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I have recently purchased a Mule 1000. It was only running around 15mph but had spark plugs changed and tuned up but now it runs around 25 mph. The guy that did the work said that he thought the engine needed rebuilding and that I would have to keep changing the spark plugs to keep it performing. I also wanted the gear shift adjusted as you have to wiggle it to get it to crank. he said it was out of linkage. Maybe I should have taken it to the kawasaki place. What do I do about the engine and the gear shifter? can I buy the parts needed to fix the gear shifter? How would I know for sure if the engine was failing?
 

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The best indication of a "failing engine" is wet and dry compression tests. If you are having a head/head gasket/valve problem the dry compression test will tell you. If you are having a ring/piston problem, the difference between the wet and dry tests will tell you. If you have adequate compression your engine is probably fine, just your carburetors out of tune.

The linkage issue is probably out of adjustment or simply worn out. The best course of action would be to find yourself a service manual and run through the steps for linkage adjustment. Obviously working on this type of equipment requires a certain amount of mechanic skill. If you don't feel comfortable or don't want to fork over big bucks fixing the boo-boo's you could create, you'd do better to take it somewhere to a competent mechanic and get their opinion on the issues.
 

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I strongly recommend you pick up a service and repair manual for the 1000 before you do anything else.

Once you have that in your hands, do the diagnostics such as compression testing, etc. However, this particular engine is so strong that if it starts it usually is just fine for compression. Usually the problem turns out to be owner neglect of running old oil, failing to adjust valves, and perhaps wearing out the valve guides causing oil fouling of the spark plugs. Most often plug fouling on these is from one carburetor being too rich resulting in combustion fouling. The manual will walk you through the tests needed to determine the source of any problems.

Also, spend some time on Kawasaki.com reviewing the parts diagrams to get a feel for how the transmission and shift linkage is constructed. These have a neutral safety switch that sometimes gets a bit worn and requires replacement. But, do not jump to replacing anything until you see how it works and have tested each area. No sense throwing money out the window.
 
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