N. Michigan



Oh you wacky tractor pullers and your silly problems! Knowing whether your tractor is a standard or row crop would have helped. If it is a standard, factory tire sizes were 13x30, 15x30 or 18x26. If it is a row crop the sizes would have been 12x38 and 13x38. Now those are 1950s era size. Today 12=13.6, 13=14.9 and 18 = 20.8. MT