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I've got a Beck with a Suby installed and I'm continually tightening the wing nut on the end of the clutch cable.  I'm at the point now that I can barely get him in gear and I've about run out of threads on the end of the cable. What's going on?  I don't get the "stretching" sound like I used to get on a bug that was getting ready to break.

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I quick fix I have used is to remove the wing nut and slide a 1/2" or so stack of washers with an inner diameter size that will just slide over the threaded end of the clutch cable and large enough on the outer diameter to not fall through the hole in the end of the clutch arm. Then spin the wingnut back on the cable and tighten until the wing nut is pushing on the stack of washers. This will give you the ability to adjust the clutch arm to a point it will disengage the clutch like it should. Good luck and happy motoring.

As Greg/Wolfgang suggests, the welds can break on the clutch cross-shaft. Clutch operation will be gradually affected if only one weld breaks, and completely cease when they both break. Look at the picture Greg posted on the right with the red lines. The weld breaks at the joint between the shaft and the throwout bearing arms.

When rebuilding a transmission, the clutch cross-shaft should be checked closely and the brass bushings replaced and greased. This is an often forgotten or missed step, besides greasing the clutch tube when replacing the cable.

Also pay attention to a proper arc in the Bowden tube, that can affect smooth clutch take-up and make it seem like you don't know how to use a clutch.

Last edited by DannyP

This cable needed continuous tightening as the pedal continued on it's path to the floorboard.  Now, when the pedal is on the on floor, it's nearly impossible to get it into gear.  so my project for today is to get the car off the floor and pull the pedal assembly.I'll check out the arm on the cluster and determine its' functioning. The Bowden tub has remained in the same position since I've had it.

I LOVE this question!

I work with racing shells (rowing) on the side. In the rowing world, the shells have wing nuts under the deck to hold the tracks on. They're often tough to get to so some individual came up with a wooden dowel with a slot cut in the head of it so you could reach under, jamb it onto the the wing nut and loosen/tighten -it became known as a "woody". No, I'm not making this up.

I was at a regatta once where I was on one end of an men's eight (approx 55' long) and my buddy was on the other. We were prepping it for the next race. Along came the head coach, tall slender, good looking woman. She looked at my buddy "Terry, do you have a woody?" Well, I buried my head in the hull but my buddy could see me loosing it. He replied "Not now Lizzy, may be later." She stomped off leaving both of us with tears in our eyes.


When you get the pedal cluster out of the tunnel, reach inside the tunnel and follow the end of the cable back to the tube it runs in. It should be welded to a small bracket attached to the inside of the tunnel.  Grab the end of the tube and see if it moves around in any direction.  If it does not move at all, that’s good.  If it moves at all, it will need to be re-welded.  That may require a small opening on the passenger side of the tunnel to gain access to the tube and bracket to weld them back together.

Now go back to the other end of the cable where it exits the frame.  It should also be welded to the frame right where it exits. If it is loose at all it will have to be re-welded to the frame or it’s mounting bracket.  For that it might be easier to use the David Stroud trick, but I just tack-welded mine in a couple of spots and it has been fine since.

What @Gordon Nichols said- the welds that hold the guide tube in place have been known to break loose, especially when using a heavier than stock pressure plate.  And what @DannyP said about the fingers on the throwout bearing shaft- it's not unusual for those to break loose with heavier pressure plates as well.  I've never seen/heard of the arm that attaches to the shaft (that the wing nut sits on) bend or break but anything is possible.

There are several places that sell versions of @Michael McKelvey's little tool (sorry Michael, I didn't mean to infer... oh, forget it!)

Last edited by ALB

They have switched to a new frame design and I don’t know what they do now, but the round tube frame shown above has a 3-sided rectangular tunnel welded in. Bob the underside of the car there are fiberglass panels glassed in.  In later cars the one under the pedal cluster was removable.  I had to cut the fiber glass holding it in to make it removable, but doing so sure made access to the clutch cable easy.  You can change the cable without removing the pedals.  Much easier!

Last edited by Lane Anderson

I have a lowly CMC    And as such it doesn’t have that spiffy access panel on the bottom of the tunnel as Lane had.  

When my clutch tube let go at the welds, the clutch acted just like yours, Meade.  I got out the angle grinder with a cut-off wheel and, zip-zap!  I cut a door in the passenger side of the tunnel for access so I could re-weld the front of the tube to the anchor bracket.  Adding a 3/4” wide strip around the edges of the plate removed turns it into a panel that can be re-attached with screws for future access.  Unlike Lane, though, I don’t have to get the car up in the air to gain access - Just flip up the carpet and unscrew the panel.

Easiest way to change a clutch cable in a Beck Speedster with our old 3" round tube chassis is through the pedal hole just like a Beetle.  Same VW pedals, etc...  There IS an access panel underneath (5 actually) for easy inspection but it can be difficult to hook the cable end to the pedal hook from underneath like that.

New Beck chassis use a completely different design, different pedals and hydraulic clutch as a standard.

Great posts above; first thing I would check is the cable itself. The strands can start breaking one by one and those are the symptoms; you start losing pedal efficiency and the travel gets longer for the clutch to activate. The next thing I would check, as Gord and others have so eloquently pointed out, is the clutch tube's welds in the tunnel failing and the tube coming totally loose.  You'll have to remove the pedal cluster so the third thing I would check while doing that is the little clutch pedal hook where the clutch cable hooks on to. With enough use, those start wearing out a groove to the point that the hook is almost breaking off. That little hook replacement is also readily available from VW part suppliers.

Last edited by Impala
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