Modern Fluids in Old Tractors?

   / Modern Fluids in Old Tractors?
  • Thread Starter
#21  
OP
M
Joined
Dec 28, 2007
Messages
45
Location
Skagit Valley, Washington
Tractor
Massey Ferguson 204 circa 1959
You may want to use Type F fluid because Dextron has friction modifiers in it that isn't good for clutch packs. Friction modifiers = slipping. F will provide crisp shift. Slip means wear.
I was just wondering about use in my hydraulic system. Right now that’s a Cessna hydraulic pump (yes, MF bought that pump) and a Davis FEL, so pump, control valves, cylinders, no clutch pack or torque converter. The original manual says Type-A ATF, but my thought is that any of today’s ATF should be fine as hydraulic fluid, and the friction modifier issue is moot. Right?
 
   / Modern Fluids in Old Tractors? #22  

ROUSTABOUT

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Luther Willis Hill, AR
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Pettibone, Ford, Massey Ferguson, International, JD, David Bradley, home mades
I was just wondering about use in my hydraulic system. Right now that’s a Cessna hydraulic pump (yes, MF bought that pump) and a Davis FEL, so pump, control valves, cylinders, no clutch pack or torque converter. The original manual says Type-A ATF, but my thought is that any of today’s ATF should be fine as hydraulic fluid, and the friction modifier issue is moot. Right?
The manual says Type A ATF in torque converter. Closest thing today is Dexron, so that’s what I used.

That was in your original post. So Torque converters usually go with clutch packs. Though some have a dry clutch before the transmission like my brothers log skidder. In your case, most anything will do. Back then hydraulics used motor oil for the system. My D 7 used 30 wt from one end to the other. But I had gear oil in the transmission and 120 wt in the steering clutches. It was a 63 model.
 
   / Modern Fluids in Old Tractors? #23  

ROUSTABOUT

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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?
Really a hydraulic oil will do. ATF costs more.
 
   / Modern Fluids in Old Tractors?
  • Thread Starter
#24  
OP
M
Joined
Dec 28, 2007
Messages
45
Location
Skagit Valley, Washington
Tractor
Massey Ferguson 204 circa 1959
The manual says Type A ATF in torque converter. Closest thing today is Dexron, so that’s what I used.

That was in your original post. So Torque converters usually go with clutch packs. Though some have a dry clutch before the transmission like my brothers log skidder. In your case, most anything will do. Back then hydraulics used motor oil for the system. My D 7 used 30 wt from one end to the other. But I had gear oil in the transmission and 120 wt in the steering clutches. It was a 63 model.
Sorry for the confusion. Look at 5th paragraph, not 3rd paragraph. I did use Dexron in the “ReversOmatic” torque converter, because the manual said Type-A. I’m just thinking about the hydraulic system. Even with the backhoe off the tractor (bought it that way, and resurrecting that backhoe will be a project), just the Front End Loader, the reservoir (inside left side loader frame), and the four cylinders make up a lot more fluid volume than the torque converter. And whatever I use will eventually have to match up with the backhoe and all of its cylinders (believe I have the “sliding kingpost” model so oh, goody). I know this fluid change will cost a bit.
 
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   / Modern Fluids in Old Tractors? #25  

MiserableOldFart

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Delaware County Catskills NY
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NH Workmaster 40, Kubota GR2120
I think the only thing that can cause worry is that in some older machines - not even sure if tractors are some of them - "yellow metal" was used for things like shims and such. Some of the more modern gear oils should not be used in machines with "yellow metal" because the additives can react with it. I'm note even 100% sure what "yellow metal" is, but I'm sure brass is one of them. Not sure about bronze and any others.
 
   / Modern Fluids in Old Tractors?
  • Thread Starter
#26  
OP
M
Joined
Dec 28, 2007
Messages
45
Location
Skagit Valley, Washington
Tractor
Massey Ferguson 204 circa 1959
Well, THAT is an eye opener. Thanks.

Another recent info-bit I picked up was NOT to use Dexron in the power steering because it’s hard on seals. My power steering is already bad; fill the system and you have power steering for half a minute while foamy pink ATF comes out of the control valve seals below the steering wheel. For now, I got rid of the front wheel weights, put on new three rib front tires, and aired them up to 50 psi. I understand seal kits are available, but it will be a lot of labor.
 
   / Modern Fluids in Old Tractors? #27  

Edward Romero

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2021
Messages
27
Tractor
Kubota MX4800DT
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?
I would definitely get some professional advice from some factory mechanics. A wrong fluid or lubricant can cost you big time.
 
 
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