TECH TIP Technical Index

Replace Your Clutch Cable

by Mike C. -

BCís NOTE: We are pleased & excited to share with you the fact that Mikeís Tech Tips donít stop here. Some of our sister VW clubs are also re-publishing them in their newsletters. Way to go Mike!

It sure is a sinking feeling when you are driving along happily in your VW and you hear this "poiiiiiiiiing" sound and feel your clutch pedal go all the way to the floor. You now realize that you cannot release the clutch. Maybe you were lucky and it happened only a couple of blocks from your house. Most of the time, it only happens in the left lane of Covington Pike during rush hour. Either way, you are endowed with the task of installing a new clutch cable. This is not a very difficult job and can be done in about two hours or so.

You will need:

  • 12mm combination wrench
  • 13mm socket and 3/8" drive ratchet
  • Vise Grips
  • Pry bar
  • Grease
  • New cable.
  1. Start by jacking up the rear of the car and supporting it with jackstands.
  2. Slide underneath with the 12mm wrench, pry bar, and Vise Grips. Clamp the Vise Grips around the unthreaded portion of the clutch cable end and let it hang.
  3. Use the pry bar to undo the tension of the throwout arm from the cable.
  4. Now wrench the adjustment nut all the way off. You may want to spray the threads with a little penetrating oil to loosen up the crud that has accumulated on the threads over the years.
  5. After you have removed the nut, go inside the car and take the 13mm socket and remove the bolt that holds down the pedal assembly.
  6. Rotate, twist, or finagle the pedal assembly whichever way so as to remove the clutch cable out of the slot.
  7. Now pull the cable out of the tube. Youíll have to pull the rest of it out from under the car, especially if the cable had broken in two.
  8. Now get the new cable out and somehow compare lengths to make sure you got the right length. Not all VW clutch cables are the same length!
  9. Smear some grease on the whole length of the new cable.
  10. Insert the cable from inside the car. Push the cable all the way through and hook the clutch end to the pedal assembly.
  11. Bolt the pedal assembly back down and go back underneath the car.
  12. Slip the threaded end of the cable through the hole in the throwout arm and put the adjustment nut on. Tighten the nut down until the slack is just taken out of the cable.
  13. Get inside the car. The clutch pedal free-play should be no more than Ĺ". If it is more than this, tighten the adjustment nut until you achieve Ĺ" or a little less. Remember, a little adjustment at the nut gives a big difference at the pedal.
  14. Take a test drive. Do all the gears engage properly? If the pedal feels about right or it is what you are used to, you are through. If not, you can adjust the nut one way or the other just a little to get the pedal to feel right.

The above procedures should be similar for Busses, Ghias, Type IIIís, and Kubels/Things. See you at the bratwurst burger joint!

Your VW Maniac and tech specialist,

Mike C.