John Deere 420 Tractor Review & Specs

John Deere 420 is a 2WD garden tractor that enjoyed a rebirth between 1983 and 1991. This garden tractor is the second tractor in the 400 series seamlessly replacing JD 400 garden tractor. Other tractors in the 400 series include JD 425JD 430, and JD 455.

The need for a tractor cannot be overemphasized, with many people gravitating towards less time-consuming plants like succulents and looking for means to take care of their garden without spending their whole day in their garden. Tractors like JD 420 with attachments that can handle various garden needs are in high demand.

I’m going to be dissecting the John Deere 420 garden tractor showing you its parts and their specs, its pros and cons, as well as its going price today. Keep on reading.

History of John Deere 420

The company released John Deere 420 in 1956 as an all-purpose tractor capable of handling everything thrown at it. Fifty-five thousand tractors were produced in two years before John Deere discontinued it in 1958.

This utility tractor had fleets in several configurations, including standard, utility, crawler version general-purpose, hi-crop, and special configurations. All the different fleets had unique wheel configurations.

Twenty-five years after the first JD 420 tractor discontinued, it was reborn as a garden tractor as part of the JD 400 series. Its production lasted for eight years between 1983 and 1991. This rebirth sports several modifications, which quickly made it a fan favorite even to this day.

John Deere 420 Specs

ModelJohn Deere 420
TypeGarden tractor
ManufacturerJohn Deere
Engine20HP Onan 781cc 2-cyl gasoline
Displacement781 cc
Bore/Stroke3.25x2.875 inches
Power20 hp
Fuel Capacity6.5 gal
24.6 L
Battery12V BCI Group 22F
Rear PTOIndependent
Rear RPM2000
Front PTOIndependent
Front RPM3400
Cabin TypeOpen operator station
John Deere 420 Tires:
Ag front4.80x4.00-8
Ag rear23x10.50-12
Lawn/turf front18x8.50-8
Lawn/turf rear26x12.00-12
Wheelbase52 inches
Length77 inches
Width51.5 inches
Height47.5 inches
Front tread36 inches
Rear tread32/38.6 inches
John Deere 420 attachments:
50" mid-mount mower deck
60" mid-mount mower deck
front-end loader

John Deere 420 is a massive tractor, which is evident by its 899 lbs weight. It has a height of 47.4 in, a width of 51.6 in, and 77 in. This tractor seamlessly replaced the JD 400 by modifying some of the issues with the first JD 400 series tractor like its sound. JD 420 can work with less noise.

Features of John Deere 420

In this section, I will be showing you some critical JD 420 parts, its specification, and how it can affect your work in the garden. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.


john deere 420

Onan B48G engine was first used from 1983 through to 1986. It is a 2-cylinder air-cooled gasoline engine with a displacement of 781 cc. Its stroke is 3.25×2.875 inches. When it comes to horsepower, this Engine sports a 20 horsepower capacity, something not many lawn tractors can boast of having. This Engine is 3500 rpm rated, with idle rpm between 100-3450. It is a12 volts engine like most other tractor engines.

In 1987, John Deere replaced the Engine with a better Onan P220G 2-cylinder air-cooled gasoline engine. It is powered with the same 20 HP but with a higher rpm rating of 3600.

Transmission and Chassis

This tractor has a chassis of 4×2 2WD while the transmission is a hydrostatic shaft-driven type; its model is Sundstrand 90, the same used in JD 430. Its hydrostatic powered steering makes controlling this big machine a lot easier. For the braking system, it is shoe and drum brakes on the rear wheel.

Its powerful HP allows it to generate a forward speed of up to 12.4 km h and a reverse speed of 6.2 km h. It also sports a similar transmission oil capacity of 7.1 L with JD 430.


features of john deere 420

Tires are essential parts of a tractor, especially a heavy one like JD 420. While its tires are large to accommodate for its weight, they can work without leaving annoying tire marks on your field.

The threads for the front tires are 36 inches while the threads of the rear tires (narrow) are 32 inches, rear tires threads (wide) are38.6 inches. The standard front tires (turf) are 18 × 8.50-8, 4PR, while the standard rear tires (turf or bar) is 26 × 12.00-12, 2 PR. For the inflation pressure, the front is 6-22 psi, and the rear is 5-10 psi.

 PTO (Power Take-Off Shaft)

Without the PTO, there won’t be a transfer of energy from the Engine to the attachments. Now you know how vital the PTO is if you want to use your tractor for many things.

It’s front and rear PTOs are both independent with an electric clutch. Its front PTO speed is 3450 rpm while its rear PTO speed is 2000 rpm.


john deere 420 review

John Deere 420 tractor can use attachments like 50″ mid-mount mower deck, 60″ mid-mount mower deck, blade, tiller, front-end loader, snow blower, among several other attachments. This is possible because of its 3 point hitch (front, mid and back hitches)


The parts of JD 420 may be tricky to get, but that does not mean we can’t obtain them. You can get the parts directly from the manufacturer (John Deere) and Onan for engine parts. You can quickly get the operator’s manual from online stores.

Pros of John Deere 420

Here are some reasons you should get a John Deere 420 garden tractor.

  • Massive horsepower:  lawn tractors at 10 HP pride themselves as having an immense engine power. You can imagine how JD 420 compares to them with an engine power of 20 HP. This helps it handle your garden needs without issues.
  • Reserve tank: this tractor sports a reserve tank that can give you up to 30 minutes of work time before running out. This means you can complete that task even after the fuel runs out. You’re never stranded with this tractor.
  • Annunciator Light: this light is located on the dashboard and aids you while working at night.
  • More speed: its massive power means more speed, which means you complete your work in less time.
  • Hydrostatic power steering: this is a fluid type of steering that makes control easy and fun.

Cons of John Deere 420

  •  Hand drive control:  hand drive control is a lot harder to navigate. The foot control system that the JD 455 carries is a better alternative.
  • Too big: JD 420 is no small tractor, and this means it is a lot harder to navigate in tight spaces

Price of JD 420

john deere 420 specification

John Deere 420 was sold for $3,200 on its first release in 1956. At its rebirth, the price was $7,700. All these were prices for a brand new tractor. But what is the cost of a used tractor today?

You can get a decent JD 420 garden tractor today for around $7,000. It is essential you carefully check the machine’s condition before negotiating as that will determine the actual worth.

Final Words

Is John Deere 420 garden tractor worth the hype? I’ll tell you this; this tractor is one of the best in the 80s/90s. You have a powerful 20 HP, settling your Garden needs. If you don’t mind a big tractor then, you should get this tractor if the opportunity presents itself.

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About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

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