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Antique Steel Wheel Tractors - Old Iron Lugs and Cleats

1929 John Deere D Compression on New Rebuilt Engine


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  #1  
Old 05-12-2019, 09:53:47 PM
bmklawt bmklawt is offline
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Default 1929 John Deere D Compression on New Rebuilt Engine

I have 1929 John Deere D, that I rebuilt the engine on, it has a NOS engine block, new rings, but I did use the old pistons with a bit of rust on one of them, don't recall which cylinder has the rusted piston in it, see picture, I asked on one of the forums about using the piston and most suggested it would be okay.
Has a NOS cylinder head on it that I had the old valve seated to with some NOS springs, also has a rebuilt DLTX 63 carb on it as I could not get the old brass DLTX 3 carb to work worth a hoot even after having 3 carb rebuilders look at it. The tractor runs okay and some Deere fans have said it's a good running tractor, link below. This thing always backfires randomly and sometimes blows the air cleaner out.
Today I was trying to see it would hold compression and noticed if I tried with all my strength and all my might to turn over the engine with the petcocks closed I could not turn over the left cylinder but I could turn over the right cylinder, it would take me a minute of constant hard turning of the flywheel but I could eventually get it to turn over on the right cylinder, turning it over on the exhaust stroke I could feel less resistance on the right cylinder as appose to the left.
The tractor is easy to start, usually fires up on the 2nd or 3rd go around but it blows a lot of back sooty gas out the left petcock before I can get it closed, these symptoms have been there from the get-go of the rebuild.
I've run the tractor less than 5 hours since it has been rebuilt and thought I may have to tear it down this winter and investigate but thought I should ask for some advice here first, I'd hate to take it apart then have someone say if you did such and such a test that would have told you what the problem is.
Do I just need a longer break-in time, is there a way to tell if its the pistons, rings, valves, head gasket or something else?

As always your help is much appreciated,
Bruce

Tractor running: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXWxsW8FNSk
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  #2  
Old 05-12-2019, 11:53:19 PM
Bob Shannon Bob Shannon is offline
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Default Re: 1929 John Deere D, Compression on New Rebuilt Engine

I don't like the looks of that piston. have you rechecked the valve lash?
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:38:16 AM
Alastair Geddes. Alastair Geddes. is offline
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Default Re: 1929 John Deere D, Compression on New Rebuilt Engine

That piston doesn't look the best at the top end of it, maybe the skirt was okay but rings need a good straight land to seat on.

The backfiring could be a bad inlet seat or bad inlet guide leading to poor seating on occasion. Also a non concentric seat and non concentric valve grind will as the valve rotates seat on occasion and not the other times.

Do a leak down test and see if you can hear air leaking on the carb side inlet passage, take off necessary things to hear in a open port. Rotated the valve if you can on the inlet and check at different positions.

If it leaks pull the head and do a blue test on the seat and valve to determine if it is the seat or the valve that is at fault. Check the guide clearance as well.

It has to be a very bad seal for it to backfire i have seen engines run fine on seats that where bad, not to say its the best thing to have.
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:08:38 AM
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Eric Best Eric Best is offline
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Default Re: 1929 John Deere D, Compression on New Rebuilt Engine

The backfiring is more likely the result of running a Wico magneto and having unburned gasoline in the cylinder. Wico mags for John Deere 2 cylinders fire every TDC because they have no distributor gear. They manage the distribution via a rotor with two lugs spaced at 90 degrees and a cap with lugs that are spaced at 90 degrees. The point cam has two lobes spaced at 180 degrees and both the cam and rotor run at crankshaft speed. The mag produces a spark every 180 degrees of crank rotation which is great but it’s two more sparks than a John Deere (or any side by side four cycle 2 cylinder with a 180 degree crankshaft) needs. The exhaust valve will be partly open when the surplus ignition cycles occur. If the engine is running properly, this is not a problem as the charge is used up in the power stroke and none remains to be ignited at the time of the surplus ignitions. At starting, a cylinder is probably flooding and this may even happen if it’s not running clean on a cylinder. Except for hot embers of carbon, a D with the properly timed splitdorf or Dixie mag with a distributor gear will not do this as it is only supplying ignition on TDC of the power stroke and not the exhaust stroke.

Last edited by Eric Best; 05-13-2019 at 11:33:46 AM.
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Old 05-13-2019, 07:20:38 AM
LukeSte LukeSte is offline
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Default Re: 1929 John Deere D Compression on New Rebuilt Engine

Second on the magneto. To get rid of the pip, I need one of these like in picture.
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Old 05-13-2019, 08:26:09 AM
OldThresherM OldThresherM is offline
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Default Re: 1929 John Deere D Compression on New Rebuilt Engine

A Fairbanks Morse R2 will also work,if you happen to have access to one of those.(It only sparks when it's supposed to.)It was featured on the GP,but several model D's of that era had it too.In the 1930's,John Deere offered the Wico 1263C as a replacement for Dixie mags that were becoming problematic.I have a worn out 1929 D with a Wico 1263C and it likes it.The timing is spot on per the casting marks.You might want to double check the timing on yours,and make sure the impulse snaps exactly on time.I did install a kill switch so I can control the spark.As others have said,an extra spark while cranking can make things interesting.

Last edited by OldThresherM; 05-13-2019 at 08:27:36 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 05-13-2019, 02:45:38 PM
bmklawt bmklawt is offline
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Default Re: 1929 John Deere D Compression on New Rebuilt Engine

This tractor does have a Splitdorf magneto on it, after the engine was first rebuilt we used the original Splitdorf magneto and it had the same symptoms as discribed above. I sent the magneto to Marks Magnetos to have it rebuilt and bought a Wico mag to try in the meantime and the tractor ran the same with the Wico mag, after recieving the Splitdorf mag back I put that on and it continues to run the same.

---------- Post added at 02:45:38 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:31:35 PM ----------

One other thing, the timing mark on the flywheel is about 12 degrees before the actual TDC. I had a heck of a time trying to get this thing started at first, I put a wire through the spark plug hole to see if I could feel when it was at TDC and it seemed that TDC was later then the mark on the flywheel. I bought a bore scope and put it down the sparkplug hole so I could actually see when it reached TDC, when the piston is at TDC looking through the borescope the mark on the flywheel is 12 degrees past the mark on the case. I have it set so the magneto will trip a degree or 2 past the actual TDC.
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Old 05-13-2019, 03:03:12 PM
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Default Re: 1929 John Deere D Compression on New Rebuilt Engine

Mine has a Splitdorf, no backfires. I did run into one thing I haven't corrected, when I got it there were no oil rings in the back piston grooves and we left them out because when the pistons are at BDC the rear groove is exposed out the end of the cylinder. Its a 27 with the old block and bore, recorded the rod numbers some time back for internet diagnosis and no real answers so we have been running it that way for years.
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Old 05-13-2019, 05:06:12 PM
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Default Re: 1929 John Deere D Compression on New Rebuilt Engine

I should have asked what you had for a mag instead of assuming so my apologies. Too much or too little compression would not cause it. Is it possible one of your intakes is set tight or is sticking open? Otherwise I am at a loss. All my odd extra firing on my 28 was unburned fuel and a Wico mag. I guess when my only tool is a hammer every problem looks like a nail. Sorry about that. Also, you timed the mag as I would have for a mag with the correct lag angle for the tractor: impulse trips just after TDC.
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Old 06-09-2019, 03:24:33 PM
bmklawt bmklawt is offline
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Default Re: 1929 John Deere D Compression on New Rebuilt Engine

So I check the lash on the valves and the manual says to back off the adjusting screw 1/2 turn those were all correct. I put a dial indicator on each valve and from valve just closed to valve just opening again the indicator doesnít deviate more then .002Ē on all valves.
I had the tappet cover and crank case cover off and was turning the engine over to see it I could hear what valve was leaking, I found the the left not right as I previously posted, piston was leaking air, I can clearly hear air escaping past the piston, at least I assume itís the piston as I canít pinpoint the exact location except to say it sounds like itís coming from the back of the left piston and not from the valves.
Again this is a NOS block and rings and the piston in the picture in the first post only had rust pitting on the top of the piston, it did not go past the first ring groove also I remember measuring the bore of both cylinders when I got the new block and they were both 6-3/4 as measured with a dial calipers.
What should I do next, give it some more break in time, there is less than 10 hours on the new block or replace the piston, Iím not sure how to proceed.

As always I appreciate all the help,
Bruce
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Old 06-09-2019, 04:27:09 PM
Bill Hazzard Bill Hazzard is offline
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Default Re: 1929 John Deere D Compression on New Rebuilt Engine

Did you square up the ring grooves in the used pistons? The fit on the ring sides is very important. Popping out of the carb is usually a result of a lean mixture.
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Old 06-14-2019, 01:42:29 PM
barry ayres barry ayres is offline
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Default Re: 1929 John Deere D Compression on New Rebuilt Engine

Hi I have an almost identical setup and similar symptoms,
27D nos block new rings good used std pistons top ring groves squared up and spacers fitted nos head c/w guides new valves and springs good used cam and timing gears, dlxt 3 carb and dixie mag champion 34 spark plugs starts and runs great but will occasional pop back though carb maybe once every couple of hours when ploughing i think its getting better the more i run it probably got 30hrs ploughing now,
i have always put it down to a bubble of water coming down the kerosene line momenteraly giving a week mixture. normally just a pop but i think it has blown the air filter out twice. i am considering adding a water trap and strainer but want to keep the tractor looking original.
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Old 06-22-2019, 06:59:21 PM
bmklawt bmklawt is offline
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Default Re: 1929 John Deere D Compression on New Rebuilt Engine

I never knew about the ring grooves needing to be checked for square, on the left cylinder when rolling the flywheel over on the compression stroke with the petcock closed and holding the flywheel against the compression I can hear air escaping into the crankcase, if I back off the flywheel a little I can here more air escaping, I was thinking that had something to do with the rings or groove.
I tried to do a compression test but can only muscle 25psi turning the flywheel, I also did a leak down test with 100psi, on the right cylinder I can hold 65psi and on the left 70psi, if I put oil into the cylinders I get the same results.
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