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Clutch Cable Replacement

The symptoms of a broken clutch cable are usually sudden and obvious. We push our clutch pedal to change gears, there is a popping feeling in the pedal and now we have about 5 inches of free play.

The first thing we do in replacing the clutch cable is to remove the adjusting nut on the rear end of the cable. I always clamp a set of vise grips to the cable.
And then I always remove the adjusting nut.
Next pull the Bowden or sometimes called preload tube out of the transmission and then slide it off the cable. This is usually where you'll find a break. You may want to cut the cable the rest of the way in two with small bolt cutters or heavy wire cutters so it will pull easier through the tunnel and out the front.

Now go to the front and remove the 2 17 mm sized bolts that hold the pedal cluster to the tunnel.
Next, remove the accelerator cable from the cluster.

On the later bugs there is a clip that holds the break plunger to the cluster. Remove this.
Slide that plunger off and set it aside. The older bugs have a removable pin here.
Now pull the pedal cluster out keeping the clutch pedal pointing up so you'll pull the end of the cable through the hole.
Unhook the cable from the hook on the pedal and pull it out of the car. Now put your new cable back into the tube that the old one came out of. You'll feel it just inside the hole.
Now hook the pedal through the loop at the end of the new cable and be careful from this point on to keep the pedal pointing up so as not to unhook the cable. Some people tape it on just in case. Now bolt the pedal cluster back in place and hook up your accelerator cable and replace the break plunger. You should be done up front now.
Go to the back and carefully slide the tube over the cable. Try to keep a little tension on the cable to keep it hooked up front. It is a good idea to push a little grease into the tube ahead of time.
Push the cable through the clutch tube bracket on the transmission and then push the tube through. Be sure that the tube is squarely all over the tube coming out of the back of the chassis.
The tube should have at least one-half inch of arc in it or the clutch will chatter. This one has more than it really needs.
Now twist the adjusting nut back on until you have about one-half inch to three-fourths inch of free play at the pedal. Coat the threads on the end of the cable with grease. You'll thank yourself the next time you need to adjust the clutch. You're ready to go again! You can see this done in detail in our Vol.2 Motor pull/clutch repair video available from Bug Me Video.

Rick Higgins and Crew
Bug Me Video, Inc

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