Clutch Cable Replacement & Adjustment, Type 1 & 3
Clutch Cable Replacement & Adjustment, Type 1 & 3
By Jim Thompson
Question from Customer: Whatís involved in replacing the clutch cable on my Bug?
Answer: Clutch Cable Replacement is not an impossible task, but does require some skill level to do the job correctly. While it can be done by yourself (Iíve done it), itís really best to have a friend there to help along.
On a level surface, raise the rear end of the vehicle. Be sure to chock the front tires to prevent any rolling. Use appropriate jackstands to hold the vehicle in the raised position, never let the jack do this job as it is unsafe. Iíve found that placing the jack stands under the rear torsion tubes is best for stability.
Remove the rear left wheel/tire.
Disconnect the Clutch Cable from the Operating Lever on the transmission. Earlier (up to about 1963) use a beveled nut and locknut. Later models use a "wing nut".
Remove the rubber "dust boot" from the preloaded "Bowden Tube" then remove the dust boot from the cable. Inspect the Bowden Tube - if it is severely cracked with portions of the steel windings becoming exposed with or without any breakage, the Bowden Tube should be replaced. For the time being, remove the Bowden Tube to make it easier for re-installation of the Clutch Cable.
Remove the Brake Pedal Pushrod from the Brake Pedal. On Type 1 models up thru April 1966 (Vin 1x6851649), this is usually held in place with a flat metal lockplate that is bent over the pushrod locking it and the pedal together. Just bend it open. If it is in poor shape get another lockplate. On later Type 1 models, a modified "C" clip hold the pushrod to the pedal. With a pair of pliers, pull the bent end off the pedal pin that holds it to the pushrod.
Disconnect the Accelerator Cable at both the Carburetor and at the Accelerator Pedal. No need to remove the cable.
Remove the Pedal Cluster. As you draw the Pedal Cluster from the floor and the Tunnel hole is exposed, you will see the hook of the Clutch Pedal Operating Shaft (aka "hook shaft") and perhaps the Clutch Cable that is normally attached to it. Inspect the hook; if it is severely worn or broken off, then the operating shaft must be replaced. The hook shaft is replaced by removing the pin from the Clutch Pedal, then pulling the shaft through the Pedal Cluster (installation of the shaft is the reverse - liberally apply white universal grease to the shaft to properly lubricate it).
Pull the Clutch Cable out through the hole.
Grease the new Clutch Cable entirely with White Universal Grease.
Insert the new Clutch Cable by doing the following: Put the threaded cable end into your left hand between the middle and index finger and pass it through the Tunnel hole to the guide tube inside the Tunnel. Put both fingers behind the guide tube and in this position push the cable in. Push it forward with the right hand until the Clutch Cable has fully entered the guide tube. Then push the Clutch Cable completely through the Tunnel. With a friendís help underneath the vehicle have him/her look for the threaded cable end as youíre pushing the cable to come through the end of the guide tube protruding near the Transmission front nosecone (Note: You might have to temporarily removed the oval dust boot, thread the cable end through the dust boot, then re-install the dust boot back onto the frame).
Insert the threaded cable end through the re-installed Bowden Tube, then through the little dust boot on the top end of the tube, then through the rear Clutch Operating Shaft loop. Attach the adjustment nut loosely on the end of the threads.
Now comes the tricky part and while this can be done by yourself, itís so much easier having a friend help: Have your friend hold the threaded cable end to provide some tension while attaching the Clutch Cable "eye" to the pedal shaft hook. Again, liberally apply white universal grease to the hook and the "eye". When the Clutch Cable "eye" is attached to the hook, the Clutch Pedal must be held in a vertical position to prevent the cable becoming disconnected. This is where the friend comes in so that he/she can continue to provide the tension needed to help preventing this from happening. Once everything is in proper position, bolt the Pedal Cluster back into place. Once it bolted on, install the adjustment nut to prevent the cable from sliding forward otherwise it make come off the hook. Liberally apply white universal grease on the cable threaded end.
Re-attach the Brake Pedal to the Pushrod making sure itís locked in place.
Re-attach the Accelerator Cable on the Pedal end and then reattach it to the Carburetor.
Check the Bowden Tube for proper adjustment appearance. The middle of the tube should "bow" about an inch to 1.5" on an imaginary straight line from the bottom to the top of the tube. 12mm ID Flat washers can be used to accomplish an increased "bow", if needed. Install the washers at the bracket on the transmission. Note: Always keep tension on the Clutch Cable when removing the adjustment nut and the top of the Bowden Tube to place or remove washers.
Adjust the adjustment nut so that a "free play" at the Clutch Pedal is around 1 inch. To keep the cable end from twisting while doing this, take a pair of vise-grips and hold the non threaded portion of the end while turning the adjustment nut. On earlier models with the beveled adjustment nut, place the locknut on the cable threaded end to lock the bevel nut in place. On later models with the Wing Nut, no lock nut is required.
Lower the vehicle back to the ground. Take the vehicle on a short road test to make sure there is proper free play in the Clutch Pedal. Readjust as necessary.