My Massey Ferguson Tractor Is Stuck in Gear

by Richard N. Williams
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Massey Ferguson has produced tractors since 1958. Massey Ferguson tractors have a reputation for reliability and are used in agricultural endeavors worldwide. However, problems sometimes do occur, especially in older tractors --- one of the most common issues is a stuck gear. A tractor stuck in gear is unable to function, so finding and solving the problem as quickly as possible is important.


A Massey Ferguson transmission has two shift rails and a lock on the back of the shift fork that prevents two gears from being selected at once. Over time, the spring that holds down the shift lever wears as the shifter is repeatedly raised by gear changes. A worn spring loses its tension and may cause the shift lever to slip the shift fork into the wrong shift rail. The lock then prevents the shifter from being freed, leading to a stuck gear.


To free a stuck gear, you need to get the shift lever back into neutral. To do this, move the tractor to level ground to prevent any tension on the transmission. If you have a secondary shifter, place it in neutral. Remove the transmission's filler plug; using a flashlight, look inside, where you'll see a large gear and the shift fork.

Freeing Gear

Before attempting to free the transmission, depress the clutch. If it's stuck in first gear, use a long screwdriver to pry the large gear backward. If it's stuck in reverse, push the gear forward. If your shifter is stuck in second or third gear, pry the fork itself forward if stuck in second, backward if stuck in third. Be careful not to go too far; otherwise, it will stick in the opposite gear. Once in the center, the shifter is in neutral and now freely changes up and down again.


Replacing the shifter's spring may help prevent a stuck gear, but so can adopting a different technique when shifting. Commonly, when shifting gears a user slightly raises the lever in the process. This may be avoided by using the open palm of your hand to select "neutral" between shifts before grasping the lever to put it into gear.

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