In stick shifts, the clutch cable is used to disengage the clutch plates as you step on the clutch pedal. This lets you shift gears easily. Unfortunately, the cable can eventually stretch, snap, or wear because of excessive use. Once this cable breaks, there could be excessive free play that may get in the way of smooth clutch work. Shifting gears won't be as easy as it used to be. You also can't help but notice some irregularities with the clutch work.
Symptoms of a bad clutch cable
- The clutch pedal feels stiff and may not be depressed easily. The worn-out cable may restrict the movement of the clutch pedal. If you try hard to fight the resistance from the pedal and step on it with force, the cable may finally break. As a result, the pedal may get stuck and stick to the floor. In this case, the pedal should be replaced along with the busted cable.
- The clutch cable might be in bad condition if you notice that the clutch is slipping out of gear more frequently than usual. You may experience this when driving uphill or the vehicle is moving at higher speeds.
- A stretched-out cable can cause clutch failure, a symptom that might happen if there are other broken clutch components. With a busted cable, you may fail to shift gears.
- The cable may leak when it's detached or when it's broken. It may fail to regulate the clutch plates, and this will often result in the sudden jolts and jerks when starting the vehicle. To check for leaks, visually inspect the cable for damage and disconnection.
Installing a clutch cable
Step 1: Underneath the vehicle, locate the side case that's sitting next to the transmission.
Step 2: After locating the transmission side case, look for the dust cover. You have to loosen the bolts that secure the cover onto the transmission to remove it. A pry bar should be used for wedging the clutch fork in the closed position. As you take away some tension on the cable end, carefully pull the cable free from the notch. Trace the cable to the bell housing mount. Undo the retainer clip on the mount using a flat head screwdriver or needle-nose pliers. As you remove the clip, you can easily push the cable through the hole on the bell housing.
Step 3: Search for a hanger (mount) that secures the Bowden tube (cable housing) to the frame or the firewall's underside. Undo the bolt using a socket or wrench or remove the screws of the hanger with a screwdriver. As you go inside the engine compartment, you have to find any hanger and remove its mounting bolt. From there, you can pull up the cable from beneath the engine.
Step 4: Loosen and remove the bolts that secure the cable support and grommet to the firewall. You may need a socket and wrench for this. As you get inside the cabin compartment, flash some lights to the clutch pedal's back. There you'll find a bare section of the cable that links to a slot in the clutch pedal quadrant. Remove the cable end from the quadrant's notch. Pushing back the cable though the firewall and engine compartment would be the next step. Free the cable as you move outside of the vehicle.
Step 5: Push the threaded end of the new clutch cable to the transmission coming from the side of the engine compartment. Follow the same path when the cable was removed. The Bowden tube should be lying next to the original hanger locations. Put back the cable support and grommet into the hole in the firewall. You have to move inside the cabin compartment to route the cable end back into the quadrant notch.
Step 6: As you crawl underneath the vehicle, put the cable end support back into the bell housing. The retaining clip can be replaced with needle-nose pliers or a flathead screwdriver. You also have to wedge the clutch closed with a pry bar. The next thing you have to do is to put back the clutch cable end into the notch on the fork. After this, you can release the pry bar. The dust cover should be secured back onto the transmission case with the bolt/s.
Step 7: Line up the Bowden tube with the lower hangers. The tube should be fitted into the support mounts. You then have to tighten the bolts on the hanger and have to move to the engine compartment. While there, you have to make sure that the upper hanger mount is aligned with the Bowden tube. Finally, secure the hanger mount bolts or screws.
Step 8: Test the clutch pedal. There should be some resistance when you step on it. If there's free play, you may have to adjust the clutch cable by removing the dust cover and by using two end wrenches on the cable nuts.