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MF 3080 Engine Rebuild

This past week we’ve been rebuilding a Perkins A6.354 engine from a Massey Ferguson 3080.

This engine has only done a little over 6,000 hours, but hasn’t be well looked after.  The owner is a gentleman who takes lots of care and time looking after his pigs, but unfortunately spends little time on machinery maintenance.


Removing Massey Ferguson 3080 Engine


A couple of years previously when the engine became difficult to start, the owner reached for the starting fluid.  Here at Vintage Tractor Engineer we believe that if an engine won’t start then something is wrong, the cause should be identified and then repaired.

The owener reported that the engine was losing power and eventually got to the point that it wouldn’t start even using starting fluid, and that is when the tractor was brought to us for a rebuild.  The radiator choked full of dirt wasn’t a great start…


blocked tractor radiator

Lack of simple maintenane


The next photo is of one of the air intake ports (and they were all the same).  Severely restricted with carbon/soot deposits.  The valves were so badly burnt and pitted that combustion gasses had been escaping past the valves into the intake port and causing the build up.


blocked intake port

That’s bad!


Excessive use of starting fluid can wash the lubricating oil away from the cylinder liners and cause the rings and surface of the liners to wear.  The engine had reached the point where compression was so low (leaking valves, worn rings and liners, restricted air intake!!) that it would no longer start.


worn cylinder liners and black oil deposits

smooth liners and black oil deposits


The engine has had new liners (bored and honed to size), pistons and rings, vavles, valve stems, valve seats, head surfaced and a new oil pump.  The crank only needed a polish and so new standard sized bearing shells were fitted.  The owner hadn’t changed the engine oil for years, so we were expecting the crank to be in worse condtion than it was.

Vintage Tractor Engineer has an identical MF 3080 on our farm.  Well, I say identical, it has nearly twice the hours on the clock (just short of 12,000), starts first touch and runs as smooth as the day it left the factory 24 years ago.  Our pig farming customer couldn’t believe the condition of our tractor compared to his – it just shows the value of regular oil/filter changes and a little bit of maintenance.

We told the owner to change the engine oil after 2-3 hours and then again at 100 hours.  We’re not certain that it sank in, we think he was going to be too busy feeding his pigs!


1959 Ford 611 Combine Harvester For Sale

We’ve had an email from Dan who is selling his uncle’s vintage Ford combine harvester on eBay.com …


Dan has written a detailed description of the machine and posted lots of photos and a video of the combine running.


Harvesting On The Farm, And Welcome To New (Vintage Tractor Engineer) Subscribers

It’s been three months since we’ve posted any tractor maintenance articles here on the website. We’ve been very busy over that period with harvest and cultivations on our farm.

All the sowing has now been completed so we now have a bit more time on our hands to share some tractor photos and information.

I wanted to start by saying a big hello to any new subscribers who have just joined us (over 400 new email subscribers since mid June). We’ve now got over 2,600 tractor enthusiasts who receive our articles, ask us some questions, send in photos of their tractors and join in with the conversations. We hope you all enjoy what we do here at Vintage Tractor Engineer and get some good information from the existing articles on the website and the newly published information.

I’ll leave you with a photo of our harvesting and a short video clip of the combine our autumn ploughing with the MF8220 (the vidoes may not load in the email, so hop over to the website if you want to view them). The 1985 Claas 106 has worked over 5,000 hours now and is still going strong. It was bringing in about 4 acres per hour in a 3 tonne per acre wheat crop. The wheat yields were down on our farm this year, as there was high disease pressure from Septoria and Yellow Rust.

Claas 106 combine harvester cutting wheat

The wheat was very ripe and the combine was getting practically every grain.

Many farms growing winter cereal rotations are getting grassweed problems in the UK, as certain herbicides have been de-listed and resistance to the remaining herbicides is becoming a problem.  Good ploughing is therefore an essential tool in the battle against the grassweeds.  It is always a compromise between workrate and burrying the weed seeds.  In the video of the ploughing I have tried to show the difference in stubble burial between operating at 5km/hour and 4.5km/hour.  The tractor would probably have the power to pull the plough at 5.7km/hour in this field, faster in some lighter soils and slower in heavy soils.  It is important to match the size of the plough to the size of the tractor, but obvoiusly that isn’t always possible due to different soil  conditions.  Ploughs with longer bodies than this one can help maintain workrate, yet facilitate good inversion and trash burial.

The 8220 ploughing…

Cutting the wheat…


No Fuel At Injectors When Bleeding Fuel System

Bleeding the fuel system on a tractor is a relatively straight forward job.  However, it is not uncommon for people to contact us saying they have fuel to the injection pump but cannot get fuel to the injectors.

Recently an owner of a TEF-20 wrote in thinking he must be doing something wrong, but he didn’t know what.  To use the gentleman’s own words, he was completely goosed“!


The Normal Procedure

So lets start by taking a look at a video of how you would usually go about bleeding a diesel fuel system.  The video below is of a MF35 with a Standard 23C engine, but the steps are similar for other tractors.  We need to get air free fuel from the fuel tank to the fuel filter with assistance of the lift pump, then air free fuel to the injection pump and then to the injectors.


Fuel Not Getting To Injectors

So why is our TEF-20 owner having problems?

The tractor in question has not been started for three years.  It is quite common for the components of a stood injection pump to seize.  Inside the injection pump there is a rack which engages with pinion teeth on the elements, rotating the elements which adjusts the amount of fuel delivered from zero to full depending on the engine requirement.  If the pump has seized in the zero fuel position then fuel will not be able to get through the pump to the injectors when doing the bleed cycle.

It is possible for either the rack to be stuck in the pump, or an element will be stuck which will be preventing the rack from moving.

These coponents can sometimes seize after only a couple of months of non-use.


TEF-20 Injection pump


If you take the vacuum belows off the end of the pump you should be able to move the rod (rack) that the bellows piston is connected to.  Don’t force it or you will break it, only apply gentle hand pressure to try and move it.  If it is stuck then don’t tap or hit it as it will damage it.  You would need to take it to a diesel engineers to have the seized element replaced if you have no luck.  With the TEF fuel injection pump you can also remove the cover plate to look inside at the components.



Awesome Security

Following the recent tractor security article, we’ve had an email from a remote landowner who has taken the following security steps for his tractor…

  • Tractor in a steel building
  • Deadbolt on the regular door
  • Padlock on the garage door tracks
  • Logging chain through the tractor rear wheels and then through the attached implement with padlock
  • Security camera system
  • Insurance on tractor and implement

That’s all a cost and a hassle, but if it keeps the tractor safe then it will be worthwhile.


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