The John Deere 650 is a utility tractor used for small farms and lawn work across the U.S., since its first manufacture in 1981. In fact, this tractor remains in high demand, even over 30 years after its final manufacturing run in 1989. The 16HP tractor still offers the power to do most small to medium jobs, and with an original price tag between $8,000 and $10,000, it’s often priced affordably even when refurbished.
Plus, with numerous attachments supported by three PTOs, the JD 650 is as versatile as most lawn tractors come. It’s also famously one of the most popular Yanmar tractors, although it predates the Yanmar diesel engine. However, it is extremely popular for being versatile, easy to maintain, and having a relatively large fuel tank compared to similarly sized utility tractors. That, plus the 8 forward and 2 reverse speeds transmission make this a reliable and versatile tractor.
John Deere 650 Overview
The John Deere 650 is a 50-series tractor produced by Yanmar in Japan between 1981 and 1989. Like other compact tractors of the time, John Deere purchased the full tractor from Yanmar. The tractor is also designed for attachments. In fact, it comes with a 3-point hitch as a standard. You also get 3 PTO clutches as a standard. That makes it easy to transfer power to and from different attachments.
In addition, with a compact size of 8.9 feet x 3.5 feet and weighing just 1530 pounds without attachments, it’s also extremely mobile. That makes the 650 a perfect tractor to move between sites or to move yourself for lawn usage.
In addition, the tractor comes with several different variations. For example, you can choose power steering or manual steering. In addition, the tractor had a 4-wheel drive manual variant near the end of production.
The JD 650 is built around attachments and expanding features. With 3 PTOs including a rear PTO, you can also use more than one attachment at once. These include:
- 60” mid-mounted mower deck
- Front-mount 54” Blade (John Deere 365)
- 59” Snowblower (John Deere 359)
- Loader (John Deere 67)
- Loader (John Deere 60)
- Backhoe (John Deere 7)
- Back Blade
- Four-way blade
Plus, with up to 14.5 horsepower from the PTO, attachments can be used for significant jobs. This makes the 650 a good upgrade from a smaller lawn tractor, because you can do more in terms of loading, digging, or moving snow.
The JD 650 features a Yanmar 2T8OUJ engine. The two-cylinder aspirated diesel engine offers 16 HP at 2,600 RPM. That offers plenty of power for most things you might want to do. It’s also popular for being easy to maintain, which might explain why so many 650s are still in use – despite having been out of production since 1989. Unlike many similarly-sized tractors, this engine is also liquid rather than air cooled.
The JD 650 handles well, offers easy access to control, and the shift stick is located with access in mind. The open cabin does mean you won’t have issues with cramping or confined spaces. However, it can be a downside if you work in areas where it’s more prone to rain. In addition, if you’re accustomed to handling modern tractors, not all JD 650s have power steering. That can be a definite disadvantage for handling tight turns and corners. However, if you do want power steering, it is available in some models, you’ll just have to check the individual specs.
However, many will notice that unlike most modern compact tractors, the 650 still sports an 8-speed gear transmission (8 forward, 2 reverse). That’s a big difference from modern and smaller tractors which offer a hydrostatic transmission for unlimited variable switching. The Yanmar transmission also features a 200mm dry disc clutch. It holds 14 quarts of oil. In addition, with the 9.5-16 rear tires, you’ll get the following speeds:
- 1 – 0.7 mph
- 2 – 1.0 mph
- 3 – 1.4 mph
- 4 – 2.3 mph
- 5 – 3.2 mph
- 6 – 4.5 mph
- 7 – 6.3 mph
- 8 – 10.3 mph
- R1 – 0.1 mph
- R2 – 3.1 mph
That gives most users plenty of versatility in speeds. However, there is a lot of difference between operating an older gear transmission and a modern hydrostatic transmission.
The JD650 comes in either the standard 2-wheel drive or in a manual 4-wheel drive option. The four-wheel drive option was available on all years – meaning you’ll have to check if it’s available in any refurbished JD you pick up.
The JD 650 offers a 6.5-gallon diesel tank. However, there is no reserve tank.
The 650 JD is versatile, easy to maintain, and useful across most small to medium projects. While it largely relies on attachments for anything more than pulling, it’s very well equipped to handle those as well.
The JD 650 offers three PTO, including a front, middle and rear. The rear PTO shaft is just above the three-point hitch, making it ideal for everything from towed mowers to the backhoe attachment. However, the rear PTO is a transmission-type with over-running clutch and 540 RPM. The middle PTO is an independent electro-magnetic clutch.
The JD 650 comes with power or manual steering. However, as power steering was optional, the standard is manual steering. If you want power steering, you’ll have to specifically look for it.
JD uses differential mechanical dry and internal expanding shoe brakes for the 650. These are model number M805305 or Ch120140 and the same brakes that fit the 670 and 750 tractors. That makes the brakes relatively easy to replace, despite the tractor having been out of production for 3 decades.
The JD 650 is an extremely popular compact tractor model. While produced between 1982 and 1989, it’s still in demand for lawn and light agricultural work alike. Plus, with an easy-to-maintain motor, versatile transmission, and plenty of power to attachments, it’s easy to see why.