Since most of our tractors have diesel engines we are going to be discussing the basic storage procedures for those types of engines. If you have a gasoline powered tractor the basic concept is usually the same, however, you will need to either drain your gas from the carburetor and gas tank or ad a good fuel stabilizer to the gas. You will not need a block heater either since most gas tractors aren’t liquid cooled, and you should never use ether on a gasoline engine.
Diesel tractors are extremely rugged and reliable but still require some general maintenance before parking for extended periods of time, especially in the cold winter.
It is important that you keep your tractor tuned up so that it will start as quickly as possible. This will help prevent starter damage and reduce wear on the engine.
If you plan on using your tractor during the winter it is advisable that you invest in an electric block heater. These are either screwed directly into the block or clamped in line to a radiator hose. A block heater must be plugged in a few hours before you plan on using your tractor. An insulated blanket draped over the hood will help the engine to warm faster by trapping in the heat and blocking the wind.
It is also advisable to switch to a lighter motor oil in the winter. A lighter oil will have less resistance and allow the engine to spin over faster during startup. Read you owners manual for suggestions on cold weather oil.
It is extremely important to keep your battery fully charged. A battery that is either dead or not fully charged may not survive the winter. Not only is a fully charged battery more likely to survive the winter but a battery that is at 32 degrees will have only ¾ of the starting power of a battery at 80 degrees.
Never use ether! Too much ether can actually lock down the engine or instantly cause permanent damage to the engine. If the engine gets hard to turn over or quits turning over after spraying either you need to wait 10 to 20 minutes before trying again. This will give the ether time to dissipate.
Never crank the starter more than 30 seconds. Wait at least two minutes between extended starting attempts in order to give the battery cables and starter time to cool.
When your tractor starts it is important to wait a couple of minutes before revving it up. Let the engine idle in order to warm the oil and to ensure that all of the lubricated parts such as the turbo are sufficiently lubricated.