Medium Green - Diesel World

1962 John Deere 3010

When John Deere introduced four new tractors at its big New Generation of Power extravaganza in Dallas, August 30, 1960, it was became clear the company had a couple of big hits on its hands with the 3010 and 4010. It was a top-to-bottom redo of the tractor line. Taking cues from IH’s disastrous rush to bring a new line to market, Deere slowed the pace a little to not repeat that mistake. Doing so paid off, and the new tractors formed the core of a sales explosion that finally put John Deere over arch-rival International Harvester.


A well-used 3010 Rowcrop ready for another 60 years of work. This one belongs to Don Kunkle, who is one of the organizers of the Alvordton, Ohio, Plowing Days event, a fundraiser for the Alvordton Volunteer Fire Department. It’s a wide front Rowcrop with a few non-stock alterations. Most visible here is the later “John Deere” hood striping rather than the original stamped aluminum badges on the leading edges of the hood.


The 3010 Rowcrop tractors came standard with a 3-point hitch and live PTO, as well as a strong hydraulic pump with rear remotes. Kunkle is using some sort of a fast hitch here.

The 3010 and 4010 (see Diesel World, November 2017), one four-cylinder-powered and the other with a six, were the rockstars of the group. The two otherwise very similar tractors covered two important capability levels in the tractor market of that day. Their options lists were comparable and the price difference was reasonable. The 3010/4010 engines shared the same basic architecture, with the 254 cubic-inch 3010 delivering a Nebraska-rated 59 PTO horsepower and the 380 cubic-inch 4010 making 84 PTO ponies.

The 3010 was commonly seen as a rowcrop (code 11T) with either the Roll-o-Matic narrow front axle or an adjustable wide front axle. Both had standard adjustable or optional power-adjustable rear wheel tracks. Less common was the single front wheel option. The Rowcrop Utility model (14T) featured an adjustable-width wide front axle, which was set back like an industrial. Additionally, the tractor had a shorter wheelbase and adjustable-track rear wheels. The Standard tractor (12T) was available with a fixed tread front and rear. As far as production, there was a very limited number of 3010 Orchard models built.

The basic tractor was equipped very well and a highlight was the Synchro-Range 8-speed gearbox. It was divided into four ranges allowing quick shifts between each, thanks to the clutch. Only one lever was used and it operated in a straight line up and down, with reverse detents to the right. However the catch was that you needed to stop or slow down to shift between the ranges. That didn’t stop its popularity considering the Synchro-Range was a huge hit in the tractor market. Power steering and brakes were standard and the 10 Series tractors were noted for their seat comfort.

The 3010 was built through 1963, after which it was upgraded to the 3020.

The key to the Deere’s resounding success was the great timing for production, which was exactly when the market demanded. Some 45,222 3010 tractors were sold from 1961 through 1963. More than half of them, 23,675 to be exact, were diesel Rowcrops. For 1964, the updated 3020 debuted… but that’s another story.


The tractor’s robust engine is exposed, showing its age proudly.


Reportedly, development work on the inline diesels began in 1953. They debuted in two groups for 1960, the smaller 300 series and the larger 400 series. The 3010 and 4010 used engines in the 400 series, a four and a six that shared a 4.12 bore and 4.75 stroke. The 300 series used in the 2010, came with a 3.50-inch stroke and a variety of bore sizes. Both the 300 and 400 series engines would be updated many times and be a staple for John Deere for many years. The 254 diesel was a robust, 5-main bearing, wet-sleeved, direct-injected four-cylinder engine that was state-of-the-art at the time. These engines were enlarged in 1964 via a 1/8-inch bore increase to 270 cubic inches and used in a variety of tractors into the ’70s. The 4010 originally had an oil bath air filter and a generator.


The Synchro-Range transmission was one of the secrets to the 3010/4010 success. The ability to shift between gears in the range, all while on the move, was a boon to farming. You had to stop to shift between the ranges, though experienced owners say they can shift while moving. The shifting was convenient too, with only one inline lever.


In the notorious clay of Northwest Ohio, Kunkle’s 3010 could pull this three-bottom pull-behind JD plow at the 2017 Alvordton Plowing Days.


The 3010 was one of the more comfortable tractors of the day, with a cushy seat, power steering and brakes and a nice control layout.


1962 John Deere 3010 Rowcrop

Engine: 4-cylinder diesel
Displacement: 254 ci
Bore & Stroke: 4.125 x 4.75
*Rated PTO Power: 59.44 hp @ 2,200 rpm
*Rated Drawbar Power: 52.77 hp @ 2,209 rpm
Compression Ratio: 16.4:1
Transmission: 8-speed, Synchro-Range
Tires: Front— 6.50-16
Rear— 13.9-36
*Fuel Consumption: 4.09 gph @ full power
*Drawbar Pull: 6,323 lbs @ max ballast
Weight: 6,542 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 29 gal
*Top Speed: 14.5 mph
*As rated by Nebraska Tractor Test 762


Alvordton Plow Days