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Feathering the Clutch

When you squeeze the clutch lever in order to select a particular wheel speed or engage the PTO, you will often find that the gears inside the transmission do not interlock (mesh).  This is because the teeth of both gears are in line with each other, and no amount of pressure on the shifting rod will change that reality.

For the gears to interlock, it is necessary to slightly move one gear in order for the teeth of that gear to align with the empty spaces between the teeth of the other gear.  At this point, very little force by the operator will move the sliding gear and enable it to mesh with the stationary one.

The simplest way to accomplish this is to "feather" the clutch:

1.  Start the engine and lower the throttle control to the idle position. 

2.  Squeeze the clutch lever on the left handlebar and move the selector rod in the desired direction.  If you hit resistance achieving the desired position, SLOWLY lower the clutch lever while continuing to exert a light pressure on the rod in the desired direction.  

3.  As soon as one gear begins to turn and the two gears are properly aligned, the sliding gear will mesh with the stationary one, and you will feel the rod move in the desired direction. 

4.  At this point, continue to exert a light pressure on the rod while you release the clutch the rest of the way.  This will assure that the gears inside are fully seated. 

You can see a demonstration of this at the 2:50 mark of BCS's Tractor Operation video.  Here's a snapshot of the technique:


  1. The same procedure applies to both selecting your wheel speed and engaging the PTO.
  2. Always select the wheel speed BEFORE engaging the PTO.
  3. The above procedure only applies to engaging the PTO and selecting a wheel speed.  You will never feel resistance when disengaging the PTO or shifting the wheels into neutral. 
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