John Deere 4010 Specs, Problems, and Review

The John Deere 4010 tractor is probably the most influential in the company’s history. If you’re planning to buy one, read this John Deere 4010 review to learn everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

The JD 4010 tractor was in production for a short time, from 1960 to 1963. However, even if it was in production for only three years, it left an enduring impression on the company and its customers.

Read more about the John Deere 4010, its history, essential features and specs, and more.

Brief History of the John Deere 4010

john deere 4010

Has Been in Business for Almost Two Centuries

The John Deere company has been in business for almost two centuries. Throughout those years, they were known for their efficient and sturdy equipment equipped with the latest features to help professionals from different industries, such as agriculture and construction.

New Generation Tractors Replaced Two-Cylinder Tractors

On August 30, 1960, around 5,670 dealers attended the “Deere Day in Dallas” to witness the unveiling of John Deere’s “New Generation” tractors. The “New Generation,” also known as the “10 Series,” consisted of 1010, 2010, 3010, and 4010 tractors.

The “New Generation” tractors replaced John Deere’s two-cylinder tractors. Unlike their two-cylinder predecessors, they have a markedly higher horsepower-to-weight ratio, more advanced hydraulics, better operator station, and many other upgrades.

A Predecessor to the John Deere 4020 Tractor

The “New Generation” lineup star was the John Deere 4010 tractor. It’s the predecessor to the John Deere 4020, which dethroned the 4010 as the most popular tractor John Deere ever produced.

4010 Tractors Solidify the Company’s Leadership in the Farm Tractor Industry

Despite this, the success of the 4010 tractors (and the whole “10 Series” lineup) helped solidify the company’s leadership in the farm tractor industry. Between 1960 and 1963, it sold over 58,000 units.

Fun fact: Elvis Presley got a 1963 John Deere 4010 when he bought his Twinkletown Farm. Shortly after he got it, he took it to his Graceland home, where it stayed in service until 2008.

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Summary of the John Deere 4010 Specs

Before we proceed, here’s a quick look at the John Deere 4010 specs:

TypeRow-crop tractor
4.9L 6-cylinder gasoline
6.2L 6-cylinder diesel

4.9L 6-cylinder LP gas
Fuel Tank34 gal (approximately 128.7L)
BrakesDifferential hydraulic wet disc
CabOpen operator station
Chassis4×2 2WD
SteeringPower assist
Transmission8-speed partially synchronized
Power Take-off (PTO)Independent 540/1000 RPM rear
Wheelbase99.25 inches (252 cm)
Weight7,100 lbs (3220 kg)
Tires6.00×16 (front tire)
13.6×38 (rear tire)
HitchCategory 2 (rear type)
BatteriesTwo 12-volt (diesel)
One 12-volt (gas)
Ground cable12-volt (positive)
24-volt (floating)

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Key Features of the John Deere 4010

john deere 4010 compact tractor

John Deere put a lot of effort and thought into creating their “New Generation” tractors, especially the 4010 model.

Since it would take much more time than you would like to discuss the nitty-gritty technical details of the JD 4010 tractor, let’s focus on its essential features and specs:

1. Inline Six-Cylinder Engine

The JD 4010 tractor had a six-cylinder engine, which was available in three types:

  • Diesel (380 cubic inches)
  • Gasoline (302 cubic inches)
  • LP-gas (302 cubic inches)

During the 1960s, the 4010 tractor was one of the most powerful farming tractors—thanks to its diesel engine. The Nebraska Tractor Test Lab tested it at 84 horsepower, four points higher than its original rating.

They also rated the gasoline and LP-gas engines at 80.86 and 80.6 PTO horsepower, respectively.

2. Dual 540-1000 RPM Rear PTO

The John Deere 4010 has an independent power take-off (PTO) device. This gives you complete control over the tractor while allowing you to operate the PTO separately.

The rear PTO can handle both equipments at 540 rpm and 1,000 rpm without being affected by other tractor functions. The speed of the front PTO is 1,000 rpm, which is the standard for most large modern tractors and implements.

3. Longer Wheelbase

Another highlight feature of this tractor is its wheelbase, which measures 99.25 inches (252 cm). It has a longer wheelbase than other older John Deere tractors, like the JD 730, which has a wheelbase of 93.7 inches (237 cm).

Its overall wheelbase is longer than its popular successor, the John Deere 4020 (97.5 inches or 247 cm).

It might only be 1.75 inches longer than the JD 4020, but that can already make a big difference when you’re in the field.

The longer wheelbase makes the JD 4010 tractor extremely safe and stable, regardless of the terrain you’re traversing. Therefore, it’s easy to handle and ensures a comfortable ride.

4. High-Quality Transmission

The JD 4010 tractor comes with a dry disc clutch. This means you don’t have to deal with fluid drag, which could cause grinding noises when you shift gears or make it hard to shift into first or reverse gears.

Farming tractors usually have six to eight forward gears and one to two reverse gears. John Deere made sure you have the freedom to move the JD 4010 forward or backward at different speeds and torque limits to suit your needs by equipping it with eight forward gears and three reverse gears.

5. Clean and Ergonomic Design

Iconic Yellow-and-green Exterior Paint

The JD 4010 tractor features the iconic yellow-and-green exterior paint, which John Deere’s wife chose. The green paint represented growing crops, while the yellow paint on the rims represented harvest-ready crops.

The handsome body shape of the JD 4010 looked right from any angle. Everything was hidden and flowed nicely. You won’t see any unnecessarily protruding components beyond the basic sheet metal.

Adjustable Seat

It also boasted of other design improvements. For instance, the seat was adjustable to fit your height and weight. They moved the platform forward (around 12 inches or 1 foot), so the seat is now ahead of the rear axle. The result is a much more comfortable driving position.

Equipped with Heavy-duty Steps and Handholds

It has heavy-duty steps and handholds in the fenders and on the tractor. This made it a lot easier to mount the tractor on either side.

Has the Roll-O-Matic Knee-action Suspension System

It also used the Roll-O-Matic knee-action suspension system. This suspension system greatly cuts front-end bounce to allow you to ride in great comfort practically in all conditions.

6. Other Innovative Features

  • Universal 3-point Hitch: Resembles a triangle or the letter A; allows you to attach all types of 3-point equipment without exerting effort or leaving your tractor seat.
  • Rear rock shaft: For lifting or lowering any attached equipment offers depth control, load control, and load-and-depth control.
  • Remote cylinders: Double-acting and have a “floating” action to give you full control of the drawn and front-mounted equipment.
  • Hydraulic controls: Allow you to separately or simultaneously operate a maximum of three independent “live” hydraulics.
  • Synchronizers: Get the gears running at the same speed and eliminate moving gears.
  • Power brakes: Allow you to easily make short turns at the ends of the fields.
  • Power steering motor: Sends sufficient power to turn the front wheels on all terrains (mud, sand, snow, etc.).
  • Front-mounted fuel tank: Lessens fuel evaporation and prevents cold-weather starting problems.

Again, what years did John Deere make the 4010? John Deere produced John Deere 4010 from 1960 to 1963. During this short time, the tractor made a lasting impression on its users.

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John Deere 4010 Pros and Cons

john deere 4010 problems

On paper, the John Deere 4010 tractor looks good. But before you get one, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons first:


1. A Good Beginner Tractor

The John Deere 4010 isn’t the Prius of modern farm tractors. However, it’s still a good option for people looking for their first row-crop tractor—or a new toy to play with. Owners of small farms or plots of land will not be disappointed with this tractor.

2. Versatile

You also don’t need to worry about buying different types of equipment for different seasons. It has the necessary features to help it carry out its function all year round.

Its versatility makes it a valuable tool for doing small to moderately big jobs around your farm, including harrowing, plowing, and weed control.

3. User-Friendly

John Deere made sure their “New Generation” tractors were user-friendly and comfortable to operate by anyone. And that’s what you’ll get from the 4010. For instance, it has a power steering system to ensure you can quickly turn or maneuver it and avoid feeling fatigued afterward.

And part of its user-friendliness is its ergonomic design. The Henry Dreyfuss Associates (HDA) designed a user-friendly driving console and an improved seat, relying on an inclined rail to properly position the driver with the steering wheel and console.

4. Dependable and Durable

Depending on how well you take care of it and how hard it has been worked, the John Deere 4010 Diesel can give you years of dependable service at minimum cost. Some people have had theirs for years and plan to pass it on to their children.

The build quality of this tractor is truly admirable. Even Kevin Kern, the public relations director at Elvis Presley Enterprises, said it has a “great lifespan” and a “workhorse and did a great job.” The 4010 Elvis Presley owned gave almost 50 years of service.

5. Safe to Use

It’s safe and stable to maneuver on any surface since it has a longer wheelbase, almost 100 inches. The power brakes can assist you in safely making short turns to avoid the tractor from toppling over.

The power steering and Roll-O-Matic system make it easier to control and steer while increasing your comfort.

6. Provides Sufficient Power

With a rating of 80 horsepower (or 84 horsepower based on field testing), the JD 4010 tractor was one of the most powerful two-wheel-drive (2WD) farm tractors during its heyday.

That might not seem a lot if you compare it with modern row-crop tractors, like the John Deere 4020, but you don’t always need the biggest or most powerful tractor in the lineup.

Here’s a general idea of how much horsepower you need from a farming tractor:

  • If you’re going to use it to do small jobs, like controlling weeds and picking up or moving materials, an agricultural tractor with 25 to 35 horsepower is sufficient.
  • Now, if you need an all-purpose tractor, find one with at least 40 to 50 horsepower.
  • If you depend on your tractor to do heavy work around your farm, you need a large tractor with at least 75 horsepower.


Let’s face it—there are bound to be lots of things that could go wrong with an old tractor model. It has been more than sixty years since John Deere introduced their “New Generation” tractors. So, if you plan to buy a 4010, it’s good to be aware of these John Deere 4010 problems:

1. Gear Shift Issue

From time to time, the gears of this tractor might cause mechanical difficulties. One customer said he could not change gears unless he set his 4010 for a few minutes or shuts it down and restarted it.

He also found it challenging to go into the 5th, 7th, and 8th gears. However, this problem started after he had his 4010’s hydraulic pump rebuilt.

There are plenty of reasons why this happens. Most of the time, it could be due to a malfunctioning transmission, old or insufficient transmission fluid, or malfunctioning gear-position sensors.

2. Has Difficulty Starting

There might be some instances wherein it won’t start without a jump. Again, there are a variety of things that could cause this issue.

The first thing you should do is check the different components of the engine. Is the transmission okay? How about the electrical outlets, fuel filter, fuel level, and the shut-off valve? If they’re working fine, check if there’s air in the cylinder.

3. Hydraulic Breakdown Problems

Another common issue with a used John Deere 4010 is hydraulic-related problems. Some say the hydraulics in their tractor seemed slow, or the hydraulic pump made a lot of noises.

There are many reasons why this happens. It could be due to insufficient fluid levels, poor filtering, hydraulic fluid oxidation, or using the wrong fluid type. An inefficient oil filter can cause contamination.

But most of the time, the common cause of a hydraulic breakdown is when air and water combine.

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Tips Before Buying a Used John Deere 4010

Buying a pre-owned tractor can be a risky proposition. Unless you have tons of money to spare, consider the tips below before committing to the sale:

1. Calculate the Total Cost of Ownership

Some people prefer long-term ownership, while others prefer trading sooner (i.e., every year or after every few years).

If you’re unsure how long you plan to use your tractor, a good rule is to calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO) for the next 15 years. Make sure to also determine the remaining lifespan expectancy in years or hours before making any payments.

2. Do Intensive Research

It might be tiring, but skipping this part is never a good idea. Dig into the details to ensure you fully understand the capabilities of the pre-owned or refurbished JD 4010 tractor you’re planning to buy and its repair and replacement history.

Fortunately, John Deere dealerships have a certification program for pre-owned tractors. Dealers thoroughly inspect the unit to reassure potential buyers that it’s working as advertised.

3. Know the Usual Price

When creating your budget, don’t forget to research the average John Deere 4010 price for new and used units. You can use this information to know how much cash you’re willing to spend upfront when negotiating prices.

Note: Add at least 10% of the tractor’s value to your budget. This will cover additional expenses, such as repairs, replacement of parts, transportation, and so on.

4. Do an In-Person Inspection

That’s why it’s better to choose a seller near your area. When it’s time to do this, it’s a good idea to bring with you someone more knowledgeable about farm tractors, especially tractors from John Deere.

Take your time to check the exterior and interior of the tractor, including the clutch, engine, transmission, and wiring system.

5. Ensure You Have a Compatible Battery

Before attempting to jump-start your JD 4010 tractor, make sure you use a compatible battery. This specific tractor model uses a 12-volt battery. If you use an incompatible battery to jump-start it, it’s important to have the right cables.

6. Utilize the Start-safety Switch Under the Dash

The JD 4010 tractor comes with a start-safety switch under the dash. This switch allows you to start your tractor engine safely when the transmission shift lever is in a neutral position.

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Conclusion – John Deere 4010 Specs, Problems, and Review

Despite being in production for only three years, the John Deere 4010 became a game-changer for the company. Even now, it’s still worth consideration after all these years.

As others say, a well-maintained 4010 is much better than other newer John Deere tractors, such as the 4020.

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