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    Thread: Clutch cable big-time issues...Poor Otto...PICS!

    1. 01-14-2005 11:37 PM #1
      OK. I had the camera, so I took some pics of what I had already looked at. Not happy. Here's the deal: The clutch cable on my black '81 cabbie, "Evil Otto", has sawed (sawn?) through the tube...but it has done this on the TOP of the tube, not on the bottom or side. I've looked and looked as best I can (at 6'0 in socks and not removing front seat). I swear that if I replace the steering column mount and tube it will happen anyway. I looked at my '84 and the cable comes straight out of the tube to the top of the clutch pedal. But on this one, the cable has to come out and go up in order to seat on the pedal and that's caused it to saw through the tube. Is this normal on these older ones? Is it common? Do I have the wrong clutch pedal? I've noticed that the pedal has some side play where it pivots on the bracket, but I assume it just needs bushings or something. Should I hit the junkyard and get another pedal?
      Here are the pics:
      In this pic the top-right corner of the pic is "up" (had to hold camera at an angle). I've pushed the pedal in a few inches so you can see the cable and a little bit of the split. The cable has sawed through the tube and about 1/4" of firewall so far. Needless to say, clutching is a bear!

      Here's the cable again. This time the clutch pedal isn't depressed, it's sitting in its natural position. If I push the clutch, the first 1/2" or so of movement doesn't pull the cable at all, it just catches the slack, which tells me the cable needs play adjustment, but that's hard to do with it sticking in the cut in the firewall...

      As always, any and all help very appreciated!
      Thomas

    2. Member niterider03's Avatar
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      01-15-2005 04:15 AM #2
      you might try the clutch cable spacers found on some A2s to take up the slack.

    3. Member OLDSKOOLVWS's Avatar
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      01-15-2005 05:52 AM #3
      Well, I may actually be able to help Thomas this time.
      I would replace the cable. It may be worn on the attached part to the pedal. It should sit down low enough as not to hit the firewall or the clutch cable tube. I also load mine up prior to installation with spray in litium grease.
      As far as the slack goes, there's supposed be a little nylon bushing in there and on the brake pedal. Mine were wasted-gone. Guess what? NLA from the dealer as well. So I made my own. I took a small piece of PVC pipe (1/2" I think, but not sure), sanded the outside and the inside until it fit both shaft and the pedals. Greased it up with lithium grease. Put it all back together with the PVC as the bushing and it works great. No side to side, or lateral movement anymore.
      If after the cable change and the bushing repair doesn't work, I would pursue the pedal. You may be able to file down a certain area of the upper pedal area to coax the retainer to stay where you want or as you had stated, off to the junkyard.
      Also check the angle that the clutch cable is coming in from on the firewall engine side. Make sure it's parallel and completely pushed in.
      I've had similar "bear to push" issues and when I did the above minus the filing to the pedal, everything worked great.
      HTH
      2008 Acadia / 2004 Colorado / 1987 4Runner / 1987 E30 325i / 1978 Scirocco CE / 1977 Rabbit / 1970 PL521

    4. 01-15-2005 07:04 AM #4
      The problem could be your pedal cluster. A1 pedal clusters are poorly designed and notoriously weak, the round metal tube that anchors the outside of the cable is held in place with two small welds and sometimes one of the welds will crack allowing the tube to shift which messes up the alignment of the cable resulting in the type of wear that you're seeing.

      Fixing this properly requires removing the pedal cluster which can be a huge, HUGE P.I.T.A.. Fortunately there's a good and effective ghetto fix this but it requires that the anchor point break off completely so I'd recommend waiting until it breaks (or break it on purpose) and just put a large washer and spacer between the end of the cable and the firewall, as illustrated below, effectively anchoring the outside of the cable to the firewall instead that skinny little piece welded to the pedal cluster. I drove my Scirocco repaired in this manner for almost 100,000 kms without any problems or even any signs that problems might develop in the future.




      Modified by ABA Scirocco at 8:07 AM 1-15-2005

    5. 01-15-2005 10:31 AM #5
      Quote, originally posted by ABA Scirocco »
      (or break it on purpose)

      Now thats the voice of a true dub mechanic!
      Thanks for some good info now I know what to do if that happens to me.

    6. 01-15-2005 11:02 AM #6
      I only suggested breaking it on purpose because it's better to have it break at a time and place of your choosing than at some random and probably very inconvenient time. Mine broke at 6:00AM leaving work after a night shift, I drove it home 45kms without using the clutch, not fun at all but thank goodness for all that heel-toe, rev matching practice I did, it sure came in handy that morning.

    7. 01-15-2005 01:21 PM #7
      Thanks mucho for the advice. I'll try the clutch cable first, and the pedal fix. If that doesn't do it, I'll break the tube off (great idea!) and go from there.
      Thomas

    8. 01-15-2005 01:32 PM #8
      BTW, the spacer in my diagram needs to be about 3/4" long and I made from the piece of tube that broke off.

    9. 01-15-2005 04:41 PM #9
      **** my tube broke off driving home to arizona from california. not cool. but i rigged it the same way and i have had noo problems at all.

    10. Member Crazy Hungarian's Avatar
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      01-15-2005 05:18 PM #10
      here's a question for you...is the rubber bushing and metal washer still present on the outside of the firewall where the clutch cable goes through? My 88 Scirocco had this as does my 83 jetta...it works to stalize the pedal cluster so that the factory spot welds don't weaken in the first place...it does this by tying the pedal cluster tube to the firewall...also the tube on the pedal cluster that the cable fits in can be bent to get the proper angle so the cable doesn't rub.
      Either way, chances are the rubber bushing and washer are long gine, but I just got both from the dealer recently so they still are available, I recommend intalling them as well as bending the bracket so it won't rub.

    11. 01-16-2005 01:45 AM #11
      Thats what happened to mine i think u guys have saved yet another cabby. Thanks so much. Glad I stumbled upon this!

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      01-16-2005 04:47 AM #12
      Haha, mine broke today for the 3rd time in a year and a half. I really just need to go tactical with the mig and pieces from the scrap-pile at work.

    13. 01-16-2005 07:02 PM #13
      Quote, originally posted by Crazy Hungarian »
      here's a question for you...is the rubber bushing and metal washer still present on the outside of the firewall where the clutch cable goes through? My 88 Scirocco had this as does my 83 jetta...it works to stalize the pedal cluster so that the factory spot welds don't weaken in the first place...it does this by tying the pedal cluster tube to the firewall...also the tube on the pedal cluster that the cable fits in can be bent to get the proper angle so the cable doesn't rub.
      Either way, chances are the rubber bushing and washer are long gine, but I just got both from the dealer recently so they still are available, I recommend intalling them as well as bending the bracket so it won't rub.

      Really? There's supposed to be on there already? I had no idea. I've never taken mine off. Well, looks like Vee Parts as well as the junkyard tomorrow.
      Thomas

    14. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
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      01-17-2005 09:35 AM #14
      Imagine breaking it when you are travelling From Greece to Belgium (1500kms) and you are in Swiss Alpes at 4AM in the morning, raining like crazy on the very top of the Alpes.
      WHAT DO YOU DO? just drive 800kms with no clutch. big deal!
      And yes, mine is exactly the same way as Thomas's. It is slowly sawed. As fas as I can see the hole is wrong. it should be a few cm lower.
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

    15. 01-17-2005 09:35 PM #15
      Quote, originally posted by Black_cabbie »
      Imagine breaking it when you are travelling From Greece to Belgium (1500kms) and you are in Swiss Alpes at 4AM in the morning, raining like crazy on the very top of the Alpes.
      WHAT DO YOU DO? just drive 800kms with no clutch. big deal!
      And yes, mine is exactly the same way as Thomas's. It is slowly sawed. As fas as I can see the hole is wrong. it should be a few cm lower.

      I drove from Frankfurt through the alps to Verona, italy in fall, 2003. It was beautiful! Rented a VW Turbo Diesel! What a great ride!
      The hole on my cable needs to go up, not down...it's sawing at the top. I compared the one that's sawing to the one on my '84 and I noticed that the '84's cable seems to go horizontally into the firewall from the engine side. The '81's seems to come in from above slightly and go downward through the firewall instead of being horizontal. I'll have to look closer, but I'm wondering if the tube isn't just broken off or on its way to breaking off...heh...good thing I have towing on my insurance!
      Thomas

    16. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      01-19-2005 12:34 AM #16
      Thomas,
      I promised you pics, here they are.
      I put them here so you could easily compare to your pics, it pretty much looks like your guide tube has already broken loose and is somehow wedged or lodged in place about 5/8" low, no wonder your cable cuts through.
      1st is my unbroken, unrepaired '92 cabby, sorry, it was a tough access photo with the knee bar in the way, view is from the right side of the cable, I think I had the pedal depressed.

      2nd is an oxy/acetylene welded in place repair on my '79 Sedan, you can see where I didn't bother to repaint the scorched paint on the firewall, view from the left of the cable.

      3rd is the bolt fix to prevent it from happening again. Drill through the floor of the cowl area, double nut a bolt sandwiching the floor of the cowl, end of the bolt to make contact with the top of the guide tube. Relieves a lot of flex, still no substitute for a smooth easy pedal effort. Engine compartment view, just left and behind the brake booster, looking in a mirror.

      Ron
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    17. 01-19-2005 04:09 PM #17
      Ron,
      thanks a bunch for those pics! Your first one ('92) looks exactly like my '84's. Clean and straight. The more I look at these pics, the more I am convinced that the tube must have broken one of the welds and is somehow wedged in place as you suggested...
      Looks like I have my work cut out for me. I'm going to get a new clutch cable this weekend and go from there.
      Thomas

    18. Member tolusina's Avatar
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      01-20-2005 12:46 AM #18
      Thomas,
      Compare

      with

      I think these two pics are about the same view position, slightly different angle, see how much lower your tube sits and how centered in the tube my cable is?
      I welded using oxy/acetylene, I've heard of others having success with MIG, I'd want an auto darkening helmet to MIG this job for sure.
      Ron
      Quote Originally Posted by kamzcab86
      I hate reading: "But I bought this car for $500 and don't want to put another dime into it."
      ____(hey, it's VW AND it's electrical, what's not to fail?) neoBentley+



    19. 01-20-2005 05:49 PM #19
      Ron,
      Thanks again. I know nothing about welding, but I have a buddy who does. I'll show him the pics and see what he says.
      Thomas

    20. 01-25-2005 05:19 PM #20
      Well, the tube was, indeed broken as Ron and others had suggested. The cable ate through the plastic and the tube and into the firewall. Gak!
      I did some comparisons with my '84 and here is what I've discovered: The clutch cable comes off the tranny and to the firewall in an arch. This means that it doesn't approach the firewall horizontally, but instead it comes in from above. This adds to the normal stress on the tube weld. Finally the weld gives and either breaks cleanly or the tube bends into line with the clutch cable (no longer holding it horizontally). When this happens, the bottom of the tube is pointing to the floor inside and the cable has to arch back up to reach the pedal.
      I have a welding buddy who made it all pretty and ready to fit back in! It's very nice, now. I'm looking forward to driving Otto later this week! Thanks for all your support. I'll post pics later.
      Thomas

    21. Member ericb49's Avatar
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      01-25-2005 07:20 PM #21
      I Love The 80s!
      Quote, originally posted by Thomas_covenant »
      Thanks for all your support.

      Quote, originally posted by Fred Bartles »
      "Hello there. My name is Fred Bartles and this is Ed Jaymes. You know, it occurred to Ed the other day that between his fruit orchard and my premium grade wine vineyard, we could make a truly superior premium-grade wine cooler. It sounded good to me. So Ed took out a second on his house, and wrote to Harvard for an MBA, and now we’re preparing to enter the wine cooler business. We will try to keep you posted on how it’s going. And thank you for your support."

    22. Member fuelsparkcompression's Avatar
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      04-14-2008 03:40 PM #22
      great write up! im fixing mine tonite....

    23. Member teknikALLEN's Avatar
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      07-11-2013 09:40 PM #23
      Great thread back from the dead!

      My carrier tube breaky for me today!




      I stuck a washer on and let the cable adjuster all the way out for the roadside fix....

      How bad is it to remove the pedal cluster??

      Are these pedal clusters universal through the cabby run? ( i.e. will a 1992 fit a 1985)?

      Last edited by teknikALLEN; 07-11-2013 at 10:23 PM.
      Quote Originally Posted by briano1234 View Post
      I would rather do a 3 rear cables than a passenger side motor mount.
      020ld for this stuff... a clutch and 5th gear conversation with Broke VW

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