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Ferguson TEF 20 For Restoration


We have just purchased a ‘new’ Ferguson TEF 20 tractor, in need of restoration.  The first job is to rebuild the engine.


The serial number is 509,339 so that dates it at 1956, and means it was one of the latter tractors to be produced (total production was 517,651).  The agent’s plate is difficult to read, but appears to be Barclays Motors from Bury St Edmunds.  It is just about legible in the photo below.



Regular readers of Vintage Tractor Engineer may already have guessed that there is something wrong with the tractor.  When we aren’t mending customers’ tractors, we buy one ourselves and enjoy the challenge of repairing it back to mechanical perfection (or at least we try!).  So what’s wrong with this TEF?  Well the engine is seized (probably from standing), or so we were told by the person who sold it to us.  And it’s true, the engine is well and truly stuck.

A closer examination reveals that the sump has recently been removed (as seen in the photo below), as there are missing studs, new washers on the bolts and paint missing from the stud heads.  It also looks like the tractor has been split at the engine/clutch housing recently (or at least since the tractor was last painted; 6-8 years since??)

Another anomaly is that the lift arms were in the raised position when we collected the tractor; but the weren’t stuck, as when we shifted the quadrant lever the lift arms lowered.  So if the engine had been stuck from years of standing, then either we have got a tractor with perfect hydraulics (as the lift arms have stayed up for several years) or the engine has been running more recently (hence the lift arms are in the rasied position) and the seizing has been caused by a fault.

Whatever has happened, we are soon going to find out.  We can’t wait to get into the engine and see what has gone wrong. 


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Next Article In Seried – TEF 20 Condition


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20 Responses to “Ferguson TEF 20 For Restoration”

  1. How is the restoration of this tractor going?
    Can you give us an update.

    • Tim Ray
  2. Hello Tim,

    We have been that busy on the farm we haven’t had chance to get started. We have been desperate to get started, but it has just been so hectic. You are really putting us to shame, as each time I look at your website you have been doing a bit more (and looking forward to seeing yours back running).

    Also thanks for taking the time to give such a detailed description about your painting and preparation method.

    We have vowed to get started on the TEF this Easter weekend if we get some suitable conditions for filming. Hopefully we’ll soon have some progress to report on.


    • Vintage Tractor Engineer
  3. Really looking forward to an update on the TEF. I have one recently purchased here in France. It is a French Standard Hotchkiss TEF 20 1957 in need of much TLC. I purchased the tractor at risk, having the knowledge that after haymaking last year the Tractor started spewing water and oil out of the filler cap and stopped! I have had my concerns confirmed when I removed the cylinder head that it had indeed failed in a catosrtophic way. The centre valve cover stud had completely blown out rendering the cylinder head useless. Fortunately, the Block and Pistons look fine and move a

    • Tom Barratt
  4. Hi, I too have just started to restore a TEF 20 and was wondering if you can give me any websites to go on with pictures and information on the tractor and any tips for how to go about restoring it?

    many thanks Amy.

    • Amy Greenwood
  5. My father, Ron West was sales director at Barclay Motors at the time this tractor was sold, its more than likely he had a hand in selling it! Barclay Motors was aprivately-run distributor that sold Roote Gropu cars, Hillmans etc. and Massey (Harris) Ferguson agricultural machinery. It was owned by the Fairs family.

    • Stuart West
  6. Amy,

    Try Tim Ray’s blog…


    …lots of very detailed info. Tim is always happy to help.


    • Vintage Tractor Engineer
  7. Stuart,

    Thanks for the comment. Obviously we are all interested in old tractors here, so to get a little bit of history is really great. As you can see, the Barclay Motors plate is a little worn, but still legible. I think a plate like that really adds to the tractor.

    Thanks again for taking the time to explain who Barclay Motors were and what they sold.


    • Vintage Tractor Engineer
  8. Hi everybody, I have an unusual problem. I am contemplating buying a Ferguson TEF and wish to store it at the rear of my house, where I have plenty of space. Problem is that the width of entrance to rear of property is max 110cm. If wheels(front and rear) were removed and tractor placed on its side (after removing all fluids etc) and supported would it fit through the 110cm entrance?

    • george lucas
  9. Hi George,

    Just been out to measure our TEF. I get it to be about 100cm, so I think it will go through (if I’ve understood it correctly and you are going to turn the tractor on its side).


    • Vintage Tractor Engineer
  10. I have a TEF 20 that I purchased as a non-runner 6 months ago. Turned out to be a cracked cylinder head, so I replaced it and now runs fine. Problem is I do not actually know what caused it. I think it could have been coolant related. Either not enough or perhaps lack of anti-freeze resulting in a crack. However, now that I’m using it daily I have noticed that the bottom radiator pipe appears much cooler than all the others after running for a while. Is this normal? Or do you think there could be a blockage. I should also tell that I did change the water pump after running the engine for a couple of times due to bearing wear. Could it be a fault in the radiator? Your thoughts would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Tom Barratt
  11. Hi. I have a 1948 TED 20 serial A42378 with a cracked cylinder head. Is it possible to use a cylinder head from a later TEA 20?

    • Leif Petersen
  12. tenho um ferguson TEF20 funcionando mas precisa de reforma como consiguir verba para tal evento?

  13. tem um video no you tube (ferguson TEF20 plaza )

  14. Steve,

    its more likely that rather than your engine having recently run, or having perfect hydraulics, that someone has turned the PTO shaft recently. the arms on my TEF drop slowly over time, but can be lifted by raising the quadrant, and then turning the PTO shaft by hand, that will get the arms up.

    I recently was told of a useful way of freeing off seized engines, it requires a modified injector, with a grease nipple attached, this allows grease to be pumped into the engine (assuming the valves are closed of course) and the hydraulic action should free it off, the agricultural colleges teach this method so it can be assumed to be safe on a practiable level.

    good luck with the rebuild, i too am rebuilding my TEF, everythings sorted mechanically, but a recent bout of hard work has caused the head gasket to weep, so i’ll be taking the head off once the bits are gathered up. also got a very early TEA now to add more fun to my spare time!!!


    • Paul_sterling
  15. I have a TEF 20 which has been lying up for years.I couldn’t get the engine to turn and took off the cyl. head for a look. 3No cylinders were nice and clean and free of obstruction but 1No was completely corroded.Assuming this to be the cause of the engine not turning I carefully cleared all the corrosion from the bad cyl. and used a hone to tidy up the bore. It’s now perfect..and using a very light feeler gauge I’m satisfied that there is very little grit/rust between the top of the piston and the first piston ring.So I expected that the engine should turn…but no way. It will go downwards in the bore..through bottom dead centre and returns upwards slightly but then stops dead. No amount of pressure ( by hand…with levers etc..) can get it to go any further. I have jacked up the back axle and the gear lever although quite tight..is in the neutral position.
    Can you advise…is there any other reason why the engine would refuse to turn…other than the very small amount of grit which may be left at one very small area in 1No cylinder ?
    Thanks for taking the time to read this query.

    • Fiacre
  16. Hi Fiacre,

    Have you tried turning the engine whilst the clutch is pressed down – this may tell you if it is the engine or something in the gearbox which is stuck.

    Strange it turns so far. Usually if they are stuck they are stuck. So what does that mean? Hmmm. Well I don’t really know. The engine obviously isn’t seized, so something is jamming. Something in the clutch (unlikely), is the pto lever in gear and is it the hydraulic pump that is stuck (check to see if pto lever is out of gear), unlikely to be the crank.

    • Vintage Tractor Engineer
  17. Hi there, I wonder if you can perhaps help my friend? He’s from South-Africa, and a Ferguson-fanatic. Has a TEF 20 Ferguson.
    His problem is the following: He must torque (?)the Top Bolts and the Big-End Bearings, but needs to know the “foot pound”? As you can see, I don’t really know what I’m talking about, but I promised to find him the information on the Internet.
    Alta Pretorius

  18. I,ve just visited http://www.ploughmyfield.co.uk, and found the complete list there. Thanx for the link.

  19. Hey i have a tef 20 diesel at home.it hasnt ran in over 30 years and ive been thinking of restoreing it.the problem was that the block got cracked.i have a spare one for it.my question is that eveything is siezed, the lever to lift the arms and the gear stick are stuck solid.but when i went to lift the arms up by hand they moved.i just want to ask someone who restores tractors what shape you think the gears and hydrolics mite be in inside.is it common to open it up and see a major amount of rust has siezed everything up?these are all parts that worked when it was parked and its been outside in cold damp irish weather ever since.it is still in one piece and the exaust was coverd with a can.it was never opened.can water still get in to do that even so?

    • Damiensherry@live.ie
  20. please leave your replies to my email address thank you

    • Damiensherry@live.ie
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