Winter is starting to peek through autumn, and farmers are getting their agricultural equipment ready for storage. Experienced growers know that a bit of extra care in preparing for winter storage can go a long ways to preserving operational condition and cut down on the chance of costly service or repair.
At Everglades Equipment Group, we know growers are busy and might not have time to go all-out when it comes to preparing their equipment for storage. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help our customers cut to the important stuff and help to keep their combines ready when they’re needed again next year.
Agricultural equipment is out in the dirt all day long, and that means a whole lot of muck, grease, and grime that gets stuck to your combine. Dirty equipment is more than just an eyesore, as it can encourage corrosion or other damage. At the end of a season of work, or an especially harrowing day in the muck, a combine could use a good wash and clean.
You should only need two things for cleaning your combine: a pressure washer and compressed air. Clean out any crop residue and debris with the compressed air, and break up chunks of dirt and grime the best you can. Also clean around bearings and cut free any material that’s gotten wrapped around the shafts. Operators often miss the grain tank and pan, as well as the engine compartment. That’s exactly where you don’t want any debris, as it can be a fire hazard the next time you start up the combine. You should also clean up the cab, washing any mats and using non-abrasive techniques on the controls and seats.
Then you can hit it with the pressure washer to get rid of what’s left, paying special attention to the caked-on dirt and muck on the outside of the combine. Be careful not to spray in or around the electrical harnesses, connectors, or any bearings and shaft seals. Once you’ve washed everything, use the compressed air to dry the combine off — a leaf blower can be used as well. An air dry isn’t recommended for heavy equipment.
After you’ve cleaned off your combine, it will better show you where there might be other issues to take care off. Give the equipment a visual inspection to check for wear, tear, and any spots that could use some repairs. Remove and replace components and parts that are damaged, broken, or look about ready to konk out soon.
If you don’t have the time or ability to take care of these minor fixes and repairs, simply make a note of everything that needs to be done so you can hand it over to a service tech or someone else more suited to the task.
Fuel and Fluids
The fluids and oils your combine uses for fuel, coolant, and lubrication are likely to be adversely affected by storage, but there are a few things you can do to prevent problems. First, check your owner’s manual for servicing schedules and go through the list of checks as recommended. This usually entails changing out the engine oil and its filters.
Fuel left to sit in a tank is dangerous, since extra water can collect or else seperate out of the fuel. This extra water can rust right through a fuel tank, or else get sucked into the engine and cause all sorts of damage. Simply add a fuel stabilizer for the fuel type your combine uses, following the specific directions either in your owner’s manual or for the stabilizer. Also remember to drain out the water separator after storage!
Your combine is a complicated piece of agricultural equipment, and there are plenty of small bits to take care of that we can’t cover completely in this article. Here’s a quick list of some other issues to take care of:
- Loosen any belts to relieve tension, but not so much that they’ll shrink.
- Drain and replace radiator with coolant.
- Grease and lubricate bearings then run the combine to distribute the grease.
- Check tire air pressure and dislodge anything that’s gotten stuck in the track or tread. Rest the combine on blocks while in storage to keep tires lasting longer.
- Remove the battery and store it somewhere warm and dry. You might even want to set up a trickle charger to ensure it’s ready to go next year.
We hope some of these tips can help you with preparing your combine for storage. Each piece of equipment is different, and you should consult your owner’s manual for specifics of your make and model. When you encounter a serious problem, it’s time to call the professionals at Everglades Equipment Group. We have locations throughout Central and Southern Florida and provide the very best in customer service, so head in today and let us help you find what you’re looking for.