When you own a John Deere, you mow because you want to. Not because you have to.
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed many a friendly conversation with customers. Most don’t simply arrive at the shop to pick up their restored John Deere and leave. Once they see the various John Deere’s here at Green Ridge Restorations, neatly lined up like attentive soldiers, some totally restored, others patiently waiting their turn at a new life, well…
The John Deere conversation often includes a confession of sorts.
…all that is fuel for the fire – the conversation fire, that is. A lot of reminiscing goes on, a lot of praise for the John Deere line, a lot of “I wouldn’t own anything but a John Deere,” and then…. a confession.
No, not that kind of confession, about something they’ve done that they shouldn’t have.
This is a simple, “let-me-tell-you-something kind of confession that I don’t let on to anyone.”
First time I heard something like this I was bracing for a humdinger of a story. Not sure what I was expecting to hear, I nonchalantly folded my arms over, leaned back against a John Deere 318 that was waiting to be restored, and waited for the real-life confession, whatever it may be.
If you’re a John Deere enthusiast, I know you can relate.
“You know, I don’t mow the lawn because I have to. I mow it because I want to.”
Then he got a big grin across his face.
“Yeah, that’s right. There’s some days I can’t wait to hop on my John Deere and mow the lawn. You know why?
Well, he had me hooked now. I had to know why.
When You Hop on Your Classic John Deere, it’s YOUR time…
John Deere 420
“Because it’s my time. For an hour or so, no one bothers me. No one. I can’t hear anyone talk, I can’t hear a cell phone, and I can’t hear anyone yell at me. It’s like it’s my private time – away from the world – but enjoying my yard, admiring the work I put into it, seeing birds fly to the feeders, and giving myself a pat on the back for all the work I’ve accomplished.”
He went on to explain how it was ‘his’ time. Even if it was just an hour, it was his own thoughts, ideas, plans, and projects, his own reflections of life. Between work and family, he explained, he just needs that ‘breather,’ like taking a step away, and recharging his inner battery.
After that confession, there was a brief silence in the shop.
He quickly added: “Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t like work or family or life. It’s nothin’ like that. It’s just that sometimes I feel like I need a break from the daily grind. So I head to the garage, hop on my John Deere, and out I go. Doesn’t matter if that grass doesn’t need mowing. I need to mow.
And sometimes, I purposely mow slower, so it takes longer.”
Then he was quiet.
I was, too. Because I understood what he was saying. I get it.
It’s About Taking a Step Back from Life.
He loaded up his restored 318 that he purchased, we shook hands, and he drove off.
In different words, many a customer has expressed the same feelings.
How many times have we heard the old phrase, “the world is too much with us?” William Wordsworth wrote that over 200 years ago. Heck, I bet he’d say the same words today – and probably a lot more!
I’m guessing that when the John Deere’s were engineered decades ago, the inventor never imagined that not only would the tractor tend to the lawns, in its own way, it would tend the owners, too.
Faithful John Deere owners not only mow lawns, they mow back life, so to speak, for just a little bit.
For a half hour or hour or whatever length of time, they hop on their John Deere’s and take a step back from life.
What sets the John Deere 318 apart from the 316 lawn and garden tractor? Which models were diesel? Gas-powered? We hear these questions frequently, so here’s an easy comparison chart for you to reference.
If you want to learn more about any John Deere model listed in the table below, simply click the model name, such as “John Deere 430.” This will take you to a more comprehensive article on each model.
Some John Deere trivia for you: which model represented the company’s first diesel lawn tractor? Many people assume it was the 330, which was later replaced by the 332. However, the diesel powered John Deere 430 garden tractor pre-dated the 330.
The Deere 332 eventually became known as the diesel version of the beloved John Deere 318…
At 1,170 pounds and boasting a 20HP 3-cylinder Yanmar diesel engine, the John Deere 430 ruled many a lawn. Manufactured at the Horicon, WI John Deere factory from 1984-1992, the 430 was part of the 400 Series of lawn and garden tractors.
This is a robust, heavy duty tractor and one of the most popular John Deere lawn tractor restorations we do. Some original 430 owners have told us they paid upwards of $9,000 way back in the early 1990s!
Mower deck: 50” or 60” 3-blade, shaft driven, hydraulic lift
Attachments: 54” front-mounted blade; 46” two-stage hydraulic lift snow blower; John Deere Model 44 loader
Looking for John Deere 430 parts? We recommend JDParts, which is an easy way to find what you need. You can also reach out to your local John Deere dealer.
1984 Time Travel
Join us as we travel back more than three decades to 1984, when the first 430 John Deere tractor was rolled out. If you’re old enough, see if you can remember any of these highlights from 1984…
While filming a Pepsi commercial in January ’84, Michael Jackson’s hair went up in flames. The following month, however, Jackson would go on to take home a record eight Grammy’s.
When nude photos surfaced in Penthouse magazine, former Miss America Vanessa Williams gave up her crown. Following the controversy, Williams bounced back in the late 1980s with the release of “Dreamin” which hit #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US.
Some weird weather events included a May 27th flash flood that poured 15” of rain on some areas in Tulsa, OK in just four hours. Fourteen people lost their lives during that event. A few weeks later, on June 8th, an F5 tornado ravages Barneveld, WI, claiming the lives of nine people, injuring scores more, and causing millions in property damage.
Astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan made history on October 11th, when she became the first American woman to perform a space walk. On October 5th, Marc Garneau became the first Canadian in space, aboard the Challenger.
1984 was a presidential election year, which saw Ronald Reagan beat Walter F. Mondale. Reagan had 59% of the popular vote – the most since Richard Nixon boasted a 61% victory in 1972.
Meanwhile, in entertainment…
At the movie theater, Beverly Hills Cop, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, and The Karate Kid were entertaining audiences everywhere. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was the third highest-grossing film that year. Building on America’s dance craze, audiences were tapping their feet to Footloose. And Daryl Hannah sent hearts racing as the beautiful, mysterious mermaid in Splash.
Prince released “When Doves Cry” and Tina Turner wondered “What’s Love Got to Do with It.” Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson’s hit “Say Say Say” hit #3 on the Billobard Top hot 100 songs of 1984, followed by “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins and “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” from Phil Collins. Rock fans were pumped for Van Halen’s “Jump” and Ray Parker, Jr. released his infectious tune “Ghostbusters.”
You might recognize some of these household names, all of whom came into this world in 1984: singer Katy Perry, actress Scarlett Johansson, basketball player LeBron James, actress America Ferrera, singer and actress Mandy Moore, singer and actress Katharine McPhee, and actress/model Olivia Wilde.
One of the most common questions we’re asked is about owner’s manuals and routine maintenance for classic John Deere lawn and garden tractor models. We’ve put together this post as a resource that we’ll be adding to as we come across additional information that you may find helpful.
Given the age of these machines, it isn’t always easy to find manuals and/or parts. In most cases, you can at least obtain an operator’s manual as a basic resource. If you’re looking for an obscure part that your local Deere dealer or parts supplier doesn’t stock, you can always try searching eBay, where the inventory is continually changing, or Craigslist.
For a wealth of general info and support, we continue to recommend these sites if you’re interested:
Weekend Freedom Machines Forum Desc: The Lawn and Garden Tractor site for John Deere Lawn and Garden tractor discussion groups, Tractor information, Parts information, and more.
TractorHouse.com Desc: Your source for used tractors, combines, and all makes of used farm equipment and implements.
TractorData.com Desc: Information, data, and photos on all makes and models of farm tractors.
If you have one of the following models, use any of the links below to access the manual you’ll need:
The name John Deere goes back a long time – back to 1837. A blacksmith named John Deere listened to farmers who were troubled because their plows weren’t performing in the prairie soils as well as they were in the sandy soils in the Eastern US.
He listened – and came up with new plows that handled the soil. That was the birth of John Deere – the manufacturer – from John Deere- the blacksmith.
It took a bit, 126 years to be exact, before the first John Deere lawn and garden tractor – model 110 – was born in 1963 in Horicon, Wisconsin.
Since then, thousands upon thousands of John Deere lawn tractors have been produced, but unlike many other makers, there’s something about the familiar green tractor and the name John Deere that strikes up a nostalgia in their owners, even in those not inclined to sentimentality.
WWII Veteran Erling Kindem and his special friend, Emmett Rychner.
Many a father has proudly handed over his tried and true John Deere 318 to his son, who was all too eager to take possession of dad’s prized lawn tractor. That same tractor would ease into another generation, perhaps with faded paint, a few scratches, and some comfortable rips in the familiar (and likely, now faded) yellow seat.
But the sturdy machine stood through its right of passage, creating a tradition much like Grandma’s beloved quilt – to be passed on to the next generation.
John Deere lawn tractors span generations with their owners, from little tykes riding their pint-sized tractors to WWII veterans who still firmly believe in the infamous slogan ‘Nothing runs like a Deere.’
As a testament to the far-ranging appeal of the familiar green and yellow, check out this heart-warming video of three-year old Emmett Rychner in Farmington, Minnesota, whose best friend was WWII vet Erling Kindem, nearly 90 years old. Kindem passed away in 2016. In an interview, little Emmett’s mom reminds us all of an important life lesson when she shared, “I hope that one thing that Emmett will take from it is that you stick with the people you love until the very end.”
The unlikely duo struck up a friendship over…tomato plants…and soon were bonded by frequent croquet matches and lawnmower races with their John Deere’s. Side by side they ‘raced’ their tractors together and neither noticed the eighty-some years difference in their ages – it was mowed right under – and each cherished the other.
You, too, can create your John Deere tradition.
And you don’t have to worry that a vintage John Deere will be a little rough around the edges.
At Green Ridge Restorations, you can choose from a variety of John Deere lawn tractors, from the infamous 318 to the lesser known John Deere 332 and the newer Deere 445 models, all painstakingly restored to originality.