Get your scraper tractor ready for the winter

When was the last time the scraper tractor had a service? You’ll probably be struggling to remember…. Charlie McCarron runs through a quick 10-minute checklist.

The Massey Ferguson 135 is a popular choice for yard scraping duties and is often affectionately thought of as a dedicated old stalwart, seldom hitched to anything else.

Not wishing to teach anyone’s grandmother to suck eggs (as it were), here we highlight a few pointers that could help you ensure the little beauty runs without fail over the winter ahead…

Electrics

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To ensure the electrics are all kept powered, it is advisable to check the tension on the dynamo belt. It should be tight enough that it can only be twisted about a quarter of a turn at 90 degrees to the running direction.

To help with engine starting in difficult conditions it is a good idea to clean the battery terminals and to ensure they are tight. The best method to clean them is simply to pour some boiling water over them and to keep them that way apply a touch of Vaseline for sealant.

Another problematic area can be around the starter motor terminals, ensure frayed wires are replaced and a good, clean connection is in place.

The heated start system can be temperamental and is usually a result of the glow plugs being worn out. Replacement is simple enough and should solve any issues, but first it’s a good idea to test the circuit with a phase tester to see if the glow plug feed is working.

Brakes

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Although usually out of action, brakes are handy on a yard scraper tractor. Inside the rear wheel hub you will find a slot that provides access to the brake adjuster. Using a flat-bladed screwdriver, turn the adjuster from left to right to tighten the brakes up.

Clutch

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The clutch pedal should have an inch of free travel before the first stage bites – the second stage cuts drive to the pto – use the pinch bolt where the pedal meets the shaft to adjust the travel.

Front axle

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Jacking the front of the tractor up means a few checks can be performed around the front axle and wheels. Shaking the front wheels – top to bottom – will highlight wheel bearing wear. The front axle pivot pin should also be greased regularly.

King pins

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Track rod ends and kingpins should be full of grease, this may require a new grease nipple being fitted if the originals have become damaged.

Air filter

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Simple and straightforward – the air filter should be checked and cleaned regularly. A simple operation that takes two minutes, it’s easily neglected.

Back-end

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Check the back end for oil and likewise the transmission. A simple top-up may prevent a costly back end rebuild. Pressure-wash the muck off to make sure nothing is seized on the linkage and that it is all properly greased.

Steering

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The steering box worm-drive gets worn, which can lead to wayward steering. This is a strip and rebuild job, but it is still a good idea to check the tension of the bolt (1) and the condition of the ball joint (2).