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How Does Massey Ferguson Multi Power Work


We are often asked how the multi power system on models such as the Massey Ferguson 65, 135, 165 etc. works.  What really seems to intrigue people is that the engine breaking system works when in high multi-power, but there is no engine breaking when in low multi-power………

With the multi-power system there is one hydraulic clutch pack and also a ratchet type assembly. When in low multi the hydraulic clutch is dissengaged and the drive goes through a pair of gears into a ratchet clutch which takes the drive to the gearbox. There is no engine breaking in low multi because of the ratchet clutch. When you move the transmission to high multi it locks up the hydraulic clutch and the hydraulic clutch gear drives another gear. Because the drive is now turning faster than through the low-multi ratchet clutch, this now becomes a free-wheeling device. It is for this reason that there is engine breaking in high multi power, but no engine breaking in low multi power.
This is also why if you are in high multi going up a hill and you depress the clutch pedal that whilst in gear no roll-back can occur because of the ratchet clutch. ie. both systems are locked together.  The hydraulic multi-power clutch is not torque converter, but is merely a multi-plate hydraulically operated clutch pack. The good thing about this is that there is no loss of power through to the gearbox.
The clutch is a conventional clutch and so is the 3 speed gearbox.

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58 Responses to “How Does Massey Ferguson Multi Power Work”

  1. can you only get multi power in 35x,s or can any 35 ha it

    • eddie
  2. Is it possible to tow a tractor with multi power? I heard that it would not be possible.

    • Marinus
  3. It isn’t possible to tow it off (ie. try to start the engine by towing with another tractor).


    • Vintage Tractor Engineer
  4. HAVE MF 165, Multi Power does not work, how to fix it, can you help you. I live in Serbia, Yugoslavia. Thanks in advance. Dejan

    • dejan
  5. Hey steve.
    I have a MF 35 1963 mod that I have fixed. It is the original multi-power, after thorough cleaning and new oil will not multi power work.What may be the cause of this?

    friendly greetings

    • Øyvind
  6. I have just purchased a 1970 165 with multi power and it doesn’t seem to be working properly. It seems to be sort of in between, because in the “high” possition, it works for a second then free wheels, then if I slow it with the brake it with re-engage. So, would I be better ($$$)to “lock it out” or repair it?

    • randy
  7. Steve, You seem to be a great source of info on the multi power. Mine seems to be slipping in and out when in high, as it will be driving fine and then slow down/hesitate and then begin to pull again. It’s almost like pushing the clutch in and releasing it. Works fine in low. Also, high doesn’t always hold back which is probably the same issue I describe above. My question: Before I have the tractor worked on, is it possible there is a filter stopped up or something that could cause the high multi not to work properly? I just bought the tractor and it hasn’t been used much for about 5-6 years, mostly just light bushhogging.
    I read in one of your comments that the gears would be hard to change in high. I have experienced that too while subsoiling. It stuck at the end of every row unless I was quick to get it out of gear before I completely stopped.

    • randy
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