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Lift Arms Drop When Clutch Is Depressed, Massey Ferguson 35


We have a customer who has a problem with the hydraulics on his Massey Ferguson 35 tractor.   Joe has sent in a picture of his tractor, which looks absolutely superb.

MF35 - red wheelsThe lift arms are dropping whenever he depresses the clutch pedal, here is what he says…

I enjoyed the MF 35 Hydraulics DVD. It is professionaly done and very informative. I’m wondering if you can help me diagnose a symptom that wasn’t discussed in the trouble shooting portion of the video.

The hydraulics on my MF 35 have been working well ever since I’ve owned it (about four years).  In the past, I could leave the arms in the raised position and for several days they would stay raised with very little down ward drift (I didn’t make a habit of doing this).  However, this spring when I first attempted to use the tractor (after it sat for three or four months), the hydraulics starting acting up.  Specifically, the lift arms would rise as they should, but as soon as I depressed the clutch (to put the tractor in gear), the arms drop (very quickly).  As soon as the tractor begins to move, they rise and assume the proper position.  Any idea where I should begin looking in the hydraulic system???  Is there a check valve in the hydraulic circuit that prevents  the hydraulic fluid from flowing out of the lift cylinder once the clutch is depressed?  If not, what prevents the the hydraulic fluid from flowing out of the lift cylinder once the clutch is depressed–the control valve?  I have a single stage clutch.

Well Joe,

If the tractor has been stood for a few months and the symptoms have developed all at once then it is most likely just the o’rings on the stand pipe. Just remove the cap (front right hand side of hydraulic top cover, under seat) and pull the stand pipe out. Replace the 3 o’rings (1 under cap and 2 on stand pipe) and also preferably the back-up washers (nylon spirals).

It is obviusly a leak on the system somewhere, but the reason I suspect the o’rings is because they do not sit in oil and so may have dried out.

I think that will solve your problem.

Vintage Tractor Engineer

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9 Responses to “Lift Arms Drop When Clutch Is Depressed, Massey Ferguson 35”

  1. fe35 witam bardzo potrzebuje do tego modelu walek rozrzadu prosze o pomoc. pozdrawiam.bamse76.

    • bamse76
  2. are the lift arms on massey 35 and 135 the same

  3. the pressure releif valve can be stuck open this is caused by dirt or water in the system take of right hand side plate where the dip stick is start the tractor raise the arms stop the engine and check for bubbles or a large oil flow to the right of the hole as the arms drop with the lever in raised position this where the releif valve is located also if oil is dripping down in the casing the oil can bypass the lift ram seal located under the top lid good luck liam

    • liam callaghan ireland
  4. I am having the same trouble with my Ferguson TO35. The hydraulic lift arms will raise, even with a heavy implement attached, but when I push in the clutch to shift into gear the lift drops. I had a mechanic take the seat and top covers off which is how it sits now. Can anyone diagnose what the problem is with this. Apparently it is not an uncommon issue.


    • Mike Carter
  5. If it is a 2 stage clutch then if you fully press the clutch down the hyd’s will stop as well as the rest of the gearbox. On an older clutch you may not be able to feel the 2 stages. If it is a single clutch then pressing the clutch will stop the hyd pump. I think I have answered the correct fault.

    • Dan Frith
  6. Interested in the outcome. Have recently bought a 35 with a similarfault. Mine has the 2 stage clutch. Hydraulics work fine until you depress the clutch fully and wont stay up when engine stopped. Any further ideas most welcome. Graeme

    • lockwood16
  7. If you have the single stage clutch the hydraulics will droop if the clutch is pressed. Where as the 2 stadge clutch which i have on my 35, when you press the clutch the hydraulics will stay up but if you puss it right down for pto clutch (to select pto) then they will drop. If your hydraulic pump is worn when you stop the engine the hydraulics will drop slowly.

    • massey188multi-power
  8. Having hydraulic problems with my ’57 or ’58 Massey Ferguson. Arms will not lift, hydraulic level is full. I new at this….help !

    • Jeffrey Faucette
  9. I have de same problem with my mf 35, but with your answers I amb unable to find the solution. Is it normal to lost the pressure of the hydraulics on the model with “single Clutch”???

    • Jordi Cruz
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