Having trouble getting revved up about the encroaching winter season? Chances are your heavy equipment is too! The harsh effects of dipping temperatures, heavy snow fall, cold wind and freezing conditions during the winter can be problematic for people and heavy equipment alike. No need to fret, however, over what mother nature has in store. Preparing your equipment for the elements is as easy as putting on your hat and boots. Just follow these simple steps to put some spring back in your engine and have Jack Frost singing the blues!
Step 1: Treat Your Fuel
Diesel fuels are comprised of paraffin wax that serves as a natural lubricity agent. As the ambient temperature of fuel drops, the wax begins to form large square-shaped structures. These structures can cause fuel to gel, clogging your fuel lines and filter. To protect against gelling, use a cold-flow improver (CFI) or a diesel fuel specially formulated for low temperatures. CFIs include de-icers and wax settling agents which extend the operability of the fuel. When utilized at the recommended treatment ratio, winter fuel treatments, such as Schaeffer Diesel Treat 2000, supports improved fuel economy benefits, faster warm-up, reduced emissions, rust protection and improved cetane ratings. A cetane number (CN) is an indicator of the combusion speed of diesel fuel and compression needed for ignition. As a general rule, the higher the cetane number, the faster the fuel will ignite and the more completely it will burn. These attributes are important because as the fuel burns faster and more completely, the engine experiences faster cold weather start-up, increased performance and lower emissions which can be harmful to the environment. Typically, diesel engines operate well with a CN from 40 to 55 during the winter season. If temperatures drop between -4 degrees and -20 degrees, upgrade from a minimum fuel rating of 40 to a 50 cetane rating.
Step 2: Change Your Filters
Whenever possible, keep extra fuel filters on hand and be sure to empty your fuel water tap before temperatures take a dive. Although fuel gelling can be an issue, it’s freezing water in fuel storage tanks and filtration that typically plugs filters during the early winter months. Replacing water-absorbing filters and draining the water separator regularly can go a long way in helping to avoid damage to engine components such as fuel pumps and injectors.
Step 3: Maintain Your Battery
The battery is arguably the pulse of your engine. Therefore, it is imperative that you care for yours by cleaning the battery terminals and making sure that connections are tight. Conduct a visual inspection of your battery, checking for signs of corrosion, dirt or moisture, as these will drain the battery’s life. As temperatures decline so will your battery’s power. At 32 degrees Fahrenheit, a fully charged battery only has a 65 percent cranking capacity. Your engine’s starting requirements, on the other hand, increase from 100 percent to 155 percent. Therefore, be sure to recharge your battery when its capacity drops below 75 percent. When not in use for an extended period of time, batteries should be removed and stored inside.
Step 4: Check The Coolant System
Preventative maintenance is key. Be sure to check for radiator leaks, plugged or hardened hoses and cracked belts. Tighten any loose hose clamps and check coolant levels and anti-freeze strength. Coolants (or anti-freeze) protect your engine from freezing while defending components against corrosion. In addition, they play a critical role in sustaining overall engine heat balance by removing heat. Your coolant level should be one inch over the top of the radiator core and free of contaminants. Be sure that the coolant you are using has a freeze point conducive to the type of climate you are facing. While water provides the best heat transfer, glycol is also used in coolants to provide freeze protection. Ideally a 50/50 ratio of coolant to water will keep your engine running. However, in colder climates a 60/30 coolant to water ratio is recommended. Additionally, avoid using hard water or water that possesses a high mineral content. Hardness levels below 300 ppm of chloride and 100 ppm of sulfate are suggested for best results.
Step 5: Winterize Your Machine’s Tires
Check your tires daily during the cold winter months, as cooler temperatures can cause tires to lose air faster than in warmer weather. Tires should be checked for proper tire pressure and wear marks. When inflating, do so in a heated area whenever possible to help improve the tire bead seal. Such measures will ensure the proper functioning of your equipment and help you stay on track all winter long.
Haven’t been able to make a clean shot this season? Well, blame it on the gun….really! As it turns out, the problem may not actually be yours, despite what all of your buddies have been telling you. The truth is, a clean rifle is an accurate rifle. Your firearms require cleaning to blast away carbon, grease, powder residue and oil build-up leaving the firearm clean and ready for lubrication. In order to ensure safe and effective cleaning, begin by emptying the chamber and placing your rifle in a stationary device. Next, use a bronze brush with a solvent to go down the bore, one pass down and back, to break up heavy build-up. A gun cleaning solvent should loosen and/or dissolve carbon and/or metal fouling in the bore so that a patch can wipe it clean. Insert it carefully through the breach, toward the muzzle, and retract it. Now you are ready to patch the bronze brush. Slide it gently into the bore, pushing it through and pulling back until your bore is clean. A patch that is no longer stained with heavy black residue is indicative of a job well done.
If you are planning on storing your rifle for awhile after it has been cleaned, consider applying a lubricant to the patch at the end of your brush. Carefully reinsert it into the chamber and bore, push it through and withdraw the brush. This thin coat will help to protect your rifle during the months that you are not using it. Not certain which lubricant to use? LPS 1 Greaseless Lubricant offers short term protection and is safe to use on all parts including bore, buffer tube, pins, springs, trigger components, frame, mag wells, bolt carrier and slide. Additionally, it conditions metal surfaces and reduces wear caused by friction and corrosion. On the other hand, LPS 2 Heavy-Duty Lubricant protects for up to 12 months in storage and will not attract sand, dirt or fouling, so it helps ensure long-lasting, reliable firearm function. Formulated to go on wet and stay wet, LPS 2 coats and lubricates internal parts to prevent binding. Additionally, LPS 3 Premier Rust Inhibitor is an excellent long term storage alternative. It’s soft, waxy film protects and prevents metal from corrosion when stored indoors for up to two years .
As a general rule, clean your barrel every ten shots if you require top accuracy. Be sure to lubricate the areas around rotating parts, such as the bolt and trigger assembly. Also, try to keep grease away from the openings into the firing pin housing and don’t forget to oil the bolt rails and grooves in which they ride. Caring for and protecting your parts will go a long way in maintaining the integrity of your rifle and your reputation!
Need help finding your game this season? The Led Lenser P7QC is specially designed to help you do just that. An ideal choice for hunters and fisherman, this pocket-sized flashlight is equipped with four practical light colors: Red for preserving your natural night vision, green for game viewing with a wavelength that is not visible to the wild, blue for detecting trails or traces of blood and white for day vision, focus and color perception. The P7QC allows users to regulate brightness levels and select colors by simply rotating the turn switch to the desired color. It’s lens is a prism diffuser that provides a broader throw, up to 3 hours of light in high power mode and 50 hours in low power. Complete with a lanyard, nylon holster and 4 AAA batteries, the Led Lenser P7QC boasts excellent water resistance and provides up to 220 lumens of output at an affordable price. http://www.jdindustrialsupply.com/led-lenser-p7qc.html
DIY Tips For Winterizing Your Home….
As temperatures begin to take a dip across the country, people are preparing themselves and their personal property for the forthcoming winter season. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the typical American family spends about $2,000 per year on their home energy bills. However, about 20% of the air you use to heat your house during the winter is lost through leaks and incomplete sealing on windows and doors. A home energy audit, performed on your own or by a professional, will allow you to pinpoint how much energy your home uses, where your home is losing energy and what actions can be taken to make your home more energy efficient. If opting for a DIY audit, you should begin by checking your home’s exterior enclosure. Identify drafts by using smoke tests near doors, windows, electric outlets, attic hatches, range hoods and plumbing and ceiling fixtures. This can be accomplished through the use of a candle or incense stick. Wherever the smoke wavers, or is sucked out of or blown into the room, there’s a draft and proper measures should be taken to reduce air loss. Next, inspect exposed ducts for dirt, small holes, disjointed pipes and improper insulation. As reported by the Department of Energy, since ducts are typically made out of thin metal that easily conducts heat, uninsulated or poorly insulated ducts in unconditioned spaces can lose 10% to 30% of the the energy used to heat your home. Also, be sure to check insulation R-value or thickness where it is exposed. Pay particular attention to areas around ducts, water heaters, appliances, attics and unfinished basements. Use a ruler to measure and compare your results against those suggested for your region via an insulation calculator. Finally, be mindful of stains on insulation which can be indicative of air leaks from a hole behind the insulation, such as a duct hole or crack in an exterior wall.
You’ve done the legwork. Now what?
Odds are that your home energy audit has exposed the culprits behind those baffling utility bills. While some projects are best left for professionals, there are many that most homeowners can accomplish on their own. Below you will find some simple solutions to winter’s biggest offenders.