HOW TO REPLACE A BROKEN CLUTCH CABLE ON A 1978 VW BUS

by | 2018 | The Lills, VW Bus

We had our first go at replacing a broken clutch cable on our VW Bus in the blazing heat of a typical Las Vegas afternoon. In the midst of searching thrift stores to find wedding attire (as we had plans to renew our vows while on our cross-country adventure), we started reversing and the clutch just gave out, pedal to the floor, leaving us frozen in the middle of a busy parking lot. The two of us were able to get the bus out of gear and roll him back into a parking space for a temporary fix. Then, we slowly and cautiously rolled down the road to a better place to make the repair. We learned that we could shift, without using the clutch, by reaching the proper rpm. It was a last resort situation, but it’s good to know it can be done.

How To Replace A Broken Clutch Cable On A VW Bus - The Lills
Replacing Broken Clutch Cable On A VW Bus - The Lills

Thank goodness we had a spare clutch cable on board. The old one held on by a thread, as we pulled into a European car service shop nearby. It was closing hour, but the gentleman said we could park in the shade and he generously helped us with the stuck clevis pin, linked to the old broken cable.

Once the old cable was free, we pulled it out and went to work on installing the new cable. We took out our VW bus manuals and considering we had never done this before, it all went pretty smoothly. We were thankful to be on our way before sundown.

1978 VW Bus Clutch Cable Repair | How To Fix | The Lills

How To Replace A Broken Clutch Cable On A 1978 VW Bus:
  • Slide under the left rear wheel and find the clutch lever that holds the threaded adjustment end of the clutch cable and wing nut
  • Hold or clamp the cable end with a vice grip and turn the wing nut with your fingers until it comes off
  • The threaded adjustment end should now slide out of the clutch lever and the cable should hang with some slack
  • Slide under the front left of the bus, unbolt the clutch pedal from the lever coming out of the pan on the frame, so the clutch pedal falls free
  • Unbolt the two bolts holding the pan and lever on the frame
  • Pull the pan away from the frame (the cable is attached by the clevis pin on the inside and will come with it)
  • Take the clip pin out of the clutch clevis with a screwdriver, so the old cable can be removed
  • Pull the broken cable out of the housing tube
  • Insert the threaded adjustment end of the new cable with a hand full of wheel bearing grease in the other hand, guiding the cable through the grease, into the housing tube
  • Grease the entire cable as you push it through
  • If the cable gets stuck near the back, try removing or unhooking the bowden tube (flexible tube) from its holding bracket to allow the cable to come through it
  • Be sure not to kink the cable by forcing it and remember to re-seat the bowden tube back in its holding bracket, once the cable has come all the way through it
  • The downward bend or sag in the tube should be about 3/4″ to 1″
  • Add washers to the end of the tube to create more sag, if needed
  • From the front again, continue to grease and push the cable all the way through, until you can attach the clevis pin to the new cable
  • Grease the clevis, lever and moving parts
  • Line up the new cable with the lever on the inside of the pan and set the clevis pin in
  • Bolt the two bolts on the pan back on the frame
  • Bolt the clutch pedal back onto the lever that attaches to the pan
  • From the rear, pull the threaded adjusting end of the cable all the way up through the clutch lever and thread the wing nut on
  • Tighten the wing nut until the freeplay in the clutch pedal is 1/2″ to 1″
  • The new cable may stretch a little, so adjust it as needed until it is worked in

MORE VW BUS POSTS LIKE THIS ONE:

The Lills VW Bus Makeover

VW BUS INTERIOR MAKEOVER

One of the larger and more exciting changes to Moksha was to his interior. We ripped out every piece of furniture, panel and layer until he was completely bare-bones…

read more

VW Bus | Arizona Car Crash | The Lills

MIRACLE IN THE ARIZONA DESERT & THE MEDICINE MAN

Over winter 2018, the two of us hunkered down in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. We continued our design work and…

read more

Alex Lara Lill | VW Bus Westfalia | Camper Van Mechanics Axel Nut Fix | The Lills

TIGHTENING OUR VW BUS 46MM AXLE NUT | SIDE OF THE ROAD REPAIR

On our way through a small mountain town in our VW bus, we suddenly heard a clunky, bumpy and familiar sound, coming from the…

read more

How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot | The Lills VW Bus

HOW TO KEEP YOUR VOLKSWAGEN ALIVE MANUAL

This classic book has saved our butts so many times while we’ve been on the road. It covers buses, bugs, campers and other VW….

read more