Depending on where you live, fall leaf cleanup is either over or just now winding down. Before you put your Billy Goat DL Series into storage for the season, there are a few things you can do to make sure you can put it back into service with minimal issues next fall.
Dirt and debris accumulation can hold moisture, causing your equipment to rust while it’s in storage.
Before you start cleaning, disconnect the spark plugs to prevent an accidental start.
Do not use a pressure washer or hose to clean your machine. This can force water inside the engine or trap it inside the bearings, leading to rust and damage. Instead, use a damp rag to wipe down the outside of your machine. When you get near the engine, switch to a dry rag and a stiff brush. You may need to remove the engine cover to reach the cooling fins. Be sure to remove the impeller cover and clean out any debris inside the housing.
Most engines will need to have the fuel system drained, even if the gasoline was treated with a stabilizer. Some Honda engines have a sediment cup built into the base of the carburetor. Removing this cup and turning the fuel switch on will let fuel flow out of the tank and fuel lines. For all other engines, fuel can be drained by disconnecting the fuel line from the carburetor. Collected gasoline can be added to your car’s fuel tank.
Once the fuel system is empty, start the engine and let it run until it stalls. This removes any remaining fuel inside the carburetor.
Vanguard EFI engines can be stored without draining the fuel system as long as the fuel is treated with a stabilizer shortly after purchase. Let the engine run on this fuel for a few minutes to ensure that this treated fuel is in the lines, pump, and injectors. Filling the fuel tank will reduce contact between the gasoline and oxygen, slowing degradation.
Combustion leaves acids in the oil that can damage your engine during storage. Changing the oil now, even if it’s still reasonably fresh, will remove these acids from your engine’s crankcase. The oil doesn’t have to meet the manufacturer’s recommendations for the temperatures your machine will experience when it’s stored, just the temperatures it will be used at when you put it back to work next season, typically 10W30 or 5W30.
Check the engine owner’s manual for instructions on cylinder lubrication. On some models, Honda and Briggs & Stratton recommend adding a teaspoon of oil to each cylinder through the spark plug hole. With the spark plugs out of the engine, pull the recoil starter to circulate this oil around the cylinder, then reinstall the plugs to seal the combustion chamber. The exhaust will be smoky when it’s first started next season as this oil burns off.
Apply a spray oil or silicone lubricant on bare metal parts like the chain and the joints on the debris deflector and chute. This will keep these parts moving and create a protective layer that will inhibit rust formation.
If your loader has an electric starter, disconnect the battery before putting your machine in storage. Putting the battery on a trickle charger will keep it from degrading over the next few months. If you don’t have a trickle charger, charge it with a standard automotive charger every couple of months. A flat battery can be charged for up to 48 hours at one amp, or 24 hours at two amps.
These loaders become unstable if they’re removed from their mount, whether it’s on a skid mount, hitch mount or trailer. Before you remove the loader from its mount, remove the hose, boom and discharge chute. This will lower the center of gravity, making it less likely that it will tip over.
Ideally, your debris loader should be kept inside a building. It needs to be kept away from sources of spark and flame that can ignite vapors from the remaining fuel in the engine. Cover the inlet and chute openings to keep animals from nesting inside the machine. Don’t cover your loader with a tarp. This can trap moisture, promoting rust.
Need Something for Your Billy Goat Equipment?
Now is the perfect time to fix your loader so it’s ready to go next season. Whether you need equipment parts, engine parts or accessories, you can get it from www.billygoatparts.com. We have sections dedicated to popular engine parts, impeller components and accessories, or you can search for parts specific to your machine. Our site even has factory parts diagrams built into the search engine to make it easier to find what you need. We ship your order to any address in the USA or Canada.