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  1. #1
    Silver Member Rford's Avatar
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    1968 Ford 2000 Diesel 8sp

    Default Need Information on 231 Perkins Minor Overhaul

    Any suggestions/thoughts will be appreciated because although I'm a decent shade tree with plenty of tools and pretty broad experience, I've never touched a diesel engine. I've spent several days searching the web and reading. I think I have a combination "dusted engine" and, at the least, a blown head gasket. My hope is that I can restore this tractor to useful life by installing a minor overhaul kit without pulling the engine.

    Here's the bullet points:

    1. MF 231 - Perkins 3-152 -- a friend's tractor that I've been using on his property to mow and till. I'm going to try to fix it. I am having no luck finding a piston/ring/minor overhaul kit? Every site has kits for 230, 240, and 250 and a bunch of other 152 engines but no one mentions the 231 (Polish) but my guess is they are all the same? Big guess. I'm going to do this without pulling the engine. I'll call a MF dealer and ask but if anyone has 231 and bought a kit that worked I'd be grateful for the source.

    2. This tractor, when purchased a couple years ago, originally had bad head gasket. My friend had it fixed. Probably 100 hours ago. Don't know the details of the repair. Had someone change fluids--my wrong assumption was they also checked the air cleaner system. Don't know how many total hours on the tractor.

    3. Noticed blow by a couple weeks ago. Oil was escaping out of the dip stick, and around oil filter. Before that, I had noticed white smoke was coming out of the bypass hose under the tractor. Didn't notice any white exhaust smoke from the stack. I did not know about "dusted engines" as this time. Blow by means bad rings is what I've read. Dirt in the air system causes that, I've read. Now I'm thinking that the white smoke was probably water being vaporized.

    4. It still ran fine, but then the other day when I parked it I noticed water coming from the radiator overflow. Didn't show hot on the gauge, but it was way low on water, like 8 quarts low (only holds 9). I'm sure it had to be hot. No external leak noticed, no history of leaks, I'd topped it off earlier in the year. Can't say how long it was run low on water. Bigger mystery is what happened to cause it? My guess is head gasket given the fact there was no hose leak or radiator leak that I saw. I need to get a pressure tester to confirm.

    5. Got to checking the tractor out and find out the air cleaner system is shot. Holes in the hoses, oil bath fallen off, dirt everywhere. I'm sure its been sucking dirt for a while. "Dusted engine" situation so I've read. I don't know how this would be directly related to the dry radiator issue.

    6. Now the engine won't start, although it ran a week ago when I parked it when all this came up. It also started right up before. Good battery, but I'm double checking on that and will make sure its cranking speed is good before I move on. I don't know if I will be able to do a compression test (tool issue). When I try to start it after a bit it starts to puff white smoke as its cranking but really doesn't act like it is going to start....I've read than means water is getting into the cylinders, which makes sense since if the head gasket is blown (or head cracked) and the radiator is getting sucked dry through the head gasket. The air cleaner system is off of it (waiting for parts) but that shouldn't make it not start I wouldn't think. I gave it just the smallest shot of ether (I know that's bad) and it did pop but I didn't want to continue to use ether because of all the bad press. And I don't think its fuel related but haven't bled any lines, etc., because I'm not sure how to do so yet and don't want to get more sytems messed up because of my incompetence.

    7. Can I confirm the head gasket is blown by putting a pressure tester on the radiator or by filling the rad. clear full and cranking it to see if water shoots out (read that somewhere)?

    8. Assuming I buy a shop manual, take pictures, and am careful, how big a deal is it to do this job and what suggestions do you have? The kits, assuming I can find one for the 231 engine, are not badly priced but to have a shop do it would be a deal killer. Also, I think I might as well do the rod bearings (do you just use std size if the crank isn't ground?) and can the mains be done without pulling the engine?

    9. I'm surprised I haven't been able to find anything on You Tube or on the net on how to overhaul a 3 cyl Perkins diesel since there are so many of them used in so many applications. If I could watch or read about they process I'd feel a whole lot better. I haven't read how you get the sleeves out but that sounds like a great idea if it isn't a pain to get them out. I assume I can have a shop check the head and put in the valves just like a gas engine.

    9. Finally, the tractor has a 232 loader on it....I'd sure like to avoid taking it off to do this work...any thoughts on that? I know I'll have to take the fuel tank off and then with the loader assembly I'll be leaning over a bit and it might be a little less convenient but I'm just not crazy about opening up any hydraulic system for fear that I'll mess that up in the process.

    10. Any and all tips/directions/guidance of any nature, and where to get specific 231 kits, will be appreciated. My first choice will be to get the engine ID and call a MF dealer to get a factory MF kit. Unfortunately, I don't have a local dealer but there are some in the state.

  2. #2
    Super Member Farmwithjunk's Avatar
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    Where do I begin.....

    Default Re: Need Information on 231 Perkins Minor Overhaul

    Google "Perkins Diesel Service Center" and find nearest one to you.

    Also contact MF/AGCO dealer for parts. They have less problem sorting through the myriad of possible AD3-152 variants.

    From EITHER PERKINS or AGCO/MF, get engine service manual.

    You'll hate yourself later if you start dismantling the tractor WITH THE LOADER STILL ATTACHED.

    With the litany of issues you describe, I'd be doing a complete overhaul. (frame out?) If an engine has been sucking dirt, only a matter of time before bottom end has to go under the knife. I'd do it all at once.
    There are three kinds of men;
    1.) The ones that learn by reading
    2.) The few who learn by observation
    3.) The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
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    Winchester Ky
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    Allis Chalmers ED 40

    Default Re: Need Information on 231 Perkins Minor Overhaul

    By all means get the loader off! reaching over and through it is bad enough, crawling under it borders on stupid. Far too much work to do to fight your way around it, only to find out later on you have an issue forcing you to pull the engine anyway. Couple of things to consider with an inframe; you can't get to the rear main seal, but maybe you don't need or want to. If the engine is dusted, you may find you want to replace liners, depending on how bad off they are. The liners are a press fit, don't come out easily, and don't go in easily. If you find the right plug and have a sleeve puller you can get them out after a fight, and there are tricks to install. I've used dry ice for the liners and drop lights in the block bores, but it's a gamble. If you've never done it before, can be a bit daunting. If one gets stuck half way down, then what? You can do rod and main bearings, but of course not cam bushings. On the other hand, hey, it's all nuts and bolts! Go ahead and tear it down, see what you find, and go from there. If you find something you don't understand, someone will help you out.

  4. #4
    Silver Member Rford's Avatar
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    1968 Ford 2000 Diesel 8sp

    Default Re: Need Information on 231 Perkins Minor Overhaul

    OK...loader will come off. Makes sense.

    I'm researching those liners...lots of posts on how to get them out, but if I could avoid chore that I'd be thankful. I figured that it was an all or nothing deal. Pistons, rings, liners.

    I am going to fight my usual inclination on this deal and actually take the engine apart before I order parts...who knows, maybe I'll get lucky and only need to replace the rings and bearings a call it good. Here's a picture of what probably caused the "dusting" issue.

    I learned today that the head gasket was replaced by a real shop not that many hours ago (100 maybe). That bothers me because I may have a crack, although the radiator issue seemed to come about all at once, although I can't say for 100% certain.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Need Information on 231 Perkins Minor Overhaul-mf-hoses-jpg  

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
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    Allis Chalmers ED 40

    Default Re: Need Information on 231 Perkins Minor Overhaul

    Now you're making sense. Hard to say on the liners, it's a judgement call. You might get lucky and find them in good enough shape to run. Would save a lot of work plus the expense. If it were me, I'd probably lean towards leaving them in if they don't look too bad. I'd run a hone through them first, just to see how they clean up. A hone with good solid stones, not a dingleball hone. You want one that will show the contours in the cylinder walls, then make your decision. A ball hone won't do that. Remember, everyone wants to "do the job right", but the tractor is not going to run at full power day after day. Anything you do at this point will be a big improvement, and probably give it years of serviceability. As for the headgasket, even "real shops" screw up. Do you know why the original gasket failed? There may be an issue with the head that was overlooked, or was marginal and worth taking a chance on. Who knows? You get to see for yourself when it's on the table.

  6. #6
    Silver Member Rford's Avatar
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    1968 Ford 2000 Diesel 8sp

    Default Re: Need Information on 231 Perkins Minor Overhaul

    You are right. I'm trying not to go overboard and just get it running. This is just a hobby tractor...tilling some food plots, pushing some brush piles, mowing some old pasture. I'm not plowing or doing any heavy work. I've got a neighbor who is a great mechanic and has lots of measuring tools and probably hones, etc. (don't know it it will be tractor-sized stuff) so he'll keep me from doing anything incredibily stupid if I ask the right questions on repairs.

    I don't know what caused the original problem. It existed when the tractor was purchased...the owner tells me it had water in the oil and the guy he bought it from had it fixed. That's not a problem now and I've seen no evidence of oil in the water in the past couple of years that I've used it.

    I've got a radiator pressure tester in the car and a very good battery and I'm going to go try to figure out what's up. I'm not convinced I've diagnosed the problem correctly but it looks like the likely culprit is a bad gasket or cracked head or something allowing the water to get out of the radiator. Hopefully my tester will help on that.

    I found a Perkins 3-152 engine manual on-line. Looks like it is a factory manual and has a lot of great info that will make it easier to ID the engine and to tear it down. The pictures didn't print well but good enough. Here's the link if anyone needs some Perkins info.

    http://www.ferguson-talli.net/_uploa...E%20MANUAL.pdf

    I wish I could find a shop manual for the 231 as well. I see on Ebay that there is are pirated copyright materials from MF but I had to pay pirates.

  7. #7
    Silver Member Rford's Avatar
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    1968 Ford 2000 Diesel 8sp

    Default Re: Need Information on 231 Perkins Minor Overhaul

    IT'S ALIVE!

    Put a new battery in it, added the jump box, and cranked it over. It cranked a little faster and seemed to want to start, puffing white smoke out the stack. I gave it just a wee bit of ether because I thought what the heck, if it shot this won't hurt anything and away it went! Sounded like it always has, no odd noises. I turned it off and started it a couple of times and when warmed up it fired right off.

    It would shoot white smoke out when I'd "goose" the throttle but that is probably a little normal isn't it? Same on start-up, it would smoke right off but then when it ran it seemed to be "normal" exhaust.

    So I'm real happy...but I still know there are issues. WIth blow-by and hard starting I'm fairly sure its got low compression and is going to need work. But having it run is a big relief for now because I can move it around, get the loader off and maybe even put in my spring plots and push some trees around.

    But now I have another issue...I filled the radiator all the way to the top of the neck before I cranked it over to see if I saw any bubbles, etc., thinking the bad head gasket would reveal itself. I didn't see anything. I let it idle for about 10 minutes and I never saw any change...no water movement, nothing to suggest the thermostat opened up. Both upper and lower hoses were cold. The temp gauge was over almost into the yellow zone, but that's where it always is so I don't really trust it and will change it out.

    So now I'm going to go through what I can and see what I can decifer.

    Any tips are still welcome.

  8. #8
    Silver Member Rford's Avatar
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    1968 Ford 2000 Diesel 8sp

    Default Re: Need Information on 231 Perkins Minor Overhaul

    I stumbled across my old thread tonight...hard to believe it was 2 years ago...I ended up getting an "in frame" rebuild kit and although it wasn't easy it wasn't all that unpleasant. And the tractor fired right up and has been running like it should ever since. I don't use it much, so who knows how long it will last, but I feel good every time I fire it up and there's no smoke and no oil running out of every hole.

    The #3 piston oil ring was broken, as I recall. That caused blow by and oil consumption out the nose. I went nice and slow and laid everything out, took photos, and took my time. A few issues, but none that really caused me much trouble...I did break a sleeve being an idiot but was able to just buy a new sleeve and so that wasn't a disaster.

  9. #9
    New Member
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    Riverside, California
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    Massey Ferguson 253

    Default Re: Need Information on 231 Perkins Minor Overhaul

    [QUOTE=Rford;3815972]I stumbled across my old thread tonight...hard to believe it was 2 years ago...I ended up getting an "in frame" rebuild kit and although it wasn't easy it wasn't all that unpleasant. And the tractor fired right up and has been running like it should ever since. I don't use it much, so who knows how long it will last, but I feel good every time I fire it up and there's no smoke and no oil running out of every hole.

    The #3 piston oil ring was broken, as I recall. That caused blow by and oil consumption out the nose. I went nice and slow and laid everything out, took photos, and took my time. A few issues, but none that really caused me much trouble...I did break a sleeve being an idiot but was able to just buy a new sleeve and so that wasn't a disaster.[/QUOTE

    Hi I been reading your post from the start two years ago till now. Where did you get the minor overhaul kit?
    I have a different model tractor but it has the same motor 3 cyl perkins. I need to change the rings to. Also how did you get the sleeve out of the block?

    Thanks in advance.

  10. #10
    Silver Member Rford's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need Information on 231 Perkins Minor Overhaul

    It was a Max Force kit. Don't recall the exact distributor, but it was in the mid-west,maybe Iowa, Minnesota.

    There is a lot of information on line about pulling the sleeves. There are kits, but I had a neighbor with a metal lath and he had some aluminum disks about the size of the piston. Those disks were about 1/2 inch thick. He milled it down so that it had a lip and when it fit within the cylinder so the lip rested on the sleeve. Same concept as the puller kits. Then, we drilled a 3/4 hole in the center, or maybe it already had that. Took a long 3/4 threaded rod, a cast iron piece of pipe about 16" around, and a couple pieces of flat steel on top of that, and then used that set up to pull the sleeves by tightening the nuts. My handy neighbor was the key....and having a machine shop where I could get some scrap pipe and other pieces. I actually bought on line a plan for a similar contraption, but its dimensions were just slightly off, and in this job a couple thousandths makes a big difference. If you are too narrow you slip by the sleeve....too wide and you hook the side wall. But just right and everything is doable.

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