Farm Classics with Peter O'Brien
THE John Deere 50 series had placed John Deere firmly on the map by the early 90s and the company was poised for a larger market share with the impending launch of a whole new range – the 6000 series.
The long nose 50 series are still held in very high regard by both owners and enthusiasts alike, a nostalgic throwback to the fast-pace development of tractors of the 80s.
Manufactured from 1986-1992, John Deere 50 series tractors were manufactured in both Mannheim, Germany and Waterloo, Iowa.
The Waterloo manufacturing plant was geared to build the ‘large’ John Deere tractors, while in Mannheim, production focused on the ‘smaller’ models, the largest of which was the 3650.
Fitted with John Deere’s 5.9 litre six-cylinder engine-manufactured in Saran, France, the 3650 produced 114hp and replaced the 3640. Although the same engine was also fitted to the 3050 and 3350, the 3650 was turbocharged, making it a very sprightly machine.
The Power Synchron gearbox provides 16F/8R inclusive of a hi-lo splitter, engaged through a six-paddle clutch and could be specified with a 40kph. Two ranges, as well as reverse, are designated to the furthest gear lever, while 1-4 are selected on the main gearstick in the middle. The nearest stubby lever engages the hi-lo for convenient and swift on-the-move changes, with the hand throttle positioned just above.
Inherited from the 40 series, an innovative feature was the ability of the wheels to caster at 12 degrees away from the engine on full lock thanks to the ZF front axle. This allowed for great manoeuvrability with a total turning lock of 50 degrees. All 3650 were fitted with hi-lift rear linkage which included a larger hydraulic pump along with re-enforced load bearing components, such as the engine block and rear axle.
The famed SG2 cab is a key feature of the 3650. The single door, curved cab provides great levels of forward visibility, although clambering up the steps can prove hazardous. Late models, such as the one pictured, were fitted with a more accessible ‘side step’ and are highly desirable.
The cab is quite snug by today’s standards but all controls fall easily to hand, with great levels of steering wheel adjustment. Interestingly, the orange handled hand brake is located on the right side of the dash, pulled towards the operator to engage.
The 3650 proved so popular, that production continued right through to 1994 until it was ultimately replaced by the 6800.
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John Deere 3650
John Deere 5.9 litre
Years of manufacture