August '17

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AUGUST 2017 THE SHOP 37 diesel unit with a 3-cylinder, OHV liquid- cooled engine for more than a year at our events. I watched these Diesel Mules being assembled during my tour. They have a 2,000-pound towing capacity, a 1,000- pound bed capacity and a load capacity of 1,626 pounds. We have used ours many times to tow broken and stalled pulling trucks weighing more than 8,000 pounds off the tracks. (Of course, the trucks were in neutral and could roll, but that is still a lot of machinery to tow with a small ATV!) The units come with a variable transmis- sion (CVT) with high, low, neutral and reverse gears in two- or four-wheel drive models. Top speed in a 2WD is about 30 mph, which is plenty fast to get around to the various areas of the tracks at our events. After seeing these units in the different building stages, I realized the assembly process is almost the same as for small- sized cars or trucks, since they include four-wheel disc brakes, power steering and headlights/taillights on every unit. The dash is even electronic, showing all of the usual car/truck gauges for fuel, gear, mph and engine lights. The manufacturing of the units is per- formed very much like a car or truck assembly line, with people in staging areas doing the work. From what I could see, the workers were local Nebraska folks who took pride in their jobs at the plant. I talked to a few and they were very friendly and not shy about telling us what they did in the assembly of the SXS diesel. They know these units are used by their neighbors and relatives on farms, as well as for recreation, hunting and at the tracks. At one of our diesel events, both lanes of the access road were backed up all the way to the highway and I needed to get to the outer gate, so I took our Mule through a cultivated cornfield for about an eighth of a mile. I figured I was in for a bumpy, rough Each assembly station is inspected for quality by professionals who have been building these units for years. Wheels for many different ATV/UTV models are made at the Lincoln plant.

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