NC State Extension Publications


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  • Maintenance of Irrigation Equipment
  • Off-Season Storage Procedures
    • Hard Hose Travelers
    • Sprinklers/Big Guns
    • Pumps
    • Diesel Engines
    • Electric Motors

Maintenance of Irrigation Equipment

Skip to Maintenance of Irrigation Equipment
  • Ensures longevity of the equipment.
  • Minimizes unexpected downtime.
  • Ensures that effluent can be applied when environmental conditions are optimal.
  • Reduces the risk of waste discharges that may result in environmental damage and possible fines.

Off-Season Storage Procedures

Skip to Off-Season Storage Procedures

Hard Hose Travelers (Figure 1)

  • Ensure the pressure gauges are operating properly (Figure 2).
    • Check the gauge liquid level. Refill with glycerin or hydraulic fluid if needed (Figure 3).
    • Filters sound like a good idea, but they have short lives in real world operations (Figure 4). Consider a 1/4 turn ball valve instead.
  • Lubricate travelers according to the manufacturer's recommendation (Figure 5).
  • Inspect the nozzles and rings for wear (Figure 6). Use calipers to measure the rings.
  • Inspect the intake lines for holes and wear (Figure 7).
  • If possible, store travelers under a roof and keep them dry and clean (Figure 8).
  • If available, use an air "blow out" cap to blow water from the hose before storing (Figure 9).

Engine Drive Travelers (Figure 10).

Turbine Drive Travelers (Figure 12)

Turbine Drives

  • If installed, remove the drain plug before storing.
  • Use a strainer in the intake line if solids are greater than 2% (Figure 13).
  • Keep all chains lubricated and inspect belts for wear (Figure 14).
  • Keep the turbine properly greased (Figure 15).

Diesel Engine Pumps (Figure 16)

  • Ensure that all gauges are operating properly (Figure 17).
  • Follow the operation and maintenance procedures for servicing the air filtering system (Figure 18).
  • Check with the service dealer before servicing the timing or turbocharger (Figure 19).
  • Check the packing seal drip rate. Most packing seals need to drip approximately 40-45 drips per minute (Figure 20).
  • Check the chain connections before each irrigation event (Figure 21).
  • Check the connections and seals to minimize excessive leaks (Figure 22).
  • Ensure the air and pressure relief valves are free of debris (Figure 23).

Pivots and Linears (Figure 24)

  • As with all electrical equipment, ensure the power is turned off before performing any maintenance or service checks (Figure 25).
  • Drain and refill the wheel oil annually or every 1,000 hours of operation (Figure 26).
  • After validating the rotation speed, manually check the emergency-stop or auto reverse devices or switches (Figure 27).
  • Drain the sand/grit traps periodically. Monitor for excess accumulation and nozzle wear (Figure 28).
  • Check all seals, flanges, and couplings for leaks (Figure 29).
  • Look for sprinkler wear on the splash plates and wobbler heads. Remove any hair or other debris (Figure 30).
An orange hard hose traveler in a field.

Figure 1. Hard hose traveler

Closeup view of a pressure gauge filled with liquid and a maximum rated pressure label.

Figure 2. Pressure gauge.

A pressure gauge that is only half full of glycerine with an arrow pointing to the cap.

Figure 3. Check gauge liquid level and remove cap to refill if needed.

Closeup view of a gauge and with an arrow pointing to the gauge filter.

Figure 4. Gauge filter.

A person uses a hand applicator to apply lubricant.

Figure 5. Lubricating travelers.

Closeup view of someone checking a nozzle.

Figure 6. Inspecting nozzles and rings.

A person checks a large yellow hose.

Figure 7. Inspecting intake lines.

A traveler parked in a covered equipment parking area.

Figure 8. Store travelers under a roof if possible.

A “blow out” cap being used to blow water from the hose.

Figure 9. Blow water from the hose before storing.

Closeup view of the engine on a traveler.

Figure 10. Engine drive traveler.

Closeup view of someone checking a small engine oil dipstick.

Figure 11. Check engine oil.

Closeup view of a turbine on a traveler.

Figure 12. Turbine drive traveler.

Closeup view of a turbine with an arrow pointing to the strainer.

Figure 13. Use a strainer if needed.

View of chains and belts on a turbine.

Figure 14. Lubricate chains and inspect belts.

Grease being applied to a turbine with a handheld applicator.

Figure 15. Grease the turbine.

A diesel pump in a field.

Figure 16. Diesel engine pump.

A panel of gauges on a diesel pump.

Figure 17. Check operation of gauges.

View of an air filtering system on a diesel pump.

Figure 18. Perform maintenance on the air filtering system.

View of a diesel pump engine.

Figure 19. Service the timing or turbocharger after checking with a service dealer.

Closeup view of a connection with arrows pointing to gland nuts that should be evenly adjusted.

Figure 20. Check the packing seals drip rate and adjust if needed.

View of chain connections on a pipe.

Figure 21. Check chain connections.

View of a pipe with a worn seal that needs to be replaced.

Figure 22. Check seals for leaks.

View of a valve with an insect nest inside.

Figure 23. Remove debris from air and pressure relief valves.

A linear sprinkler irrigating a field.

Figure 24. Pivots and linears.

A person shuts power off for a sprinkler.

Figure 25. Turn power off before performing maintenance.

A person refilling wheel oil.

Figure 26. Drain and refill wheel oil.

A person manually checks an emergency-stop.

Figure 27. Check emergency-stop and auto reverse devices.

A person drains a grit trap.

Figure 28. Drain and monitor sand/grit traps.

A person checks the grit trap for leaks.

Figure 29. Check connections for leaks.

A person checks wobbler heads for wear and debris.

Figure 30. Inspect splash plates and wobbler heads for wear and clear debris.


Animal Waste Extension Specialist

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Publication date: July 5, 2022

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