It is not a secret for anyone that it is necessary to prepare equipment for winter storage especially carefully – the “we’ll figure it out in spring” approach in this matter is completely unacceptable. In most cases, the lack of correct and timely preparation leads to the aggravation of existing problems with the machine, which the farmer may not even be aware of. In order to protect yourself from downtime and costly repairs in the “hot” season, it is important, first of all, to properly take care of your technical park at the most advantageous time in every sense – in the off-season.
Complex of operations to ensure adequate protection of equipment
To prevent wear of parts of agricultural machinery during winter storage, there is a whole range of operations that can ensure proper protection of the equipment. It is quite possible to carry it out on your own, if the competence of your staff in this matter is sufficient.
Preparing tractors for winter storage
When storing the tractor, to avoid damage, first of all, remove the battery from the machine. During the period of inactivity, the batteries, as a rule, are discharged, and in some cases they may even fail completely. An equally important condition for storing the machine is the protection of tractor parts from corrosive wear. It is recommended to coat unpainted metal parts of the housing (for example, cylinder rods or parts specified in the instruction manual) with a layer of grease. Contrary to the beliefs of many operators, the fuel tank must be fully filled to prevent condensation from forming in it. Another important point is that to lubricate the compressor, it is necessary to carry out short-term starts of the air conditioning system, otherwise, during the start of the machine at the beginning of the season, the possibility of a jamming of the compressor or its increased wear is not excluded.
Of course, the ideal place for wintering a tractor is a garage, where the impact of external conditions and temperature fluctuations will be minimal. You should also not forget about the peculiarities of storing tractors on the street. Despite the weak sunlight in winter, the inner lining of the cab is subject to burning out and, as a result, its further replacement – when storing outdoors, it is recommended to cover the equipment with an awning. The tractor engine also needs special care – the owner must protect the inlet and outlet air ducts of the engine from moisture, and loosen the belts on it. Under the influence of low temperatures, rubber loses its elasticity, and during the winter the wheel can be strongly deformed – in such cases, it is necessary to put the car on supports.
One of the most dangerous breakdowns that can result from long and improper storage is the loss of elasticity by rubber seals, which in the future can cause various kinds of leaks. It should be remembered that if the seals in the hydraulic elements of the transmission or simply in the hydraulic system are broken, then the owner of the tractor urgently needs to carry out expensive repairs, including in some cases the replacement of units. For example, if the piston seal of the Power shuttle system element (control system and changing the forward-reverse movement / gear shifting) in the transmission is broken, increased slip in the clutch can lead to its combustion, that is, in this case, the entire module will have to be changed.
In order to prevent the occurrence of sudden failures, it is necessary to carry out preventive measures in a timely manner – to change oils and filters and be sure to run the equipment for short periods of time to lubricate the elements. Also, if you replace and diagnose the slipping of the clutch in time, you can limit yourself only to replacing the piston seals.
Preparation of tillage and trailed equipment
During storage of tillage and trailed equipment, it is necessary to adhere to all the above recommendations, but pay special attention to the following: complete elimination of the load on the wheels, as well as care of paint and varnish surfaces.
Firstly, a prerequisite is the installation of the frame of the implements on special supports to avoid bending tires and increased load on the wheels. Secondly, during winter downtime, many unpainted parts are especially susceptible to corrosion and oxidation. Hydraulic cylinder rods, implement implements: discs, cultivator paws, opener discs – all these elements are in a high-risk area. To level the corrosive processes during post-season maintenance, the listed surfaces must be lubricated with special compounds to protect against oxidation. For example, some of the row-crop planters often have problems with the seed discs, which, when used early in the next season, can start to cling to the seed drill. Needless to say, this leads in most cases to missing seeds and reduced productivity.
Preparation of harvesters and self-propelled mowers
In winter, key harvesters and self-propelled mowers are most susceptible to the negative impact of rubber products, drive chains, electrical components, hydraulic units and mechanisms – their careful storage will significantly increase the service life, reduce the likelihood of sudden failures and thereby significantly increase the efficiency of the machine during the season. Most often, in key-type combines and self-propelled mowers, the actuators for adjusting the gaps of the sieves and concavities fail, and the oil seals of the hydraulic motors for the drive of the bands and the knife on the reapers begin to leak. Of course, all these parts can be replaced at the beginning of the new season, but the time for their repair will be irretrievably wasted, which, again, will negatively affect the harvest.
The result will not be long in coming
Overall, the tips for minimizing wear and preventive maintenance are universal and apply to virtually all types of machinery. If you follow the recommendations, you can easily avoid many problems and potential breakdowns. However, you still cannot do without qualified assistance in this matter, since only serviceable equipment should be stored – service specialists will not only help to cope with the main complex of operations for preparing equipment for winter storage, but also at a professional level will reveal all possible hidden breakdowns.