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So I broke down and ordered this clutch shaft upgrade on Monday from Classicbugparts.com because I can hear something clicking in the tunnel when I step on the clutch (plus, the cable hook was worn out maybe 20 years ago and been limping along, since).

clutch_shaft_upgraded2.jpg

It arrived yesterday, USPS.  That's pretty quick service from California to Massachusetts!  

Ron Motren is great to do business with and quickly replied when I emailed him off of his contact info on the Samba to find out if they were in stock.  Looks like it was mailed out within hours of placing the order.

The shaft is very well made, welds are excellent, it comes with a new pedal locking pin for the shaft and lube for the cable pivot and it looks like a quality product.  I can't wait to get it installed.

That's the good news.

The bad news has nothing to do with Classic Bug Parts and all to do with trying to get the clutch pedal arm off of a pedal cluster that has never been apart since it was made, way back in early 1969, and lived in snowy, salty, yucky winters all of its' life (even the summers were snowy, salty and yucky....)

The pedal/shaft lock pin is a 1/4" solid dowel (close to 1/4", but metric, so a shade smaller) and it wouldn't budge even with a 12-ton shop press.  Next I center-drilled both ends of the pin and, miraculously, it loosened up enough to pound it out of the shaft with a 3 lb. hammer and punch.  It's a good thing they include a new pin with the upgrade.  YAY!  ( Or so I thought. )

Still, the pedal is frozen to the shaft and will...not...budge.  I got the pedal arm to rotate 15º or so by heating it with a MAPP torch, but that's all she wrote.  By then it was 8:30 at night and I celebrated all that went well by heading to the house.

Tomorrow, I'll get out the Big Gun - The Oxy-Acetylene torch - and really heat that puppy up.  That'll loosen it!   I had forgotten how much fun it is working on old northern cars with the usual corrosion and frozen parts.    🤬  

Looks like I'll be doing a full rebuild on this pedal cluster after all, and what I thought was an afternoon job is turning into a few days, but it's winter and I'm not driving and need something more to do, right?!?!?!?    🤪

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OK, so let's see, here.....

@LI-Rick  Yup, the tube welds are fine.  That was the first thing I checked and I had welded them (both ends) several years ago.  I noticed some un-even wear on the (thoroughly worn out) hook thingie that the cable hangs on, though.  When I used my spare cable with the hook on the bench you can feel it catching in the same spot on each stroke.

@Butcher Boy  I saw that snap ring and haven't yet checked my Bentley's to see what the stack-up is, but so far I've been trying to press the shaft out of the clutch pedal arm, not yet out of the pedal base - THAT comes after I get the pedal off.  It looks like it holds the brake pedal from moving left and interfering with the clutch, that's all.  The brake pedal base has a grease fitting and it is free on the shaft, so I don't expect too much grief with that, once I free the clutch pedal, just clean it up and re-paint.

@Alan Merklin  I shoulda thought of ATF last night to let it sit overnight.  I'll try the ATF and acetone this morning and re-try this afternoon, unless I get impatient (who, me?) and just heat the Beejeezus out of it and use a puller to get it off.  It wanted to let go after heating it with MAPP (I could move it a few degrees for a few seconds) but always quickly re-froze once the torch went away.  

ATF/Acetone seems easier at this point than getting out the "Fire Wrench" but I'm not especially optimistic.  

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

So I broke down and ordered this clutch shaft upgrade on Monday from Classicbugparts.com because I can hear something clicking in the tunnel when I step on the clutch (plus, the cable hook was worn out maybe 20 years ago and been limping along, since).

clutch_shaft_upgraded2.jpg

It arrived yesterday, USPS.  That's pretty quick service from California to Massachusetts!  

Ron Motren is great to do business with and quickly replied when I emailed him off of his contact info on the Samba to find out if they were in stock.  Looks like it was mailed out within hours of placing the order.

The shaft is very well made, welds are excellent, it comes with a new pedal locking pin for the shaft and lube for the cable pivot and it looks like a quality product.  I can't wait to get it installed.

That's the good news.

The bad news has nothing to do with Classic Bug Parts and all to do with trying to get the clutch pedal arm off of a pedal cluster that has never been apart since it was made, way back in early 1969, and lived in snowy, salty, yucky winters all of its' life (even the summers were snowy, salty and yucky....)

The pedal/shaft lock pin is a 1/4" solid dowel (close to 1/4", but metric, so a shade smaller) and it wouldn't budge even with a 12-ton shop press.  Next I center-drilled both ends of the pin and, miraculously, it loosened up enough to pound it out of the shaft with a 3 lb. hammer and punch.  It's a good thing they include a new pin with the upgrade.  YAY!  ( Or so I thought. )

Still, the pedal is frozen to the shaft and will...not...budge.  I got the pedal arm to rotate 15º or so by heating it with a MAPP torch, but that's all she wrote.  By then it was 8:30 at night and I celebrated all that went well by heading to the house.

Tomorrow, I'll get out the Big Gun - The Oxy-Acetylene torch - and really heat that puppy up.  That'll loosen it!   I had forgotten how much fun it is working on old northern cars with the usual corrosion and frozen parts.    🤬  

Looks like I'll be doing a full rebuild on this pedal cluster after all, and what I thought was an afternoon job is turning into a few days, but it's winter and I'm not driving and need something more to do, right?!?!?!?    🤪

Hi Gordon....I felt your pain several months ago when I had to change out my clutch cable. The Pedal assembly was hard to get out and getting the new clutch cable back in was another whole story. While I had the peddle assembly out, I did add the Clutch Pedal Shaft Upgrade - BIG BOY (from ClassicBugParts.com) 1" extender onto the shaft giving you additional foot room between the clutch and brake pedal. Since I have big feet, this addition has helped me out quite a bit. I figured since I had the whole Peddle assembly out it would be a good thing to get done....my clutch peddle was not easy to get off the shaft and needed quite a bit of cajoling to get it off. Included a picture of the Big-Boy Pedal extender.

Big Boy

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...what I thought was an afternoon job is turning into a few days...


Very unusual with these cars.

But continue to continue. This is a worthwhile mod.

We did this about eight years and 30 thousand miles ago ('we' in the editorial sense — I wrote the checks) when it was time for a new transaxle.

I would say that the pedal motion has been smoove and trouble-free ever since, but you know what happens about a week after you say anything like that, so I won't.

I'll also add that, as long as you've got the pedals out and (almost) apart, and as long as you've got the welder out, too, and as you're still facing, what, about another six months of winter there and are looking for ways to fill the time, you might also consider another clutch pedal mod 'we' did at the same time ('we' were already writing checks, so why not one more).

And that's welding a long, skinny 'plate' to the back of the pedal arm itself so that instead of looking like a 'U' in cross section, it becomes a closed tube, which any engineer will tell you is stronger than a 'U' and less likely to bend over time.

I was told by the part of 'we' who was actually doing the work that drag racers with big feet and heavy-duty pressure plates do that all the time (not to imply that you have big feet).

If you've got the time, I've got the suggestions.

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@Sacto Mitch posted:

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Very unusual with these cars.

But continue to continue. This is a worthwhile mod.

We did this about eight years and 30 thousand miles ago ('we' in the editorial sense — I wrote the checks) when it was time for a new transaxle.

I would say that the pedal motion has been smoove and trouble-free ever since, but you know what happens about a week after you say anything like that, so I won't.

I'll also add that, as long as you've got the pedals out and (almost) apart, and as long as you've got the welder out, too, and as you're still facing, what, about another six months of winter there and are looking for ways to fill the time, you might also consider another clutch pedal mod 'we' did at the same time ('we' were already writing checks, so why not one more).

And that's welding a long, skinny 'plate' to the back of the pedal arm itself so that instead of looking like a 'U' in cross section, it becomes a closed tube, which any engineer will tell you is stronger than a 'U' and less likely to bend over time.

I was told by the part of 'we' who was actually doing the work that drag racers with big feet and heavy-duty pressure plates do that all the time (not to imply that you have big feet).

If you've got the time, I've got the suggestions.

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Use an early pedal assembly, they have forged arms.

Winnah, Winnah, Chicken Dinnah!

Well, I went out there this morning before the chickens crowed, mixed up a couple teaspoons of ATF and acetone (which, btw, looks a LOT like Robitussin cough syrup) and poured it into the upright end of the clutch shaft, where the pedal arm forms a handy-dandy depression to hold it, and resigned to just let it sit for the day and see what happens.

I put stuff away and was about to head back to the house but figured I would try moving the pedal arm, just for the Halibut.  And the damned thing moved!  I jiggled it back and forth and it loosened right up and, with a bit more effort, the pedal lifted right off the shaft.  ¡Holy Cojónes!   I hadn't even let it soak for a minute!  Now I'm wondering if ATF/Acetone would have helped to get the lock pin out last night.   🤔

So Dr. Clock is the Winnah, this time around.  Just shows to go ya, how important experience is in working on these little cars.  I'm kind-a disappointed, though.....   I was looking forward to using the BAT (Big A$$ torch) and getting fire-up soot all over everything in the shop.   Good thing the town fire chief lives across the street.  🚒   At least he won't be giving me the hairy eyeball for torching something in my garage.  👀

@Larry Scislowicz - I looked at the "Big Boy/extra-wide-foot option but figured with my size 8-1/2 narrow left foot I didn't need that.  Besides, I often slide my foot in beside the pedals and up against my dead pedal so moving the clutch to the left, while giving a lot more room for your feet on the pedals, would get really tight on the dead pedal.  Six of one, half dozen of the other.

So I'll now be reconditioning the pedal cluster, making the pedals even when at rest (I'll be making a new pedal stop as the one in there looks funky), lubing everything in sight and getting it back in there.  I have an access port on the passenger side of the tunnel (I opened it up to re-weld the front of the clutch tube years ago) which makes it super easy to service the clutch and cable so everything going forward should be pretty straight-forward - Famous last words, I know.  

As an aside, my Charbroil "Big Easy" infrared turkey cooker makes a dandy shop heater.

Jus' Sayin'......

And @Sacto Mitch:  That's a good idea and I'll see what I can do.  I'm running a Kennedy 1,700# pressure plate, but also a clutch actuator arm from a T2 bus on my transaxle, so the foot pressure is very light, but while the pedal is off makes it an easy upgrade and I can practice welding - always a time-absorbing endeavor.  

Next time I have the engine out I'll be going to a Sachs pressure plate.  The Kennedy works OK, but chatters at times until you learn how to minimize it.  I would rather it just not chatter and my cah-guy idol, Carey Hines, uses Sachs, too, so there you go.

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

I would do that, Mike, but I'm living in the world of el-cheapo Yankee characters here in Grafton (where we have a sizeable share of "characters") so my persona just wouldn't allow it.  I may look upon other pedal clusters with some degree of envy, they look so new and polished and all, but I've taken the tack of re-using what I have.

Mandalorian

I have spoken

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I just have to keep my Speedster purchases secret from my wife, at least their cost.  She doesn't appreciate the pleasure of Speeder upgrading.  She thinks it is fine the way it is and I should leave well enough alone.

It's not called a hobby if you just have it and leave it alone...then it's just a collector item or a hoarding issue ..... tell your wife collector is too upscale and you don't wish to be a hoarder

I just have to keep my Speedster purchases secret from my wife, at least their cost.  She doesn't appreciate the pleasure of Speeder upgrading.  She thinks it is fine the way it is and I should leave well enough alone.

I would argue if you buy a turnkey car you may never have to “upgrade”. With my Spyder I threw in some Coco mats and that’s it. Probably will have well over 2 years to plan my 356 build. If I can’t get that car at least 99% right in that amount of time it’s time for the drool bucket. I finally found the right Emory to copy so it shouldn’t be that hard.

Stan you remember my IM. The one I should have kept. I spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars trying to make that car my own. New cam and flashed ECU. New front brakes. New wheels. Fog lights. New stereo. New shifter. I even built a new exhaust system for it. Hard tonneau. So yes I get it. I’m lucky to live in a place I can drive almost year round. And I guess I’d rather be driving.

@550 Phil posted:

I spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars trying to make that car my own.

I would submit that we're talking about different things, Phil. I well remember your pursuit of your personal white whale, and the lengths you went.

That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about loving something too much to ever sell it, but always having the desire to mess with it. You messed with your IM because you wanted it to be something it wasn't. You haven't messed with your Spyder at all, because you're happy with it as it sits.

There are some sick individuals out here on the interwebs who can't leave well enough alone, no matter how close to perfect the car is already. I'm actually worried that at some point, I'll run out of things I want to do.

That'd be truly awful.

Last edited by Stan Galat

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...I'm still trying to figure out how to get my car up on the side wheels like Merklin does...





Gordon, this makes the most efficient use of available floor space.

He begins all builds by laying down the passenger-side wheels on the garage floor, then adds brakes, suspension bits, frame, and so on. It requires incredible precision. If you don't get the spacing just right when you first lay down the wheels, the pan ends up being the wrong length.

But it's really the only way to be working on two or three builds at once in a single-bay garage.

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@Sacto Mitch posted:

.Gordon, this makes the most efficient use of available floor space.

He begins all builds by laying down the passenger-side wheels on the garage floor, then adds brakes, suspension bits, frame, and so on. It requires incredible precision. If you don't get the spacing just right when you first lay down the wheels, the pan ends up being the wrong length.

He's up on the driver's side wheels, but other than that - spot on, Mitch.

Had to add rear sway bar bushing mounting plates and pull the coil overs to change the springs to the right weight and paint both top and bottom.... so WTH.... flipped it on the driver's side that is with the help of a neighbor this chassis is heavier than a Type 1 Beetle.  I do have a fabricated to fit sheet metal tunnel section that covers the center lines and tubes...... It's now resting back down on the stands.  Will continue posts and photos on the "Can I build an outlaw for you"  thread.

Last edited by Alan Merklin

I wanna meet this "neighbor".

Pro'bly winner of the "Mr. Elkins, WV" weight lifter trophy of 1972, or sumthin'.  

Or maybe just another Marine.....   😉   "Hey!  You gotta minute?  I wanna flip a car chassis up on its' side!"  🫣

I'm glad I'm just rejuvenating a pedal cluster - I can flip that sucker over all by myself!

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

My Pedals have been rejuvenated and re-installed.   I feel like a new man.  Or at least an old man with new pedals.

The old "C" clip that holds the brake pedal arm in place broke when I picked it up to re-install it (I seem to have days like that) so a quick trip to my undercover ACE hardware got me a new clip, plus! new Bronze bushings and a new thrust washer for where the brake pedal had chewed into the cluster base over the past 50+ years - They even had the washer in Metric!  Taking the lead from Mr. Merklin I gave everything a shot of rattle-can satin black yesterday so it looks as new as everything now works.

I found that the new cable attach point must be very slightly farther forward than my old worn-out cable hook, so my adjuster is a bit farther back (3/8" or so), but no biggie - I have enough slack in the adjustment and Bowden Tube washers so that, even with my custom cable from a sailboat rigger (he also drag races a Corvette) everything fits.

The snow we expected from the storm that @Lane Anderson sent Northeast has turned into torrential rains over night, so I'm hoping that will wash the salt off the roads and I can treat myself, like all you "Wet-Coasters", to a test drive later this week because today's temp peaked at 36F and Tomorrow is supposed to be upper 50's !?!?!?!

I can dream, can't I??

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