2020 - Volume #44, Issue #6, Page #34[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Electric Power Steering Added To Kawasaki Mule
“I got the Mule from my father-in-law when he bought a newer Polaris Ranger equipped with power steering,” says Kokur. “The Ranger was much easier to steer, especially when backing up to a trailer or maneuvering in tight areas.
“I investigated power steering kits for my Mule, but at $600 to $700 they cost more than I wanted to spend. I remembered an article in FARM SHOW (Vol. 41, No. 5) about someone who added electric power steering out of a car to a smaller tractor. So I went to a salvage yard and found a 2006 Toyota Prius. I removed the steering column assembly and steering computer module, and cut the power and the car control harness to use as pigtail connections to the module.”
He removed the factory Mule steering column, as well as the roll cage and front plastic for access to the back of the dash. After he cut off all the factory Prius mounts, he made brackets to attach the Prius column to the frame and dash, and also made the Prius column more vertical and tilted it slightly to the right of the Mule’s original location. “This lessened the angles of the steering shaft U-joints, and also gave me more room to enter and exit the Mule,” says Kokur.
With the steering column in place, he started working on the steering shaft. “The Prius used a small shaft between the column and the rack and pinion, which was a splined two-piece slip shaft. I separated the two pieces, and luckily, the half that hooked up to the Prius’ column was the female half. I measured and cut the factory Mule’s shaft, and, to my amazement, it fit nicely into the female shaft from the Prius. I had to marry the two shafts together because none of the splines were the same size from the Toyota to the Mule. After attaching the shafts to the column and to the Mule’s rack and pinion, I welded them together.”
Next, he attached the steering module to an out-of-the-way spot under the dash and then wired it to the battery.
“I wanted to retain the Mule’s steering wheel to keep the vehicle looking original. I found a round steering shaft adapter on eBay for $15 and it almost fit right out of the box,” says Kokur. “I ended up grinding out the splines of the adapter with a carbide burr and slipping it on the Prius column where the steering wheel would normally fit. I then cut the Mule steering shaft about an inch and a quarter below the splines for the steering wheel, and ground it down to fit inside the large side of the adapter. After tapping it all together, I welded both sides. A piece of 1 1/2-in. heavy-duty radiator hose clamped to the Prius’ steering column camouflages the shaft and adapters.”
The conversion worked perfectly. “It used to take both hands to turn the steering from lock to lock with the Mule sitting still, but now I can steer with one finger,” says Kokur. “You can hardly tell the steering column has been replaced from just looking at the machine.”
Kokur says he spent a total of $160, saving a fair amount of money over a pre-made kit and a whole boatload over a new Ranger.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Kokur, 4869 178th Ave., Carlisle, Iowa 50047 (ph 515 229-7537; email@example.com).
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