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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have a 2005 3010 Trans mule with 700 hrs. When in 2wd or 4wd either front end knocks bad about every 5-10' of travel. Got the manual and thinking its the front dif. Jacked up the front tires and spun driver side until knocking. Noticed that the other tire will spin freely or just stay still but some times when the noise hits it seams like it locks something up in the dif and then turns the other tire the opposite direction. Oil was recently changed and the right type was used. Looks to have some eveidence of really fine metal particals almost like dust but nothing drastic. I dont believe the locking up is in the rear either cause the noise is for sure in the front. Front drive axels seam to be fine. Any help on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated.
 

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jmda,

Nothing wrong with your front differential. The problem is that you have differing diameters between your front and rear tires. You may be able to adjust by using the recommended air pressures but if that still will not correct you may have to purchase new tires and I would go with the recommended size. There is a spring loaded coupling in the drivetrain that unloads to prevent any thing from breaking due to wind up. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply!! Well I checked the tires and air pressure all seams to be per the manual. The tires are the standard size that comes on the mule and have probably 60% left on them. What puzzels me is that even when I have it jacked up off the ground and turn the tires slowly it will eventually lock and the opposite tire from which I am turning will start turning the other direction. So that makes me think that there is some sort of spring in the differential that is broke. The only thing that is not stock is it has a lift kit on it just so I could get alittle more clearance cause I have alot of bigger rocks in the roads here were we live.
Any other thoughts?
 

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I don't think what you are seeing is abnormal. I know that a friends 3010 Diesel was doing the very same thing when traveling in a straight line w/ four wheel drive engaged. We played with air pressure and still could not resolve. He then bought four new tires of the original size it came with and the popping stopped immediately. I would not have believed it. The only thing I can believe was that the circumference was slightly different from front to back and this caused the drivetrain to windup.

Baxter
Greenwell Springs, LA
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I can understand how that would happen due to the different circumference of the tires. With this though all wheels were off the ground and I rotated the front wheel slowly and it would bang, so there is no friction of the tires being on the ground turning at different speeds since all were in the air and it still was making the noise. I have one side of the axel off and will check the other side as soon as I can. Im thinking CV joints? Differential oil had a fine showing of metal almost like grinder dust but nothing drastic. I think maybe that will be where i go next if nothing is wrong with the CV joints. Before disassembling the front end I checked and wiggled the axel but nothing seamed to be broke. Any other thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well I pulled the drive shaft off to see if it wasn't ha going up somewhere else. Still does the same thing. Got one side of the Axel off now will do the other and pull the did. Hopeing this is the right thing to do and were the prolem is. Anyone seen this before. The front did will knock when hub is turned fast and locks up when turned slow.
 

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I have a similar symptom with an 07 3010 trans. I'm pretty sure mine is the carrier bearing or front u-joint though. just haven't taken the time to get into it and replace! With this unit, the fuel tank, etc. has to be taken out just to get to the carrier bearing.
 

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The "problem" isn't one particular issue...there is quite a few things that can cause the banging.


First off the front & rear differentials are geared differently. The front is faster than the rear, it makes it easier to steer in 4wd. It's not a huge difference but there IS a difference in gear ratios. This causes "binding" in the driveline.


That being said, the binding IS normal. However where we can sometimes run into issues is when the tires are improperly inflated, or they are more aggressive than stock, or they are sized differently front-to-rear. Also 4x4 cable adjustment can play into it as well. Combine those with hard packed surfaces (or pavement...) and you will sometimes get a "bang". Why's it do that? Good question.


So long as the cable is adjusted properly, and the tires are the correct size and tread and inflated properly, the "bang" can be considered somewhat normal--especially in hard surfaces. Inside the bevel gear assembly....where the front drive shaft comes out of the transmission, is what kawasuki calls a "cam follower assembly", which is sort of like two dog-eared gears with their teeth facing each other end-to-end and their teeth are rounded instead of square. One gear is stationary. The other is spring loaded toward the stationary one. When there is a bind in the driveline and the tires can't slip, over time the spring-loaded gear will "climb" the stationary one, against the spring's pressure. Once it climbs to the top, the spring will then try to force it back down to the opposite side of the teeth, causing a sudden speed and load change, thus causing a "bang" noise in the front drive shaft assembly which sounds like the front differential's about to jump up out of the frame and run off. The cam follower is designed to be sort of like a "circuit breaker" in the driveline system such that if the front wheels are spinning and grab suddenly, the follower will "slip" slightly-although in a noisy manner. If it weren't there, it's likely that the front drive shaft, differential, u-joints, bevel gear assembly, or transmission would explode throwing gears all over the mud hole that it's trying to get out of. Some Polaris units use a sprag clutch instead of kawasaki's proven design, however, that sprag also fails-and when it does, you lose 4x4 completely...and it's not a cheap fix. There have also been machines that use a slip-clutch style, which is even less reliable and desireable (and more expensive) than Kawi's design which is simpler, more reliable, but unfortunately considerably noisier. A lot of kawasaki's use this setup. Prairie 400's were notorious for it too. The 300's had it as well but they were so underpowered that most people never were able to make them "pop". Vulcan 1500's also used a very similar design; but it was the least of their worries.



With the stock tires which many consider to be "junk", there is enough slippage (when inflated properly....) that "usually" the tires will slip a little on surfaces that the Mule was designed to be used on. The slip takes the load off of the cam follower assembly. But when used on pavement or hard pack, or underinflated tires, or more aggressive tires are used, the slip goes away, and the cam follower assembly winds up, then releases it's stored spring energy as stated above.
 

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Have a 2005 3010 Trans mule with 700 hrs. When in 2wd or 4wd either front end knocks bad about every 5-10' of travel. Got the manual and thinking its the front dif. Jacked up the front tires and spun driver side until knocking. Noticed that the other tire will spin freely or just stay still but some times when the noise hits it seams like it locks something up in the dif and then turns the other tire the opposite direction. Oil was recently changed and the right type was used. Looks to have some eveidence of really fine metal particals almost like dust but nothing drastic. I dont believe the locking up is in the rear either cause the noise is for sure in the front. Front drive axels seam to be fine. Any help on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I have had the same issue with our 3010 mule until I checked the recommended tire pressure in the owners manual. My mule requires 10 psi in the front tires and 24 psi in the rear tires.
This creates a larger tire OD in the rear and has solved the slipping/clunking of the clutch dogs.
I have been told by a 4 wheeler mechanic that this is required because Kawasaki runs different axle ratios in the front and rear differentials to improve steering when in four wheel drive.
Check your manual to see if this is required for your mule. It works for ours.
 
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