Massey’s Number Nines

The first thing that strikes you about MF3600 tractors is that they’re smaller than you think they should be.

When the first pictures arrived at Farmers Weekly, the unit was paired with a Quicke-built MF900-series loader, placing a bale into a ring feeder. Now, standing beside it, you wonder just how big the ring feeder was.

The styling is very similar to the family branding the firm has applied right across its tractor range.

The units look compact and yet somehow give the impression that they’re manlier than you’d give them credit for. They’re to MF what a scrum-half is to a rugby team, the little fellow behind a bunch of bigger and more aggressive units.

Cabin fever

Typically with units of this size, a degree of cabin fever is always a worry. Due to the compact nature of such tractors, the cab is usually a place where space is at a premium, but happily this isn’t the case with the MF3645.

The cab is bright, airy and offers a great deal of space for such a compact machine. A few niggles here, though – brake and throttle pedals are too close for comfort, and typically when reaching for the throttle you find your foot catching the outer edge of the brake pedal.

The loader controls also cause a gripe. When selecting third gear, the lever collides with the stalk of the loader controls. This could be rectified with a bit of a twist of the gear lever – a simple fix, but one that shouldn’t really be necessary.

Levers are the order of the day, with all controls, from spool valves and hand throttle to lift controls, using cables and mechanical linkages. It is a clear and uncluttered design, one that is effective and straightforward to find your way around.

Visibility is also ample and, despite the tractor not being fitted with a high-vis roof, the loader is still well in view when extended to full height.

Transmission options

The unit we’ve got is fitted with the optional electro-hydraulic power-shuttle, as opposed to the standard mechanical version. Anyone considering this as a loader tractor would be well advised to go for the power-shuttle, because it negates the need to clutch when shuttling between forwards and reverse. But there is a catch the power-shuttle option is a whopping £1800 extra.

However, ordering the high-spec transmission does mean you get a de-clutch button on the main gear lever. Although effective for moving about the yard, a lengthy delay on engagement does cast a doubt over its effectiveness for transport work where maintaining momentum is a must.

Massey Ferguson 3645
Engine 3-cyl turbo intercooled,
3.3-litre Sisu
Power 91hp
Transmission 24F x 24R power-shuttle 40kph
Linkage lift capacity 2.4t
Hydraulics 54-litres/min @ 190 bar
Fuel tank 110-litres
Service Interval 500 hours
Price £30,650

Massey Ferguson tells us that the dealer can adjust this and indeed the aggressiveness of shuttling – which also needs attention on this model – with a software instalment. The company says an in-cab adjustment for gearbox action – similar to that used on MF 5400-series tractors – is being developed for the 3600.

If you go for the mechanical shuttle, then a high/low splitter button takes the place of the clutch button on the main gear stick.

Unfortunately, on power-shuttle models, the high/low splits are handled by a chunky lever set into the right-hand side of the dash. This is a reach away and would be better placed closer to the gear lever.

Loader work

For loader work, the optional power-shuttle is an expensive recommendation and, in fairness, Massey Ferguson says that if a customer buys the tractor loader-ready, they’ll get a competitive price, so be prepared to haggle.

The hydraulics perform above expectations, powering the loader through its various functions with ease, the integrated joystick making the job a doddle.

Two spool valves are offered with a generous hydraulic flow rate of 54-litres/min.

FW Verdict

The MF3645 punches above its weight, producing maximum torque at a low 1400rpm and topping out at 91hp.

Its 3.3-litre, three-cylinder Sisu engine is apparently exactly half the engine used in the firm’s larger 6-cyl 6490 model and even shares the same piston part number.

Manoeuvrability is remarkable – total turning circle is a spit just over 4m, which makes the unit extremely nimble around the yard. Combine this with its perky performance and you can imagine the unit completing a number of tasks, from mowing and baling to operating a feeder wagon.

At 91hp, the Massey Ferguson 3645 punches above its weight and will be at home on either livestock or mixed farms.

The cab of the 3645 is surprisingly roomy and offers more visibility than expected. However, some tweaks are needed to avoid contact between the loader joystick and main gear lever.

Likes Dislikes
Engine Brake/throttle
performance pedal configuration
Visibility Transmission options
Manoeuvrability Cab roof lining build quality