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How much damage does fertilizer do to a steel box?

We've been using an old single axle gas job with a wood box but it's getting tired and it's slow going on soft roads, can't carry much. Have a tandem grain truck (diesel) we could use, I'm reluctant to use it to avoid rusting it out. Box is maybe 20 years old, some rust on it already but nothing major, the box would last a while yet if we kept it just for grain.

How quick does it go once you start hauling fert with it? Is washing it at the end of the season enough? Should we sandblast and paint it?

Haven't looked at seed tenders, they may be a bit pricey for us, but are they epoxy coated on the inside?
 

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What I do with steel stuff when using with fertilizer is spray it with diesel first and then after wash it good and spray with diesel again.

AMS and Potash are the worst, urea is somewhere in the middle and 11-52 is actually not too hard on stuff.
 

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It depends on how the box is designed, if there are places the fertilizer can be trapped and not washed out of but otherwise just make sure the tarp is in good condition and if the walls are bolted to the box base I'd suggest parking the truck under a roof or regardless actually if its going to rain any amount to reduce the chances of water finding its way in. Then after seeding empty it all out, and if you can't get to it right away to wash, again tarp rolled over and into a shed but try to wash out the box as soon as you can and blast away a few times at all seams/joints inside and outside and wash all tarp hoops and the tarp caps underneath and tops etc, open the rear slide and wash out the track grooves. Go over all surfaces a few times inside the box and as fert dust swirls around when loading the truck it gets everywhere so wash the outside of the box and the truck cab and get the top of the cab as well. I've seen it so many times when seed drills, grain boxes, trailers or anything that handles fertilizer are not washed and the moisture from the air does its magic, that is what kills the metal. Wash it well and chances are the box will outlast you if its in good condition now, yes painting it would be a good thing to do but in all honesty I've done this for so many years and the paint is worn off of parts of the floor and its never been an issue.


As SWMan said, certainly no harm in applying diesel to non rubber surfaces before/after the fert was handled but just don't do what I've seen so many times with old timers ( yes will probably hurt someones feelings here with this comment ) thinking it was so horrid to ever bring water near to their fert covered equipment to wash it so they applied diesel to the fert scum and it may have slowed down the rusting but most often the seed drill etc they did that to was rusty within a few years of being new. If your contemplating painting the box in the next while I would not apply diesel for the reason of it getting into the steel and causing possible paint adhesion issues.
 

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If you can caulk any seams in the box that fertilizer can get into and paint the bare metal in the box before you put fertilizer in it. We will just use a couple spray cans to cover any bare metal. If it rains put the truck in the shed before the rain. Wash the box out as soon as you are done with the fertilizer and let it air dry.
 

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Seal it good(tarp, places where wall meets wall/floor, etc) and wash it out well at the end of the season and it will be fine. Has been for me for the last 20 years.
 
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