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The Model 140

For the 1968 model year, Deere took on all comers with the all new model 140. Marketed to commercial users, truck farmers, nurserymen, and estate owners, it had the power and features to take on many tasks formerly relegated to larger equipment. Advertising of the day stated that the 140 could be purchased for roughly the same amount as "5-weeks wages of one good handyman". Based on an all-new design, the 1968 140 incorporated several new design features as standard never before used on a Deere Garden tractor: Vehicle Motor vehicle Tractor Transport Mode of transport
  • Twelve horsepower, air cooled, Kohler model K301AS cast iron engine with Bendix style starter
[*]Sundstrand hydrostatic transmission, unlimited forward speed to 6 > mph [*]Hydraulic attachment lift, with three spools optional (H3)[*]Quick -Tach style mounting of attachments [*]Electromagnetic PTO clutch for front and center mounted attachments. [*]1 > gallon fuel tank with gauge [*]High back deeply cushioned seat adjustable for height and reach [*]Live rear power take off, used to operate the #33 tiller.Introduced as a 12-horse model featuring the Kohler K310AS powerplant with a Bendix style starter, the 140 benefited from a hydrostatic transmission, allowing a seamless transition from forward to reverse travel, as well as static braking. A single large lever on the right side of the pedestal controlled this. The transmission was directly coupled to the engine via a steel driveshaft. A cone style clutch was provided to disconnect the engine from the transmission to aid in cold weather starting. For the 68 model year, this clutch was actuated by a single pedal on the left side of the tractor, which also applied the brakes. No provision was made to force the hydro lever back into the neutral position.

The hydrostatic transmission also afforded a new feature formerly only found on large farm tractors; hydraulic lift. The charge pump on the transmission fed a single spool valve on all models. The H3 models used the power beyond output of the single valve to supply pressurized oil to a separate two spool valve. The three levers on the left side of the pedestal were closely spaced to allow them to be "palmed". Pioneer style couplers were utilized on the front of the tractor to control attachments and an optional rear set of outlets powered a Category "0" three point hitch or other rear attachments. Deere advertised the ability to

use multiple integral attachments at the same time, something the other manufacturers could not accommodate. The option of a front blade in conjunction with a rear mounted tiller was a popular choice.
Triple safe starting, a Deere feature from 1964 was incorporated on the 140. The PTO needed to be disengaged, the transmission in the neutral setting and the key be used before the tractor could be started. This feature was advertised by showing children playing and climbing on the tractor. Including sitting on the hood!

The model 140 H1 weighed approximately 730# with the H3 version tipping the scales at about 770#. The 140 was designed as a garden tractor, and as such, the work tools for it were heavily built. Deere designed options included:

  • Model 41 or 48 mower deck
  • Model 54 front blade with hydraulic lift standard and hydraulic angle optional
  • Model 49 front snow thrower with hydraulic lift
  • Model 33 rear tiller with a 26, 34, or 42 inch width and live PTO
  • Model 80 dump cart
  • Model 5a sprayer
  • Front and rear wheel weights
  • Tire chains, hub caps, cigarette lighter, and headlights
  • A Category "0" three point hitch
  • Tire equipment options
Lawn Vehicle Motor vehicle Tree Grass
With a tractor the size of the 140, allied suppliers were quick to adapt it to their equipment. Front end loaders were available, as were groundsaws, post hole diggers, hard and soft sided enclosures, landscape rakes, numerous gardening tools like plows and discs, and other tools and attachments aimed at commercial users. A more comprehensive listing of these can be found in the allied attachments section of the site.

For 1969, the 140 received a 15% upgrade in power with a move to the 14 horsepower Kohler cast iron K321AS. Also new for the '69 model was individual rear brakes. These allowed sharper turns, as well as the ability to feather a wheel if it was spinning. A change a little more difficult to detect was a switch to a true three spool valve on the H3 models.

At Serial number 30001, for the 1971 model year a change was made in the type of hydrostatic unit used. This change incorporated a pinion and ring gear design rather than the bull gears used on previous models. The rear axle diameter was also increased. Rear brakes were changed for the disc type used up to this time to a more reliable drum brake system. Individual rear wheel brakes were retained on the H3 models.

Other changes were made throughout the run from the 1968 through 1974 model years. Additional John Deere attachments were added such as the 54C center mounted grader blade and the 542 front mounted PTO.

Serial number breaks are as follows:

YearSerial NumberEngine
19681,001 - 10,000Kohler K301 (12HP)
196910,001 - 22,400Kohler K321 (14HP)
197022,401 - 30,000 Kohler K321 (14HP)
197130,001 - 38,000 Kohler K321 (14HP)
197238,001 - 46,500 Kohler K321 (14HP)
197346.501 - 56,500 Kohler K321 (14HP)
197456.501 - ? Kohler K321 (14HP)
Land vehicle Vehicle Motor vehicle Car Outdoor power equipment

Summary by Robb Kruger, Photos from John Deere advertising literature. 01/03/2002
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