Clutch cable (mechanical)

Capt. Mike

Topic created to accomodate clutch CABLE problems only; no general clutch questions, please.

Clutch issues, need advice

karkus Junior Member # 2090 posted 08-25-2001 09:02 PM

Hi there

I'm having issus with my clutch these days and I wonder if anyone has any insight for me. I thought I blew my clutch but the shop I went to fixed the clutch linkage and adjusted the clutch. I'm assuming they adjusted the cable, maybe put a spacer in the guide tube, but it ended up super tight. I thought it was great until the cable blew the next day in another town. The shop there replaced the cable and housing, but the clutch dragged. They put a spacer in when I complained of this, but the guy really wanted to put a new clutch in, he figured it must be worn out. Being short on cash, I figured the spacer would do me for a while as the clutch hasnt been slipping. Today I thought I could go on vacation, but in the lineup at the border crossing the clutch started dragging, hard to shift, not disengaging...sketched me out so I turned around. I got back on the open road and after driving 20 miles back to the city the clutch worked fine at all the traffic lights, no dragging, easy shifting ... I don't get it. My official service manual hasnt told me whatsup and all the mechanics I've been to are closed for the weekend. Can anyone out there help me?

Capt. Mike Moderator Member # 11 posted 08-26-2001 06:04 AM

What year & model? See Message Board Guidelines #3.

Since you discuss a cable I presue you are talking about a Type II before the hydraulic clutches of the Vanagons.

It's difficult to diagnose your symptoms without experiencing them, but generally the clutches themselves are consistent so I'd suspect the control mechanism/cable. The clutch cable consists of two parts, the tube and the cable itself. Most replace just the cable but rust or dirt in the tube can cause your symptoms. Your cable works, but not freely. From early '72, the cables had a greaseable feature. There are a number of pressurized and flowable greases suitable from 3M and Lubri-Moly. Speedometer cable grease is also suitable.

There are a couple of cable lengths on the market, especially aftermarket non-OE parts. This makes it difficult to obtain the correct 'sag' per Bentley 5-15.5, figure 15-17. That sag is important and should not be changed to allow more adjustment at the opearing shaft. Replacement is pretty straight-forwarded per Bentley §5-15.5.

Connection at the pedal can be a factor. Improper attachment or wear of the clevis pin can affect travel. In one instance I've seen, the pedal shaft where it passes passes through the mount plate, Fig 15-16, had a borken weld so the cable wan't moving as far as the pedal would indicate.

karkus Junior Member # 2090 posted 08-26-2001 02:23 PM


thanx for the advice, capt'n. yeh sorry, its a '78 type II. i was talking to a friend and he suggested the heat from idling in the border lineup might have affected the clearances in the clutch linkage, could that be a factor?

as for the cable, the guy who replaced it said there was just one length so i hope it was the right one. he argued that if the cable and tube were new, and the clutch dragged, the clutch must be worn out and needs replacing. is there any truth to this?
he grudingly put a spacer in (at the sag tube) to remedy the drag, as the wingnut was already fully tightened. now i understand that this spacer has put the sag at the "excessive" end of its range. can i put a washer in behind the wingnut instead?
thanx...-markis karkus

Capt. Mike Moderator Member # 11 posted 08-28-2001 06:47 PM

You still haven't said if this is a VW dealership with OE parts or some aftermarket source. Aftermarket his catalog may only show one length, but VW lists 3 with nearly an inch of variation. Yours should be 3205 mm, the second shortest.

Again, aftermarket replacements are not as good and fudging towards extra length seems to be common on some of the cheaper units I've seen.

You may well have a worn out clutch. The more it wears, the more adjustment it takes. IF you have checked to make sure you don't have any collateral damage like a bent clutch pedal lever, clutch control arm AND your cable is correct with proper sag, then a worn clutch becomes more likely.

Is it possible some previous owner has turned the flywheel? That's a good way to be sure your clutch never works. There's so little allowable turn room in a flywheel that, like brakes, turning does more harm than good. They should be replaced if damaged or worn that badly. A too thin flywheel also eats up clutch adjustment.
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