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tractor design faults

I thought we shoul have a thread on tractor design faults.  That is - being wise after the original designers did their stuff!!!!

I'll kick this off with one of my favourite gripes about the grey Fergusons.  My experience with our TEs is that it is sheer stuipdity not to have had the hood (bonnet in our language) tilting forward a full 90 degrees.  It would have made the checking and filling of the radiator so much easier.  Then they had two independant brake pedals - one on each side.  A nightmare when turning left on a tight headland and trying to operate  the brake and control the clutch at the same time - especially with greasy boots!  The forerunner Ford Fergusons had them paired on the same side - much easier - a design which came back on our Ferguson 35s 

Now to Masseys.  I was in the shed this morning getting my 101 senior going after the winter lay off.  Wouldn't start.  No spark.  But to get at the distributor to file the points one has to remove the hood (bonnet again!).  And we all know what a convenient operation that is with out of line screws!  In contrast my 201 and TE have the distributors on the side of the engine where they are easily accessed.  Anyway she started immediately after the points filing.

Let's get going on this thread - I think we can have a few laughs with our experiences!

RE:tractor design faults

Styled Red Pacemaker and 25 /40 Spark Plug removal on number 3 cylinder.

On all the unstyled "U" frames all  four spark plugs were very easy to get at for maintenance, come 1938 and the "styling to sell from the design shop" made life difficult for getting at number 3 spark plug when they put the new round air cleaner on that side of the engine.

Most defianetly one of those cases when the design engineer never even thought or cared about the driver / mechanic working on it later.

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You have to look at things on the bright side, with that distributer stuck way up there under the hood you can work in the rain without getting the wires wet and misfireing....

Yes you are right there are some flaws like the extreamly high PTO shaft on the 44s I bent the shaft on my planter twice this week just planting my 20 acre field.

Then they got smart and lowered it down on the 333-444s that was great but now the belt pulley runs all the time and you have to wait until the belt pulley stops to shift gears or grind it into gear. It is not so bad if you remove the belt pulley and cap it off but if you want to belt up to something it is a hassel to remove the cap and put the pulley on every time.


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 Actually at home we never found rain a problem with the TE 20s as they had tight fitting rubber caps over the ends of the four plug leads and the distributor leads.  I think old Harry had it well fixed in that regard.  I'm in the office now but I think the 201 is the same????

Keep thinking Joe - there's more to come and get that cream job well and truly fixed!  Don't spoli the strawberries for the want of some good cream.  If necessary we'll apply for an import licence for you to get some of our Jersey cream in past your quarantine men!


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 John, Have you ever tried to move the rear wheel on a 101 ?? Massey went backward many  years when they invented the non- adjustable rear hubs. Challengers have a good patent with the F&H rear wheels hubs. The 33 & 44 rowcrop rear hub are only a little better than the 101's 
My Gripe for the Day- Dennis

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I haven't had that particular problem but last year I had terribe grief with my red MH 25 rear wheels.  It had been fitted with cut down spokes and rubber rims and I wanted them off to fit original spoke rubber rims.

After many days of fighting with heat and various pullers including an official MH one I gave up the fight when a 60 ton puller I borrowed from a large truck repair shop failed miserably.

it was then a mattter of cut the rim off by the spokes, then cut through the hub with a large cutting wheel.  This cutter wouldn't quite reach through right to the base of the back of the hub but we were 95% through and it split with a chisel and fell off as if laughing at us.  Both sides were the same.

I would have thought it might have been possible to have the hub be a slip fit back to a small butt rim on the axle leaving the wodruuf key to tighten the whole affair up and the nut to fix it on.

Also, the nuts would not turn off - unbelievably tight and I had to split these off and have new ones made.

I've heard of others having similar problems with the taper axle shafts but I think mine was perhaps an extreme case

One of the beaten offenders attached!!


RE:tractor design faults

Another gripe!

This time regarding my M-H 744D tractor.  The catch for the brake pedals is:
a) so small
b) so inaccessible.  Impossible to bend down and reach it by hand as the steering wheel stops you bending forward.

I've found there are two solutions - always carry a stick with you to press it down when necessary, or, if you forget your stick then hold the brakes down with your right foot, drag your left foot over to replace it and then push the catch down woth your freed right foot.

Am I missing something????  What are the 44s like over there in this respect?

I attach a photo - the catch is just about visible between the two brake pedals


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I will have to agree that is a real Mickey Mouse set up, but if you point your toes and push on the pedal with the tip of your toes as far as you can then rest your heal of your boot on the lever as you pull back on your foot it works pretty good. I believe that is the way it is designed to work.

The 44s here have the same as yours but some have a little 1inch square platform on the lever I even have a 44 with the lever going over the top of the platform this looks to be a little more user friendly.

What you need to do is convert it to the way the 55s are set up with a hand rod on the fender it uses the same lever under the platform. The lever under my 44 even has the hole already drilled in it for this rod to fit into. yours would be very easy to set up like the 55s because of the slot cut into the platform you would not have to drill a hole in it for the rod just run the rod through the slot that is already there.

I believe the reason they did not put the extra hand rod on the 44s is because people like Thumper did not want to spend the extra 3 & 1/2 cents it would have cost to put it on the tractor.

Here are some pictures of the 44s & 55s


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Now I have a real reason to return to Wales!!  I want to see you cross your legs and lock your brakes!!!  LOL!!!  You would have to be very athletic to contort your movements!!

For me, my big feet can handle the way Joe described.  Just use the tips of your toes and hopefully your heal can reach the brake lock.  I was always amazed to watch my dad do that so easily. 

All my tin tractors have that same configuration (other than the Ponies).

Speaking of Ponies, now there is another challenge!! Not to set the brakes but to release them.  Again you have to reach down and flip the lock back.  Us fat boys have a hard time with that!!


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Now we are getting down to the true design faults of Massey, I know my passion is early "U" frames but I can assure you the handbrake was MUCH more user friendly, positive and easy to operate on the 12-20's, Pacemaker's and 25's,  I bet many drivers never even bothered to use them on the 44, or was that when pointed shoes came into fashion???