Tractor Trendsetters: John Deere 4020 & Farmall 806
Written By Larry Gay
Fifty years ago, in the fall of 1963, Deere & Company introduced its 4020 tractor and International Harvester announced the 806 model. It was one of the few times when the two companies introduced competing models of tractors at the same time. Both tractors featured a new level of power for row-crop tractors and provided many new features to increase the farmers’ productivity. This made these two tractors trendsetters for the 1964 model year.
The John Deere 4020 was initially rated at 88 PTO horsepower, a 10 percent increase over the replaced 4010. The 4020 offered a choice of 6-cylinder John Deere gasoline, LP-gas, or diesel engines with the spark-ignition engines’ 4.25-inch bore and 4.00-inch stroke resulting in a 340-cubic-inch displacement. A longer 4.75-inch stroke for the diesel version provided 404 cubic inches. A new feature for the 4020 was the Power Shift transmission which enabled the operator to shift through eight forward speeds without using the clutch. An 8-speed Syncro-Range transmission was also available. Front wheel equipment included dual front wheels, dual front wheels with Roll-O-Matic, and an adjustable wide front axle. The 3-point hitch matched Category 1 or 2 implements.
The International Harvester 806 replaced the 560 model and was initially rated at 90 PTO horsepower, a giant 38-percent increase in power over the 560. The 806 was powered by 6-cylinder International engines with a 301-cubic-inch gasoline engine or a 361-cubic-inch diesel engine. An LP-gas engine was also available. The gasoline engine had a 3.81- x 4.39-inch bore and stroke and the diesel engine was built with a 4.12- x 4.50-inch bore and stroke. An 8-speed transmission was standard for the 806, but an optional new hydraulically-powered Torque Amplifier provided on-the-go shifting in each of the eight gears for 16-forward speeds. The Farmall 806 was available with dual front wheels or an adjustable front axle and offered a choice of the 2-point Fast Hitch or a 3-point hitch.
Operator comfort and convenience features on the 4020 and 806 tractors included deluxe seats which were adjustable for height and weight, hydrostatic power steering, and hydraulic power brakes. Independent PTO speeds of 540 and 1000 rpm were available for both tractors.
The 4020 and the 806 were tested at Nebraska soon after they were introduced. The diesel-powered 806 produced 94.9 PTO horsepower at its rated engine speed of 2,400 rpm. The 4020 diesel tractor developed 91.1 PTO horsepower at 2,200 rpm during its Nebraska test.
Larry Gay is the author of four tractor books and the "Machinery Milestones" article in Heritage Iron magazine. To learn more about this magazine which focuses on the 1960-1985 era, go to heritageiron.com or call 1-855-old iron.