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Keep your machine fresh – no Ziploc® required

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

“Prepare with common sense” is how I answered an e-mail approximately a month, or so, ago. The question was, “Can I store a sweeper up to a year safely and how do I store one? I answered, of course, that you could, however, prepare wisely.

If you are storing in an area where towing or hauling is required, let’s go through those procedures first. I am going to use a Tennant 385 sweeper as the example because that was the machine used in the e-mail request. One can push or tow the machine if it is not running. The main propelling pumps have a towing valve to prevent damage to the hydraulic system when the sweeper is being towed. You must turn the valve 90 degrees clockwise before any towing is performed. Of course you can push the machine from either the front or rear, however, only tow it from the rear. The hydraulic system probably would be damaged if these procedures were not followed.

If hauling a sweeper on a rollback, I prefer to load it in reverse. Always remember to put the main brush and side brush in the up position before loading. The machine can be tied down once on the rollback at the front and rear of the machine. The front tie-down is above the front tires. The rear tie-downs are located on both sides of the taillights under the rear bumper. Make sure the parking brake is set.

Now that you have reached your destination, and have it unloaded, choose a wise spot for storing your sweeper; an out of the way area. Three things to keep in mind are:

1. a level area
2. a cool area
3. and, it must be dry

To prepare for storage you must know how long the storage is to take place. Whether it be:

1. Up to 30 days
2. 30 to 90 days
3. 90 days to one year (or more)

1. Up to 30 days: Always make sure you dump the debris from the hopper. Try to clean the hopper as best one can. Change the engine oil. Put the main and side brush in the raised position. The machine must be in a cool, dry area. Put the parking brake on. Make sure the hydraulic fluid is on the “Full Mark” on the dipstick.

2. To store machine 30 to 90 days: Perform all of the above six items. Remove the spark plugs. Pour three ounce of 90-cc engine oil in each spark plug hole. Remove the ignition coil wire. Turn the engine 8 to 10 times to distribute this oil to the cylinder walls and pistons. Install new wires and plugs. Drain the gasoline out of the carburetor.

3. To store machine 90 days (up to one year): Perform all of the above items. Drain the engine oil completely. Drain the coolant from the radiator and engine. Close the drain cocks in the engine coding system. Drain the gasoline completely from the carburetor, fuel tank and fuel lines.

Jack up the machine and block the machine to secure its position. Again, choose a level area. This procedure prevents the tires from acquiring flat spots on the tires. Have you ever seen an operator sweeping with flat spots on the tires. Ha! Ha! I just have to laugh, which leads me to another story; no, better not. Maybe next time. Cover over with a good heavy tarp and tie it down.

After, taking these steps you could theoretically store this machine for years, however, I would not recommend storing it, and I would recommend selling it.

Creamer’s Corner is a monthly conversation with Hi-Gear’s Mike Creamer giving you advise, technical assistance, brand comparisons and on the job stories on repairing, maintaining or replacing your sweeper/scrubber. For your comments or questions, please e-mail Mike at

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