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We sometimes like to re-visit previous topics.  This is a discussion from the forum about the oil bath air cleaner oil level.  VTE has a few bits of information to add at the end of this article…



I have never been very clear as to how much oil should be put in the oil container at the bottom of the filter assembly for a 23c engine. Within the oil container there is a ring (I think called the deflector ring) which has some holes in it – should there be any oil within this ring or should the oil be kept outside the ring up to the level of the holes? Apologies for such a basic question but any guidance would be much appreciated.


  • mr.happy19690

    i think there is a line stamped into the bowl itself. i have learned that if you put too much oil in the engine will suck it out and burn it up. it makes for quite a smokeshow.

  • mr.happy19690

    upon looking in my massey bible there IS a mark in the wall of the container cup.

  • jbo1948

    Thanks for your response. The mark to which you refer, is it on the outside of the bowl or inside? I am not sure about the internal ring i.e. should the oil be kept between the outer wall of the bowl and the ring with no oil within the ring?


  • baldeagle60

    I am sorry, have not got a clear answer to your question. I am looking forward to finding out the same….
    Just wanted to point out a recent problem I have had with air cleaner. During a recent freeze up, the tractor started and smoked like crazy, and did not have any power at all. I could not get the throttle to work. checked the diesel, then took off the air cleaner. I had just cleaned it a couple weeks ago . It was full of clear Ice, and blocking the air intake. (ME THINKS SOMEONE TRYING TO SABOTOGE THE TRACTOR?)I do not know where the Ice came from as it is sealed up to keep the rain out.
    anyhow after removing the clear ice, and again cleaning it out and replacing oil in ring. it ran like a wonderful 35 should…. Looking forward to you getting a reply about actual whether or not you put oil in inner ring….

  • Fergie Man

    Hi Baldeagle 60 …the easiest way to avoid any confusion is to fill the centre ring as you describe it up to the holes…..the oil then will run out of the holes and start to fill up the outer ring. When the outer ring and inner ring are both at the same level you have cracked it….if there isn#t any visible level mark inside your air filter bowl you can then make your own mark where the oil level settles….this should help you for future reference…..Geoff

  • mr.happy19690

    since you were asking i decided to check mine and found that i thought it was low. i added some and ran it at idle no problems then we got some snow. and i went to clear the snow. the tractor started smoking horribly and then the engine raced the throttle did nothing so i pulled the kill knob the engine continued raceing. horrified i put the tractor in gear and held the break. to stall it. after some carfull observations i figured out that the engine was sucking the oil out of the air filter and then combusting it as fuel in the engine hence why the throttle and kill didnt work. very strange. any way i guess i overfilled mine.
    the service manuel is very vage about it it just says that theres a line. i filled mine to what i thought was the line. so i think id listen to geoff

  • baldeagle60

    the bottom line on the air cleaner (on mine anyhow) says fill to here. this is the level which the oil will go up to which is level with the holes between the inner ring and the outer ring. I have found this discussion helpful, as it confirms what I have been told by others, and also the tractor expert at my tractor engineers. hope this is a help. Dennis





    VTE says…

    The air intake into the cleaner is at high velocity down a vertical tube, the bottom of which is submersed in the oil reservoir.  The concept is that dirt particles will continue downwards into the oil bath due to centrifugal force (the air suddenly changing direction back upwards)  The now upwards travelling air carries with it some oil and remaining dirt particles into the mesh element.  The oil and dirt are caught in the element and then drip back down into the reservoir (oil carrying the dirt particles).

    In very cold weather it may be necessary to blend up to 25 percent paraffin with the oil so that the oil can flow freely.

    The oil level can rise in the reservoir due to the addition of captured dirt particles.  The oil level should not be let to increase any more than 9.5mm above the level mark.  In very dusty conditions this may need to be checked more than once per day.