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help with my massey ferguson 35 (TRACTOR)

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hi men

carnt start my mf 35 4 cyl diesel 1957 i was using it last night and then it lost power whils on my way home on the road.

i seem to think its a fuelling issue as i gave it a spray of easy start and it fires but wont run.


i have checked the fule pump in the side of the block and it seems fine how can i check to see if the main fuel pump is working fine and is there an quik fix any of you know about.


i have not spent much time on it as it only hapend last nigh also if there is any massey ferguson lovers on here let us know!


regards dan

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blocked fuel filter ??

+1 but they usually start and then conk out again.

Tap on bottom of tank can get blocked by crud at times.

It is possible that the filters are blocked somewhere and it made it suck air from a weak joint.

Clean/replace filters and bleed it. Just cracking off one of the connectors to injectors is usually enough to bleed it. Just crank til it starts and tighten when it has fired up.

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open up the bleed screw on the injector pump and you should get a fine jet of fuel come out, if you dont turn the enjine to get the arm off the back of the cam, and try again, if you cant get the pressure to form a jet ..then change the filter, filters swell up and block the fuel if they get water in them, if it still dosnt work check the fuel lift pump like the other boys said....sounds like a fuel problem defo...........

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I take it the fuel filter wasn't exactly clean?

From now on just drain the water out of the filter on a regular bases, weekly should be fine. If your getting huge amounts coming out then it might be a good idea to drain out the tank, but I very much doubt if it'll be that bad.

It might pay to change the fuel filters more often, as the tractors get older and people keep using mucky fuel the tanks accumulate more filth, which ends up blocking the filters, changing them every 3 years isn't good enough...!

If ever you get stuck on the road it's worth taking the filter off and banging it upside down on a hard surface, it's not ideal but it gets enough muck out to get you home (or in my case long enough to buy some new filters). It's far better than being stuck somewhere, I always like to keep the required spanners to bleed it with me on the tractor.

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what will i need to do now drain the takn or keep using it and just keep draining the fuel filter every week or so??

i hope you don't think me nosy,but what do you keep your diesel in? also check that your glass bowl isn't loose.if your struggling with it i'm only down the road.

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It could be that the fuel tank breather is blocked possibly ?

thus starving the engine of fuel as it tries to suck the tank in (vacuum blockage).


If it happens again , whip off the fuel tank filler cap and see if you get a suck of air rush in as you take the cap off.

Might pay to clean out the breather too . If it`s the cap with a small breather hole - wash it out with petrol or thinners ( H+S note -- carefully/ or with a suitable cleaning agent ).

Renew your fuel filter and clean out the glass sediment bowl and clean the filter gauze in glass bowl (if it still has one ?).


Our old 20 + 35 used to suffer that occasionally due to flies and airbourne dust clogging to the diesel particles.

old Mini`s and other BL(remember them ? how old am i ? :lol: ) products used to regularly suffer from it too , as the tank breather pipes clogged with wet dirt and dust.


Note : During winter months , keep the fuel tank filled up (brimmed) as best as possible when not in use - this prevents condensation forming as water droplets from cold damp air in metal tanks . :good:


Hope this helps :good:

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hi.. the fuel filter thas in at the moment has seen some action :rolleyes: i did get one for it a at the start of the summer but along with all the other stuff to service it back oil, front oil, filtters, pto seal, new ignition, starter motor,fuel leak off rail and a fair few other bits and bobs but just never did the fuel filtter.

I might try and get it done today as i have some rotovating to do at the weekend.Agane thanks for all your help.regards dan

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Hi - I have a fergie 35 Grey/gold 1956 livedrive 4 cylinder diesel and, amazingly, had the same problem - tractor cut out under load going up a hill with a loaded trailer attached and wouldnt restart on the key. Fortunately I had a mechanic on the back !! Fuel starvation was the issue.


We managed to get it started and home after half an hour and a jump start from a very strong battery.


I removed the sight glass, after closing the cut-off screw. Washed out the bowl with clean diesel and noticed that there is a very fine mesh filter which filters the fuel into the glass bowl. This was pushed up under the rim of the top of the casting on top of the sight glass - this was very dirty and probably the cause. Cleaned the main filter and replaced the element (£2.00) I think. Filled the bowls of both with fuel to ease the purging of air from the system and put it all back together - obviously thoroughly clean. Opened the screw cut off and released the nut downstream on the main filter until fuel appeared then used the hand pump until fuel appeared at the main injector pump inlet. Tightened all bolts etc and pumped the hand pump 5 times and the beast fired immediately. I have noticed the sight glass has some sediment particles in it again so flushing the tank once in 30 years must be a good idea. These days I just pump the handpump 10 times and heat the glo-plug for 15 seconds and it starts everytime - quite an improvement. I will repeat the process at the start of the new season each year and that should sort it permanently - good luc.

P.S. I have a copy of some of the old manuals and if you are ever stuck, could photocopy relevant bits and send them -if you need them.

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kes thanks for all that info and and if i ever need um i will let you know. my 35 dont haave a sight glass but you gan get a lift pump that does so i might get on. I have nit had time to have a look at her yet but i will try over the weekend. Agane thanks for all your help.


Regards dan

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  • 9 years later...

I have this trouble regularly as far as I know the rubbish biodiesel grows bacteria which clog up the filter in the tank you can temporarily clear it by removing the fuel line at the pump and blowing back up the line into the tank preferably with an air line but in emergency by mouth! Draining the tank and replacing the tap filter is a pain especially as if it is blocked how do you drain it!

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Don't use easy start   Folks say they get addicted to it

all it does is break the piston rings then no compression then they need it to start every time

Guess there is a build up of rust in the bottom of the tank which will keep blocking fuel lines and filters

A good clean job done

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If I have an engine that needs a bit of help to get going I use carb cleaner. Does the same as easy start but much less harsh.

Not something I use routinely, just on engines that won't start due to being stood overwinter etc. None are addicted to it so I don't think I have broken any rings.

You don't get that awful knocking you get with easy start.

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