02 March 2024

Massey Ferguson 135 - Making Repairs

 Our Massey Ferguson 135 is worn out but with some effort and new parts, I think we will have a great maintenance machine to fight the grass with. The engine runs fine enough but would stop running after about 10 to 15 minutes from fuel starvation. The 3 point hitch will lift but its rough and slow and feels shaky. It also had an engine oil leak somewhere that in some cases will launch blobs of hot oil out of the right side with the correct hill angle. I was hoping that all I needed was a new valve cover gasket and a replacement gas tank. As a result, I got it in my head I can once again pretend to be handy and work on a machine myself. 

Thankfully, we were able to order most of the parts needed from Steiner tractor parts. A full gasket set for the cylinder head region, a new gas tank and replacement fuel sender unit. I don't need to know how much fuel there is in the tank but it does come with the gasket. The kit wasn't too expensive. 

I waited for cooler weather so the grass to stop growing to begin working on this. Just in case I ruin something, I have time to fix it. It turns out, working on the Massey was a great decision. The first thing that needed to come out was the gas tank. 

The inside is just as bad as the outside.

The inside of the original tank is extremely rusty and forced the previous owner to put a filter in place. Otherwise, the rust would get into the carb and engine. The filter would never truly be full of fuel causing air to bleed into the system causing a vapor lock in the hard line. Removing the filter was necessary but only until the tank was replaced or lined. I chose to replace it. 

Being that the engine is under the gas tank, I took the opportunity to replace the valve cover gasket. It's a good thing I did. It was bad. First, there was a rubber gasket instead of a cork gasket. Second, it looks like someone attempted to use something like RTV in addition for some reason. I had to remove that. 

No wonder there was a leak.

When I removed the cover I was immediately greeted with stuff that I know doesn't belong in an engine. I was shocked but I guess I shouldn't have been. I'm not sure as to what happened or even what the stuff is, but the case pressure clearly was attempting to push some sort of organic tree nut matter out under the gasket. I took the time to remove the RTV from the head and pick out anything that looked like it didn't belong from the valve area. 

I have no idea what this is but I'm glad it's out.

It took some working but I got the new cork gasket lined up and pressed into place. With the valve cover back on, I took a chance and rigged up a fuel system to see if I could test the gasket. I figured that there wasn't much sense in putting everything back together only to have to take it apart later. Once I had everything back together. 

That's some fine redneck engineering there.

The engine ran just fine with the makeshift fuel system and the gasket didn't leak so I took to putting the whole thing back together. It took some doing but once I was done, I got the tractor to run without much issue. I replaced the section of fuel line that had the filter with a new section of filter-free rubber line. No more filter. Just straight line into the carb. I let the tractor run at various engine speeds to make sure there weren't more issues.

I did find that the sediment bowl was leaking gas. It took a few attempts at troubleshooting that and just needed tightening down. The concern was that the hardline wasn't a part I could just order and making a new one had me worried. I would get the leak to stop then go back a little bit later to check. When I open the valve, gas would leak again. The connector seemly never stopped tightening and I was worried about stripping the threads. I'm great at doing that. I'm continuing to tune small stuff like the fuel line which I may end up just making a new one. I have a link for a replacement bowl assembly if needed. Edit: The sediment bowl had actually wallered out and I wasn't going to be able to block the hole. I could have used some sort of epoxy or similar but Tractor Supply had a replacement and that worked just fine.

All in all, the decision to replace these parts was good. The tractor shouldn't give me fueling issues like it was. We shall see if this MF 135 runs fine over the summer but I already have a few things I want to work on next. 

After seeing everything that wasn't supposed to be in the valve area, I've hunted down a replacement oil filter and will replace the oil.

Most of the gauges aren't working. I would like to replace the fuel gauge and the tachometer. If I can get those two running, then the instruments should be good for now. The oil pressure and temp gauges are working well enough but I don't know if they are accurate. 

The next big thing I need to look at is the hydraulics. The hitch shudders when picking up the brush hog. It could be a few things but I'm thinking the pump is a good place to start.  

Additionally, I would like to add a slip clutch and replace the drivelink. I've broken enough shear bolts already doing land reclamation and that part could really save me in the long run. Plus, the current link doesn't actually stay on the output shaft. The pin is stuck open. Super safe.

Thanks for reading. Check back for more details!

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