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Clutch Cable replacement for the DIY Kombi Pilot.

Discussion in ''How To' & 'Handy Hints'' started by Schmoburger, May 21, 2008.

  1. Schmoburger

    Schmoburger Active Member

    Messages:
    4,381
    Location:
    Nowra/Jervis Bay area, NSW.
    This is something I have been meaning to post for ages and as it turns out I inadvertantly did it finally without realising it! :D

    It involves replacing that old stretched clutch cable that is soooo long now that it has 3 wheelnuts used as spacers to get enough adjustment on it and is fraying as we type... or possibly the one that gave up on the way home from work last week in peak-hour traffic.

    If you are willing to get a little messy and have a few basic tools and a mate handy, it is not hard at all to do yourself.

    WHAT YOU NEED
    Pin punch or similar object.
    Hammer.
    Small/medium flatblade screwdriver
    13mm spanned or socket and ratchet handle (the latter is easier).
    10mm spanner or socket (or whatever size the bolts holding your particular bashplate on are).
    Grease (lithium spraygrease is effective and easy to use).
    Clutch Cable ($30 from any classic VW parts supplier)

    WHAT TO DO

    FIrstly, grab a 13mm spanner or even better, a socket and ratchet handle, then get up under the back and undo the wingnut at the gearbox end of the cable and put it aside... you will see it above the passenger side driveshaft. once that is undone take out the two 13mm bolts in the side of the gearbox that hold the bowden tube bracket in place and make sure not to lose any of the washers in the event that the bracket slides off the tube end as they are important to the overall smooth operation of the clutch and life of the cable. pulll the cable down so it is hanging down beneath the driveshaft rather than over the top then climb back up topside.

    Next grab a screwdriver and pliers, a hammer and a pinpunch or small nail punch (or other small diameter lengh of metal around 5mmm in diameter) and climb under the front. Take off the front bashplate if it is still fitted (from memory the bolts are 10mm from the factory but don't be surprised to find all manner of poor imperial measure substitutes under there...), then using the screwdriver, pliers or your fingers, unclip the little retainer from over the top of the metal piece at the end of the cable where it attaches to the pedal lever, then drive out the pin that it is attached too using the punch (or substitute) and hammer... make sure to retain this unless your cable came with a new one. Now you should be able to pull the cable end free of the pedal lever.

    The cable will now be disconnected at both ends and be ready to pull out of the tube for replacement. before doing anything else, follow the cable back from the pedal and note carefuully which hole it travels through in the chassis and the location of the metal guide tube that it feeds into. AFter doing this there are a couple of ways one can go about the removal process. If the cable is snapped clean through, you simply pull both ends out seperately. If, as is more often the case, the cable has had a number of strands snap but is still held togetherby a few stretched strands that refused to die, then the threaded end of the cable near the gearbox must be fed into the bowden tube so it doesnt catch on it then the cable ill be pulled from the front. if the bowden tube has been pulled or fallen off the end of the fixed metal tub in the chassis, then you will have to do the same here so it doesnt catch.

    Now you are ready to put the new one in. before doing this, make sure you have some grease handy. I use spray-on white lithium grease (available at bunnings) as i find it easy to apply and less messy. Unravel the new cable, then get the threaded end and run it through the same course under the chassis as the old one went, then when you are sure it is routed correctly, feed it into the fixed metal tube just a little, then continue feeding it slowly, applying plenty of grease to each section of the cable before feeding it through. Keep feeding until you encounter resistance, which will be the threaded end reaching the bowden tube and being baulked by the curvature. Before going any further, get the retaining pin you took out before and grease it, then grab the pedal end of the cable and grease the holes and the inside surfaces, push it over the lever so the holes line up as before, then drive in the pin again and clip it back down over the top of the cable end.

    The front end of the cable is now out of the way so all that remains is to get it connected up and adjusted. FOr the next stage it is best to have another person handy, as one person will be required to grasp the bowden tube in such a way that the natural S-bend in it is straightened to allow the solid threaded end to be fed through the tube and out the other end by the other person. THis can be done either with the bowden tube attached to the metal tube or with it pulled off... with it connected to the chassis tube it will need to be pushed through from up the front.... disconnected it will be done from the back.

    Once the threaded end has been sucessfully pushed through the bowden tube, you can then reconnect the tube to the metal tube in the chassis, then pull the cable right through and have it sit over the top of the driveshaft. If the bracket and washers were removed or fell off the tube, feed the washers, then the bracket (concave side facing you) over the cable end and back onto the metal end of the bowden tube. AGain, the washers are important so don't leave any off. After making sure the bowden tube is orientated so the curve is pointing upwards, you must then get one of the two bolts you took out, then line up the bottom hole in the bracket carefully with the bottom hole in the gearbox and place the bolt in, starting it by hand and then once you are satisfied it has taken up the thread and is not crossthreading (easy to do as the gearbox case is magnesium and hence the threads are soft as shite), continue to do it up with your tool of choice till it is almost home but not tight, making sure to keep pressure off the bolt while doing so. once this is done, get the other bolt and push the bracket so the top hole is lined up perfectly and carefully start the bolt in the hole, making doubly sure that it is goinbg in straight and not being pushed askew by the bracket... this is easier said than done... then keep winding it home until it is almost all the way in (use a tool if you like once the bolt is well started), then tighten both bolts about as tight as you would tighten a sparkplug... ie just enough that the bolts wont come loose.

    The final part is reattaching the cable to the throwout lever and adjusting it... both parts part will require 2 people for the sake of ease. Have somebody hold up the clutch pedal all the way, then feed the thread into the hole in the top of the lever arm and wind on the wingnut until it contacts the arm, then give it another 4 full turns, making sure not to let the cable twist at any stageor the adjustment will not hold. Have the person in the car let go of the pedal then push it down (making sure your hands are clear of everytihng first) and ask them where it is sitting in relation to the floor. if it is still low (chances are it will be), keep winding and have them watch the pedal and tell you when it stops ascending, at which point you stop turning... after you've done it a lot of times like i have (all in the space of 2 years!?!??! :/) you will eventually be able to pick up by feel and the noise the pedal makes when it has reached the top of it's travel.

    Now climb out and hop in the Kombi, thyen push the pedal all the way to the floor and then let it up again slowly to allow the cable to settle. now pull the pedal up with your fingers, then push it down using fingers and thumb and see that there is about 1 inch from the top of the pedals travel to the point where you feel significant working resistance. if it is significantly more, adjust the wingnut half to a full turn tighter and try again, then start the engine. Try engaging first gear... it should engage without resistance... if it doesnt (not accounting for gearbox/shifter issues) then give the wingnut another wind. If it engages gears fine however, put you foot on the clutch, hold the brake or put on the handbrake if it works, and then with 1st gear engaged, slowly release the clutch while watching the pedal and note where the clutch starts to grab... it should pick up with the pedal nnot more than about an inch off the floor. if it is much more than this, wind the wingnut back a turn at a time until you get to the point when gears are hard to engage, then wind it half a turn tighter at a time until gears engage without resistance, then half a turn more. Once you are satisfied the clutch is working correctly, apply grease to the exposed portions f the clutch cable at each end and put a little in the end of the front tube and in the eand of the bowden tube, replace the bashplate, and then go for a drive. If gears get a little crunchy or hard to get, tighten the wingnut a turn and it should be right again.

    CHeers!
    Kieran
     
  2. REB

    REB Member

    Messages:
    298
    Location:
    sydney
    clutch cable removal ,installation

    Hey Kieran great thread would have only added to replace bowden tube as they wear out too and make the clutch cable stick when worn and prematuely wear cables out very fast .
    For the measly price of twenty dollars for the bowden hassle free driving.
    rob:)
     
  3. Tassiedave

    Tassiedave New Member

    Messages:
    232
    Location:
    Dodges Ferry, Tas
    Thanks Kieran
    I followed this today, since braking the cable yesterday. Drove home with no clutch. Thanks to Heartland for the new clutch cable. I had to pull the pedal assembly out due to the pin being nearly worn out, I 'll have to get a new one very soon.
    Dave
     
  4. Schmoburger

    Schmoburger Active Member

    Messages:
    4,381
    Location:
    Nowra/Jervis Bay area, NSW.
    Yeh the pin does eventually elongate the hole in the pedal lever and conversely the pin itself get's cut into by the metal... Some cables come with a new pin (Germans ones usually do... the fat Brazillian ones don't). My first pin was cut halfway through and I am also going to pull my pedal arm out sometime and weld some new material into the hole to get back some real estate on the adjuster thread.
     
  5. Tassiedave

    Tassiedave New Member

    Messages:
    232
    Location:
    Dodges Ferry, Tas
    yeah the pin itself only has about 1mm of meat left.
     
  6. Schmoburger

    Schmoburger Active Member

    Messages:
    4,381
    Location:
    Nowra/Jervis Bay area, NSW.
    Ouch!... did you have to use wheelnuts to get enough adjustment!?!? :lol:

    Tis a wonder the pin didnt snap before the cable! :eek:
     
  7. Tassiedave

    Tassiedave New Member

    Messages:
    232
    Location:
    Dodges Ferry, Tas
    No wheel nuts, just ordered a new pin and and hook.
    Dave
     
  8. OberonViking

    OberonViking Active Member

    Messages:
    1,809
    Location:
    Bathurst, NSW
    So, my clutch doesn't engage till the pedal is nearly all the way back up - so I should tighten the wingnut? or loosen?
     
  9. Schmoburger

    Schmoburger Active Member

    Messages:
    4,381
    Location:
    Nowra/Jervis Bay area, NSW.
    Well, that could mean one of two things. It could mean you need to slacken the cable a lot, or it could simply be that the clutch is bugger-off worn out and slipping like a bad thing. WIth the old clutch in mine it didnt grab till about 3" off the floor.

    If the clutch is OK, there should be a distinct point at which the clutch grabs and loads up the engine... if it is worn out and slippery the engagement will feel vague and slushy. My advice is back off the adjustment till it is hard to select gears or crunchy, then adjust it a turn tighter till gear selection is normal and see where the clutch takes up then. If it still grabs high off the floor and feels crap then the clutch could probably use replacing.

    Cheers!
     
  10. OberonViking

    OberonViking Active Member

    Messages:
    1,809
    Location:
    Bathurst, NSW
    Cheers, I loosened it about 7 or 8 turns and it is much better now. There's between 1" and 2" freeplay, and the clutch engages around 2" from the floor.
    I also adjusted the rear brakes since the handbrake needed to be pulled a long way out. Now, after a lot of turning those adjusting stars, the handbrake only needs to come out about 2". It feels like a new bus. :)
     
  11. Just Corey

    Just Corey New Member

    Messages:
    1,472
    Location:
    Port Elliot
    hey Schmoburger. just saying thank you for posting this, I've never really tackled mechanical problems on cars before but followed this and was so glad I did.

    So glad this forum is here.
     
  12. Justin

    Justin Active Member

    Messages:
    1,238
    Location:
    Antarctica
    ok guys i need help :(

    i have tried to replace the cable this afternoon and no matter how tight i have the wingnut , the clutch pedal still feels "droopy" . . . i had my partner push it in a few times while i was under the car and it seems like its not even engaging the lever arm . . . the clutch is brand new and i am stumped as to why it is not engaging . it is very tight but when i loosen it (as mentioned) it only makes it worse .

    any advice ? (kinda urgent as i need my car for tomorrow !!! . . .)
     
  13. cbus

    cbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,927
    Location:
    sunshine coast
    Not directly related but check that the clutch pedal is still attached under the floor.ie welds have not pulled
     
  14. Justin

    Justin Active Member

    Messages:
    1,238
    Location:
    Antarctica
    ok , turns out i had the clutch connection pin too tight . . . i loosened it off and it seems to be working !

    i can go to work tomorrow now !! yay !!! :wtf:
     
  15. cbus

    cbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,927
    Location:
    sunshine coast
    good spoting
    cheers
     
  16. Mouse

    Mouse Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Speers Point
    Hi Schmoberger.

    Have printed out your post in anticipation of a cable change this weekend. Thanks

    I do have one question. Do clutch cables stretch much in the course of their life? I am a new born again Kombi owner and initial inspection of my current cable cable at the gearbox is no broken strands. Have to do an inspection up the front end and will buy a cable just in case. Fingers crossed my gear problems are a simple fix and your detailed instructions will get me through as it seems it has others on this forum.

    Cheers and thanks again

    Mouse
     
  17. Schmoburger

    Schmoburger Active Member

    Messages:
    4,381
    Location:
    Nowra/Jervis Bay area, NSW.
    Gday Mouse, yes they do stretch on any car over the course of their life, hence the requirement for periodic adjustment. The degree to which it does depends on the quality of the cable and the resistence it has to work against... A heavy duty clutch with a high-clamping force spring requires more effort to release than a standard old-lady spec clutch, so therefore you will find that it requires adjustment far more frequently. On an XF Falcon, the service manual from memory stated that the clutch cable should be checked and readjusted if necessary at 10,000 km intervals... pretty much at every service in other words.

    A good gauge of how stretched your cable is would be how much thread you have left on the adjuster. If there is less than 10mm left I'd probably replace it just to be safe, simply because they are cheap to buy and they do have a habit of fraying inside the bowden tube and the metal guide tube anyway, which brings me to my next point.

    I would personally be unhoooking the clutch at the front, unbolting the bracket at the rear, sliding the bowden tube off, and pulllling the cable through to the rear a little to check for fraying or other signs of trauma in the cable where it bends up and makes contact with the tube... this will give you a better idea of the state of the cable than a cursory glance at the exposed end will.

    As I said tho, I'd buy a new cable and install it just to be sure. I've seen one cable spaced up with 2 or 3 wheelnuts due to stretch before it finally gave way on a Kombi at Canberra... then again, I snapped the original cable and a brand new german replacement cable in BC in 3 and a half years of driving her, with very little stretch in the second one.
     
  18. Mouse

    Mouse Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Speers Point
    Thanks Schmoburger. Bought a new cable and Bowden tube yesterday aiming to change it this weekend. Really appreciate your tips instructions and advice.
    Cheers

    Mouse
     
  19. Mouse

    Mouse Member

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Speers Point
    Hi Schmoburger.

    Second inspection (in daylight this time) found some nuts spacing out the wing nut. Cable looked in really good condition and no broken strands. Front pin was bably worn so replaced pin, cable and Bowden tube for good measure and found I still need to pack out the wing nut. I suspect the bracket holding the bowden tube may not be original. Back going anyway and am proud as punch that I got my hands dirty and could follow your detailed instructions. Getting the bus checked over next week on a hoist by vw specialist.

    Thanks again Mouse
     
  20. Schmoburger

    Schmoburger Active Member

    Messages:
    4,381
    Location:
    Nowra/Jervis Bay area, NSW.
    Cheers mate and no worries.... I figure the more people I help, the more I can offset my tragic karma rating :D

    How did the hole in the clutch pedal arm look mate... and the entirearm for that matter? BC's clutch pedal arm which was a spare unit I had that just happened to have a cable attached to it (couldnt get the pin out the first time it snapped so I replaced the pedal) is actually slightly bent so it fouls on the pitman arm sometimes. Theres a possibility that yours may be damaged, or otherwise misalligned for some reason and isnt getting enough leverage... and as mentioned somewhere earlier in the thread, the hole in the arm can elongate as well. I've seen a bus or two that had it worn nearly right through. It's not much, but add it to a worn clutch and maybe something bent or broken you can loose a lot of adjustment. Must be remembering you have about 2 inches tops to play with... :)

    But yeh, still at least you have a fresh cable and pin so thats the chances of one potential headache minimised.

    Kieran
     

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