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Winter storage question...

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I plan on storing my 1981 R611ST single axle dump outside under a protective cover for the winter. What should I do to keep it in good shape till the Spring ? Should I leave the block heater on continuously, remove the batteries, keep them on a trickle charger, put additives in the fuel, etc. ?

Thanks a lot !

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I would not leave the block heater plugged in continuously. Recommend a battery maintainer on the batteries (whether in the truck or removed). It is not a bad idea to put a good multifunctional Diesel fuel additive (I use Stanadyne Performance Formula) in the fuel and also not a bad idea to fill the fuel tanks (keeps condensation to a minimum). If you want to cover, use a cover that breathes rather than a plastic tarp. You may want to tilt the bed so any water runs out the back rather than collecting in the bed. Just my thoughts.


HOF City, PRR Country, and Charter member of the "Mack Pack"

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I would strongly advise against any outdoor/under cover storage...even if you buy a good quality "breathable" cover. I dont care how much money you spend on a cover, I dont care how much they claim it is waterproof- It will still trap moisture underneath it, which will in turn lead to oxidation and rust, especially your chrome pieces. Trust me, I speak from experience. Try and find indoor storage somewhere- does not have to be heated, does not have to be pretty, just waterproof and out of the wind. Will do your truck worlds of good. Indoor storage is a win-win, for several reasons. You want to try and run it at LEAST once a month. I try to run mine at least once every 2-3 weeks, to excercise it and to charge the batteries. If the roads are salty or the weather sucks, I dont take it out, but I will run it in the garage for 30-45 mins or so.

-Check the protection level of the coolant, make sure it's good for the lowest temperatures your area sees.

-Clean the battery terminals, and use a good quality anti-corrosion compound, such as Truk-Lite or an equal product.

-I would treat the fuel, but again if you run the truck regularly which you should do, you can put some fresh fuel into it occasionally. Mine is a gasser, so I always add ethanol-formula STA-BIL but try not to keep that much gas in her in the winter months, just enough to run her. When I take her out (again when weather is ok and there is not much salt on the roads) I'll add 5 gallons here and there.

-Check all the tire pressures.

I know money is probably a concern....it certainly was when I was storing mine outside. At the time, the wife and I were trying to save up to buy a house, and I was paying $150 a month for indoor storage. So figuring we would save some coin, I bought a $300 RV cover, and stored it at her father's gated lot. BIG EFFING MISTAKE. Even to this day, the wife looks at the pitted chrome, and says "I wish we never stored it under that effing cover. We should have kept it at Joels". (the guy who was storing it for me....) Please try to store your truck indoors if at all possible.

-Randy Y.


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If your diesel fuel is a biodiesel blend like we have here in Minnesota, then you need to use an additive. If it is pure diesel, it will be fine without additive. I would disconnect the battery cables to prevent battery drain and to prevent terminal corrosion. Put a coffee can or other such container over your exhaust stack to keep water out and make sure that your coolant contains enough anti-freeze.

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I had my b tarpped up for a winter while I was working on it but I used moving blankets to cover the paint so it wouldn't get any wind damage from the tarps moving.Its now stored "indoors" really just a makeshift shanty to protect it from the elements. I run it for about a half and hour every month or so to charge the batteries, get the oil moving gear boxes, and get some oil in the seals. I add anti-gel additive to the fuel as a precaution and fill about 20 gal of fuel in the tank. I also check the antifreeze is the right mixture with not too much water. Really the worst thing someone can do to any vehicle is to let it sit without running for months or years on end. I've rebuilt numerous gas and diesels due to that fact.

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