How to Winterize your Final Tier 4 Engines and DEF Tanks

In Memory of Austin Shellhause

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

Canadian air has definitely arrived in central Illinois.  With this cooler air, attention is needed for the storage and care of any DEF fluid.  DEF fluid should be stored inside and at a temperature that will remain fairly constant, preferably above 40 degrees.  If you have John Deere machines that will be stored in cold storage for the winter, make sure you allow the DEF pump to stop running before you turn off the battery switch.  This allows the pump to evacuate the lines of any DEF fluid and bring it back into the tank.  DEF freezes at 12 degrees.  The tank has a coolant line running through it that will thaw the DEF out if the vehicle is needed to be operated during cold weather.  There is no provision, however, to warm the DEF lines that feed the exhaust treatment system.  This is why the pump needs to be allowed to run and evacuate the lines.  It evacuates the lines automatically when you turn the key off.  You can hear the pump running for about 45-60 seconds after the key is turned off and the pump will then shut off.  It is safe to turn off the battery switch once the pump stops running.  It is ok to leave the DEF in the vehicle tank in cold weather.  There is no need to drain it.  The coolant lines will thaw the DEF if needed.  With some basic common sense care, DEF has a good shelf life and should cause few problems.  Contamination by foreign material is the most common issue.  Failure to keep the cap on the bulk and vehicle tank and failure to maintain clean handling equipment are the most common occurrences.

4 Tips For Winterizing:

  • DEF freezes at 12° F. If your DEF is located outside move it to a warm, dry location if possible.
  • If your shop or garage does not have room to accommodate your totes, invest in a DEF shelter or heated tote blanket to prevent your DEF from freezing.
  • When DEF freezes it will expand approximately 7%. To avoid tote and drum ruptures, leave room for expansion.

Sloan Implement offers many different options to store and handle DEF fluid.  See your local Sloan parts department for pricing and options available or you can find out more online at sloans.com.

John Deere engines in large tractors and combines will burn from 3-8 gallons of DEF per fuel tank fill on average depending on the application and horsepower of the machine.  The John Deere vehicles equipped with a Cummins engine will burn substantially more DEF due to different methods used to deal with the emissions from the engine.

Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 20 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.   Learn more at www.sloans.com