Filling the wish list as we start tricky business
Restoring an old Massey '35' is proving a big job for Bruce Lett
This summer I got stuck into the family farm's very tired Massey Ferguson 35 and, rather than just restoring it as a vintage show-piece, I decided to modernise the little '35' as well.
Arriving second-hand and already worn out, it had its engine and steering rebuilt before going on to clock up another 8,000 hours. That was nearly 30 years ago and it has worked hard throughout its life on the farm, although it did very little over the past 10 years.
The first phase of the reconditioning and modernisation process was published at the end of July and I had hoped to have a lot more done by now, but I really only started back at it in earnest over the past few weeks. Back in the summer I started with the engine because it was completely worn out. The tractor's swept axle had a life of its own as well. Over rough ground there was plenty of axle play as the trunnion pin (pivot) and bushes were completely worn out.
The lift arms and all the lift linkages, including the top link draft-sensing mechanism, are the same. The hydraulic pump, I think, was only pumping on one of its four pistons and pulsing like it was about to expire altogether. The brakes on one side were seized up while oil was leaking out through the brakes on the other.
So all was not well with the 35 and in the first phase of the process I discovered that the top ring on each piston was broken. The inlet and exhaust valves had migrated so far up into the head that they have set a new record at my local engine remanufacturer, Power Brothers in Ferns, Co Wexford.
Firstly, though, to recap, the modernisation 'wish list' is what is really driving the project, and the original list to modernise or upgrade the 35 includes the addition or fitting of:
- Hydrostatic or power- assisted steering;
- Spin-on oil filter assembly for engine;
- Full lighting, including indicators;
- Foot throttle;
- Later-type hydraulic pump (with filter);
- Suspended seat;
- Pick-up hitch;
After-market parts supplier Vapormatic (www.vapormatic. com), under the guidance of their sales rep Shane Rooney, is on-board and is supplying the majority of the components required for the project. There are an enormous amount of parts available from Vapormatic, not just for the Massey Ferguson 35, but for a huge number of other models and makes as well.