Short Timer

The John Deere 2630

The 1970s would bring about one of John Deere’s biggest model line updates, the Generation II tractors. The previous New Generation tractors had brought John Deere (JD) to the top of the tractor sales heap in 1960, beating the behemoth International Harvester for the first time. The JD 10 series tractors had taken the tractor world by storm and the more refined 20 series that debuted in 1964 were no less a hallmark. The 10 and 20 Series tractors served Deere, and the tractor buying public, very well until the 30 Series came along for 1972.

Samantha Tauber’s 2630 was spotted at the Threshers Reunion Event in Wauseon in 2017 and it’s an excellent example. It’s equipped with front and rear weights and looks ready to work ground, or drag a sled at a tractor pull. It’s the 2630A model, without the Power Shift or reverser. It has the Live PTO option, apparently as did most of them. This one has clamshell fenders but some are seen with a full fenders.

What became known as the Generation II tractors were far more than just a refresh. While they took many of the successful core design features of the existing Deere Line, they added the most modern technology and a new focus on comfort and convenience while addressing many of the new directions farming was taking in the ‘70s. The product of this new line were called the 30 series and probably the most notable feature of the line were the available Sound-Gard cabs. The sheet metal lines were updated from top to bottom and almost every component had some level of improvement, from the smallest to the largest tractors. In this Tractor Talk we’ll talk about one of the smaller tractors, the 2630.

A Cat 1 hitch, swinging drawbar and PTO were standard. This one also has the optional dual hydraulic remotes. We know an industrial version of the 2640 was available but don’t see an industrial version of the 2630 listed. We do know you could order them with some industrial-like features such as turf tires, underslung mufflers, etc., for use on golf courses and the like.

By the ‘70s, John Deere had expanded it’s worldwide footprint and was building an ever increasing number of tractors overseas, some just to serve those overseas markets, and some for export back to the home country. A line of utility tractors became known as the Worldwide Tractors and there were a total of 77 models built in this category from 1972 to about 1982. During that time, Deere operated plants in Argentina, Australia, Germany, Mexico and Spain. Most of the Worldwide Tractors were in the small to medium range utility category most suitable for markets outside the U.S. but there was still a big market for similar units here.


The Deere 4-276D was a direct-injected four with a 4.19 x 5.00-inch bore and stroke, seven main bearings, wet sleeves and a cross-flow head. It made 78-79 horsepower at the flywheel at 2500 rpm. It was one of JD’s 300 Series engines from the era, all similar in design but with slightly different displacements. The 276 shared the bore and stroke with the 414 six. Generally speaking, the 300 Series engines are called the Dubuque/Mannheim/Saran engines and were often found in industrial/construction applications and utility tractors (including the Worldwide units). They debuted in 1964 and there were two stroke lengths, 4.33-inches and the aforementioned 5-inches. Bores were most often 4.19 but there were some with 4.02-inches. The short stroke four displaced 239 cubic inches and the six 359. The 300 series were also common in power units, as marine conversions, generators, etc. They are not a relation to the earlier legendary Deere 404 ci engine (often called the “Waterloo” engine), and derivatives that were common in the U.S. tractors. According to most sources they are very common in Europe. The evolved versions of the Dubuque engines eventually replaced the Waterloo engines in many tractor applications.

The 2630, which debuted in 1974, was built in the Dubuque, Iowa, Deere plant so may or may not be considered a “Worldwide,” but in design and concept it was in the same category. The Dubuque Works, which opened in 1945, had evolved into Deere’s primary industrial equipment plant and grew to be their main plant and engineering center.

Rated at Nebraska at 70 PTO horses, the 2630 was a four-cylinder utility that was adaptable to many uses. It had a similar counterpart built in Germany that is sometimes seen here. A small farmer could use the 2630 as a primary tractor… but there weren’t many of those left when the 2630 debuted. Many were operated as loader tractors and a good number of those you see working today are so-equipped.

The operator’s station is nothing fancy but it’s pretty well thought out. The gearshift arrangement is particularly well done for a utility tractor and even the base units have what amounted to a shuttle shift arrangement… something other manufacturers could not boast.

The 2630 was only offered in ‘74 and ‘75 and came only as a utility. The track was adjustable so that it could be used as a row-crop tractor but that was a fading requirement by then. The main options centered around the gearbox. The 2630A had a standard 8-speed (4×2) with two levers, one that combined a Park position with high and low range, with a forwards-and-back shuttle position (clutch required). This was a great standard feature in a utility. Optionally, the 2603B had a clutch-less Power Shift with a lever on the dash opposite the throttle. The 2630F had a clutch-less shuttle gear with a lever on the dash… in the same spot as the Power Shift lever so you couldn’t have both. There were two 540 RPM PTOs available, a continuous PTO with a mechanical lever on the final drive case and a Live PTO with a lever between the gear shifters. A ROPs with or without a canopy was optional. Power steering, a 3-point hitch, and one set of hydraulic remotes were standard.

The 2630 evolved into the almost-the-same 2640 that came with the intro of the 40 Series in 1976. With such a short production period, it’s a tractor that’s often forgotten but owners will tell you it’s certainly not a forgettable tractor.


1974 John Deere 2630 
Engine: 4-cylinder, JD 4-276D
Displacement: 276ci
Bore & Stroke: 4.19 x 5.00 in.
*Rated PTO Power: 70.37-hp @ 2500
*Rated Drawbar Power:   58.15-hp @ 2500
Compression Ratio: 16.7:1
Transmission: 16-speed 4x2x2
Weight: 5,800 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 19.5 gal
Front- 6.00-16
Rear- 16.9-28

*Fuel Consumption: 4.9 GPH @ full power
*Drawbar Pull: 5,662 lbs. @ 9.94% slip
*Top Speed: 16.3 mph
* As Rated by Nebraska Tractor Test 1157

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