During the 1960’s and 70’s, the race was on for “more power”. Innovative farmers and even some of the barnyard mechanics tinkered with various engines to be retrofitted into farm tractors. Whether it was more power, more efficiency, or just cheaper horsepower, everyone had an idea.
In Ladora, Iowa, a 25-year old innovator by the name of Jon Kinzenbaw had his one ideas to incorporate more power into a model that was lacking. Jon had developed a good reputation for his ability to fix or build anything. He had already built his first unloading auger grain wagon, his first payloader and first high-flotation chemical applicator. His fabrication skills knew no limits and Jon would tackle any project that came through the door.
When Deere finally went from two cylinders to six, they took a giant leap. The 5010 was a monster of a tractor when compared to the rest of the lineup and the horsepower to pull the 12,000 pound hunk of iron proved to be inadequate. For this reason, many of the 5010/5020 models were re-powered and this model is one of the more popular of the Kinze Conversions.
The JD 5010 came out in 1963 and was followed by the 5020 in 1965. The two shared the same basic engine but the 5020 had been cranked up through the pump to give it an additional fifteen horses. Even at 141 PTO horsepower, the 531 CID Deere engine needed more.
For many power hungry farmers, they turned to M&W Gear to add a turbo. However, the 531 engine wasn’t designed to be a turbocharged engine and they didn’t last. The most obvious choice was to re-power it.
In 1969, a farmer from Reinbeck, Iowa by the name of David Bystriki, approached Jon to inquire about re-powering his 5020. Still operating out of his first welding shop, Jon took on the challenge. And so the 5020 Kinze Re-Power was born.
Jon chose the 8V-71 Detroit to be used in his conversions for various reasons. In the 1960’s the 71 series Detroits were very popular and reliable. They were widely used in the trucking industry making them plentiful in large quantities. The exhaust temperature on the 531 was 1200-1300 degrees while the Detroit was less than 700 degrees, which resulted in a greater life expectancy. And probably the most logical reason it was used was because it fit inside the engine cavity of the tractor and overall dimensions after installation were identical to the original engine. It provided compact horsepower with minimal modification.
The stock 5020 was rated at 141 hp. Dynos weren’t readily available at every shop during this time period but Kinze estimates the 8V-71 was probably pushing out 300 PTO horsepower, double that of the stock tractor.
Thanks to a beefy rear end, the back side of the 5010/20 had no problem delivering the power to the ground. A minor modification was done to one snap ring in the transmission but that was all that was needed.
Kinze quit offering the conversions in 1976 because the 6030 had solved most of the problems that occurred with the 5020. Four-wheel drive tractors were coming on the scene by then and the 7520 was satisfying the needs of the big farmers. Plus, by that time, Kinze was focusing on the planter and grain cart business. After Kinze Manufacturing moved to their current location in Williamsburg, they again began re-powering tractors but only 4-wheel drives, such as the 8630s and 8640s.
So how much of a difference did the Kinze conversion make in the field? The stock 5020 pulled a 7-bottom plow in third gear. The re-powered 5020 still pulled a 7-bottom plow, but now you could pull it in fifth gear. Yes, it probably used more fuel but you got a lot more work done in a lot less time and time is money.
Kinze conversions are always a popular attraction at shows and especially going through the field. You don’t even have to look to know what is headed your direction, just get out of the way.
About the Author:
Sherry Schaefer is a Greenville, Illinois (Bond County) native who grew up around tractors and farm equipment. Her grandfather, Ervin Schaefer, was an Oliver tractor dealer in both Granite City and Hamel, Illinois from 1936 -1965. Her father, Oliver “Ollie” Schaefer, is a used Oliver tractor and equipment dealer in Greenville, Illinois. The Schaefer family also owned and operated a national tractor pulling sled service for more than twenty-five years beginning in the late 1960s. Schaefer has authored three books, Farm Tractor Collectibles, (MBI Publishing, in 1998), Oliver Tractors, (MBI Publishing, in 2001) and Classic Oliver Tractors: History, Models, Variations & Specifications 1855-1976, (Voyageur Press, 2009).Heritage Iron Magazine was founded in 2008 in order to fill a need for those interested in muscle tractors. Heritage Iron features all brands, all makes, and all models of muscle tractors from the 1960’s to mid 1980’s including the equipment used by the tractors. Learn more at www.HeritageIron.com