Replacing clutch cable making it the right size can Be a challenge for my mechanic since it has to be shortened and fit. I’ve got a call into Jbugg but I don’t know what they can do for people that have custom made cables. Any ideas would be great.


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Original Post

Call Greg at Vintage.

The clutch cable is a shortened version of a standard VW sedan clutch cable.  Pre-Shortened cables can be had from Vintage Speedsters or simply buy a standard VW clutch cable (German is always best) and have a sailboat rigging shop shorten it and then swedge on a new, metric end of the right size and thread pitch.   The end-to-end dimension from the top of the pedal loop to the end of the throw-out stud is 77 inches.

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Carey:  Are your clutch cables about the same length (at least within the adjustment length of the throw-out stud)?

I've often wondered if yours are the same length,  just never knew.


I wasn't able to locate a source of cables, so I did a work around.  Not too practical, but it works.   I used a swageless cable end, tapped it for a stud with OEM thread, so an OEM nut is used.  It gets convoluted because you cut the cable, feed it through, then attach the cable end.

Not too practical as some fairly precise drilling and tapping are involved.  Only advantage end can be reused.  The cable end, is from a yacht supply company in New Zealand.

Had I known about it, I would have definitely gone with the source mentioned in the posts. 



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That's a neat solution. For a less pretty, but much simpler and arguably more elegant solution, consider using a stock cable and end, making a loop over the transaxle to take up the slack, and putting a cable clamp or two over the cable where it overlaps itself. 

I’m having a very difficult time finding somebody that has a hydraulic pressure machine

to put on the new screw end for shortened 77 inch cable


I was told a Speedometer Shop should have this hydraulic pressure crimper






Speedo cables are a bit smaller. A sailboat rigger would probably have it.

Or just do what I did:

This solution is six years old now and never a problem. And yeah, I know it's ugly but no one ever sees it unless I show them. 

JPC posted:

I’m having a very difficult time finding somebody that has a hydraulic pressure machine

to put on the new screw end for shortened 77 inch cable


I was told a Speedometer Shop should have this hydraulic pressure crimper






What Ed said- go down to the nearest marina, ask around and there should be someone there (or close by) that can do it.

This clutch cable idea it looks very solid and I have a replica MG  in Wisconsin


And I think that’s exactly what we did


The weather is great and I want to drive my beautiful Speedster with 4000 miles on it

This is a great idea I live in The desert but I’ll try my best. But we have a replica builder called vintage Arizona in Scottsdale where I bought the car as you know it’s been in production for 2 1/2 years. I’m having a hard time convincing them that they should be able to get a 77 inch clutch cable. With 4400 miles on it you don’t think a clutch cable would break but the list of things that have gone wrong with this car is just unbelievable. Does anybody know what POS stands for

edsnova posted:

Speedo cables are a bit smaller. A sailboat rigger would probably have it.

Or just do what I did:

This solution is six years old now and never a problem. And yeah, I know it's ugly but no one ever sees it unless I show them. 

Ed, that is ugly. I don't think I'd show that to anybody.

Carry on.

Who looks underneath the car if it works I will be happy but I’m going to try to find I sailboat rigor or go to my speedometer shop

The replica car I have at home has this type of rigging it doesn’t look good but it has been working for 10 years

JPC, why beat your head against a wall?

Just order two cables from Carey(Special Edition) or Greg(Vintage Motorcars Inc.). They are already the right length, and then you'll have a spare. And you won't have to deal with the Arizona crew.

And the best thing? You'll know what it looks like under there, even if you can't see it.

Last edited by DannyP

I'm with Danny - go to Vintage or Beck.

But, if you really, really want to find a cable rigger and you live in a desert, try poking around Phoenix for an aircraft service place - they should have suitable (hopefully, metric) cable ends and the hydraulic squasher to install them on the cable.

Robert M's post is a good commercial solution, which is generally fool proof and timely.

Cudos to James & edsnova, for showing the elegance of simplicity.  Once again,  posters of this forum have shown if there's a hard way, I will find it.

Although a slow learner, I do learn.  Instead of reinventing the wheel, I will start with this forum's search feature.  In my future I see fewer dents in my garage walls.

Well . . . what I did was get a buddy with a lathe to turn down a SS rod and cut it to length, four times.  Then drilled a hole into one end, and threaded the other end for the metric wing nut.  Took std VW cable and the prepared rod to sail shop, as mentioned, and had them cut the cable and swedge in the drilled out end to my overall length needed.  One issue I had was that my car is a JPS with a purpose built frame front end and rear vw pan section; a  hybrid arrangement, Assembled by hand by who knows whom?  Distance from pedal to clutch arm not any particular length.  I forget right now what it actually is, but its not the same as the pre-shortened ones used by the builders mentioned here, off by and inch or more.  I also had the threaded rod made a little bit longer, with a little more thread, so a little more adjustment is possible.  Had three made.

Ed, your lash up is as ugly as sin, and somehow suits your style to a tee.  Glad it works.

Like I mentioned before  I have a MG 1951 TDA replica 

My clutch cable has 79 cent clamps and has been working fine for 10 years 


Looks terrible

but I drive it even-in light rain without wipers   Just like a motorcycle 





we have clutch cables in stock....i see from your pictures where the cable broke and i am pretty sure i know why.... feel free to give me a call and i can give you some tips. 



Listen people, you're not making a run for your dog with some cable and clamps.

Please try to have either a work ethic, a bit of class, or both if you can manage. Take the "kit" and "shade tree mechanic" out of "kit car". Please?

Clutch cables. Sheesh. I was more impressed with Musbjim's shoelace throttle cable antics. 

Greg makes a good paint above where he mentions noticing where it broke...  I preach this to anyone who calls for a new cable.  Several things to look for that will make a cable last.

#1 GREASE the damn thing.  Fill the palm of your hand while inserting the cable and slide it through the grease.  We have a saying at the shop; "there's always time for lube".

#2 Measure backwards to your break! Look and see what caused your cable to break, it certainly wasn't shear strength!  It was sawn by something sharp.  Usually a rouge weld from someone tying to resecure a loose hard clutch cable tube or a misaligned clutch cable tube.  If your clutch cable exits the clutch tube at a hard angle, every time you push the clutch it saws metal to metal...

#3 check the bend in your Bowden tube.  Too much bend causes a heavy drag or misalignment and also saws away at the cable.

So mess with the hanger for the end of the tube on the transaxle case to improve the angle to the cable.  I just slotted the stud holes in the hanger with a file.

I bet you'll really like that longer arm.  Makes the clutch feel like Buhtah!

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

... furthermore, since it looks like we're into I'll show you mine if you show me yours, my clutch was very poorly adjusted when car delivered.  Did not like it at all.  close inspection revealed the odd length required as mentioned above.  It was assembled with a "std" short cable, and to make it fit on the last few threads of the threaded rod, the clutch had to be be partially under tension.  Evidence in picture showing how short the cable was with the clutch arm in its almost ready to depress condition.  One of a host of little shitty things you get with a hand built car, sometimes.OrigCable2


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BINGO, You’re right about hand built.

I have witness my assembly and ”mechanics “

that assembled my car. If they were well

experience wrenches they would be making

bigger bucks as a mechanic rather than an assembler....BIG DIFFERENCE 

Do you concur?








I've  never had a clutch cable break on me in over 55,000 Speedster miles but always dreaded it ever happening on the road.  Well two Carlises ago the cable didn't break but the wing nut holding the clutch cable  just disintegrated as we were leaving the Country Club for dinner on the first night.  Examining the scattered pieces it was apparent that the wing nut was just some kind of cheap Chinese pot metal.   Total junk, and I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did.  I had a spare solid steel machined wingnut in my supplies and was able to fix it on the spot.   When I returned home I screwed a second wingnut behind the one on the car as a safety feature and don't ever give it a thought anymore.  I have lubed that cable 2-3 times over the almost 14 years I've owned the car and the cable always looks like new.  

So check the wing nut on your car and if it's pot metal, replace it with one or two steel ones.  

It might be helpful to start a "Hints and kinks" forum for ideas like this.  I learned how to install a spare wire engine cover release from this site---another example of something for a Hints and Kinks forum.  There must be dozens and dozens of ideas that would help the Speedster grief factor and it would be nice to have them in one place within the SOC.

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