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Simplicity Prestige brake rod issue

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Hello I am a first time poster here.

Just bought a Simplicity Prestige 1693974 it's the 20 horsepower with power steering and a 50 inch deck.

I bought it for $300 in working condition there's a few issues wrong with it a little smoke on Startup bad idler pulley and broken brake rod. The motor has 1800 hours on it but drives pretty strong. I probably bought a basket case but it feels so much better than the 2014 Craftsman I had.

My question is I'm trying to remove the brake rod which is part number 5 on page 10 of the service manual that I downloaded on the Simplicity website. What is the best way to remove this rod? I see that there's a plate for the foot controls that is blocking my way of getting to it. 

I added a pic of the mower and a screenshot of the part I'm wanting to remove.

Thanks for any help 






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@tadams Thanks! @abu507 I am going to take it off this weekend and  see if I can get to it, frankly the break rod is the only thing left to address aside from the motor smoking slightly and to a lesser concern the seat. @MikeESI think it was a good deal, I had a craftsman T3200 with a CVT transmission and didn't like it, flimsy deck and overcomplicated deck system. It just overall felt cheap. Then I drive the Prestige with power steering and much easier deck system and hopefully knock on wood may have 1800 more hours.

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Have two older  prestiges but never had the brake system apart. Swapped engines and added a rear attachment lift to one.

The engine smoke at astart up may be nothing to bother about. We had a discussion on this a long while back in here.  Most of the Kohler vertical command twins  in the Prestiges  have this problem even since new. at least from the responses and research I did. I thing the discussions were about the 23 hp commands, but the 20's may be in the same boat.?? .. I have a replacement 350 hr 23hp out of a Lowes Deere that chugs out a white cloud briefly at initial start up after sitting overnight. Everytime. . Never have to add oil between changes..

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Thanks for the info on the smoke on startup makes me feel better. 

Update on the brake rod. I was able to contort myself enough to get a small screwdriver to push the clevis pin behind the plate the rod was going through. Getting a new brake rod put back should be easier I hope. 

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