7 Common Problems of Massey Ferguson 231S: (And Possible Fixes)

The Massey Ferguson 231S is a renowned tractor model known for its reliability and versatility in various farming and agricultural tasks. Engineered with durability in mind, it has gained the trust of numerous tractor owners globally due to its performance and functionality across different terrains and applications.

Importance of Understanding Common Problems for Tractor Owners

As a tractor owner, comprehending common issues with your machinery is pivotal for several reasons. Understanding these potential problems empowers owners to perform proactive maintenance, reduce downtime, and ensure the tractor operates at its optimal capacity. It’s a means to preemptively address issues before they escalate, ultimately saving time and expenses.

Purpose of the Blog Post – To Identify Issues and Offer Solutions

This blog post aims to highlight seven common problems encountered by Massey Ferguson 231S owners, providing insights into the symptoms, potential causes, and practical fixes for each issue. By shedding light on these challenges, the goal is to equip tractor owners with knowledge and solutions to effectively troubleshoot problems that might arise with this particular model.

Problem 1: Electrical System Malfunctions


The Massey Ferguson 231S, like any other machinery, can face electrical system malfunctions, often manifested through various symptoms:

  • Dead Battery: When starting the tractor becomes an issue or the battery fails to hold charge.
  • Faulty Wiring: Erratic behavior of electrical components or intermittent failures.
  • Electrical Component Issues: Lights, gauges, or other electrical accessories not functioning as expected.

Possible Causes

Understanding the root causes behind electrical system issues can aid in effective troubleshooting:

  • Corrosion: Buildup of rust or corrosion on battery terminals or electrical connections.
  • Loose Connections: Inadequately secured wiring or loose connections leading to intermittent power supply.
  • Damaged Components: Wear and tear, leading to malfunctioning electrical parts like alternators, starters, or fuses.


Resolving these electrical malfunctions involves a systematic approach:

  • Checking Connections: Regularly inspect and clean battery terminals and connections to remove corrosion. Ensure all wiring is properly secured and intact.
  • Replacing Faulty Parts: Identify and replace damaged components such as worn-out wires, fuses, or malfunctioning electrical accessories.
  • Professional Electrical Inspection: If issues persist, seeking assistance from a certified technician or electrician for a thorough diagnosis and repair is advisable.

Problem 2: Engine Troubles


Engine troubles in the Massey Ferguson 231S can manifest through several key symptoms:

  • Engine Misfires: Irregular combustion cycles leading to stuttering, jerking, or hesitation during operation.
  • Overheating: Elevated engine temperatures beyond the standard operating range, often indicated by warning lights or steam.
  • Loss of Power: Decreased engine performance, difficulty in reaching desired speeds, or reduced pulling power.

Possible Causes

Identifying the root causes behind engine troubles helps in targeted troubleshooting:

  • Fuel Delivery Problems: Issues within the fuel system like a malfunctioning fuel pump, clogged fuel filters, or improper fuel injection affecting combustion.
  • Worn-Out Parts: Gradual degradation of critical engine components such as spark plugs, valves, piston rings, or gaskets leading to inefficient combustion or loss of compression.
  • Air Filter Issues: Accumulation of dirt and debris in the air filter obstructing the airflow into the engine, affecting the air-to-fuel ratio.


Addressing engine troubles involves systematic examination and corrective measures:

  • Checking Fuel System: Thoroughly inspect fuel filters, fuel lines, and the fuel pump for any blockages, damage, or irregularities. Ensure consistent and proper fuel delivery to the engine.
  • Replacing Worn Parts: Periodically replace spark plugs, inspect valves, and conduct a compression test to diagnose and replace worn engine parts. Regular maintenance helps uphold optimal engine performance.
  • Regular Maintenance: Develop and adhere to a routine maintenance schedule, including air filter replacements, oil changes, and overall engine inspections. This proactive approach prevents potential issues and extends the engine’s lifespan.

Read More: Massey Ferguson 1723E Problems: (And Possible Fixes)

Problem 3: Transmission and Gearbox Issues


Identifying transmission and gearbox issues in the Massey Ferguson 231S involves recognizing certain noticeable symptoms:

  • Difficulty Shifting Gears: The tractor experiences resistance or struggles to transition smoothly between gears, either during initial shifts or while in motion.
  • Slipping Transmission: Unintended slipping or disengagement of gears, causing sudden loss of power or inconsistent movement.
  • Strange Noises: Unusual sounds like grinding, whining, or clunking emanating from the transmission or gearbox during gear changes or tractor operation.

Possible Causes

Understanding the potential causes behind transmission and gearbox issues aids in effective troubleshooting:

  • Low Transmission Fluid: Inadequate levels of transmission fluid may impair gear lubrication, resulting in difficulty shifting or erratic gear movements.
  • Worn-Out Clutch: Wear and tear of clutch components, such as the clutch plate or pressure plate, can lead to slipping or challenges in engaging gears properly.
  • Gearbox Damage: Internal damage within the gearbox due to wear, misalignment, or other mechanical issues can hinder smooth gear functionality.


Addressing these transmission and gearbox concerns involves systematic inspection and necessary actions:

  • Checking Fluid Levels: Regularly examine transmission fluid levels and ensure they meet the manufacturer’s specifications. Top up or replace the fluid as needed with the recommended type and quantity.
  • Clutch Adjustment: If encountering clutch-related difficulties, consider adjusting the clutch pedal or seek professional assistance for proper adjustment or potential replacement.
  • Gearbox Inspection by a Professional: If symptoms persist or worsen, it’s advisable to consult a qualified technician or mechanic for a thorough inspection of the gearbox. Professional diagnostics can effectively identify and resolve internal gearbox issues.

Read More: Massey Ferguson 124 Baler Knotter Problems (Include Solutions)

Problem 4: Hydraulic System Failures


Identifying hydraulic system failures in the Massey Ferguson 231S involves recognizing specific symptoms:

  • Unresponsive Hydraulics: Hydraulic components, such as the loader or implements, fail to respond or operate sluggishly to control inputs.
  • Leaks: Visible fluid leaks around hydraulic hoses, fittings, or cylinders, leading to reduced hydraulic pressure or fluid loss.
  • Poor Performance: Decreased lifting capacity or erratic operation of hydraulic-powered implements due to inadequate hydraulic power.

Possible Causes

Understanding potential causes behind hydraulic system failures aids in effective troubleshooting:

  • Low Hydraulic Fluid: Inadequate levels of hydraulic fluid due to leaks or insufficient fluid maintenance affecting system performance.
  • Damaged Seals: Worn-out or damaged seals within the hydraulic system leading to fluid leaks and pressure loss.
  • Worn-Out Hydraulic Components: Degradation or failure of hydraulic cylinders, valves, or pumps impacting system functionality.


Addressing hydraulic system failures requires a systematic approach and necessary actions:

  • Checking Fluid Levels: Regularly inspect hydraulic fluid levels and ensure they meet the manufacturer’s recommended levels. Top up or replace the fluid using the correct type and quantity.
  • Repairing Leaks: Identify and repair any visible hydraulic leaks promptly. Replace damaged hoses, fittings, or seals to prevent further fluid loss.
  • Replacing Faulty Parts: If hydraulic components show signs of wear or malfunction, consider replacing worn-out cylinders, valves, or pumps to restore proper hydraulic functionality.

Read More: Massey Ferguson 12 Baler Knotter Problems: Overcoming Knotty Challenges

Problem 5: Steering Problems


Identifying steering problems in the Massey Ferguson 231S involves recognizing specific symptoms:

  • Difficulty Steering: Experiencing resistance or difficulty in turning the tractor, especially at lower speeds or while maneuvering.
  • Excessive Play: Experiencing excessive movement or play in the steering wheel before the wheels respond to inputs.
  • Vibrations: Feeling vibrations or unusual feedback through the steering wheel during operation, indicating potential issues.

Possible Causes

Understanding potential causes behind steering problems aids in effective troubleshooting:

  • Misaligned Wheels: Improper wheel alignment leading to uneven tire wear and steering irregularities.
  • Worn-Out Steering Components: Degradation of steering linkage, tie rods, or ball joints affecting steering responsiveness.
  • Hydraulic Issues: Problems within the hydraulic steering system, such as low fluid levels or hydraulic pump malfunctions, impacting steering performance.


Addressing steering problems requires a systematic approach and necessary actions:

  • Wheel Alignment: Conduct a wheel alignment to ensure the front wheels are properly aligned according to manufacturer specifications.
  • Replacing Worn Parts: Inspect and replace worn-out steering components, such as tie rods, ball joints, or steering linkage, to restore proper steering responsiveness.
  • Hydraulic System Inspection: Check hydraulic fluid levels and inspect the steering hydraulic system for leaks or malfunctions. Address any issues found through repairs or component replacements.

Read More: Massey Ferguson 1233 Problems: Troubleshooting Tips

Problem 6: Cooling System Issues


Identifying cooling system issues in the Massey Ferguson 231S involves recognizing specific symptoms:

  • Engine Overheating: The engine operating temperature rises significantly beyond the normal range, often indicated by warning lights or gauges.
  • Coolant Leaks: Visible coolant leaks under the tractor or around the radiator, hoses, or water pump.
  • Temperature Fluctuations: Inconsistent temperature readings on the gauge or erratic fluctuations in engine temperature.

Possible Causes

Understanding potential causes behind cooling system issues aids in effective troubleshooting:

  • Low Coolant Levels: Inadequate levels of coolant due to leaks or insufficient maintenance, affecting the engine’s ability to dissipate heat.
  • Damaged Radiator: Physical damage, corrosion, or blockages in the radiator impeding proper heat exchange.
  • Malfunctioning Thermostat: A faulty thermostat that doesn’t regulate coolant flow properly, leading to overheating or temperature irregularities.


Addressing cooling system issues requires a systematic approach and necessary actions:

  • Checking Coolant Levels: Regularly inspect coolant levels and ensure they meet the manufacturer’s recommended levels. Top up or replace the coolant using the recommended type and quantity.
  • Repairing Leaks: Identify and repair any visible coolant leaks promptly. Replace damaged hoses, gaskets, or the radiator if necessary to prevent further coolant loss.
  • Replacing Faulty Components: If the thermostat or other cooling system components are suspected to be faulty, consider replacing them to ensure proper temperature regulation and cooling.

Read More: Massey Ferguson 135 Hydraulic Lift Problems And Solutions

Problem 7: PTO (Power Take-Off) Problems


Identifying PTO problems in the Massey Ferguson 231S involves recognizing specific symptoms:

  • PTO Not Engaging: Inability to activate or engage the PTO system when required, hindering the operation of PTO-driven implements.
  • Unusual Noises: Hearing abnormal or grinding noises when attempting to engage the PTO, indicating potential mechanical issues.
  • Lack of Power: Experiencing a decrease in power output or inefficiency when the PTO system is active.

Possible Causes

Understanding potential causes behind PTO problems aids in effective troubleshooting:

  • PTO Clutch Issues: Malfunctioning or worn-out PTO clutch components that prevent proper engagement or disengagement.
  • Damaged PTO Shaft: Physical damage, misalignment, or wear on the PTO shaft affecting its functionality.
  • Hydraulic Problems: Issues within the hydraulic system, such as low pressure or hydraulic pump malfunctions, impacting PTO operation.


Addressing PTO problems requires a systematic approach and necessary actions:

  • Adjusting PTO Clutch: Check and adjust the PTO clutch to ensure proper engagement and disengagement. Follow manufacturer guidelines for adjustment procedures.
  • Inspecting PTO Shaft: Thoroughly examine the PTO shaft for any damage, misalignment, or excessive wear. Replace or repair as needed.
  • Hydraulic System Examination: Inspect the hydraulic system for any issues affecting PTO operation. Check fluid levels, pressure, and components for leaks or malfunctions.

Read More: Massey Ferguson 135 Common Problems: How to Overcome Them


The Massey Ferguson 231S tractor, renowned for its versatility and reliability, may encounter various challenges that affect its performance. Understanding and addressing these common problems are crucial for maintaining the tractor’s optimal functionality.

Throughout this guide, we’ve highlighted seven prevalent issues and their potential remedies for Massey Ferguson 231S owners. From electrical system malfunctions to cooling system concerns, each problem comes with its distinctive symptoms, causes, and suggested solutions.

Proactive maintenance and timely troubleshooting play pivotal roles in ensuring the tractor operates smoothly. Regular checks of fluid levels, components, and system functionality can preemptively tackle potential issues before they escalate, reducing downtime and costly repairs.

By recognizing symptoms like engine misfires, steering difficulties, or hydraulic malfunctions, owners can initiate targeted inspections and repairs. Whether adjusting the PTO clutch or inspecting the hydraulic system, addressing these issues promptly helps maintain the tractor’s efficiency and extends its lifespan.

Remember, seeking professional assistance when necessary enhances troubleshooting accuracy and ensures comprehensive repairs. Following manufacturer guidelines for maintenance schedules and procedures remains integral to preserving the Massey Ferguson 231S’s performance.

Ultimately, an informed approach to addressing common problems equips owners with the knowledge needed to keep their Massey Ferguson 231S in optimal condition, allowing them to maximize its capabilities for various agricultural tasks.

With proactive maintenance and a keen eye for identifying and resolving issues, Massey Ferguson 231S owners can ensure their tractors continue to deliver reliable performance in the field.

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