Modern Fluids in Old Tractors?

   / Modern Fluids in Old Tractors? #1  
Joined
Dec 28, 2007
Messages
45
Location
Skagit Valley, Washington
Tractor
Massey Ferguson 204 circa 1959
I’m thinking most of us with old tractors have similar questions. Maybe I should be posting over at BobIsTheOilGuy but I think this is a common issue.

I have a Massey Ferguson 204. I’ve heard they were made 1959-65 and also heard 1960-66. Ran my serial number at one site and it said 1959.

The manual says Type A ATF in torque converter. Closest thing today is Dexron, so that’s what I used.

Modern engine oils are much better, so I figured no harm in using 20-50 in that old loose Z134 engine. I went ahead and bought a spin-on filter conversion.

Looking at my hydraulics, thinking of changing return hose and filter, and all fluid while I’m at it, I see the manual says Type A ATF for the hydraulics, too. Should I go with Dexron again, or is there a modern alternative that is better and/or more cost effective? Also, will I have compatibility issues flushing out the system and making any change? (I have the big sliding kingpost backhoe, but have never seen it on the tractor. It will need TLC but I hope to see it in service.)

My trans/axle wants all mineral SAE90. Tractor Supply had some (interestingly, the label says Ford transmission fluid). I’m using this OK. BTW I had an issue with it being half water when I got the tractor, and even after a change I had water. Messy stuff to handle, but I drain a bucket out, place the stainless steel bucket on a hotplate set to take it slowly to just above 212 F then let it cool, drain more with water & return the water-free oil to the trans. Do we really need special all mineral 90 weight, or can we use modern 90W or even something like Redline MT90?
 
   / Modern Fluids in Old Tractors? #2  

bmaverick

Elite Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2013
Messages
3,479
Location
Beloit-WI
Tractor
Yanmar YM2610, retired JD 850, retired DYT-4000
I’m thinking most of us with old tractors have similar questions. Maybe I should be posting over at BobIsTheOilGuy but I think this is a common issue.

I have a Massey Ferguson 204. I’ve heard they were made 1959-65 and also heard 1960-66. Ran my serial number at one site and it said 1959.

The manual says Type A ATF in torque converter. Closest thing today is Dexron, so that’s what I used.

Modern engine oils are much better, so I figured no harm in using 20-50 in that old loose Z134 engine. I went ahead and bought a spin-on filter conversion.

Looking at my hydraulics, thinking of changing return hose and filter, and all fluid while I’m at it, I see the manual says Type A ATF for the hydraulics, too. Should I go with Dexron again, or is there a modern alternative that is better and/or more cost effective? Also, will I have compatibility issues flushing out the system and making any change? (I have the big sliding kingpost backhoe, but have never seen it on the tractor. It will need TLC but I hope to see it in service.)

My trans/axle wants all mineral SAE90. Tractor Supply had some (interestingly, the label says Ford transmission fluid). I’m using this OK. BTW I had an issue with it being half water when I got the tractor, and even after a change I had water. Messy stuff to handle, but I drain a bucket out, place the stainless steel bucket on a hotplate set to take it slowly to just above 212 F then let it cool, drain more with water & return the water-free oil to the trans. Do we really need special all mineral 90 weight, or can we use modern 90W or even something like Redline MT90?
There is a good chance you can use Synthetic 75W90 gear oil in your machine. Most of all the 1960 thru mid 1980s Japan tractors had very odd JIS grade oils. IF it wasn't for Ford 1000 Series and John Deere 50/55 Series rebranding these Shibaruras, Yanmars, Mitsubishis, Hinomotos, Kubotas, etc, we would be at a lose figuring it out too.

Now about the mineral oil additive to the 90W oil, today Redline makes a good product of the Synthetic 75W90 gear oil with a friction modifier additive. I bet the mineral in the oil did just that for your machine. Look for products like this because rear-wheel drive with the Dana Spicer rear axles uses this type of oil too. So it's still in demand today.
 
   / Modern Fluids in Old Tractors? #3  

RalphVa

Super Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2003
Messages
7,794
Location
Charlottesville, VA, USA
Tractor
JD 2025R, previously Gravely 5650 & JD 4010 & JD 1025R
Have no problems using modern fluids in old tractors or other vehicles.
 
   / Modern Fluids in Old Tractors?
  • Thread Starter
#5  
OP
M
Joined
Dec 28, 2007
Messages
45
Location
Skagit Valley, Washington
Tractor
Massey Ferguson 204 circa 1959
You know, maybe Massey could still give a definitive answer, if given my serial number.

I will look into that Redline. I’ve used their MT90 in car and pickup transmissions, and I like it.

Speaking of odd oils, I had a Yanmar YM240 briefly, but it went away in a divorce before I learned a lot about it. I bought a 1978 Saab 99 Turbo new, and it specified 75W (not 90W) in transaxle, then some years later they suddenly said we could run 10-30W motor oil in the gearbox.🙄 One wonders what caused that. Wish we could talk with some of their Engineers. What would motor oil do in my tractor gearbox? Not sure I want to find out.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised at ATF in the hydraulic system. My wood splitter runs ATF. BTW my wife likes running the splitter, and after I asked her to drive the tractor across the wood lot she now likes driving the tractor (three point boom pole with small winch, world’s smallest logging skidder).

I have a fair bit of Type F on my shelf, from pre-divorce years when I had a 1967 Thunderbird. I wonder if that would be OK in a hydraulic system. Otherwise, it will take me forever to use it up as half of the 50/50 acetone/ATF penetrant I use in refillable aerosol cans.

Speaking of modern lubricants, I assume just about all of todays grease is better than that of 60 years ago. Not sure what is best, but I recently bought a bunch of Lucas heavy duty. Now I need to get a zerk fitting kit and replace a few grease fittings on the tractor...
 
   / Modern Fluids in Old Tractors? #6  

RalphVa

Super Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2003
Messages
7,794
Location
Charlottesville, VA, USA
Tractor
JD 2025R, previously Gravely 5650 & JD 4010 & JD 1025R
You know, maybe Massey could still give a definitive answer, if given my serial number.

I will look into that Redline. I’ve used their MT90 in car and pickup transmissions, and I like it.

Speaking of odd oils, I had a Yanmar YM240 briefly, but it went away in a divorce before I learned a lot about it. I bought a 1978 Saab 99 Turbo new, and it specified 75W (not 90W) in transaxle, then some years later they suddenly said we could run 10-30W motor oil in the gearbox.🙄 One wonders what caused that. Wish we could talk with some of their Engineers. What would motor oil do in my tractor gearbox? Not sure I want to find out.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised at ATF in the hydraulic system. My wood splitter runs ATF. BTW my wife likes running the splitter, and after I asked her to drive the tractor across the wood lot she now likes driving the tractor (three point boom pole with small winch, world’s smallest logging skidder).

I have a fair bit of Type F on my shelf, from pre-divorce years when I had a 1967 Thunderbird. I wonder if that would be OK in a hydraulic system. Otherwise, it will take me forever to use it up as half of the 50/50 acetone/ATF penetrant I use in refillable aerosol cans.

Speaking of modern lubricants, I assume just about all of todays grease is better than that of 60 years ago. Not sure what is best, but I recently bought a bunch of Lucas heavy duty. Now I need to get a zerk fitting kit and replace a few grease fittings on the tractor...
The Gravely 5665 that I had specified 10w30 motor oil for the engine and gearbox. Think 75w gear oil is probably around 20w motor oil.
 
   / Modern Fluids in Old Tractors? #7  

Sonny580

Platinum Member
Joined
May 17, 2009
Messages
856
Location
Central Illinois
Tractor
several kinds and sizes
type F was replaced by dextronlll/mercon.--or thats what I was told so I run it in my 350 ford truck---trans in it is junk anyway so whats it gonna hurt? LOL!
 
   / Modern Fluids in Old Tractors?
  • Thread Starter
#8  
OP
M
Joined
Dec 28, 2007
Messages
45
Location
Skagit Valley, Washington
Tractor
Massey Ferguson 204 circa 1959
I’m thinking an old Ford auto trans would want Type F over Dexron, but the difference is only friction modifiers, so my guess is pretty much any ATF, even part Dexron & part Type F, should work OK as hydraulic fluid.
 
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   / Modern Fluids in Old Tractors? #9  

5030

Super Star Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2003
Messages
18,015
Location
SE Michigan in the middle of nowhere
Tractor
Kubota M9000 HDCC3 M9000 HDC
Modern lubricants in old tractors is a heck of a lot better than old lubricants in modern tractors.....lol
 
 
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