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You probably have a belt drive that has is not tight enough to pull under a load. The belt is pulled by an idler pulley that engages when you start the tines. Check the belts by working you engage lever and look for the belt and idler. More than likely there is an adjustment that will allow you to put more tension on the belt thus making it till. Do not do this when the machine is running! The belt should not have flex in it when engaged. It may a little effort to engage the tines when you get it tight enough to till.
Col. Dana Gillespie
It's likely that your clutch needs adjustment. To adjust, you just need to loosen the two screws on the plate and slide it a bit so the clutch better engages the rear dog clutch.
Have you ever taken the tiller portion off the transmission to grease the clutch? If not, before adjusting it you might want to do that. It could be that the clutch isn't sliding back far enough to engage the rear end and a little grease is all it needs. This service requirement is explained in the owners manual for the tiller.
One last point, the tiller must be in neutral when engaging the pto clutch. From your note, it sounded like you were engaging the clutch with the forward/reverse lever in the forward position. The lever must be in neutral when engaging the pto clutch.