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MF231 Questions - Looking to buy

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07-19-2014 04:47:19

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I'm going to look at a 1989 MF 231 this afternoon that I'm considering buying. I know very little about these tractors other than the specs from tractordata.

Are they good tractors ? Anything specific I should be looking for when I check it over ?

I'm planning to bush hog, plow snow in the winter and eventually cut/bale our 8 acres of hay (square bales)

It has 1608 hours and judging from the photos, it's reasonable to think they're original. Serial# is P17004 and tractordata says the first 231 serial# was P17001, so it's an early one. Owner says the only thing he had to fix while owning it was the lock that controls whether the rear wheels spin together or separately.

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07-19-2014 17:38:48

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 Re: MF231 Questions - Looking to buy in reply to MattSpencer, 07-19-2014 04:47:19  
Thanks for all the replies. I ended up buying it, just got it home a little bit ago.
Will likely need a power steering pump - lots of screeching when you turn the wheel, especially at low RPM. I talked him down a little further than I already had to account for this. Who knows, maybe I'll get luckily and it's just low on fluid.

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07-20-2014 19:30:05

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 Re: MF231 Questions - Looking to buy in reply to MattSpencer, 07-19-2014 17:38:48  
I got a 1997 231. I have been real happy with it. It nothing fancy but it gets the job done and has been reliable. I brought it with 500 hrs on it and have about 2100 hrs now.
I did have a problem with it cutting out. Come to find out it had some crud in that plastic petcock on the bottom of the fuel tank. I take it apart now and then a clean it out, about every 500hrs. I also had a problem with the power steering not working properly. I learned that if you bleed the air out it would correct the problem. Take the cap off the reservoir and crank the steering a the way in each direction a few times with tractor running. It gets the air out of the system. The guys on this board were real helpful and helped me out these problems. Good luck with yours. I'm sure you'll be happy with it.

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07-20-2014 19:47:57

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 Re: MF231 Questions - Looking to buy in reply to DoubleR, 07-20-2014 19:30:05  
Thanks ! I added fluid to the power steering reservoir tonight and the squealing went down by probably 90%, but didn't quite go away altogether. I'll try bleeding any air out next.

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07-19-2014 20:39:52

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 Re: MF231 Questions - Looking to buy in reply to MattSpencer, 07-19-2014 17:38:48  
that"s exactly what my MF-240-S does, screeches when low on power steer fluid, but it clears right up.

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07-19-2014 15:56:35

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 Re: MF231 Questions - Looking to buy in reply to MattSpencer, 07-19-2014 04:47:19  
If you buy, get a MF owner's manual. I found my AD3-152 [a great engine, it sips fuel] needed to be warmed up at 1200 RPM, and was happiest and long-lived operating at 1700 RPM. It did NOT like to lug along, poking along, doing chores at 800 RPM.

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07-19-2014 07:41:34

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 Re: MF231 Questions - Looking to buy in reply to MattSpencer, 07-19-2014 04:47:19  
Good little tractor, has the Perkins AD3.152 diesel engine, the 3.152 engine is reliable, cold starts easy, goes along way on a tank of fuel. The problem he had fixed was the differential lock which for what you are going to use the tractor for you probably won't use it hardly at all. Look over the front axle, and steering closely, check the power steering for leaks. Look at any place there is a grease fitting, and check for wear (the most neglected thing is lack of greasing what needs grease).

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07-19-2014 06:10:48

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 Re: MF231 Questions - Looking to buy in reply to MattSpencer, 07-19-2014 04:47:19  
I have a MF 261 which should be similar. I think it is a '98 model. I bought it used and have put about 1300 hours on it. It has been a very good tractor. Only minor repairs so far. Mine has been used mostly for haying and brush hogging.

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