2016 Massey Ferguson 2705E TLB Long Term Review: Part 2
The Massey Ferguson owner’s manual we’re finding is well-written, easy to follow, and plenty detailed without requiring the design engineer’s implied knowledge. The instructions it contains on tractor break-in dictates that the tractor be operated at full engine speed and without excessive load (choose the right gear), check the engine oil and coolant levels frequently, watch for any fluid leaks, and to check the wheel bolt torque after 10 hours of use. We tried to stay faithful to the instructions, though admitting operating the tractor always at full engine speed seems wasteful and counterintuitive. At 10 hours we pulled out our handy torque wrench, set it to 120 lb-ft and checked the wheel bolts. Most bolts clicked nicely to the required torque setting, but several had loosened. It’s a good reminder (and in owner manuals for a reason); wheel bolts, no matter how properly torqued from the dealer, do come loose. Better to check wheel bolts for tightness, than risk losing a tire at an inopportune and potentially hazardous time.
At delivery, and each day thereafter, we checked engine oil. Unlike several tractors we have spent time with, the color remained new-clear, with zero change to the level right to the 16 hours now on the Massey Ferguson 2705E. Coolant level also has been in the correct range on the recovery tank hash marks. The transmission fluid level we found a bit more difficult to check. The location of the sight glass inside the left fenderwell is not the easiest viewpoint and accordingly impossible to photograph. The good news is that the hydraulic level remained fine, and if the level had needed to be topped off, the filler neck is accessible, even with the backhoe installed.
One thing we’re a little fuzzy on is the operation of the forward/reverse shuttle. On delivery, we were told it is necessary to clutch when changing direction (forward/reverse or reverse/forward) and that is how we have operated the tractor without concern or effort. Reading the owner’s manual, on page 71, it states that “direction change is possible without pressing the clutch pedal.” Our suspicion is that it is an owner’s manual typo and certainly one that we will get confirmation from our dealer before attempting.
Tire pressure for the rear 17.5L-24 six-ply R4 (industrial) tires is 20 psi, and for the front 10-16.5NHS six-ply R4 tires is 45 psi. The tires of our test tractor were not loaded and with the backhoe installed, we never experienced any instability, even in challenging terrain. R1 (Ag) and R3 (turf) tires are available, but the 2705E seems well matched to the R4 tires our test tractor is equipped with.
The tasks so far accomplished by the Massey Ferguson 2705E have been the digging out and removal of several stumps, the roughing of a 60’ driveway followed by spreading 8-10” of process stone, the clearing of a significantly overgrown piece of woods, and the relocation of several piles of dirt. Tractor traction and balance have been superb. At nearly three tons, the 2705E TLB is able to accomplish most tasks we have thrown at it in 2WD. In 4WD, the combination is near unstoppable. Only a few times driving into hardened piles of clay/rocks did we stall the tractor. The 2705E does not have an anti-stall feature, but an operator quickly and easily finds that sweet spot of modulation where the throttle (foot or hand), loader joystick, clutch and gearshift work together to get the job done without stalling.
We’ve previously noted the nice spacing of gears, where the right speed always seems to be available, but need to specifically mention first and third gear (the two furthest forward on the “H” pattern). These are perfectly matched for loader work (in high or low range depending on the circumstances) with third the choice to transport to and from the pile and first the choice to dig into the pile. The short shift throw, easy clutch engagement/disengagement and shuttle lever and joystick placement all make for seamless loader work that the operator doesn’t have to think about, freeing up his or her mind to concentrate on safely getting the task accomplished.
Looking through the owner’s manual and the troubleshooting section, we found 67 potential ECU fault codes. Fortunately, we have seen none, but it is an illustration of the electronics behind even a 48.8hp economy tractor these days. The gauge panel, whether it be in direct sunlight or nighttime, gives the operator exactly what they need to know at a glance; engine rpm, fuel level and engine hours. Any other notifications are by way of warning or indicator lights.
If our readers are getting the impression that we are enjoying our time with our test 2705E, they are correct. Anytime a manufacturer combines near 50hp, rigid frame, sturdy, easy to use transmission, good ergonomics and quality construction – even if it falls under the economy moniker – you know the pleasure will be in efficiently, comfortably, getting the task done.
We still have the 2705E for a few more weeks and have a few more digging tasks in mind. Plan on our wrap-up piece including much more on the backhoe and its use. Until then, if you are in the market for a tractor of this size and class, the Massey Ferguson 2705E is well worth checking out. And, if you’re in the vicinity of Pomfret, Conn., where Big Boy’s Toys who prepped and provided our test tractor is located, that would be a good place to start.
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