Sprayer Storage Tips
Jul 06, 2009
Some of you are nearly finished spraying crops for the year; some of you are still in the heat of battle. When it's finally time to put your sprayer away for the year, take time to prepare it for storage. Be sure to:
-Wash off all chemical and adjuvant residues from the entire machine. Use a power washer with soap then rinse with clean water. Keep high pressure water away from the electric ball valves/solenoids that control boom shutoff valves. Use discretion when pressure washing boom hinge pivot points to avoid forcing water into those areas. After washing and rinsing, grease all pivot points and raise/lower and unfold/fold booms to force out water and distribute grease.
-Spray all non-greaseable pivot points and electrical connectors lightly with WD-40 or any good water-driving penetrating lubricant. Such water-driving lubricants will not only force water out of places it shouldn't be, but create a thin film that will resist corrosion during storage.
-Clean all spray system filters. Some chemical residues harden to near-concrete if left in filters.
-Flush the spray system (spray pump, filters, valves, hoses and nozzles) with clean water, then add to the spray tank RV (Recreational Vehicle) antifreeze formulated to withstand winter temperatures in your area. Flush the system until colored RV fluid sprays from all nozzles. RV antifreeze is a little pricey compared to conventional engine antifreeze, but it is environmentally safe to spray RV antifreeze onto the ground next spring when you clean out the system. Leave some RV antifreeze in the spray tank and store the system "wet." Spray pumps stored "dry" can corrode and cause problems next year. Some sprayer owners mistakenly believe they can remove bleed plugs from spray pumps and trickle engine oil or transmission fluid into spray pumps for storage; spray pump manufacturers discourage that practice because petroleum products can attack, swell and damage rubber seals used in spray pumps.
-Change the engine oil and filter in self-propelled sprayers. Consider changing the oil in all final drive/wheel hubs. If you use activated charcoal filters for cab ventilation systems, wait till next spring to replace those air filters. Activated charcoal filters "activate" when removed from their plastic shipping wrappers. They won't "wear out", but some degree of their filtering ability will degrade while the machine is sitting in storage. It's best to install fresh new filters just before going to the field next spring to ensure you get full use of the filter's element.