As far as reliability, cost & maintenance between the engine and axle clutch, you would be way ahead with the axle clutch!!! I bet you could find a good used Horstman axle clutch if you ask around. $300-$400 is a good price. And with John Richie making parts for them, there are no issues there that I know of ( I have 7). SMC is a good clutch also but I haven’t ran one in several years.