Trying to revive an Old Mule - Polaris ATV Forum
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post #1 of 73 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Trying to revive an Old Mule

Trying to revive and Old Mule that's been sitting in a barn untouched for years. Have been through a bunch of stuff, but am stuck on a couple of things.

This is a Polaris Sportsman 500 with a build date of 7-1997 I can provide some additional information if needed. I've tried to open some of the Service Manual links in other threads, but none seem to work.

So far:

Cleaned out stale fuel, unclogged carb, etc. It runs smooth for the most part but backfires quite a bit on reducing throttle.

Had to replace the rodent destroyed clutch/drive belt. Clutch was also frozen to the shaft and would not move, but some PB Blaster and gentle persuasion got the resolved. From that point, we had trouble getting into gear with stalling, but we're now able to do so.

Major issue at the moment:

It will run and drive for 30 minutes or so, then it goes into overheat, red light comes on. That's where it gets interesting. You lose ability to shift gears and cannot steer. Everything seems to lock up, both front and rear. Attempting to drive forward and steer, it pushes the front wheels sideways so you keep going straight and cannot turn. You also can't change gears, or get into neutral to push it.


After it cools for 15 minutes or so, everything works fine again, until it heats up again.

So, WHAT is overheating? And how do I try to resolve it? Are we looking at a transmission fluid issue? I though the red light was engine temperature only. And there IS an issue there since coolant is being pushed out of the overflow bottle onto the ground.

We have other issues that are more minor which I'll go into in the next post, but this overheat problem may make it not worth pursuing if we can't get it resolved. It may just go back in the barn to rot again.

Help me not allow that to happen. Otherwise it in great condition with only 400 miles on the clock.
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post #2 of 73 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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Secondary issues:

Neutral Light has suddenly gone out. It worked at first, but no more. Reverse, Overheat and Bright Lights indicators all work. I have 12V at the spade terminal with a LED test light, so I'm guessing a blown lamp?

No brake light. Haven't chased that yet. Switch? Lamp?

Outer cover for the clutch belt area is shot. Deformed to the point of rubbing the clutch, making excessive noise and may be interfering with operation. Really not looking at paying $180+ for a new one. Would like to find used.

Hand brake handle seems very stiff and hard to depress. Should it be?
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post #3 of 73 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 11:52 AM
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Overheating, steering and shifting are all separate things and have NOTHING to do with each other.
First thing to do for any machine that's sit for that long is to go over the whole thing changing ALL the fluids and greasing everything. ALL fluids means engine oil, tranny, differentials, coolant, brake fluid... ALL!
There should be about 18 or 20 grease fittings on that machine too.

1) Overheating- Is the fan running? If not, it'll take about 30 minutes of running to get hot enough to overflow.
Is the radiator full and clear of mud?
You can test the fan by unplugging the wires from the switch in the radiator and shorting them together with the key on. If fan runs when shorted but is not kicking on itself, you probably need a fan switch in the radiator... $24 on ebay.Here's a link for a cheaper than Polaris new one:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Polaris-Spo...IAAOSwNmVaaD62

2) Get all 4 wheels jacked up off the ground for testing. You can't really tell much about a machine or what needs fixed by riding it. Check/change fluids and inspect the old fluids CLOSELY to determine its condition and if it has any metal or water in it. If the clutches were stuck they probably need to be completely disassembled, cleaned, inspected and any worn parts replaced.
Wiggle and rotate the wheels to check wheel bearings, bushings, tie rods, ball joints etc.
3) Clutch cover- Lots of them on ebay for $40 and up including the inner and outer covers.
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post #4 of 73 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by polman500 View Post
Overheating, steering and shifting are all separate things and have NOTHING to do with each other.
Which is what has me so thoroughly confused. They should not, but in this case they do. Or they seem to, but I can't explain why. I can do anything I want UNTIL that red light comes on, then I have no steering and no shift changes. Once it sits for a few minutes and the red light doesn't come on with turning the key, everything is back to running normal. Makes no sense to me.

That's why I was asking where the sensor is and if it has anything to do with trans fluid temperature, or if it's coolant only.

Yes, the fan runs. After the engine has been running several minutes, I can shut it off, then turn the key back to on and the fans runs.

Oil looks good to the eye, honey colored, no cloudiness. A-Freeze is bright green, no sign of anything else.

I found the dipstick on the rear end and it may be down a bit, but not a lot. What do I fill it with? Manual calls out a Polaris part name and number, but is there a generic?
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post #5 of 73 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old_Mule View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by polman500 View Post
Overheating, steering and shifting are all separate things and have NOTHING to do with each other.
Which is what has me so thoroughly confused. They should not, but in this case they do. Or they seem to, but I can't explain why. I can do anything I want UNTIL that red light comes on, then I have no steering and no shift changes. Once it sits for a few minutes and the red light doesn't come on with turning the key, everything is back to running normal. Makes no sense to me.

That's why I was asking where the sensor is and if it has anything to do with trans fluid temperature, or if it's coolant only.

Yes, the fan runs. After the engine has been running several minutes, I can shut it off, then turn the key back to on and the fans runs.

Oil looks good to the eye, honey colored, no cloudiness. A-Freeze is bright green, no sign of anything else.

I found the dipstick on the rear end and it may be down a bit, but not a lot. What do I fill it with? Manual calls out a Polaris part name and number, but is there a generic?

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post #6 of 73 (permalink) Old 04-10-2019, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Maybe I'm explaining it all wrong and if somebody could ask some trouble shooting type questions we could find common ground.


But I'd still like to try flushing the trans/axle if I knew what to put in it.
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post #7 of 73 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 12:52 AM Thread Starter
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Open to try most anything at this point, but need ideas where to look.
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post #8 of 73 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 03:26 AM
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You'll need to locate a service manual and then concentrate on one problem at a time. You can't fix everything at once.
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post #9 of 73 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 03:58 AM
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I wonder if the mice chewed on wiring and when the overheating light comes on it shorts out and sends voltage to the Hilliard coils activating 4wd thus making it hard to steer.

-j-rod
_______________________________________________


'11 Sportsman 800
- 26" QBT 672s on 12x7 and 12x8 Vision 158s
- QSC clutch kit from RVS Performance, OMC Gaskets, Rhino Axles F&R
- ODI Grips, Polaris Handguards, Kolpin Fenders, EPI HD rear springs
- Polaris bumpers/Rack extenders and HD front Springs, Badlands 3500 winch w/syn line

'18 Rzr 170 - kids ride

'01 Scrambler 500 4x4 (sold)

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post #10 of 73 (permalink) Old 04-11-2019, 04:09 AM
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Yeah, I'd say the overheating issue would be the first thing that needs fixed. If it won't run without getting hot then the rest won't really matter. If everything else was stuck and frozen up, then it may be nothing more than the thermostat stuck. You can test it in a pan of boiling water or here's a link to a relatively cheap new one on ebay. As the previous post suggests, you may want to look around under the plastic for mouse damage to wires while you're working on it since it was stored for a long time.
Have you checked/change the hub fluid? That may be the cause of your front wheel problems too.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Thermostat-...0AAOSwZ65cpBAw

Last edited by polman500; 04-11-2019 at 04:12 AM.
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