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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I bought a 1985 JD 212 recently and the first thing I noticed acting up was the tractor not wanting to start when in neutral. From the research I've done online I suspect it is the safety switch that may be toast but I haven't gotten to the part in question yet to test. Does anyone have experience with this? How do I take the rear fender off to confirm? Does anyone have any other helpful suggestions?

Thanks!
 

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redwing,



You can test the switch without removing the pan. To make it easier you can remove the left rear tire, then reach in and physically activate the switch, with your finger or screwdriver. Now see if the engine cranks while the switch is activated. Make sure you are in NUETRAL before you turn the key! I would also disconnect the spark plug during this test for added safety. If the engine cranks, then the switch is out of adjustment. If the engine doesn't crank, then disconnect the two wires to the switch and connect the wire connectors to each other jumping out the switch and try again. If it cranks, then the wiring is good, and the switch is bad. If it doesn’t crank, then there is a problem with the wiring to the switch and more troubleshooting is needed.


I hope this helps ya.



Hec
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It's also not uncommon for there to be a little slop/play with the transaxle shift arm while in the Neutral position. Sometimes moving the shifter ever so slightly to either the left or right is all it takes to either make (close) or break (open) the neutral switch contacts.
Yeah, I noticed the slop in the shifter alright. I've tried holding the key/ignition in "start" position while trying to find the sweet spot for neutral but no luck. I'm going to dive in a bit tonight starting with removing the rear driver side wheel to get a better look at the switch then hopefully bypassing it to test.
 

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Not sure about the 200 series but my 110 has a spring to help keep pressure against the neutral switch. Might be missing that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Does anyone have a picture or a link that shows what it is exactly that I'm looking for? It would be helpful to identify before I start rooting around. From the wiring diagram I found, it looks like the purple wire runs from the ignition to the switch, so that's my only clue so far.
 

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Here ya go right from the Service Manual.

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Hec
 

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Does anyone have a picture or a link that shows what it is exactly that I'm looking for? It would be helpful to identify before I start rooting around. From the wiring diagram I found, it looks like the purple wire runs from the ignition to the switch, so that's my only clue so far.
This is what you're looking for, bolts to the fender pan with small nuts/bolts, prongs are for the wire connectors, the shift lever pushes against the small black roller...closing the contacts in the switch so it will crank. It will be dirty and cruddy looking.
 

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Does anyone have a picture or a link that shows what it is exactly that I'm looking for? It would be helpful to identify before I start rooting around. From the wiring diagram I found, it looks like the purple wire runs from the ignition to the switch, so that's my only clue so far.
I just replaced my Safety switch on my 212. You may find that the mounting screws/pins may be rusted so much that you need to grind off the heads to remove or replace the screws for any adjustment or replacement. Considering how old these Tractors are, might be better to replace with a new micro switch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I just replaced my Safety switch on my 212. You may find that the mounting screws/pins may be rusted so much that you need to grind off the heads to remove or replace the screws for any adjustment or replacement. Considering how old these Tractors are, might be better to replace with a new micro switch.
What was your situation like? Did you have similar issues with the tractor not starting? Did you remove the driver side rear wheel or go the fender removal route? What would you do different if you had to do it again? This is my first JD tractor, sorry for all the questions.
 

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Yes, I had the same issue. I even went as far as a new ignition switch. The shifter shaft/lever wasn't going far enough to the left to engage/trip the micro switch, but I couldn't adjust it because the screws/pins were so rusted, there was no way to loosen or tighten them again. So I decided to invest in a new one. I ground the tops of the screws & punched what was left, not much, through the holes.
I actually went through the process of removing the pedals, and four bolts holding the seat pan, leaving the seat on the pan, i then lifted it up and out of the way. Had to remove the shifter knob. Be careful of the Gas tank neck while lifting.
That will give you full access to the switch and wires, minus the plastic shield/cover.
As long as your other switches have been tested or bypassed, I'm betting that this micro switch is your problem.
PS-
Two small self tapping screws will work to re-install. Make sure the screws are small enough to fit through the micro switch molded holes, brittle plastic.
I did it this way because I wanted access from above, not crawling underneath, I am 64 & ground access no longer interest's me. And, I do not have a power lift..
Plus, I'm not sure how easy it would be to remove the Rear wheel, remembering the age of the Tractor.
Hope this Helps, I know the feeling, I myself had to do a lot of research for this repair, as well as others.
 

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While the discussion so far has been limited to the theory that the neutral start switch is assumed to be the culprit, it is also possible that some other component and/or components of the starting circuit could be at fault. The process of fault isolation can be very subjective as to how you want to go about it. I typically work from either easy to hard or from most likely to least likely. Personally I would start with the fundamentals. In this case that would include testing the battery, starter solenoid and starter. Only after testing/verifying that those components are good would I start chasing down possible faults in the starter solenoid control circuitry. The starter solenoid control circuitry would include the actual ignition/start switch, the transaxle neutral start switch, a PTO switch and the accompanying wiring. I do not believe the seat switch (if so equipped) has anything to do with the actual start circuit but rather was designed to kill the ignition system should the operator leave the seated position while the PTO was engaged. The reason I point that out is that on certain years there were double micro switches monitoring PTO engagement, one switch was for the start circuit and the other was for the ignition circuit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
While the discussion so far has been limited to the theory that the neutral start switch is assumed to be the culprit, it is also possible that some other component and/or components of the starting circuit could be at fault. The process of fault isolation can be very subjective as to how you want to go about it. I typically work from either easy to hard or from most likely to least likely. Personally I would start with the fundamentals. In this case that would include testing the battery, starter solenoid and starter. Only after testing/verifying that those components are good would I start chasing down possible faults in the starter solenoid control circuitry. The starter solenoid control circuitry would include the actual ignition/start switch, the transaxle neutral start switch, a PTO switch and the accompanying wiring. I do not believe the seat switch (if so equipped) has anything to do with the actual start circuit but rather was designed to kill the ignition system should the operator leave the seated position while the PTO was engaged. The reason I point that out is that on certain years there were double micro switches monitoring PTO engagement, one switch was for the start circuit and the other was for the ignition circuit.
Thanks bobd for your input. These are indeed very valuable points and I neglected to include that I started my process of investigation by checking voltage throughout the system as you described. I was able to locate the safety switch in question and found that is was partially broken and most likely not operating as it should. I'm running a jumper from the in to the out later today to confirm y suspicion.
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