If you want go, you gotta have whoa. There's no question about it. For safety, it's best to repair or replace worn brake parts and adjust them if needed.
If your IH Cub Cadet has an internal brake like the one shown to the right (models 70, 72, 73, 100, 102, 124, 582, 682, 782, 784 (prior to serial # 720000), and some 800, 1000 and 1200 models), adjustment is easily made by loosening the jam nut (on the square-head bolt) and tightening the square-head bolt.
But if you can't get the brakes to work at all by tightening the square-head bolt, and you are sure that the rod is pushing the cast brake rod back when the pedal goes down, then the piston is frozen in the reduction housing by rust (this is common in tractors that have sat for years).
To replace this type of brake, first remove the transaxle from the tractor. Then, remove the square head bolt, drive out the rocker shaft and remove the cast brake arm. Try tapping on the piston and use penetrating oil on it to free it. Often, the transaxle will have to be removed from the tractor and the reduction housing removed to drive the brake pad retainer out from inside and clean up the bore and retainer. If you go that far, replace both pucks with new ones, they are cheap. On reassembly, coat the outside of the piston with a thin layer of motor oil.
If the brake pad retainer is stuck in place, here's how to fix it...
Parts for this job will involve a new "O" ring for the retainer that the cast rod and shaft pushes on, a reduction gear housing gasket or use Permatex® Clear RTV Silicone Adhesive Sealant, and 2 new brake pucks. Use only OEM material when replacing the brake pucks.
Internal brakes are preferred by most Cub Cadet owners and pullers over the external disc setup, and are normally almost totally trouble-free because the parts stay cleaner than external brakes.
To replace these type of brake pads...
Only the early model Cub Cadets were equipped with an internal brake. The Cub Cadet engineers realized that people were hauling heavy (fully loaded, automotive-type) trailers around their property (farms) with these tractors, and the small internal brake pads couldn't stop the tractor and trailer that well when going downhill. Nor does it have the ability to "park" well (with a heavy trailer) on a hill. That's why Cub Cadet went to the external brake system, as described further down in this web page. Because there's more contact area, the external brakes holds about 5 times better than the internal brake.
When filling this type of transaxle with oil, don't use heavy gear oil in the transaxle, such as 90 weight. If heavy oil is used, the tractor won't stop as well. Instead, use either SAE30, 10W30, 10W40 motor oils, power steering fluid, lightweight hydraulic oil, automatic transmission fluid or Hy-Tran fluid. These types of oils are much thinner than conventional gear oil, which will allow the brake to hold better and it allows the gears to spin faster, freeing up horsepower. And don't worry about the parts wearing because of the light oil. They're made of extremely hardened material.
The external/axle disc brakes (models 86, 106, 107, 108, 109, 122, 126, 127, 128, 129, 149 and some 800, 1000 and 1200 models) are much easier to service than the one shown above. Unlike the brake pads above, a piece of .125" thickness 6061 (medium hardness) aluminum will work. Use highly adhesive glue or countersink some 3/16" aluminum rivets or flat-head brass bolts to fasten the aluminum in place.
The front brake pads that's made for a 1998-2001 Chevrolet S10 2wd pickup can be used in place of the OEM pads for these type of brakes. This is the flat pad with slotted ends. They're available at virtually any auto parts store. The thickness of a new OEM Cub Cadet brake pad is .100". The automotive pads are thicker.
The automotive brake pads to use are the riveted-on type. Grind the backs off the rivets. The two top rivet holes should line up enough to get two screws through them. Then turn the pads over, and from the back side, use a drill bit to go through the Cub backing plate. Drill through the pad and turn it over. Counter sink the holes to install two more screws.
To convert an external brake (disc axle brakes) Cub Cadet transaxle into an internal brake design, a different front reduction housing, brake pad retainer, brake linkage, brake lever/pin, pushrod, pivot pin, lower main shaft, brake pads and disc are all required. It's exactly easier (and less costly) to acquire an internal brake transaxle, install it, and fabricate a brake linkage.
NEVER use aluminum or wood for brake friction material in a high speed application (above 20 mph) such as for a heavy vehicle or an automobile! The reason being is because wood will burn and aluminum will melt.
To adjust these type of brakes, there's an adjusting rod going forward toward each axle end. You'll need to remove them, clean the dirt and paint from the threads with a threading die, a wire brush or a wire wheel, then reinstall them. Place the brake pedal with the hold down lever in place and then adjust them to where each axle has the same amount of braking.
Ordinary [90 weight] gear oil can be used in this type of transaxle for everyday yard work. But for competitive pulling, it's best to use lightweight oil (as described above) in this type of transaxle instead for more power gain.
Internal VS External Brakes -
Lots of professional pullers prefer to use the internal brake transaxle so they can set the rear wheels inward toward the frame so the tractor will pull straight down the track.
Converting an external brake transaxle to an internal brake
If you want to install an internal brake mechanism in a transaxle that originally has external brakes, the front reduction housing will fit, with no problem. But - the pinion shaft (lower shaft) on the external brake transaxle doesn't have the splined end for the internal brake disc. You need to install a pinion shaft from an internal brake transaxle also.
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