John and Kathy Boehm
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John Deere Setscrew BW
Serial #5106

The first 24 unstyled row crop John Deere B's that were made with adjustable wide front ends (also known as Model BW) had a different front end than all the subsequent BW's. The front end center section has the casting #A878R and the knees are A883R. John Deere designed this axle with two setscrews, one on each side of the center section of the front axle. The job of these screws was to hold the front knees in place. This arrangement did not work very well, however. Normal tightening of the screw would not adequately hold the knees in place, while excessive tightening resulted in breaking a portion of the center casting. John Deere quickly figured out the flaws in this system and changed to the more commonly found A1100R front axle, which featured a bolt that went all the way through both the knee and the center section from front to back. Closer examination of the last photo on this page shows that someone in the past did indeed overtighten one of the setscrews resulting in a broken casting. The fix in this case was to drill holes through the center section and knee to hold everything together. I chose not to alter the front axle during my restoration of this tractor, in order to show the weak point of this design and why it was changed. I started restoring this tractor in 1998 and finished it in the summer of 1999. The tractor was originally used by the Pflager family in the San Jose, California area. I bought it from Phil Pflager in 1991.