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After years of using an Stx38, I finally bought a vintage tractor 212. I’m trying to learn about it and tune it up during the off season. One question I have is regarding the clutch pedal. Why does the clutch also function as a brake? What is the point of the brake pedal then? Also it seems that the tractor is under load with the clutch left out but in neutral. When I lock the clutch pedal in it idles smoother, is this normal?


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After years of using an Stx38, I finally bought a vintage tractor 212. I’m trying to learn about it and tune it up during the off season. One question I have is regarding the clutch pedal. Why does the clutch also function as a brake? What is the point of the brake pedal then? Also it seems that the tractor is under load with the clutch left out but in neutral. When I lock the clutch pedal in it idles smoother, is this normal?


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Sounds like your variator needs some attention, may need new drive belts also. Go to Weekend Freedom Machines, it's a sister site that strictly deals with antique and classic JD lawn and garden tractors, the guy's there can answer all your questions.
 

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When the engine is running and the clutch is engaged, the belts are under tension. The variator, belts, secondary belt idler, and trans input shaft are turning. This would put some load on the idling engine. Normal operation. Excessive load could be caused by problems with any of the things mentioned.
Early 200 series tractors had the left pedal as clutch only, right pedal as brake only. This allowed the operator to add a little braking without disengaging the clutch and losing the braking effect of engine compression. This is especially important going down hill and the tractor begins to pick up speed. Safety note - never take a load that weighs more than the tractor and you down a steep hill. Brakes may not be enough to hold it back!
Later models were like yours. Lets you stop on level ground to shift gears, for instance, without using both feet at the same time. Pretty handy while mowing the road ditch, sitting on the "uphill side" of the seat, and need to stop before running into the mailbox! lol
IMHO the model you have is the best of the two styles.
Enjoy the 212.

tommyhawk
 
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