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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone know of a front locker for the trans or how to get one? I'm finding that mud and minor snow capability of the trans with the stock 4x4 and the rear locker to be very poor. I'm considering trying more ground clearance by adding a lift kit and larger tires.
 

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The Mule 3010 is equipped with a limited slip front differential from the factory. You do not want a true locker that fully locks the front spider gears or you will snap front driveshafts like sticks.

The Mule front differential has clutches, like a positraction diff for a truck, and those clutches keep both driveshafts driving under most circumstances. They will release one side or another if the torque value is too great during a turn or if you start spinning a wheel and do not let off the throttle. Take a look at the parts diagrams on Kawasaki.com to get an idea of how they function.

It is important to use the correct lube in the front differential, or the clutches can either become too slippery and not drive both axles, or start grabbing and drive you nuts with clicking on every corner or broken driveshafts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree a true locker wont work. Is there something similar to the yamaha rhino posi traction for the front tires?
 

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No, the Rhino uses a servo driven assembly that consists of an internal and external splined coupling that is slid forward or back with that servo motor to lock the axles to the ring gear. It is not a very robust design and will not stand up to pulling heavy loads, or if shifted with a spinning wheel will trash the coupling.

The Mule uses a real differential with spider gears so it has proportional motive power anytime it is in four wheel drive. The Mule spider gear does have the friction clutches that keep axle slipping to a minimum, but it will slip a wheel and requires judicial use of the throttle when one side of the front end starts to slip.

If you have experience with tightening up an automotive clutched type limited slip differential, you can use the same techniques to tighten up the Kawasaki unit so it drives both wheels with considerably more force. That will result in very loud snapping and clicking when normal differential action is taking place. I have my new hunting diesel 4010 Trans front differential clutches tightened up so the front wheels hardly slip at all, but it also chews up the lawn so limits use on wet grass. Works for me as my wife has her own for yard work, so keeps her off my hunting rig.
 

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Hi. The front diff of the mule has the same limited slip & locking differential as on a Honda rancher atv.

As an example, honda has an available detroit locker or shimm locker that replaces the diff. I have the detroit locker in mine. It is mierly a smaller version of this locker:

Detroit Locker - YouTube

The shimm locker is a permanent locker which is nothing more than a washer or spacer that pushes in the spider gears in the diff and permanently locks the differential and you can't unlock it without disassembling the diff and removing the the shimm or spacer. Both are available from Highlifter. As for the front drive shafts & cv's i usually upgrade to gorilla shafts & cv's on most of my machines.

You can lock up the front diff on stock honda atvs & utvs buy lightly squeezing the front brakes and on the honda MUV atv the front brakes are set to engage just barely before the rest of the brakes so that if you tap the brakes on the MUV while the front wheels are turning (under power) the front diff will lock up for you.

The same can be said for the mule and it does work because i did try it by actuating the front brakes directly at the drums and the mule's diff locked both tires, which brings out another problem. At least with my mule all i have are drum brakes and i hate drum brakes.

The problem with the lift kit which i have already done before is that they are correct about the front drive shaft will have trouble driving 26 or 28" tires which is what the normal mule lift kit projects go for. It's no problem for the mule's rear SRA to drive even 30" tires same goes for the honda rancher SRA model.

If you are serious about a lift kit for the mule then upgrading the front drive shafts & cv's are a priority.

As far at the getting the front diff to lock up on a stock mule you could adjust the brakes to engage slightly ahead of the rear ones so when you tap the brakes all so slightly it will only actuate the front brakes and trick the front diff into locking and just like the others in this thread said do not let go of the throttle once you get the diff to lock up or it will disengage.

I have made other posts to see if there was anything new on updating the fdl on the mule or in my case a new transmule 4010 project. So far, nothing.

On my 07 mule i would not class the front diff as limited slip. It's not much more than a standard open diff trying to be a limited slip.

Just like honda it's been called " 3 wheel drive " and it's very annoying and why i slapped in a 600$ locker into my honda rancher atv. It's foolish to have one of your tires act as an anchor.

Good luck.
 

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Bad part about a "locker" setup is since the hubs don't disengage, you can't steer it. You need something to shift the lock mechanism, like the Rhino and now the Viking all use. "selectable". Even the brute force has a sort of locker, mechanically operated by a cable that's usually stuck. The mule doesn't have much of an aftermarket following at least not from a performance standpoint. You're pretty much stuck with one of 2 choices. Run it as is, with careful use of the brakes, or remove the front diff and pack a shim into the clutch which binds the spider gears. Hard to steer, but it'll be 4 wheel drive instead of "3" Also if the clutch pack is worn on the original front diff, it won't apply any power to the "spinning" wheel (just like a non-posi rear end in a car....aka one wheel peel or peg leg). If you can get the diff out and replace the clutches, sometimes thats enough to make it work "almost" like true 4wd, yet still be able to somewhat steer it.

problem with "binding" the spiders is that eventually they'll break, which then normally takes out the entire differential, which is roughly $1000 to replace. It's usually easier to just weld the spider gears like the old circle track guys did back in the day. But then the differential can't be unlocked without removal of the diff and replacement of the ring gear carrier assembly, which is almost the same cost as replacing the whole differential assembly, IIRC. There is no "free lunch" with these. Always a trade off.
 
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