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Thread: Troubleshooting help -- is it the clutch?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default Troubleshooting help -- is it the clutch?

    I have a '70 westy, although the engine and tranny may be off of a '71. Anyway, I was heading home, cruising at about 50 - 60 mph when the bus started bucking or jerking a bit. It seemed to emanate directly underneath at the front like I was rolling on elliptical front tires instead of round ones. I was thinking that perhaps something could also be loose underneath or the tire(s) experienced separation. I took the westy to my local Aamco mechanic and he did find that the bracket that holds up the engine was loose and tightened the two nuts. He also topped off the tranny fluid, which was a bit low. He noticed that the clutch cable was nearly played out as far as it could go, no further adjustments (so far the clutch pedal is fine; about 3/4" to 1" of downward play in the pedal before there's resistance). So, it may be either bad tires up front or my clutch is slipping. If it's the latter, it's slipping at 3rd and 4th gears I guess. Is it possible that could cause the bucking/jerking? Any advice would be appreciated. I'm a newbie on the site and look forward to receiving an education on the forum.
    Thanks, Joel (Blue Beluga is the name given to my westy).

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  3. #2


    The easiest way to eliminate the front tires from suspicion is simply to switch them with the rear tires and see if the problem goes away. But most likely, it's either a clutch problem or a CV Joint problem. How old is the clutch?

    I don't know where you're located, but I've found that most mechanics really don't have a clue about the older air-cooled VWs. Look around in your area for a shop that specializes in '50s to '70s Volkswagens, and get an opinion from them.
    Sacramento, CA USA

    Former buses: '61 17-Window "Pink Bus"
    '70 Frankenwestie "Blunder Bus"
    '71 Frankenwestie "Thunder Bus"
    Current bus: '71 Dormobile Westie "George"

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013


    Thanks JLT. Tires are old, actually pretty bad all around. Went to my local Tire Kingdom and changed out the front two tires this morning. The mechanica said that the front and rear tires have separated and that why its rolling unevenly. There is much less up and down bucking motion when I drive now, but gotta get the rears replaced soon (you can also see the dry rot cracking in the sidewalls). I'm gonna make sure the CV joints are on tight too. I appreciate the response!
    Joel ('70 westy, "The Blue Beluga")


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