Kensett, IA. November 11, 2019. When you see the freshly painted 1972 John Deere 4020 "High Crop,” it almost looks brand new. The shiny green exterior and new Continental tires make it hard to believe the tractor is nearing 50 years old, built on September 29, 1971. After starting its life in Donaldsonville, LA, the tractor ended up in the hands of Iowa high school student and Future Farmers of America (FFA) member, Ryder, who took on its restoration.
Ryder was committed to the project and did not shy away from hard work. All and all, he spent eight months and 270 hours fixing up the tractor. After speaking with Ryder, that dedication is no surprise. When he heard about Continental’s new line of radial agriculture tires, he took the initiative to reach out about sponsorship and Continental gladly provided him with two 460/85 R34 Tractor85 tires.
“What I learned from this restoration was hard work, determination, meeting a deadline, but also speaking,” explained Ryder, referring to reaching out for sponsorship opportunities.
Public speaking is only one of the many skills he honed during the restoration. He took on this project, in part, to explore where he wants to take his future career and to learn about ag mechanics.
What I learned from this restoration was hard work, determination, meeting a deadline, but also speaking.
Ryder Lestrud - Iowa high school student and Future Farmers of America (FFA) member
As one of the earliest steps of the restoration, Ryder took the tractor down to the empty frame rails. From there, he rebuilt the steering motor and hydraulic pump. He split the tractor apart to inspect the clutch and replace the flywheel. He also rebuilt the injection pump, which feeds fuel into the cylinders of the engine.
After going through the steering valve, steering motor, and hydraulic pump, Ryder fired up the tractor for the first time to make sure all the components he rebuilt worked correctly and did not leak. Ryder then sandblasted, primed, and painted the tractor before installing the new Continental Tractor85 tires.
Ryder has been impressed with the tire performance saying, “They look great mounted on the tractor, they ride nice and were easy to mount.”
Ryder plans to use the tractor in restoration competitions and for tractor rides and parades. He recently was a finalist for the Delo® Tractor Restoration Competition, organized by Chevron, in Indianapolis, IN.
This tractor restoration won’t be his last. Ryder already has plans to restore a John Deere 4010 Standard. Ryder allowed us to share his story on the Continental Agriculture North America Facebook page as well. To see all the photos and stages of the restoration,