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I’m in the middle of rebuilding a 1957 35 with the 23c engine. I bought this as a non runner having had a engine rebuid kit fitted the previous owner failed to get the tractor going. After stripping the engine down again I found the trouble to be a ringset that was about half an inch too small had been fitted ( possibly out of a 20c?) any how I have fully rebuilt it from scratch and have used your DVD as a guideline which was most helpful. After this the engine purrs with no smoke and a lovely even tickover but is a swine to start. It takes 20 seconds of heat, try it with no luck, heat again, no luck but usualy on third attempt it will splutter on 2 cylinders then cough into life. I’ve adjusted the pump timing to where it starts the best. Any ideas what I could try next?

Many Thanks, Powys, Wales.

VintageTractor Engineer says…..

Have the injectors been serviced? as that is a good place to start. There are 2 jets in the injectors, one is the running jet and the other is more effective during starting. The starting jets have a habbit of getting blocked or at least not working to full efficiency.

If they have been serviced, then have you also had the injector pump looked at? Worn injector pumps often do not produce sufficient fuel pressure fast enough under starting conditions.
Because the fuel filter element is containeed within a bowl, it is possible to run these engines without a fuel filter fitted. If a previous owner has ever done this then it is more likely that there will be problems with the injector pump hydraulic head. This device has two closely fitting, highly pollished components, which are a fuel tight fit to each other. As you can imagine, the slightest bit of wear can make them leak considerably and hence cause a drop in fuel pressure.

When running, if it is timed up correctly then it should sound similar to any Peugeot diesel engine.

Only other thing is to make sure there are no sticking valves. You could take the rocker-cover off to check this.

Hope that helps,


Hello there,

I have a MF35 with the 23C four-cylinder diesel engine. While these engines never started easily, this engine is getting particularly hard to start. I have heard that it is possible to fit a different starter motor, which turns the engine over faster than the original starter motor, and ths improves starting. Does anyone know if this is true, and if so, what starter motor can be fitted?


We’ve no first hand experience of changing the starter motor, but I’ve heard that the starter from a Ford 5000 fits. Maybee a better avenue to explore would be Sparex – I understand that they used to do a 3kW HD starter to fit the 23C engine.