Small Engines (Lawn Mowers, etc.)/John Deere 212 won't start


QUESTION: I was mowing with my John Deere 212 lawn tractor and it idled down and stopped running. No spitting or sputtering, just quit. It turns over, has spark, and I disconnected the gas line, dumped the gas out of the line thinking it was blocked but when I put it back together tried to start it, it sort of puffed, or back fired through the carburetor once but just turned over and didn't start. I checked the line again and there was gas in it up to the carburetor. Could this mower have a brake safety switch that went bad? After it quit running, I drifted it back down to my garage and discovered I had no brakes. Now when I apply the brake it goes down very easily and I hear a clank like it is hitting the metal under the seat area or the metal frame. If there is a switch there do I have to replace it or can I just disconnect it?

ANSWER: There is usually a switch on the clutch/brake.  If you had no brakes is the brake/clutch rod break or come loose?


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: A loose brake/clutch is a very good possibility because applying the brake is so much different now than before and I cannot push it down far enough to lock it down. I will have to check it out today. Hopefully I can tighten it instead of replacing a part for it

Does your mower have the Peerless 2300 transaxle?

If so, here is the service manual URL:

If the URL does not work just Google "Peerless motion drive pdf" and you will find the manual.

Based on your description of the problem, I would look for some mechanical, like a connecting link or rod, that may have broke or came loose.


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Eric A. Jones


Lawnmower Repair . Certified Master Service Technician from B&S. Have 23 years experience on B&S, Lawn Chief, Weed Eater, Echo, Peerless, Wheel Horse, Snapper, Atlas, MTD, McCulloch, Homelite and many other numerous brands. Specialize in electrical repair.


Born and raised in the midwest. Started tinkering with engines when I was about 14 on my Suzuki RM-80. I began lawn mower repair at a small hardware store. I knew absolutely nothing. I read lots of repair manuals and met an older fellow who taught me many lessons. I continued working on small engines through high school and paid my way through college working on mowers at the same hardware store. Decided to get away from the midwest and mower repair so I joined the Air Force. I repaired air traffic control electronic equipment and ended up in Hawaii where I got a part time job at Small Engine Clinic. I gained a lot of experience from the Small Engine Clinic and had a blast repairing small engines. I then took the Briggs and Stratton Master Service Technician test and earned my MST. I then traveled to Wisconsin where I attended the factory update training seminar and received formal training. Continued working on mowers part time as I completed 20 years of military. Retired from the military on a Friday and continued in the lawn and garden industry the next Monday.

MAS Aerospace Operations BA Mathematics AAS Electronic Communications AAS Electronic Technology

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