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MF 231 power steering ghost leak

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ChrisJ
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 12 Texas
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2021-01-07          199900


4 years ago I rebuilt the power steering pistons near the front tires. Ended up doing them twice as I am not a mechanic. Those leaks stopped and all was good for a year or so. For the past 2 years I have to add hydraulic fluid to the power steering reservoir every time I use it. I cleaned my shop floor and have been checking for leaks and look for drips on the floor, nothing. I had my wife turn the steering wheel with it idling and checked all the lines, connections and pistons still nothing. A neighbor said that it may be leaking into the main hydraulic system but he wasn't familiar with MF. I have little knowledge of tractors but if it is something I think I can tackle I will otherwise will live with it or take it it. I appreciate any advice, thank you.

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MF 231 power steering ghost leak

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5230 South Carolina
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2021-01-11          199911


Neither am I familiar with the plumbing on that tractor. However, if there is no sign on leak on the floor then makes sense it is leaking internally.

How much fluid are you adding each time you use it?
I would suggest you check all fluid levels, not just the hyd oil level but the engine and possible the coolant. The coolant probably is not where it is going but it should be causing the coolant to look oily if it is. Just rule it out.
Is it possible it could be leaking into the combustion system where it would never affect a fluid level as it is burnt. If so would think the smoke color would help as it should smoke.

If power steering uses hyd oil then it leaking into the engine oil of the hyd system should not be a major concern to them. The engine most likely is much smaller system so track it very carefully to see it is increasing as you add power steering fluid.

Try to find a parts diagram on the pump to see what seals it has that are external surface. Would think it has to be there. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
MF 231 power steering ghost leak

View my Photos
ChrisJ
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 12 Texas
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2021-01-11          199913


Thank you. Didn't even think to check engine oil or coolant. Will do that today. I will also start checking the main hydraulic fluid level and taking a picture every time. I don't use the tractor often, maybe average 30 minutes per week. It takes between a half to three quarters of a quart to get it to correct level. Thank you for taking the time to read and provide info. ....

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MF 231 power steering ghost leak

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7185 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2021-01-12          199914


I suspect there IS a leak, you're just not looking in the right place.

The MF's run a similar system to the older Ford systems, it uses a completely segregated system with it's own separated reservoir and pump.

The most common problem is a seal in the steering column, the fluid leaks out there and drips off the bottom of the transmission. Because of where the leak is the fluid only escapes under a combination of rev's (higher volume) and steering action.


Best of luck. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
MF 231 power steering ghost leak

View my Photos
ChrisJ
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 12 Texas
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2021-03-11          200118


After checking everything I had my wife turn the steering while in neutral and engine revved a little. I had replaced the alternator some time ago and the back "lip" on it was pressed up against the power steering pump and only while revved a little and turning I could see a steady stream of fluid coming from a seam in the power steering pump.

I removed the alternator and used an angle grinder to remove about 2mm of "lip" and figured I would have to replace the power steering pump. But once I had the alternator off I could see the power steering pump went back to normal looking where it had been leaking. Thankful that fixed it. ....

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