Tractor & Machinery

Last of the line

John Deere’s popular 50 Series was introduced in 1986 to replace the company’s wellliked 40 Series models and spanned a wide horsepower bracket, from 38-114hp, offering a tractor of a suitable size for virtually every operation. Built in Europe, the new tractors were heavily based on the outgoing models, but with subtle improvements.

In this buyer’s guide, we concentrate on the most popular tractors as far as the UK and Irish market is concerned and aim to explain why they remain as desirable as they were in they heyday.


The crux of John Deere’s design was commonality of parts–with all models sharing the same bore and stroke dimensions of 106.5mm and 110mm respectively. This onelitre-per-cylinder displacement, the company said, enabled the John Deere ‘Constant Power’ engine to develop equal power without strain, compared to competitive engines with smaller displacements.

Rated speed is either 2,300rpm or 2,400rpm which, Deere said, was just one of a number of features that gave the 50 Series engines a telling measure of reliability and life expectancy. The piston speed of 8.4m/s fared well against industry norms of between 9m/s and 11m/s, equating to reduced vibration, quieter operation and a long service life, as well as better fuel economy.

The engines feature wet-sleeve cylinder liners, which are easy to replace and dissipate engine heat into the surrounding coolant, improving engine life. Another interesting feature is piston spray cooling. Filtered oil is sprayed against the underside of each piston in the form of a jet, which cools the cylinder and keeps the pistons and liners lubricated.

Nick Young, Managing Director at John Deere specialist: The European 50 Series tractors were an upgrade on the very successful 40 Series. They are mechanically very similar in that the engines have the same capacity, but the 50 Series have different pistons and a viscous fan that gave improved fuel economy.”

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