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  1. #1
    New Member donhartman's Avatar
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    Massey Ferguson 231S

    Default Massey 3 point hydraulics issues

    Hello All
    I seem to be having some issues with a Massey Ferguson 231s tractor I bought last fall. I did not put a model in the title because so many of these tractors are so similar I figured any advice would be helpful.

    What happens is the tractor will not hold the bush hog in position as I'm using it. It is as if the implement is always creeping up or down. It will creep up to the point of being able to hear the activaton of the pressure relief valves by it's knocking. I am using the position lever with the draft control in the extreme up position as instructed in the operators manual. Also I have to have the response control in the most positive flow because the lift arms are so slow to lower the lift arms unless they are loaded.I did notice this issue over winter. I went ahead a drained and cleaned the hydraulic sump and screen. I also refilled with fresh permatran fluid despite it outrageous cost .

    I just received my service manuals and am thinking I need to adjust the position of the position control.

    Does anyone have anything to add or recommend? Am I going in the right direction or not?

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Jerry/MT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Massey 3 point hydraulics issues

    Quote Originally Posted by donhartman View Post
    Hello All
    I seem to be having some issues with a Massey Ferguson 231s tractor I bought last fall. I did not put a model in the title because so many of these tractors are so similar I figured any advice would be helpful.

    What happens is the tractor will not hold the bush hog in position as I'm using it. It is as if the implement is always creeping up or down. It will creep up to the point of being able to hear the activaton of the pressure relief valves by it's knocking. I am using the position lever with the draft control in the extreme up position as instructed in the operators manual. Also I have to have the response control in the most positive flow because the lift arms are so slow to lower the lift arms unless they are loaded.I did notice this issue over winter. I went ahead a drained and cleaned the hydraulic sump and screen. I also refilled with fresh permatran fluid despite it outrageous cost .

    I just received my service manuals and am thinking I need to adjust the position of the position control.

    Does anyone have anything to add or recommend? Am I going in the right direction or not?
    The lift arms are lowered by gravity. They are not hydraulically powered down. Slow drop is more normal without any weight on the arms.

    Does your hydraulic system have a filter and if it does, have you replaced it when you replaced the fluid? if th fliter is on the inlet side of the pump then it can restrict the flow if clogged and reduce the response.

    Lack of position control can be caused by excessive leakage in the lift cylinder. Small leakages usually result in the three point control responding with repetitive "lifts" as the cylinder leaks down and the feedback causes the control valve to port flow back to the lift cylider to try to maintain position.

    You say the pump knocks when you get to max lift. That's not the relief valve. Relief valves "scream" when they open as they drop pressure from max to reservior pressure. That may be due to a lack of relief.

    Here's how I understand these systems to work.What should happen as the lift gets to the max position is that the fluid supply should cease (inlet control valve shuts off) and a check valve closes to hold the lift at that position. If the cylinder starts to leak down, the control should respond by adding more fluid and then stopping and checking the flow off. If for some reason the the inlet valve does not close than the pressure in the cylinder should rise to the relief point and open the relief valve.

    Was your old fluid dirty or contaminated? Did trhe sump have a bunch of crud in it? I'm wondering if your controls are sticking due to contamination. By all means attempt to adjust them and see if that improves anything.

  3. #3
    New Member donhartman's Avatar
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    Massey Ferguson 231S

    Default Re: Massey 3 point hydraulics issues

    Thanks Jerry for responding.

    I looked at it a little more this morning . I put the position control in the constantly pumping and put a mark on the lift arms. Then I lowered the position control to the transport position . According to the manual the arms are supposed to lower 1/16 to 3/16 (from memory). The arms do not lower till I move the position control almost to the bottom of the positions motion. Maybe the lower 1/4 of its motion .

    When I drained the hydraulic fluid it looked a little dirty but it was not laden with water . It did appear to be a bit thicker than the replacement fluid . That was part of the reason for the change . I thought the fluid was a bit thicker than what the manual spec called for. I was hopping the replacing the fluid would fix this issue. I replaced with the MF fluid specified in the manual. The filter screen was taken out and cleaned per the instructions in the manual. I did this all from the bottom and there was a layer of sludge in the bottom of the sump. Kind of a grease like sludge dark blackish in color. I rinsed and wiped out this sludge prior to the refill.

    Jerry I do hear the scream you mention at the same time I hear this knock noise. Knock is unchanged by RPM but stops once 3 point arms are lowered from there extreme up position .

    The thing is the hydraulics lift fine, lower fine just not as I expect them to in conjunction with the controls.If i use a bush hog and set a height start mowing .The brush cutter slowly raises or lowers . I can not get it to stay put . Also to adjust the mower height the position control has to be moved to the extreme up or extreme down . Constantly messing with it to maintain a set height . All the time with the draft control untouched and in its all the way up position.

    Thanks
    Don

    Don

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Jerry/MT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Massey 3 point hydraulics issues

    Quote Originally Posted by donhartman View Post
    Thanks Jerry for responding.

    I looked at it a little more this morning . I put the position control in the constantly pumping and put a mark on the lift arms. Then I lowered the position control to the transport position . According to the manual the arms are supposed to lower 1/16 to 3/16 (from memory). The arms do not lower till I move the position control almost to the bottom of the positions motion. Maybe the lower 1/4 of its motion .

    When I drained the hydraulic fluid it looked a little dirty but it was not laden with water . It did appear to be a bit thicker than the replacement fluid . That was part of the reason for the change . I thought the fluid was a bit thicker than what the manual spec called for. I was hopping the replacing the fluid would fix this issue. I replaced with the MF fluid specified in the manual. The filter screen was taken out and cleaned per the instructions in the manual. I did this all from the bottom and there was a layer of sludge in the bottom of the sump. Kind of a grease like sludge dark blackish in color. I rinsed and wiped out this sludge prior to the refill.

    Jerry I do hear the scream you mention at the same time I hear this knock noise. Knock is unchanged by RPM but stops once 3 point arms are lowered from there extreme up position .

    The thing is the hydraulics lift fine, lower fine just not as I expect them to in conjunction with the controls.If i use a bush hog and set a height start mowing .The brush cutter slowly raises or lowers . I can not get it to stay put . Also to adjust the mower height the position control has to be moved to the extreme up or extreme down . Constantly messing with it to maintain a set height . All the time with the draft control untouched and in its all the way up position.

    Thanks
    Don

    Don
    Thanks for the update, Don. Always glad to help a fellow Hoosier! There apperar to be several thing wrong based on your description. The knock and the relief valve operation kind of imply the pump is deadheaded and the relief valve can't release fluid fast enough. The real question is why the control valve isn't closed to keep this from happening? I think that you're on the right track with trying to adjust the linkage. But here's a few other things I'd look at too.

    Can you open a side panel and look at the lift cylinder to see if it's leaking? If it is, then it would adjust it self upward. If it isn't leaking and you are in position control and the system is constantly adjusting itself without a reason to then that implies input from the top link. Do you have the control spring properly adjusted? That can effect the sensitivity of the control. Too sensitive and it trys to adjust every minor perturbation out. I looked at the Agco parts drawings for the 231s and there is a control spring in the top link connection but it looks ilke it's covered and you can't see it externally. Generally if it's too loose it's overly sensitive and if it's too tight it less sensitive. You manual should cover this adjutment if in fact it is adjustable.
    Your descripton of the fluid makes we wonder if the PO put gear oil in the system.
    Hope this helps you.

  5. #5
    Silver Member JWR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Massey 3 point hydraulics issues

    Quote Originally Posted by donhartman View Post
    Hello All
    I seem to be having some issues with a Massey Ferguson 231s tractor I bought last fall. I did not put a model in the title because so many of these tractors are so similar I figured any advice would be helpful.

    What happens is the tractor will not hold the bush hog in position as I'm using it. It is as if the implement is always creeping up or down. It will creep up to the point of being able to hear the activaton of the pressure relief valves by it's knocking. I am using the position lever with the draft control in the extreme up position as instructed in the operators manual. Also I have to have the response control in the most positive flow because the lift arms are so slow to lower the lift arms unless they are loaded.I did notice this issue over winter. I went ahead a drained and cleaned the hydraulic sump and screen. I also refilled with fresh permatran fluid despite it outrageous cost .

    I just received my service manuals and am thinking I need to adjust the position of the position control.

    Does anyone have anything to add or recommend? Am I going in the right direction or not?
    I think you have done all the right things. I have a MF2660HD with low hours on it. I notice if I leave the machine idling with the hog raised up, a 7' bush hog (weighing 1400lbs) will eventually over several minutes time begin to drift downward. Then I hear the pump kick in and it comes back up a tiny amount. So it is doing automatic level keeping. I would think yours would do the same thing.

    If it were only losing height quickly (over a few seconds rather than several minutes and an inch or two instead of just a small fraction of an inch) my guess would be worn seals on the hydraulic cylinder for the 3pt hitch. But yours is going up too far also. Something must be wrong with the position control and I'm no help there / do not know enough about it.

    Mine 3pt cylinder is internal to the big frame casting like most Fergusons and I assume yours is too. How many hours on the tractor ?
    jwr
    ------------------------------------------------------
    MF2660 LowProfile, 7'BushHog, Orsi Articulated boom hydraulic rotary cutter, Landpride 6' finish mower, Kubota BX2200, Kubota B2150, 5' snowblower, 6' blade, scraper box, Gravely 1983 w/sulky, mower and snow blower, misc. attachments. Pequea 1018 deckover trailer, half interest in Massey Harris Pacer family heirloom... and a lot of junk...

  6. #6
    Silver Member JWR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Massey 3 point hydraulics issues

    Quote Originally Posted by donhartman View Post
    Thanks Jerry for responding.

    I looked at it a little more this morning . I put the position control in the constantly pumping and put a mark on the lift arms. Then I lowered the position control to the transport position . According to the manual the arms are supposed to lower 1/16 to 3/16 (from memory). The arms do not lower till I move the position control almost to the bottom of the positions motion. Maybe the lower 1/4 of its motion .

    When I drained the hydraulic fluid it looked a little dirty but it was not laden with water . It did appear to be a bit thicker than the replacement fluid . That was part of the reason for the change . I thought the fluid was a bit thicker than what the manual spec called for. I was hopping the replacing the fluid would fix this issue. I replaced with the MF fluid specified in the manual. The filter screen was taken out and cleaned per the instructions in the manual. I did this all from the bottom and there was a layer of sludge in the bottom of the sump. Kind of a grease like sludge dark blackish in color. I rinsed and wiped out this sludge prior to the refill.

    Jerry I do hear the scream you mention at the same time I hear this knock noise. Knock is unchanged by RPM but stops once 3 point arms are lowered from there extreme up position .

    The thing is the hydraulics lift fine, lower fine just not as I expect them to in conjunction with the controls.If i use a bush hog and set a height start mowing .The brush cutter slowly raises or lowers . I can not get it to stay put . Also to adjust the mower height the position control has to be moved to the extreme up or extreme down . Constantly messing with it to maintain a set height . All the time with the draft control untouched and in its all the way up position.

    Thanks
    Don

    Don
    Don: It does not solve your problem but I am familiar with the knock. And you describe where it occurs perfectly. My 2660HD knocked so bad it scared me silly. Sounded like an engine running with no main bearings ! Both the regional MF rep and the dealer mechanic came to the farm and listened to it. The verdict: just lower the lift control a little and let it go. The knock does go away. They do not feel there is anything wrong. Another dealer told me that various models of MF sound different but many have that same knocking symptom. I'll try to shorten the description of how it happens:
    As the lift control lever approaches constant pumping at the top of it's travel the relief valve comes on and that is the squeal. However, if the lever is just at the right level there will be almost no rotational force on the 3pt pump. The pump is kept from rotating by a horizontal shaft. The clank we hear is the pump "rattling" on that shaft when there is no net tension. There is just enough play for that to happen. Higher or lower the clanking stops. That is my understanding.
    jwr
    ------------------------------------------------------
    MF2660 LowProfile, 7'BushHog, Orsi Articulated boom hydraulic rotary cutter, Landpride 6' finish mower, Kubota BX2200, Kubota B2150, 5' snowblower, 6' blade, scraper box, Gravely 1983 w/sulky, mower and snow blower, misc. attachments. Pequea 1018 deckover trailer, half interest in Massey Harris Pacer family heirloom... and a lot of junk...

  7. #7
    Veteran Member Jerry/MT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Massey 3 point hydraulics issues

    Quote Originally Posted by JWR View Post
    Don: It does not solve your problem but I am familiar with the knock. And you describe where it occurs perfectly. My 2660HD knocked so bad it scared me silly. Sounded like an engine running with no main bearings ! Both the regional MF rep and the dealer mechanic came to the farm and listened to it. The verdict: just lower the lift control a little and let it go. The knock does go away. They do not feel there is anything wrong. Another dealer told me that various models of MF sound different but many have that same knocking symptom. I'll try to shorten the description of how it happens:
    As the lift control lever approaches constant pumping at the top of it's travel the relief valve comes on and that is the squeal. However, if the lever is just at the right level there will be almost no rotational force on the 3pt pump. The pump is kept from rotating by a horizontal shaft. The clank we hear is the pump "rattling" on that shaft when there is no net tension. There is just enough play for that to happen. Higher or lower the clanking stops. That is my understanding.
    "The pump is kept from rotating by a horizontal shaft."

    I believe this tractor has live hydraulics so the pump is always turning if the engine is running.

  8. #8
    Silver Member JWR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Massey 3 point hydraulics issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry/MT View Post
    "The pump is kept from rotating by a horizontal shaft."

    I believe this tractor has live hydraulics so the pump is always turning if the engine is running.
    You mean the shaft in the pump is always turning. The pump itself (whole body of the pump) is hopefully never turning. The shaft that goes thru the pump housing sideways and rests in the frame prevents the whole pump body from turning while it operates. And that's where slack and clearance allows the clanking under certain conditions -- e.g. when there is no rotational tension on the pump.
    jwr
    ------------------------------------------------------
    MF2660 LowProfile, 7'BushHog, Orsi Articulated boom hydraulic rotary cutter, Landpride 6' finish mower, Kubota BX2200, Kubota B2150, 5' snowblower, 6' blade, scraper box, Gravely 1983 w/sulky, mower and snow blower, misc. attachments. Pequea 1018 deckover trailer, half interest in Massey Harris Pacer family heirloom... and a lot of junk...

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Massey 3 point hydraulics issues

    Hi all
    well I have not heard such a lot of drivel for a long time .

    The 231s has a Scotch yoke pump,two horizontal pairs of Pistons driven via bronze camblocks and the main drive shaft which includes two cams,as the shaft rotates the pistons oscilate offering a POSITIVE Displacement hydraulic system if you like.
    The mark three pump as is fitted to this tractor has a response /Pressure control unit on the side of the pump ,If you remove the right hand sideplate ,the one with the response lever and the dipstick ,start the tractor and operate the hydraulics with an implement on the three point linkage,you will see the control lever in action.
    The response plate is spring loaded you can see the spring which sounds like it is either broken or as I suspect not there,if this is the case operate the response by hand and CAREFULLY raise and lower the tpl.

    When the pto is selected a sliding gear connects the rear spline on the hydraulic pump shaft to the pto shaft and yes the system could be described as live hydraulics the only time the pump stops with the engine running is when the clutch is fully depressed that is to engage/disengage the pto
    The main pump body is secured by two dowel pegs which can be seen on either side of the gearbox .
    The fact that there is a four cylinder pump being driven via the pto clutch plate then through the bottom of the gearbox then to the pump means that there are four separate shafts connected via splines to a piston pump.
    The clatter ,rattle happens when you move the position control lever to constant pumping you will hear the relief valve hissing then as you move the lift lever back towards the TRANSPORT position as has been said ,somewhere around that point you will get the rattle which will dissappear when you lower the lift arms as said about 1/8 to 3/16 inch this happens because the control lever has been asked to hold the lift arms in this position which it will do perfectly ,move the position control lever further down and the hydraulics will respond ,they will not go up or down until you move the lever.
    The RATTLE is caused by the fact that there is a camshaft driving hydraulic pistons ,a camshaft that has four splined or sleeved connections all which have running clearances and consequently by the time the pump camshaft reaches the pto clutch all these connections MAGNIFY the pulsating effect of the pump also the cam blocks rattle a wee bit all this is caused by the fact that the pump is brought UP TO THE POINT of constant pumping.
    The Draft lever is used when plowing where you need to have draft control of the implement that is to Automatically control the depth of the plow and also shed some of the weight of the plow to the wheels thus improving traction a quick check of the draft is say you have the brushhog on the tractor ,put the position control lever in the transport position and leave it there then slowly move the DRAFT lever down ,if the hydraulics have been adjusted correctly the implement will FLOAT where the two draft marks are on the draft quadrant if not move up or down till the implement FLOATS
    then carefully ,keeping all things living away ,including feet and legs ,by hand lift the brushhog up and push it down it should maintain the height you put it at if so all is good .
    I hope this helps all who read .
    Regards
    Hutch .

    P.S. Only kidding about the drivel
    great to hear all points of view ,this is what makes the site fun

  10. #10
    Silver Member JWR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Massey 3 point hydraulics issues

    Quote Originally Posted by shona13 View Post
    Hi all
    well I have not heard such a lot of drivel for a long time .

    The 231s has a Scotch yoke pump,two horizontal pairs of Pistons driven via bronze camblocks and the main drive shaft which includes two cams,as the shaft rotates the pistons oscilate offering a POSITIVE Displacement hydraulic system if you like.
    The mark three pump as is fitted to this tractor has a response /Pressure control unit on the side of the pump ,If you remove the right hand sideplate ,the one with the response lever and the dipstick ,start the tractor and operate the hydraulics with an implement on the three point linkage,you will see the control lever in action.
    The response plate is spring loaded you can see the spring which sounds like it is either broken or as I suspect not there,if this is the case operate the response by hand and CAREFULLY raise and lower the tpl.

    When the pto is selected a sliding gear connects the rear spline on the hydraulic pump shaft to the pto shaft and yes the system could be described as live hydraulics the only time the pump stops with the engine running is when the clutch is fully depressed that is to engage/disengage the pto
    The main pump body is secured by two dowel pegs which can be seen on either side of the gearbox .
    The fact that there is a four cylinder pump being driven via the pto clutch plate then through the bottom of the gearbox then to the pump means that there are four separate shafts connected via splines to a piston pump.
    The clatter ,rattle happens when you move the position control lever to constant pumping you will hear the relief valve hissing then as you move the lift lever back towards the TRANSPORT position as has been said ,somewhere around that point you will get the rattle which will dissappear when you lower the lift arms as said about 1/8 to 3/16 inch this happens because the control lever has been asked to hold the lift arms in this position which it will do perfectly ,move the position control lever further down and the hydraulics will respond ,they will not go up or down until you move the lever.
    The RATTLE is caused by the fact that there is a camshaft driving hydraulic pistons ,a camshaft that has four splined or sleeved connections all which have running clearances and consequently by the time the pump camshaft reaches the pto clutch all these connections MAGNIFY the pulsating effect of the pump also the cam blocks rattle a wee bit all this is caused by the fact that the pump is brought UP TO THE POINT of constant pumping.
    The Draft lever is used when plowing where you need to have draft control of the implement that is to Automatically control the depth of the plow and also shed some of the weight of the plow to the wheels thus improving traction a quick check of the draft is say you have the brushhog on the tractor ,put the position control lever in the transport position and leave it there then slowly move the DRAFT lever down ,if the hydraulics have been adjusted correctly the implement will FLOAT where the two draft marks are on the draft quadrant if not move up or down till the implement FLOATS
    then carefully ,keeping all things living away ,including feet and legs ,by hand lift the brushhog up and push it down it should maintain the height you put it at if so all is good .
    I hope this helps all who read .
    Regards
    Hutch .

    P.S. Only kidding about the drivel
    great to hear all points of view ,this is what makes the site fun
    Well hoop dee do ! Your drivel beats my drivel. I'm sold. No doubt you know that of which you speak.

    In my case the 2660HD PTO is totally independent of the clutch. It's entirely possible that mine has the hideous clanking noise for a different reason than the 231. And I have not heard the 231 so maybe it is not so loud. That may also be why the dealer mechanics say they have heard a noise before on older Ferguson machines under the same circumstances but "it sounds different."
    jwr
    ------------------------------------------------------
    MF2660 LowProfile, 7'BushHog, Orsi Articulated boom hydraulic rotary cutter, Landpride 6' finish mower, Kubota BX2200, Kubota B2150, 5' snowblower, 6' blade, scraper box, Gravely 1983 w/sulky, mower and snow blower, misc. attachments. Pequea 1018 deckover trailer, half interest in Massey Harris Pacer family heirloom... and a lot of junk...

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