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Smoking Engine Massey Ferguson 35


Hi was wondering if anybody could help me with a problem with a 23c Massey 35 I bought a few weeks ago. When i bought it i was told it had a full engine rebuild but was still very Smokey. Was told it would be the injectors so had them sent away and serviced , but its still the same. Could it be the timing or the pump ? any ideasThanks,
Jerry Macpherson

Hi Jerry,

Presuming that the engine rebuild was all done correctly, then I think you are correct to look at the fuel system. As you will probably know, servicing of the injection pump is quite expensive so it makes sense to eliminate everything else first. The most obvious place to start is to check the timing. The Engine Rebuild DVD (that is on its way to you) explains the timing procedure, although in our experience it is often necessary to fiddle a little with the pump after following the procedure – each engine seems to be slightly different.

Pay attention to the condition of the timing chain and the timinng chain tensioner, which may not have been checked properly by the person who did the engine repair previously (again this is shown in the DVD). Also the number of shims between the engine and the injection pump intermediary drive gear will affect the backlash between the gears and hence will have an effect the injection pump (as per DVD).

Another thing to check would be the thermostart. On occasions they have been known to dribble fuel into the air intake manifold and cause smoking. It is not an obvious thing to check, but if you think about it it is a source of fuel to the engine which would cause smoking.

Resticted air flow can also cause smoking. Clean the air filter and refill with clean oil (same grade as the engine oil).

If all these are OK then you may have to look at getting the pump serviced.

The Vintage Tractor Engineer


ian ninness says:

August 23rd, 2008 at 7:45 am
Hi, I also have an FE35 which produces a lot of white exhaust smoke. When I can get it to start (using aerostart in air intake) the tractor runs and sounds good and white smoke decreases as it warms up. When I try to start this motoe, it produces a lot of blow back through the air cleaner. What is this a sympton of? Timing out, valve clearences wrong or what? I am not a tractor expert but expect that I am going to learn a lot doing this one up. How do you tell if the motor is lacking in compression? I would like to get this motor running and starting proprerly but really do not know where to start. any advice would be appreciated. Ian ninness, Australia.

The Vintage Tractor Engineer says:

September 2nd, 2008 at 5:10 pm
Hi Ian,

Almost certain it will be a stretched timing chain and possibly also the timing chain tensioner which requires some work on it. It could also be sticking valves or poor/coroded valve seats. Or a combination of the two.

I’d guess at the timing chain first though and then time it up properly after replacing the chain.


Daniel says:

September 15th, 2008 at 6:26 am
FE35 will always produce white smoke while starting. Just give it some time.

jerry says:

September 30th, 2008 at 7:33 am
Well have got it going. Rebuilt the engine again / checked the timing / set the tappets/ cleaned the air filter. And started her up. Was a little bit better but still smokey. so sent the pump away. when it came back , put it on bled her and she started with a little smoke then cleared, now going like a train .
many thanks for all your help. and the DVD was a great help, especially as there’s no timing marks on the gears .
regards jerry

The Vintage Tractor Engineer says:

October 7th, 2008 at 4:43 pm
Hi Jerry,

Good to hear that you have got the tractor running and that it is now going well.

Keep in touch,


John says:

December 3rd, 2008 at 5:57 pm
Great work Jerry!

As Daniel said, the FE35’s produce some white smoke upon start usually. As time goes on the smoke usually goes away. NOt a HUGE deal but it can be a pain. Glad to hear shes up and running though.

Franklin says:

December 11th, 2008 at 5:03 pm
Is there anything more classic than the FE35 smoky start up? I don’t think so! They are notorious for this and it’s something that usually can’t be traced back unless you are extremely dedicated. You can focus your time on better ventures I’d be willing to bet.

jerry says:

December 12th, 2008 at 3:59 pm
hi. thought i,d let you know that i have sorted the Smokey problem. Had to rebuild the engine again. The liners were glazed . So i glaze busted them and changed the rings . Runs great now no smoke and starts first time every time .Thanks for all your help.
regards jerry

The Vintage Tractor Engineer says:

December 13th, 2008 at 4:59 am
Hi Jerry,

Pleased that you have finally got the engine running as you would like. If the engine had been rebuilt before you bought it, then the problem is you never know who has done it and what sort of a mess they have made of it. Now you’ve done the job yourself (also using the DVD) you know it has been done right.


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9 Responses to “Smoking Engine Massey Ferguson 35”

  1. We (a Cricket Club) have a Massey 35 3 cylinder tractor. Runs perfectly when stationary, but when put on the ‘cutters’ after 5 minutes or so, has sudden loss of power & stops. Each time it has air in the fuel system. After bleeding, starts again & same again! Have changed filters, cleaned out gunge from the ‘wire mesh filter’ – don’t know why keeps getting air in. Any suggestions most appreciated.


    • Ian Gibson
  2. Hi Ian,

    Air could be entering into the fuel system in one of severl places, but in our experience this usually occurs when the fuel filters are becoming blocked. Even though you have replaced the filteres only recently I would replace the filters again and see what happens. I suspect that may solve the problem. If the filters are clogged again then you may need to remove the fuel tank and clean it out.

    Steve VTE

    • Vintage Tractor Engineer
  3. Hi, I have owned my MF35 for eighteen years but probably has only been out of the shed once in six years. I’ve noticed that it’s blowing smoke out of where the dip stick is when i remove it, even though the oil pressure seems to be fine. It wouldn’t start at first and i had to get the starter repaired which solved that issue,but no matter how long it runs, my 35 still blows smoke from here! Is this a problem with head?, and is it dangerous for me to run my 35 risking damaging the engine? I’ve no mechanical experience, could you help me please?



    • Adrian
  4. how do i set up the timing chain as were struggling to fine the marks?
    please reply to kellibrrtt69@aol.com


    • kelli
  5. Hello again its for a SE35 Massey.

    • kelli
  6. I have a MF FE 35 and need to replace the fuel lines and pump. Can you tell me where I can find theses?

    • Kevin
  7. i have a mft20 diesel and cannot work out the timing marks and how they align

    • nigel i
  8. Hi can anyone tell me why i have smoke and oil blowing from the dip stick on my grey gold ….it smokes abit ,we have just had the injectors cleaned which improved the smoke and advancing the pump has also helped

    • mat
  9. Hi, Just bought a FE 35 Diesel runs well but smoke does not clear after warm up it does lessen but never goes away also noticed some smoke from the dipstick tube. Could this be timing or pump issues or does it mean rebuild time ? I have orderd the DVDs but would like to know if im wasting my time trying to get it to run right or just rebuild it first. It does start easy even when cold.


    • Sean
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