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Kawasaki Mule KAF620 MJF Towing Capability


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My community owns a Mule KAF620 MJF.  We also have a North Star trailer mounted power washer.  Fully loaded (w/water tank) the entire trailer weighs 3600#.  Since the Mule has a rated towing capacity of 1200#, we are afraid to tow the trailer fully loaded.  Since this unit has plowing capability, I have some difficulty believing that it would damage the unit by towing the 3600# unit short distances on perfectly flat terrain, mostly concrete or asphalt.  Can any experienced Mule operators comment on your towing experiences?

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  • Alex changed the title to Kawasaki Mule KAF620 MJF Towing Capability

Welcome to the forum! 

Is this for full time pulling? Or, as needed? Or just a one time thing? Does it have to be a full water tank? A half a tank would probably make all the difference. Since water is so heavy.

However I really don't think you'll hurt the mule just to hook up the trailer, and give it a careful pull around the parking lot. Let the mule tell you what it thinks. By that, I mean to listen to the strain on the motor. Feel the amount of pull that it takes. If it's having to give all its got, that's too heavy. If it doesn't want to move after a reasonable amount of throttle, don't force it. Because if it still hasn't moved, there's your answer. Because actually forcing it to pull something that's way too heavy, might cause a catastrophic breakdown. With a beefier vehicle, it would just spin the tires. You can't count on that from the mule. Components like axles and such aren't cheap. So you have to ease into it. But on pavement,  or hardpack dirt, it might just roll out behind you. You never know till you try. I see the park maintenance doing stuff like that with the utv that they have. 

My thinking is that #3600 pounds is too much for anything more than just a very occasional use. I'd find a way to do a half tank, and just use more fill ups. Because I'm very sure that the brakes aren't sufficient to stop that much weight very easily. And any kind of incline would probably have a less than desirable outcome, whether you were going up or down. And in any case, would cause premature engine fatality. Especially since it's way over recommended capacity. 

But the real answer for all around success in your case would be a small pickup truck, or small tractor. 

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Kenfain, thank you for your thoughtful answer.  There are no inclines in our community.  Frankly, I hadn’t thought about the braking issue.  And, of course, your suggestion is on point, “why not haul less water?”  Because the primary use for the power washer is to clean mold and residue off of wooden bridges and remote structures, clean water isn’t necessarily accessible.

And, again, you’re right about a pickup or tractor, and that’s the direction we may need to go.  
 

Are there any UTV’s that would have this capability?  It seems like I see ads for UTV’s dragging logs out of forests and other high torque duties.
 

 

 

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There are UTVs for commercial use. Land pride, Toro, and a few others come to mind. I have no idea how durable they are. But I do know that they're not cheap. Because they use them mostly on golf courses, and sprawling campuses, the price is bumped up to reflect their wealthy potential owners. I've looked at a couple of these when I bought my mule. I didn't see anything to justify the 20% price difference. That value would presumably be in long life span, and repair ability. 

The UTV industry has gotten steadily more expensive, and specialized, with emphasis being mostly on sporty, and not as many offerings in utility. With this in mind, it makes sense to try and use what you have. But not to purchase what would only be a slightly larger unit. Because the weight your pulling will always be more than a small all purpose vehicle is rated for. Best case, it would be the upper limit.

It's never a good idea to have the towed load outweigh the towing vehicle by that large of a margin. Unless it's purpose built, with specially beefed up brakes, and powertrain. Like a tractor trailer. The tractor has huge braking components, and powertrain to compensate for the heavy load.

If you're buying something, get a small 4wd tractor with a removable loader, and turf tires. Then you have something that is more useable, having better versatility and the amount of implements you have for it increases that versatility. That will give it good resale value also. With probably a similar price point, if not cheaper. Especially if you find a used one.

 A specialized UTV probably won't appeal to many for resale. and will sit unsold for awhile. The small tractor wouldn't sit there with a sign on it very long.

However, if you've considered all these points, and still remain firmly in the UTV market for your own reasons. My advice, based on real experience, would be the kubota diesel. Great power, proven performance, large dealer network for unlimited parts, and service. I drove an older kubota 9000 gas model for a week, several years ago. I really liked it. There were many useable features that my mule doesn't have. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks again for your insight.  Our community uses the UTV for several other purposes, so replacing it with a tractor won’t work.  I think the answer is to see about acquiring a tractor, or alternatively find a ~200 gallon water buffalo.

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That would be the best long term solution. Even if the mule pulled the wagon, it still uses a tiny motor, pulling a light duty drive train. So for long term, you'll need a small tractor or similar. 

Don't know how durable, or how hard it is to find parts. But those tiny utility trucks are pretty popular lately. If it's Japanese, it's probably a pretty good value. If it's rated to pull the kind of weight that you have. It would be an option.

Last I heard, they were about $6 grand, in a used, but really nice condition. Cheaper than a good used tractor. 

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  • 1 month later...

I looked up towing capacities of ATVs and UTVs.  Most ATVs average 1200 lbs.  UTVs average about 1600 lbs and some are maxed out at 2000lbs or less.  A very few to to 2300 lbs.  Towing capacities are rated on flat, hard surfaces and include the weight of the trailer and cargo.  Water weighs 8.33 lbs per gallon.  You can use that figure to determine how much water you an carry.  The heavier the towing vehcile, the heavier the towing capacity becomes. Also consider that a heavy load can put a lot of stress on the drive belt.    My ride can tow 2000 lbs.  Still not large enought for what you need.  My ride also has a limit as to how long out the back the tow hitch can extend (limited to 3").  If I go out too far, physics relating to leverage can damage my frame.  There's a lot to consder when towing a loaded trailer.  You may find that a 4-wheel trailer with axles in front and rear to support 100% of the load without any tongue weight MIGHT work better provided your brakes can handle the stopping requirements.  I don't know if electric brakes can be adapted to a light trailer and the ATV/UTV electrical system.  Good luck on any solution to have.

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