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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been bitter cold here, more than 20 below (windshield wiper fluid froze) but with a new battery, my 2510 has been starting just fine. I probably haven't let it warm up enough though. This a.m. it started and I started down the steep hill to the barn. A 100 feet or so and it made a sound (thunk? slip? snap?) and quit. And that's that! I added fuel, just in case. It cranks but won't start. Battery is fine. I looked at the engine oil dipstick and there seems gunk in it but not metal gunk. I don't think it was there last week. Am I looking at a new engine? Anything simpler I can pray for? A neighbor is coming over Sunday to check belts and such. But I'm a $250 tow ride away from a shop.
 

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The first things to check are the fuel filter and that the fuel line and pump are delivering fuel to the carb. If those are good to go, then check the carb for ice that is blocking the inlet fuel valve. Judicious use of a hairdryer to just get the carb warm, but not hot, will almost always solve this for the short term. The hairdryer will also work to thaw the filter. JUST DO NOT USE THE HAIRDRYER ON ANY EXPOSED FUEL OR YOU WILL GO KABOOM!!!

If that solves the problem, get some fuel line deicer from one of the discounters like WalMart - it is cheap and eliminates these problems in the winter.

Cold weather problems are almost always fuel related.

However, if you have gunk in the oil, which it should not, drain and change the oil and filter. Use a good quality 10-30 or 10-40. Check your coolant and make sure it is both rated for the Kaw and is good for the temperatures you expect. If the coolant is missing, or way low and the oil is high at the same time, it may be too late and a new engine may be in order.

The clunk, slip, snap does not worry me. That is most likely the torque converter belt chasing itself as the engine stalled. They sound like the end of the world as they are not really meant to come to a halt like that.

If you can roll it into a heated space, just enough to be above freezing and let it set overnight, and that solves your problems it will be water in the fuel or serious condensation in the oil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
RCW, thank you soooooo much for your advice!!! I'm printing it out now. Where should I watch for EXPOSED FUEL? There is coolant, though reservoir is low, and there is engine oil but not too much. I'm looking forward to learning more about this Mule, which has made it possible for me to live at 10,000 feet in winter, and seeing how much I can learn to do for myself. Your post will help me sleep tonight! (Barn is wayyy too far from the house in this weather not to have my Mule!) Maybe in a few years I'll be able to help someone else on the forum....
 

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RCW, thank you soooooo much for your advice!!! I'm printing it out now. Where should I watch for EXPOSED FUEL? There is coolant, though reservoir is low, and there is engine oil but not too much. I'm looking forward to learning more about this Mule, which has made it possible for me to live at 10,000 feet in winter, and seeing how much I can learn to do for myself. Your post will help me sleep tonight! (Barn is wayyy too far from the house in this weather not to have my Mule!) Maybe in a few years I'll be able to help someone else on the forum....
My 97 2510 quit a few days ago. It was quite cold & I was running about 15 MPH when it just quit, after a little roughness. The front coil was not firing, so I ordered a new coil. After the coil arrived, I tried the starting again, and to my surprise it started right up. I did not install the new coil. I did change the fuel filter. I now believe that the fuel filter may have been blocked (I'd never changed it), or possibly some water or icing in the fuel.

RCW helped me a lot. That hair dryer deal sounds like a good place to start. I purchased my Mule new in 97 and this is the first problem I've had. I was lost when the thing quit, so I know how you feel. One more thing, the fuel filter runs along the right side of the frame near the fuel tank.

Good luck.
 

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Exposed fuel is any leakage, wet gasoline, etc. A hairdryer has an exposed heating coil or exposed ceramic element that gets red hot, and that is enough to ignite gasoline vapors. If everything is dry, just heat the components enough to get them warm to the touch, not hot! Save is better than sorry when dealing with gasoline.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I picked up spark plugs and a fuel filter today at NAPA. The NAPA guy said I could add 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol to the fuel tank to help with icy condensation, which I think I may have caused by letting the fuel get too low in this cold weather. Anybody tried that? He also said I could add some to my windshield wiper fluid and keep it from freezing. We're going to be working outside to start with and my garage doesn't get all that warm anyway but I'll be very careful about gasoline and vapor. Good reminder.
 

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The NAPA guy was seriously misguided. Never use rubbing alcohol, as it will stratify the fuel and create more water than you started with, and will make your engine almost impossible to start as the fuel volatility becomes seriously decreased so it will not properly vaporize for the spark plug to ignite. Even the highest concentration of rubbing alcohol you can buy is at least 3% water and contains a denaturing agent to keep the morons from drinking the stuff. Windshield washer fluid is even worse, it is water and detergent with enough alcohol to keep that solution from freezing. It will create serious problems.

Gold Eagle makes a product called Heet, it is available from most auto parts stores and WalMarts. It only works on 4 stroke gasoline engines, such as in your Mule, and will remove the water. They also make a product called Iso-Heet that will work with diesels and gasoline engines.

There are other fuel line anti-freeze products available, but stick with one made for gasoline engines. All the equipment dealers, such as Case-IH and John Deere carry suitable products to treat the fuel and eliminate the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
RCW, I should be paying you for all this! Thanks for the info. He sure sounded like he knew what he was talking about but I'd never heard of it and didn't want to make things worse.
 

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I believe Seafoam additive makes the same claim and in my experience it also does a fine job of cleaning the whole fuels system w/o any negative effects. Follow the directions for the size of your fuel tank and keep a spare filter handy in case it loosens lots of old materials. Max
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok. Mechanic neighbor just left. He works on ATVs and golf carts. Enginewas not cranking. But it had started up and run 100 feet before engine seized and quit. Belt was fine. Clutch is worn (907 hrs) but working. He managed to manually turn motor, but it turned hard. As we talked everything over and he explained to me how engines work and what parts are what, the weather warmed. We decided to at least pull it up the hill and warm it up before giving up. While discussing what to do next, it started. He took the plugs off and it turned better. We changed the oil because there was gunk which I thought was ice. Oil wouldn't drain. It was plugged with ice. Oil was milky grayish color. We changed it and it became milky almost immediately so I'm going to change it again tomorrow to try to flush it. But it is running. Maybe I dodged a bullet because he thinks it seized for lack of oil in it. Any suggestions, ideas?
 

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I see my friends' seize one or two every year from running old oil and letting it set overnight during elk season. The oil congeals and will not flow, and the pistons get hot and stick to the cylinder walls in short order.

Not to worry. They are tougher than you think. Put in fresh oil light enough for your temperature, and then let it run at a fast idle for a long enough time that it gets the engine fully warm. Keep the bed up and your eye on the engine for any evidence of excessive smoke or undue vibration, if that happens shut it down right away and it will likely need an overhaul as a bearing is toasted. Do not load it up right away, but run it lightly for an hour or so if there is no evidence of a problem.

Then change your oil with it hot and let it drain into the pan overnight, change the filter too, or you run the risk of recontamination of your next oil.

Then you are ready to button it up and put in the new oil.

I presume you checked your coolant and it is both full and safe for the temperatures you are having. Sometimes guys forget and let antifreeze get a couple years old and it loses its ability to keep the water from freezing.

One other thing, all aluminum engines leak coolant. It is a universal truth and even with the best silicone based gaskets and sealants they still require addition of Barr's Leak to the coolant to keep the leaks stopped. Do not use anything but Barr's Leak, and you need the kind that comes in the little bottle of oil and has what looks like rat turds in the mix. It will do two things, stop corrosion and keep coolant seeps at cold temperatures under control.

By the way, your new Cadillac with the Northstar engine comes from GM with Barr's Leak factory installed for just the same reason. I run it in everything, and no it does not clog the radiator!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So you don't think the contaminated oil (milky again within minutes of running after oil change) means a blown head gasket?
 

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Not always a blown headgasket. A compression test followed by a bubble test of the radiator will tell you more about where to look.

If you had enough water in the engine to sludge the oil, then it will take some time for the water that is trapped in the valve covers and inside the crankcase on the engine block to wash out.

The most frequent source of coolant or water in the oil is normal coolant seepage, unless Barr's Leak is used, a leaky seal on the inside (crankcase end) of the water pump, or just running the same oil for years (I have seen them that have never had an oil change after years of running). Or, plugging the crankcase vent hose and not allowing the normal combustion water that blows by the piston rings to vent to the atmosphere (or in the intake filter housing) and running that way will allow significant water build-up.

If the compression is good, and there are no bubbles tracing out of the radiator filler (not the overflow tank) with the radiator clear full, then I would look to the water pump as the source.

These are really tough engines and very forgiving of normal wear and tear. John Deere uses them on nearly all their gasoline powered high end and commercial grade lawn and garden equipment, and in their utility vehicles. John Deere runs the most exhaustive engine life tests of any product manufacturer that I know of, and it takes a lot to pass those tests and be accepted by JD.

I expect them to last at least 3,000 hours with routine valve adjustments, filter, oil, and air cleaner maintenance, and have seen them with 5,000 hours and still in the top 10% of compression test range.
 

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take a look at what I found on the inside... The motor was overheating so i thought I would open it up and see what I was dealing with - not to mention, you guys need some pics to laugh at and I dont mind helping ;-)
 

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.....Pics

Head 1 & 2
Piston 1 & 2

My brother claims that the performance of the motor would not change when he pulled the plug wire from the #1 cylinder. This is the cylinder with the oil fill cap. ( I am calling it #1 for REF only) He said there was fire to the plug but thought the cylinder was dead...
On the other hand, he said the #2 was the power plant that was running the motor... It seemed logical that it is only running on one cylinder since is idled super-super quite and had low power and was overheating…

oh yeah... the head gasket looks to be burned-thru on the #1 cylinder on the lower center of that pic
 

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