- atv -
Some of us ride our ATVs all year round, but many of us – especially those residing in the northern regions — do not. Ice can damage the engine, road salt corrodes the undercarriage, and extreme conditions can XXX your finely tuned machine. If you are a rider that stores your ATV during the cold winter months, taking the time to properly maintain and prepare for storage can help avoid costly shop repairs and extend the life of your machine. Below are a few steps you can take to make sure your ATV is in peak shape for next riding season.
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Thoroughly wash your ATV. Good ATV maintenance involves washing your machine after every use, however before storage be sure to give it an extra-thorough cleaning. Scrub every inch and use an old toothbrush to reach those tight areas. Mud and oil can eat away at exposed surfaces over time. Once it is dry, give it a good hand wax for added protection.
Change the oil and oil filter. Old oil contains acid from the combustion process, which over time, can attack internal components and cause corrosion. Changing the oil and filter before storage will also keep excess dirt from settling in your engine.
Grease suspension and drive components. An often-ignored item is the greasing of the pivot points in the suspension and steering systems. No manufacturer uses enough grease in the pivots to keep them trouble free for very long. A-arm bushings, swing arm pivots, and shock bushing/bearings all need to be lubricated to keep them working and prevent corrosion.
Disconnect and pull out the battery. Top off the electrolytes clean the terminals and charge it if necessary. Store the battery in a location where it cannot freeze. It’s important to keep the battery stored out of the reach of children. Battery acid is dangerously corrosive. Store your ATV’s battery on a high shelf or locked in a cabinet. Do not store it directly on concrete. Concrete causes power drain in batteries. Instead place the battery on top of a couple of 2×4 to keep it off the cement.
Clean and prep the air filter and wipe out the air filter box. Add some fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank and top off with fresh fuel. This reduces the surface area inside the fuel tank that can form condensation. For best results, use premium gasoline and run the engine a few minutes to allow the stabilizer to work its way through the fuel system. Shut off the engine, and turn off the gas valve. On carbureted ATVs, turn off the petcock and restart the engine and run until it dies. This will remove the fuel from the carburetor float bowl.
Lubricate all levers and cables to prevent corrosion and keep them moving smoothly.
Check your ATV for loose hardware, lug nuts, steering linkage, suspension and motor mounts. Adjust and tighten as needed.
Remove the spark plugs and put a drop of motor oil into the spark plug hole and reinstall the spark plug to the manufacturers specification.
Pressurize the tires to the proper psi to keep them from weather cracking.
Cap the exhaust to keep critters out.
Do not store ATV’s outside in winter climates. Push the ATV into a shed or garage and place the ATV up on blocks. Expensive jack stands aren’t necessary; cinder blocks or heavy plastic milk crates work just fine
Place a tarp over the ATV to keep excess dust and vermin away. If desired, leave an open can of auto wax on the floor under the tarp. The smell repels mice, chipmunks and other small pests.
Now that your ATV is prepared for storage, remove tarp from your snow machine and get ready to ride. The snow is about to fly!
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- motorcycle –
Storing your bike for winter
Well, it’s that time of year again! Soon the snow will be falling and the motorcycles will be tucked away for the winter
And each spring your dealer’s phone will ring off the wall with customers who did not store the ol’ bike properly and now wonder why it won’t run.
Some preparation now will ensure that you are out riding in the spring instead of waiting in the dealer’s lineup.
1. Location – where are you going to put it?
One solution may be to ask your dealer if he offers a storage program. This is ideal because he will often prep, store, and have the bike ready to ride when you are ready again. If you decide to store it yourself, you will need a place that is dry and out of harm’s way.
When possible. Chose a location away from windows. The ultraviolet light can fade paint and plastic parts. Direct sunlight can raise the ambient temperature of the storage area which will promote condensation when the sun goes down, so cover plain glass with some sort of opaque material. Also, cover your bike with a specially designed bike cover not a sheet or a tarp. Why? Because a sheet absorbs moisture and hold it against metal surfaces and then rust forms. Also, damp fabric will breed mildew and this may attack the seat material. A tarp prevents moisture from getting in but it also prevents it from getting out. Moisture trapped will condense on the bike and then the rust monster is back!
A specially designed motorcycle cover is made of a mildew resistant material. The material is slightly porous, so it can breathe.
2. Change The Oil
Tip: Just like cars a colder winter grade oil will allow your bike to start easier in colder weather. If your motorcycle runs ok with a cold winter grade oil (5w30) then changing the oil to this grade will help startup and running in spring.
Even if the oil is not due for a change, byproducts of combustion produce acids in the oil which will harm the inner metal surfaces. Warm the engine to its normal operating temperature, as warm oil drains much faster and more completely.
While you are at it, why not change the filter too? Add fresh motorcycle grade oil. Remember to dispose of the drained oil and old filter in a responsible manner. What to do with the old oil? Recycle it. Most stores you have purchased the oil from will take it back free of change to be recycled.
3. Add Fuel Stabilizer And Drain Carbs
Tip: You only need to drain the carbs if your motorcycle will be stored more than 4 months. Otherwise just add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank, run the bike for 10 minutes so it mixes and gets into the carbs.
Fill the tank with fresh fuel, but do not overfill. The correct level is when the fuel just touches the bottom of the filler neck. This gives enough room for the fuel to expand without overflowing the tank when temperature rises.
Shut off the fuel petcock and drain the carburetors and the fuel lines. Add winterizing fuel conditioner to prevent the fuel from going stale, and help prevent moisture accumulation. Stale fuel occurs when aromatics (the lighter additives) evaporate leaving a thicker, sour smelling liquid. If left long enough, it will turn into a gum, plugging the jets and passages inside your carbs!
4. Lube the cylinder(s)
Tip: You only need to do this if your motorcycle will be stored a very long time (6 months or more)
Because gasoline is an excellent solvent and the oil scraper ring has done its job, most of the oil from the cylinder walls have been removed since the last time the engine was run. If the cylinder wall is left unprotected for a long period of time, it will rust and cause premature piston and ring wear.
Remove the spark plugs and pour a tablespoon (5 cc) of clean engine oil or spray fogging oil into each cylinder. Be sure to switch off the fuel before you crank the engine or else you may refill the drained carbs! Also, ground the ignition leads to prevent sparks igniting any fuel residue. Turn the engine over several revolutions to spread the oil around and then reinstall the plugs. Refitting the plugs before cranking the engine could result in a hydraulic lock if too much oil was used in the cylinder.
5. Battery Storage
The battery must be removed from the motorcycle when it is in storage. Motorcycles often have a small current drain even when the ignition is switched off (dark current), and a discharged battery will sulfate and no longer be able to sustain a charge.
A conventional battery should be checked for electrolyte level. Add distilled water to any of the cells that are low and then charge the battery.
Battery charging should be performed at least every two weeks using a charger that has an output of 10% of the battery ampere hour rating. For example if the battery has an AH rating of 12 (e.g. 12N12A-4A-1 where the 12A is 12 amp hours), then the charge rate of that battery should not exceed 1.2 amps. A higher charge will cause the battery to overheat. Charge the battery away from open flame or sparks as the gas (hydrogen) given off a battery can be explosive. Elevate the battery and keep it from freezing. Exercise the proper caution appropriate to caustic substances.
6. Surface Preparation
Waxing and polishing the motorcycle might seem like a waste of time since you are putting it away and no one will see it. But applying wax is a very important part of storing a motorcycle.Wax will act as a barrier against rust and moisture.
Don’t forget to spray any other metal surfaces (such as the frame or engine) will a very light spray of WD-40. This will keep these areas shiny and protect from corrosion as well.
7. Exhaust and Mufflers
Exhausts/Mufflers are known to rust fast when they are not used. So making sure they are properly stored for the winter on your bike will save them from an early rusty death. Spray a light oil (such as WD40) into the muffler ends and drain holes. Lightly stick a plastic bag (shopping bag is fine) into the end of each muffler hole (to keep moisture from getting inside the exhaust). Then cover each muffler with another plastic bag to keep outside moisture off.
Check both front and rear tires with your air pressure gauge. Make sure each tire is properly inflated to the maximum recommend pressure. As it gets colder, air condenses in your tire so it is important to pump them up as to keep your tires healthy. Rubber is a flexible material and does not like to freeze (it cracks when it freezes). Placing 1/4″-1/2″ piece of cardboard or wood board under each tire will help keep the rubber raised up from a freezing floor.
DO NOT use a tire dressing on tires (such as Armor-All or tire cleaning foam) as this will make the tires hard and slippery.
9. Service all fluids
If the brake or clutch fluids haven’t been changed in the last two years or 18,000 km (11,000 miles), do it now. The fluids used In these system are “hygroscopic” which means that they absorb moisture. The contaminated fluid will cause corrosion inside the systems which may give problems when the motorcycle is used next spring. Be sure to use the correct fluids and note the warnings and instructions in the service manual. If you don’t have the experience to service these systems, contact your dealer, he will be happy to assist you.
If your motorcycle is liquid cooled, the coolant requires changing every two years or 24,000 kms (15,000 miles). Make sure that the engine is cool enough to rest your hand on it before draining the system and please dispose of the coolant responsibly. Coolant/antifreeze is available from your dealer and has been developed to provide the correct protection for your motorcycle engine. Mixed 50/50 with distilled water will ensure a clean system for the next two years or 24,000 kms (15,000 miles).
10. Cover it.
Now you can cover the bike with the cycle cover and look forward to the first warm day of spring.
Back On The Road
Before you head out onto the highway, there are a couple of things to do. First, remove the cover and put it where you can find it again. Talking of finding things, locate the (charged) battery and reinstall it connecting the positive (+) cable (red) before the (-) negative and covering the terminals with the plastic covers. Recheck all fluid levels and turn on the fuel. Check for anything wrong on the motorcycle (cracked tires, broken parts/plastic, leaking oil). Set the tire pressures back to riding specs and you are ready to fire up.
As you don your riding gear, remember that your riding skills will be a little rusty and the road surfaces will have changed a bit since the last ride, so go carefully. Sand/salt deposits on the edge of the road and especially at corners may be hazardous.
- personal watercraft –
To properly winterize your personal watercraft, you need to start with washing the inside of the hull with degreaser and the outside with auto wash soap. Vacuum all remaining water from storage compartments and hull. Remove the drive shaft cover to access the grease fittings for the drive train. Grease the drive train with water resistant grease, and then reinstall cover. Replace the spark plugs with new. Add fuel stabilizer to the fuel according to the directions on product. Remove fuel filter, clean or replace. Remove the cooling hose on the head and blow compressed air through the line and the head. A wet/dry shop vac can also remove the water. Reinstall the line. Start and run engine for 15-20 seconds, this will circulate the fuel stabilizer through the fuel lines and carburetors. Let the engine cool for 30 minutes.
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On Sea-Doo models, you will need to change the pump oil with new. Do not use just any gear oil. I use Slick 50 Gear oil or Sea-Doo pump oil. On some models of personal watercraft, there will be a removable plug on the flame arrestor to spray fogging oil through. Start the motor and spray fogging oil down in the carburetors through the access hole. Spraying for 10 seconds will be plenty of oil. Over kill will just make it hard to start in the spring.
Remove the battery and top it off with distilled water. Install your Battery Tender, Jr. to maintain your battery in off season. Install your cable lube adapter to the throttle cable and oil injection cable. Spray Cable Life to pressure lube the cables. Do not use WD40, its a solvent. Dress the motor with fogging oil and wipe it down. Now, you are finished with your winterizing.
Winterizing Personal Watercraft – Battery Storage & Battery Charging:
These are some general battery storage and charging guidelines to winterize your PWC battery. Always check your specific battery chargers instructions for further safety information.
Remove the battery from the PWC. Clean the terminals and battery case with a mixture of baking soda and water. Next, check the water level of each cell and add distilled water as necessary. Maintenance Free or Gel type batteries can skip this step.
Store your battery in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area. Make sure this location is out of the reach of children and curious pets. Do not store your battery where the temperature will drop below freezing (32F degrees). Although a fully charged lead acid battery can withstand extreme temperatures exceeding minus 40F degrees, a discharged battery can freeze at 32F degrees.
Attach your Battery Tender, Jr. trickle charger. Be sure to following manufactures instructions and safety tips. Finally, check the battery water level every month or so.
Note about storing batteries on concrete – According to the battery experts storing your battery on a concrete surface will NOT cause the battery to discharge prematurely. Apparently older hard rubber style battery cases did indeed conduct a current when placed on a concrete surface with a high moisture content. This commonly held (and often repeated) myth does not apply to modern plastic battery materials.
Credit: totalmotorcycle, dalesjetsports, and barker’s blog
For more information about bikes, personal watercrafts, atvs, parts, accessories, or maintenance tips please see our sponsor at: PartsPitStop.com .
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