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Massey Ferguson 35, Smoking Engine


I have a MF35 3 cylinder, when it starts and left to idle it sounds like it misses every few seconds, lots of blue smoke leaving it when idling, it also seems to make a louder sound when it does this. What do you think the problem might be, it starts without heat first time winter and summer.



Hi Nigel,

If the engine isn’t using an excessive amount of oil then I would start by having a look at the fuel injection system.

Start by looking at the injection pump timing, then think about getting the injectors serviced. Check the fuel filters and the air filter.

It is not unknown for the heater plug device to drip fuel into the inlet manifold during periods of non use and cause all sorts of strange symptoms. You could check the manifold after a period of long rest and see if there is any fuel in the manifold.

If you don’t know how to check the injection pump set-up then let us know and I can explain it in detail.

Hope that has given you a few ideas,


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5 Responses to “Massey Ferguson 35, Smoking Engine”

  1. Hello,

    I have rebuilt a mf 35 3 cyl perkins,fitted a new head got fuel pump & injectors checked and when i put it toghether ,I was hard to start,but by advancing the injector pump it starts easy but with a miss and blows blue smoke and after about 30 seconds it runs fine.I would appreciate any advice thanks

    Gerry Mc Carthy

    • Gerry Mc Carthy
  2. Hi Gerry,

    I suppose you need to just check all the timing. Have you got the gears correct. On the hub of the camshaft and the camshaft gear there will be a letter D stamped adjacent to a fixing hole, ensure that the holes marked D are aligned. On no account must the slotted holes be used to attach the gear to the camshaft.

    Have you set the valve clearances correctly? 12thou for a cold engine. Rotate the crankshaft until the TDC line on the flywheel is in the centre of the inspection hole and number 1 piston is on its’ compression stroke (ie. both valves fully closed). Check and adjust vavles nos 1, 2, 3 and 5. Turn the crankshaft 1 full revolution and adjust valves nos 4 and 6.

    Injection timing? Position crankshaft at TDC (number 1 cylinder on compression), remove the inspection cover from side of fuel injection pump, turn the crankshaft backwards 90 degrees, then turn the crankshaft forwards until the flywheel marking ‘spill 18′ appears in the middle of the flywheel inspection hole. In this position letter ‘E’ on the fuel injection pump rotor should align with the scribe line on the lobe of the circlip. Should thse marks not align then slacken the bolts and move the body of the injection pump in the required direction.

    Are the injectors set correctly? Should be set at 120 atmospheres (will need to have this checked at the diesel engineers).

    You say you’ve fitted a new cylinder head. Is it identical to the old one? Does it have pre-combustion chambers or not and do the injectors fit in at the same angle?

    Hope this gives you some ideas.


    Steve Ridsdale

    • Vintage Tractor Engineer
  3. hi i have mf35 4cyl 1958 it has had anew head kit fitted new injectors a new fuel pump the timing checked twice new water pump and heaterplug.it is very poor on starting which is parr for the course but when started it idles with blue smoke then when reved pours out white smoke,thereis nowater in the oil but it does use water it is my first tractor and having taken it to a show i got information overload i would appreciate a step by step guide on how to resolve these problems many thanks callum

    • callum mitchell
  4. It’s not broke don’t fix it. Oil may drip into the valves when you shut it off for a while. I have seen this in engins of all makes over the years. I had a new 2000 model chev. pick-up v-six that wood make a cloud of smoke at noon every day at work.The dealer installed what they called an umbrella around the valve seets that fixed it.If it’s not burning a lot of oil and has power and runs good once warmed up I would not worry about it.

    • John R. Harbison
  5. i installed new pistonrings on my massey 35x 3cyl. hard to start now and when it does,i have sump compression…and after a few moments,the engine stops?

    • johan
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