JBugs Video Series

Clutch & Accelerator Cable Replacement:

Video Overview:

Replacing the accelerator cable is a fairly simple task but the clutch cable replacement is a bit more involved as the pedal assembly has to be removed. Follow along with our tech as he shows you how to replace both cables in our 1963 Resto-Custom Beetle Project.

Video Tips:

Tools you will need:

11mm Wrench
14mm Wrench
Vice Grips
3/8" Ratchet
6" Ratchet
17mm Socket
Utility Knife
Flathead Screwdriver
Angle Grinder With Cut-Off Disc

Video Transcript:

Hi, I'm Sam with JBugs.com. With the throw out shaft, bushing, and spring replaced in our last video, we can get on with our originally planned repair. We are replacing the clutch cable and swapping out the stock accelerator pedal for a roller pedal. As the 1963 Resto Custom Beetle hasn't moved since our last video, the front wheels are still chocked, the back of the car is sitting up on jack stands, and the engine is out.


The clutch cable adjustment nut is loosened from the cable with a wrench. Holding the cable with a pair of pliers or vice grips is usually necessary to keep the cable from twisting while removing the nut. 1966 and later models have a wing nut and won't require a wrench.


Inside the car, the accelerator pedal linkage is disconnected so the pedal can be pulled away from the assembly. The two 17 millimeter pedal assembly bolts are removed. The accelerator cable is pulled off the linkage end, and the brake pedal push rod clip is pried up with a flat head screwdriver so the push rod clip can be removed.


Next, the push rod is pried away from the master cylinder and brake pedal. The pedal assembly can now be pulled away from the tunnel a bit so the clutch cable can be disconnected from the pedal hook and the assembly can be removed from the car. The accelerator cable is pulled from the tunnel, followed by the clutch cable. The cables are probably greasy so be cautious if you have an interior you want to protect.


Back at the rear of the car, the stock Bowden, or clutch cable tube, is pulled from the tunnel and the transmission along with the remnants of the old cable tube and the clutch tube boot. A new clutch tube boot is installed at the chassis and a new Bowden tube is inserted in the boot and into the chassis.


Inside the car a new clutch cable is routed into the hole in the tunnel and slid into the metal clutch tube that runs inside the tunnel. The cable is pushed back until it comes out of the Bowden tube at the back of the car, having an assistant at the back of the car is helpful to let you know when to stop. With the cable at the end of the Bowden tube, the tube is bent so it curves and then can be slid onto the bracket on the transmission. The Bowden tube needs to have an arch across its length so that the clutch pedal operates smoothly. We use some washers at the end of the tube before setting in the transmission in order to set roughly one inch of droop or arch in the tube.


The clutch cable end is now pulled through a bit and the clutch tube seal is installed at the end of the Bowden tube. We're prepping for a roller pedal, so the stock accelerator pedal is removed from the floor pan by pulling the pivot pin. We prefer running a heavy duty accelerator cable, so we need to modify the accelerator cable tube on the chassis for the longer end on the cable. The tar board is trimmed back on the tunnel to expose the full length of the metal tube and then the tube is pried away from the tunnel a bit so that it can be cut with a cut-off disc on a grinder.


After cutting through as much of the tube as we can, without cutting into the tunnel, the tube is bent back and forth with a screwdriver to tear the tube away from the chassis. Then the tube is tapped back into place with a hammer. Now the new heavy duty accelerator cable can be slid into the tunnel. You can see the longer end of the accelerator cable here and see why we have to cut back the tube on the tunnel. If not, the cable would be sitting too far forward to attach to the tunnel.


Then at the back of the car, the accelerator tube is slid over the accelerator cable and into the tube boot at the chassis. Now, the rebuilt pedal assembly can be installed by attaching the clutch pedal to the cable hook. Then the clutch pedal is pushed forward to the firewall and held there, while the pedal assembly base is positioned into the tunnel. At the same time, the brake pedal return spring on the bottom of the assembly must be pushed forward towards the front of the car, so that it [can] push the brake pedal away from the firewall. The assembly can now be loosely bolted to the tunnel by hand while making sure to keep the clutch pedal from falling down. If the pedal comes down, the cable falls off and you'll have to pull the pedal assembly out and start over again.


An assistant at the back of the car is now needed. While light pressure is still held on the clutch pedal inside, an assistant can guide the clutch cable end through the clutch arm on the transmission. The clutch cable adjustment nut is threaded onto the cable until the slack in the cable is removed and the clutch cable is pulled to a stop on the chassis and no longer moves freely. The two pedal assembly bolts can be fully tightened and the brake pedal push rod can be greased slightly and slid into the master cylinder.


The brake pedal push rod clip is positioned next to it on the pedal so the brake pedal push rod pin can be slid into place and seated with the help of a chisel. The clip is tapped down with a hammer and bent over the chisel to complete the installation. The accelerator cable can now be hooked up to the pedal. We now have a roller pedal and a heavy duty cable that require a small bolt and a few nuts to hold the cable in place. If [you're] using a stock pedal and cable, attach the cable to the push rod to earlier models, or through the pedal lever on late models and the job is done.


We will be showing a tear down and rebuild of the stock pedal assembly in an upcoming video. And you may have noticed a new master cylinder along with some primer on the firewall as well. We will be showing you those jobs in a future video, in the meantime head over to JBugs.com for all your vintage Volkswagen parts and accessories.