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Storage For 6 Months--Potential Problems?

2381 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  jmperlik
I'm about to get my new to me 2018 King Ranch with 24k miles. Curious about storing the vehicle for 6 months a year and if the DEF will become a problem because could get old. I will only put about 5 to 6k miles on per year. Head south for the winter (live in South Dakota) and will leave the pickup in an unheated garage for at least 6 months. Will I have any issues letting it sit that long? Any precautions I should take like storing it with low DEF then could put fresh in it when I return? First post -- thanks
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Mine has been in unheated storage now for 5 months, I had it going yesterday with no issues. Just remember to remove a battery lug or run a float charger, it will flatten a battery in no time when not in use.
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@Milehghcty - Welcome to our little club and congrats on your "new-to-you" 2018 F150 PowerStroke purchase!

For any new members purchasing a 2018 model (new or used), I point them at the START HERE: Any owners affected by FSA 18E02 (EGR By-pass valve replacement) thread to ensure that FSA 18E02 has been performed.

Not sure if there is any documented storage procedures for our F150 PS Diesels, but I'll base my recommendations list on my diesel tractor ownership:
  1. Remove a battery cable or leave on a trickle charger (as @Blue-jean has already recommended)
  2. Start treating your fuel regularly with some of diesel fuel treatment like Stanadyne Performance Formula (not just the tank before you leave)
  3. Drain/syphon your DEF, as I would worry about crystallization if you are going to leave it stored that long
I'm sure other will chime in with their best practices and opinions...

I can also ask my Service Manager at my dealership what he would do...
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Jmperlik: I previously did ask the dealer about FSA 18E02. He checked and indicated the only open recall was the 19N06 (door latch freezing). This dealer sold it New and took it in trade for a superduty 1yr 5 months later. So can assume he would have the records. Perhaps it was built after the cutoff date of Oct 9, 2018. But I will ask again when I pick it up just to make sure. Thanks

Yes, I'll prob go with a float charger over the winter. I bought a 2019 Camry Hybrid last year and it is the garage now for 6 months connected to a battery tender plus. Hopefully when we get home mid Apr the battery will be good. I'll get another for this pickup.

I've been reading horror stories about old DEF so was more worried about that. Is there a way to drain the fluid when you put in storage? Not using the vehicle for towing and only road trips, doubt if I'll even use a full tank, 10 gallons in a year.
@Milehghcty - just cut-to-the-chase and ask your dealer for a VIN-specific OASIS report for your vehicle to verify that FSA 18E02 has been performed.

From what I have read, DEF has a shelf life of 18 months, so maybe you can get away with storing for 6 months.
  • If you are concerned, most DEF tanks have some sort of drain plug for this purpose.
  • Looking at the Parts List for the DEF tank for our 2018 Ford F150 PS Diesels: DEF tank Part #: 5J250
    • I can't tell from the attached diagram if any of these parts could be it, but if I were a betting man, I would guess it is the last one:
      • Bolt (HB1/HB2)
      • Screw (HS1)
      • Hardware - Miscellaneous (MS1)
    • Not sure why they couldn't just list it in the parts list as: PLUG
    • I haven't looked at mine, but I could, as my skid plate had been removed in order to install my 40 gal Titan XXL tank


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Great to hear 18 months, as I read someplace as 12 months. I'll prob just keep the DEF tank at half full most the time, so when I add 2.5 gallon jug it will delute the older stuff.

If I feel brave I'll have to try and learn the FORscan software so I can update and change a few things. Looks like you've made some nice changes to you system based upon your sig info
@Milehghcty - have no fear as I have documented how to get going on FORScan here: START HERE: New FORScan user education
=> You definitely want to enable DPF Full % and OCR (Operator Commanded Regen) in your IPC at a minimum
=> ASS (Auto Start/Stop) is another reason to get FORScan educated
=> I have walked many a new user thru the process so don't be afraid to try & ask if you have questions
It gets real cold up there in South Dakota, so let me throw a curve ball at you. Def will freeze so our trucks have a built in def tank heater I think. The cold will help extend the life of the def fluid but the heater may be a challenge to your battery tender. Just guessing here.
Here are some DEF facts that I have learned from reading up on this topic:
  • Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) consists of 32.5% high-purity synthetic urea and 67.5% deionized water
    • DEF (9.08 lbs/gallon) is slightly heavier than water (8.34 lbs/gallon)
    • High-purity synthetic urea is delivered in crystalline form to the DEF manufacturers
    • DEF crystallization occurs due to the water evaporating out of the DEF mixture, thereby reducing that magical 32.5/67.5 ratio
  • DEF has a freezing point of 12 degrees Fahrenheit, but since both urea and water freeze and thaw at the same rate, it’s okay to use if frozen and thawed
    • Most trucks have a DEF heating system to keep the truck running in extremely cold weather
  • Ford and RAM put their DEF filler necks inside the fuel filler door, right next to the fuel filler, while GM puts the DEF tank under the hood
    • A diesel fuel nozzle won’t fit into the DEF filler, but there’s nothing to stop someone from pouring DEF into the fuel tank
    • Diesel fuel contamination due to someone mistakenly putting DEF into the green diesel fuel port is the worst type of fuel system contamination requiring a complete rebuild:

      • If you suspect you have DEF in your diesel’s fuel system, do not drive the vehicle and do not attempt to start the engine
      • Don’t even turn the key on, as this will energize the fuel system and could pump DEF-contaminated fuel into the rest of the fuel system
      • If the error is caught before the key is turned, the fix may be as simple as dropping the fuel tank and flushing it out
      • Have the vehicle towed or flat-bedded to a repair facility and you need to unlock the steering column, be sure to disconnect the batteries before turning the ignition key
      • Make sure get your vehicle repaired right away, as DEF is corrosive and letting it sit in the fuel system can cause further damage
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