How to Test the Ignition System on a Kawasaki Mule 550

by William Hirsch
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Problems starting a Kawasaki Mule 550 all terrain vehicle (ATV) usually stem from a bad ignition coil or battery. You can test the coil and battery using a digital multimeter. Ignition coils consist of primary and secondary coils. The primary coil increases the voltage from the battery and the secondary sends voltage to the engine to fire the spark plugs. The spark plugs ignite the fuel for combustion. Each coil needs a specific resistance, which limits the electrical current to create the correct voltage.

Step 1

Press the "Power" button to turn on the multimeter, then turn the dial to measure DC voltage. A capital "V" with straight lines over it designate DC volts.

Step 2

Touch the red (positive) probe of the multimeter to the positive terminal of the battery while touching the black (negative) probe to the battery's negative terminal. Compare the voltage reading on the multimeter screen to that written on the battery. A difference of more than a volt indicates the battery needs replacement.

Step 3

Change the dial on the multimeter to measure resistance in ohms. The capital Greek letter omega denotes an ohm.

Step 4

Connect the red lead of the multimeter to the positive, outer terminal of the ignition coil. Touch the negative lead of the multimeter to the negative, outer terminal of the ignition coil. The resistance displayed on the multimeter is for the primary coil. Consult the Kawasaki Mule 550 owner's manual for the operating resistance of the primary ignition coil. If the measured resistance does not fall in this range, the ignition coil needs replaced.

Step 5

Touch the negative lead of the multimeter to the center, negative terminal on the ignition coil to measure the secondary coil's resistance. Determine if the resistance reading falls in the range prescribed in the owner's manual. If the secondary coil ohm reading is not in the proper range, the ignition coil is faulty.

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