John Deere 420 Tractor Full Specs and Review

This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy we may make a commission, at no additional charge to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more details.

What if we told you that you could still use a tractor with various features from the late 1990s for all your gardening tasks?

Yes, you heard that right. The golden tractor history includes some of John Deere’s products, which made the company a titan in the tractor-producing industry.

One such tractor is the John Deere 420 lawn and garden tractor. This 2WD garden tractor, the second JD 400 tractor in the line, was brought back in 1983 and 1991 after its initial launch in 1956.

The 420 models were first introduced in 1956, and 55000 tractors were produced before it was removed from the market in 1958. But the business had to submit to the model’s popularity, and in 1983 decided to reintroduce it after a 25-year hiatus.

And from 1983 to 1991, eight years of production took place for the JD 420. The version that was reintroduced to the market had many of its features changed. Due to this, the John Deere 420 model became a classic tractor.

One word of caution: John Deere’s first models were all painted green, so check the serial plate properly.

The popularity of the John Deere 420 lawn and garden tractor has us completely enthralled, so we decided to write a post devoted to it.

So here we are, prepared to analyze the John Deere 420 garden tractor and show you its components, specifications, advantages and 

disadvantages, and other features.

John Deere 420 Specs

John Deere 420 Specs

The John Deere 420’s ability to have various configurations to fit multiple jobs was one of its best features.

The General-Purpose, Hi-Crop, Standard, Utility, Special, and Crawler varieties were some of the most prominent configurations. Additionally, John Deere included different versions of configuration with differing wheel arrangements.

Sounds like a fantastic device, no? But before you choose this tractor, look at the table below for a summary of its essential features.

General Specifications:
ModelJohn Deere 420
ManufacturerJohn Deere
TypeRiding lawn tractor
Length (overall)77 inches
Weight993 lbs
Wheel Base52 inches
Width51.5 inches
Height 47.5 inches
Rear axle1800 lbs
Front axle1060 lbs
Lawn/turf front18x8.50-8
Lawn/turf rear26x12.00-12
Ag Front4.80x4.00-8
Ag Rear23x10.50-12
Engine Specifications:
Engine Type 1: Through the 1986
Engine Manufacturer/ modelOnan B48G
Engine typeAir-cooled horizontal-shaft opposed V-twin
Engine Power (Gross)20 hp
No. of cylinders2
Bore and stroke3.25x2.875 inches
Displacement781 cc
Starter volt12
Cooling SystemAir
Air CleanerFoam and paper
Idle RPM1000-3450
Rated RPM3500
Fuel typeGasoline
Fuel6.5 gal
Engine Type 2: 1987 model year
Engine Manufacturer/ modelOnan P220G
Engine typeAir-cooled horizontal-shaft opposed V-twin
Engine Power (Gross)20 hp
No. of cylinders2
Bore and stroke3.2580x2.875 inches
Displacement781 cc
Starter volt12
Cooling SystemAir
Air CleanerFoam and paper
Oil capacity1.75 qts
Rated RPM3600
Fuel typeGasoline
Spark plugNGK BPR5EFS
Champion RS14YC
Battery12 V
Charging systemAlternator
Charging amps20
Battery groupBCS 22F
Rear PTOIndependent
Rear RPM2000
ClutchElectric and dry
Front PTOIndependent
Front RPM3400
Transmission & Chassis:
ModelSundstrand Series 15 Model 90
TypeShaft-driven hydrostatic
Oil capacity7.5 qts
Oil typeJD Hy-Grad
BrakesTurning (dual) brakes
GearsInfinite forward and reverse
Steering typePower
Operator systemOpen
Chassis2 2WD
Differential lockYes
Attachments (optional):
Mower deck• Mid-mount 50-inch deck
• Mid-mount 60-inch deck
Snowblower• Front-mount John Deere 0062M (46 in) two-stage snow blower
• Front-mount John Deere 47 2752M (47 in) dual-stage snow blower
Blade• 54” front-mount blade
Loader• John Deere 44 Loader
Manufacturing locationHoricon, Wisconsin, USA
Original price$4,500 (1956)
$6,489 (1983 )
$7,700 (1992 )

History of John Deere 420 Lawn & Garden Tractor

History of John Deere 420 Lawn & Garden Tractor

It wouldn’t be incorrect to describe the 420 as “ahead of its time,” given its features and the year it was released, 1956. 

John Deere has established itself as a distinctive brand that puts a lot of thought into the future while remaining firmly rooted in the present. 

As a result, customers saw a machine that addressed their landscaping problems, as the 420 lawn tractor was introduced to the market in 1956.

We’ve already talked about this utility tractor’s different fleet configurations. From 1856 to 1958, John Deere initially produced its 420 (tractor) models, and at their workhouse in Horicon, Wisconsin, about 50000 models were produced during that time. 

After 25 years, in 1983, John Deere reintroduced the 420 models as a garden tractor and part of the JD 400 series. This time, the production ran for eight years until 1991 with several changes, quickly making it a favorite of customers even today.

John Deere 420 Features in Detail

John Deere 420 Features in Detail

The 420 lawn garden tractor, one of the first models in the JD 400 series, has many features to brag about.

To explore the main characteristics of this lawn tractor, we have broken them into smaller sub-sections under this broad section. So let’s jump right in and explore the world of the John Deere 420.

Physical Specifications

The John Deere 420 is, without a doubt, a sizable tractor. If you don’t believe us, look at its weight and dimensions (77″ X 51.5″ X 47.5″) and (993 lbs). 

This lawn tractor is unquestionably heavier than average. This model, the second in the JD 400 series, succeeds the JD 400 lawn tractor and replaces it with a few upgraded features. 

Fans of John Deere don’t need to be reminded of the tractor’s welded, svelte body. However, let us say that for those who are not as familiar with the brand, the tractor’s appearance “is going to appeal to you, for sure.” 

Here, one thing is to notice- some of the early versions of the JD 420 were manufactured in all green body color. So, checking out the serial number while purchasing one is always advised.

Let’s now discuss the tractor’s hood. It is incredibly simple to open to inspect the engines’ other internal parts. Other physical characteristics of this tractor are comparable to those of other John Deere 400 series tractors.

Here, we’re referring to a wholly welded body, rounded edges, a rust-free coating, etc. You will know what we’re referring to if you check out the 420 models at any JD dealer. The restored tractor models are in good condition and ready for use in the coming years.

The 420 also has live hydraulics, a wider wheelbase (26″ rear wheels), three levers on the deck, four hydraulic ports on the front, the ability to attach a three-point hitch, and other notable features.

The open and airy operator’s system is another feature that adds to the tractor’s durability and visual appeal.

However, given that it’s a technically retired model, pump leaks, transaxle leaks, worn PTO pulleys, etc., are a few common problems you might encounter. Therefore, after giving it a thorough inspection and servicing, we advise purchasing this tractor.


The John Deere 420 model was fitted with a 20-horsepower Onan B48G engine.

The brand kept using this engine up until 1986. But a little stroll in history will show us that this tractor was equipped with the better Onan P220G during its 1987 model year.

The Onan engine is powerful, along with being a smoother one, which we liked the most. Additionally, the tractor has tons of power provided by the air-cooled opposed horizontal shaft, which can run it effortlessly.

The Onan B48G engine has a 20 hp gross output, sufficient to cut small to medium-sized lawns. The V-twin cylinder design also offers greater torque, reduced vibration, and improved noise control.

In terms of making less noise while operating, the 420 is an improvised one from the JD 400. Not to be overlooked is the engine’s air-cooling system, which many prefer because it requires less upkeep.

Other notable characteristics of this tractor include its 3.25×2.875 inches bore and stroke, 6.5 gal fuel tank capacity, and 7.5 qts oil capacity. This engine’s rated 3500 rpm range is between 100 and 3450 rpm at idle.

Later, John Deere unveiled the Onan P220G engine, which had a higher rpm rating of 3600 and produced the same 20 hp gross power output.

Electric Start

The 420 has an electric start with a 12V battery, just like other John Deere lawn tractors. The machine can be started without acceleration using the 12V BCS 22F battery.

Additionally, you won’t have trouble starting your tractor even in extremely cold temperatures. This model also has an hour meter on the side of the tractor.

Fuel Tank

The fuel tank on the John Deere 420 holds 6.5 gallons of fuel. This will allow you to easily mow and perform other landscaping tasks on a medium-sized lawn.

Transmission and Chassis

This tractor has a 4 X 2 2WD chassis and hydrostatic shaft-driven transmission. The hydrostatic transmission allows the tractor to move an infinite distance between zero and its top speed. 

Furthermore, it has a dual brake system and power steering. The right and left rakes can be used independently, or both can be used by locking them together.

The option of power steering is also there with this model. It greatly simplifies operating this large lawn tractor. Additionally, thanks to its strong gross power output, it can reach forward speeds of up to 12.4 km/h and reverse speeds of 6.2 km/h.


The tires on the John Deere 420 are sizable. And they perfectly match the dimensions and weight of the tractor. 

As a result, they assist in distributing the tractor’s weight evenly and operate without leaving unsightly tire marks on the lawn. 

The primary rear tires (turf or bar) are 26 12.00-12, 2 PR, while the essential front tires (turf) are 18 8.50-8, 4PR. Additionally, the front has an air pressure of 6-22 psi, and the back has a pressure of 5-10 psi.


The PTO’s job is to transfer power from the tractor’s engine to its various attachments. The JD 420’s front and rear PTOs are independent and equipped with an electric clutch. Its front PTO spins at 3450 rpm, and the back spins at 2000 rpm.

Operator’s Cabin

This is supposedly one of the most important tractor features you shouldn’t ignore. That said, the John Deere 420 has an attractive open operator’s cabin, making it easy to board and exit the vehicle.

Whether you select an open operating cabin, an enclosed one, or a machine with the ROPs option, it makes a noteworthy difference. We say this because an open operating system increases the risk of injury in the event of a tractor rollover. 

In addition, a tractor cannot be operated on windy, rainy, foggy, or hot sunny days if the operator’s cabin is open and airy. You won’t be shielded from the effects of the elements.


Regarding riding lawn tractors, attachments are crucial. After all, you’ll use your tractor for more than just mowing; it will also be used for other yard work. A range of equipment can be attached to the JD 420. 

This model offers the choice of mounting a 50-inch or 60-inch mid-mount mower deck, a 54-inch front-mount blade, a tiller, a front-end loader, or snowblowers (primarily). 

The lawn tractor has a three-point hitch (front, mid, and back hitches) and a 2000 RPM rear PTO, making it simple to load attachments as needed.

Pros and cons of John Deere 420

Pros and cons of John Deere 420

The John Deere 420 is a fantastic machine, and there is no question about that. However, it is not without its flaws. Its older model is just one of those. Even so, it can still perform on par with modern home lawn tractors. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks we came across while examining this tractor’s features.


  • Good transaxles
  • It’s a good hydraulic deck lift.
  • Good PTO
  • It moves very quickly when in high gear.
  • Despite being an outdated model, it functions flawlessly.
  • The vehicle has a hydrostatic transmission system with power steering for simple maneuvering.
  • When the primary fuel runs out, use the reserve tank for an additional 30 minutes of operation.
  • The dashboard has an indicator light.


  • It’s a sizable device.
  • It is inappropriate for larger yards with a gross power of 20 hp.
  • The air-cooled system will only last 1000–1500 hours.
  • Hand hydrostatic system
  • The front PTO pulley can sustain damage.
  • Being an older model, it is more vulnerable to typical issues like transaxle leaks and pump leaks, among others.
  • The operating noise can still be annoying despite being less noisy than the JD 400.

Manufacturing Year

Models from the John Deere Tractor Company have serial numbers. You can see the production year and month from this. In the table below, we have included the serial number and the year for your convenience.

YearSerial Number

Is John Deere 420 Worth Your Money?

We determine that it is a worthwhile investment after looking at its features and the current price of $7000 (approximately). But keep in mind that this is only our opinion.

Your mowing requirements, the specifications you’re looking for in the tractor, and your willingness to spend money on an older lawn mower will determine whether this machine is worth anything. We, therefore, leave it up to you, our readers, to provide the answer.


We want to conclude that the John Deere 420 is a potent 2WD power lawn tractor. Its gross power output of 20 HP is impressive for small to medium-sized lawns.

The engine runs flawlessly and without any hiccups. This tractor has several useful attachment options and unique features.

Likewise, we have covered this model’s pertinent details in this post. You should find this post helpful in learning more about the John Deere 420 tractor model.

Other John Deere Tractors

List of John Deere Tractors
John Deere 317 Tractor
John Deere 318 Tractor
John Deere 400 Tractor
John Deere 420 Tractor
John Deere 425 Tractor
John Deere 430 Tractor
John Deere 455 Tractor
John Deere 650 Tractor
John Deere 955 Tractor
John Deere 2305 Tractor
John Deere 4440 Tractor
John Deere 3010 Tractor

Leave a Comment