Shocks are one of those things that there are a lot more available for your needs than you can possibly know. It takes research though, and sometimes fabrication. If you go with cheap shocks, you can't rebuild them, and they cost you more in the long run. The main things you need to know are how much travel they use, the minimum closed length, the maximum open length, and the diameter of the eyes on each end. Once you have those measurements, you can purchase shocks based on dimensions instead of someone matching them up to a chart. If you go outside the box, much more is available, if you don't want to bother doing that, you have to pay for what's out there. Try and get shocks that can be rebuilt, it's worth it in the short run. I purchased rebuild kits on shocks for a motorcycle I had years ago, but ended up selling. Having the rebuild kits for the shocks got me more money. You get what you pay for. It does really pay to look these things up yourself. You get better answers if you can ask about particular brand shocks, as opposed to "I need shocks for my mule". Spend 2 hours Googling shocks for your vehicle. Then shocks in general. You'll come out way ahead in the long run.
Even if the Bayou 300 shocks would fit the Mule 550 why would you use a shock designed for a much lighter machine, on a heavier machine? The Mule is about 60% heavier than the 300.
With the extra weight, the springs will sag, and the shocks won't last.
Also the Mule shocks are actually a bit cheaper than the Bayou shocks so you won't save any money. I would buy the correct OEM shocks or do your research and buy a high quality aftermarket set of shocks.
If you had the right kind of motorcycle dealerships, you could go through their back stock and come up with something. A friend purchased a Yamaha dealership that had been closed fora around 8 years. The old out of date inventory was considered a liability. We got it cheaper because o f that. We had a collection of stock shocks, which I don't know why any dealer would stock, and I sold off every pair of those shockks to people making custom bikes. off road vehicles, trikes, you name it. I let them go through the inventory and had the data on the eye to eye length at rest, and the max compression and extension. They wouldhave to make something for the end mounts. I got top dollar. Same thing with cables. I would mount the clutch,and throttle cables so they hung. Someone would come n with a cable they couldn't match, and I would make one or find one for them that worked. It took me two years to burn up that old inventory. I had stock gas tanks for dirt bikes that people went nuts for. These days, if you stocked old inventory like that, you would go out of business, but there are dealerships still that have a lot of old O.E.M. stock that they have even lost track of.
While I admire and support the effort to save money, one still has to consider what the shock was designed for.
There is a huge difference in automotive shock/spring design and Mule design. This difference can affect ride, steering, stress on frame members and safety.
I can understand exploring many option IF an OEM shock was not available, but they are available. They are costly, but what is the cost of an aftermarket shock? Will you save more than $100 per shock? Is it worth it? I say no. Safety should not be compromised.
Even if an automotive coil over shock is found, my guess is it won't fit due to the much larger outside diameter of the spring.
These vehicles are expensive and when they break, usually, unless it's something super popular, O.E.M. is going to be your best bet. If you were trying to upgrade shocks, doing some research, you could find coil overs that would do a better job, but you would be spending a lot more money.
DId you even bother looking at EBAY? There's a shitload of shocks for this vehicle on there............
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