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  1. #1
    Authorized Vendor jm@ReischePerf's Avatar
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    How To Adjust Clutch Cable

    **APPLIES TO OEM ADJUSTER ONLY**

    It seems that most Terminator owners encounter shifting difficulties due to inadequate clutch disengagement either sooner or later. Many solve this with aftermarket quadrant/adjuster setups but there is another way... it doesn't take long and it costs nothing but it does require some skill and mechanical experience.


    UPDATED Jan 3, 2009:

    When I originally started this thread I never anticipated the enormous popularity of this mod and through the following posts many of you have added valuable feedback, questions and concerns. My buddy Dave's (SCT2003) Cobra was due for an adjustment and I felt it was a good time to revisit this. So with the help of input from all of your posts here we attempted to refine this procedure and make it as easy to understand and execute as possible. That being said I would not even attempt this mod if you are not at least fairly mechanically inclined. If not, find a friend who is and you can help out by holding the clutch pedal down for him

    1. Remove the driver's seat. I know it sounds like overkill but trust me you will be a LOT happier if you do this first. Lying upside down over the front of a Terminator seat is one of the most unpleasant positions I've ever found myself in and forget about it if you're over 200lbs! It's actually pretty easy anyway and I was impressed to see that Dave had taken it out in about 5 minutes.

    2. Lie flat on your back and look up directly between the steering shaft and the gas pedal, you'll see an off-white plastic thing that looks like part of a gear with a hook on it, let's call it the "add-tension" adjuster. With your other hand depress the clutch pedal back and forth and observe the motion of the adjuster. If you look carefully you'll see that it's teeth are interlocked into another smaller off-white plastic piece closer to the firewall. When you release the clutch pedal notice that the smaller piece ("release-tension" adjuster) rests on the edge of a flat grey piece of metal. Essentially what we will be doing is defeating the ability of these 2 parts to make contact, turning our auto adjuster into a manual one. If we don't disable this first, any tension that is put into the cable will just be taken out by the release-tension adjuster the next time the clutch pedal is pulled up or released quickly during a spirited shift.

    Here is a side view of both pieces of the adjuster from a passenger side perspective inside the dash. I've posted this only so you can see the innerworkings which are not normally visible. The off-white gear on the left is the add-tension (red arrow) adjuster which is locked into the gears of the smaller release-tension (blue arrow) adjuster on the right side. You can see that the release-tension adjuster normally comes to rest on the metal plate (yellow arrow).



    3. We'll need to remove the hook from the add-tension adjuster so we can access that metal plate more easily. Using a Dremel with a cut-off wheel, cut the hook off almost flush with the bottom, so it looks like the pic below. You could cut it with a pair of dikes but you're definitely risking collateral damage to the adjuster. The hook is only there to keep a spring from unwinding when the assembly is removed from the car, it has no purpose during normal vehicle operation.



    4. Now the fun part: Get a friend to hold the clutch pedal all the way to the floor and keep it there. You could cut a piece of wood or find something to wedge against the pedal and something else if you're in a pinch but the pedal must remain pressed as far as it can go. You can try holding the pedal with one hand while working with the other (while trying to hold the light as well) but again, not recommended if you want to remain sane. When the pedal is fully depressed it will expose the top of the metal plate of which you will want to cut the upper part off flush like the plate in this pic:



    If you don't have a Dremel you can bend the top of the plate out (away from firewall) and down 180 but this is not easy to do because that plate is pretty thick and there is limited room to manipulate tools. Plus you have be sure the bent piece is clear of the adjuster when it moves. It's much easier to cut it, just don't push the cutting wheel in too deep because there is a switch right behind the plate.

    5. When you're done observe that the release-tension adjuster no longer comes into contact with the plate when the pedal released. If not, you will need to cut or bend some more until the plate is clear of both parts of the adjuster. Also be sure the push button switch attached behind the plate is still properly aligned and actuating along with the clutch.

    6. The easy part, the clutch cable adjustment: With the clutch released simply place the butt of a hammer or something with a rubberized handle on the bottom of the add-tension adjuster as shown:



    Slowly and carefully apply pressure until you hear a click. If it took a lot of pressure then maybe that will be enough. Stop here and test the clutch pedal engagement height. If the first click required only light to moderate pressure then you will probably want to pop the adjuster up at least one more click. Each corresponding click tightens the cable further and will take more effort than the one before but most people should see definite improvements with just 1-2 clicks of added tension. I would be concerned about adding more than 3 clicks of tension. This could overtighten the cable or indicate that you may have a stretched/damaged cable or other issue. If you feel there is too much tension use a big flat head screwdriver and push the release-tension adjuster up right at where you cut the metal plate and it will pop loose, releasing cable tension. Be careful when releasing tension because some have had the cable end come off at the clutch fork.

    WARNING: Overtightening the cable could result in damage to the cable, pressure plate, TOB, adjuster or excessively high pedal engagement along with a slipping clutch. IMO a properly adjusted clutch should be close to fully engaged about halfway through it's range of motion off the floor. You may also notice a pop or clank sound when you push the clutch all the way to the floor after an adjustment. This is normal because your TOB is now moving further than it has in a long time or even ever before. Over time the noises should get quieter or completely stop. I think it's a good idea to lubricate the TOB/retaining sleeve occasionally as this will quiet down and extend the life of these parts, just be sure not to get lubricant on the clutch.

    AFTERMARKET CLUTCH USERS: Many aftermarket clutches will allow you to adjust the clutch in a manner that will keep the TOB from contacting the pressure plate when the clutch pedal is released. This is more desirable because it will extend the life of the TOB. However you will need to install a spring at the end of the cable to maintain tension so it won't come off the clutch fork. It appears the LDC Chicago Clutch Freeplay Kit is not currently available but you can make your own setup here: How to make your own clutch freeplay kit

    Thanks to everyone who posted on this and especially Ed Olin, ZXMustang, 707svt and SCT2003.

  2. #2
    Crazy SVT Poster BrookhavenTuner's Avatar
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    thank you
    2003 Black Mach1 :: 5SPD, IUP
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  3. #3
    www.SALINASRACING.com FEARLE5S's Avatar
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    how do i make it stay wat plate? is there anyway u can point it out and which way do i bend it to?

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  4. #4
    SVT God Mystic03's Avatar
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    any way to get a clearer pic can hardly see
    2003 Zinc Cobra...Born 4/4/03 (aka Zincy)
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  5. #5
    Authorized Vendor jm@ReischePerf's Avatar
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    ...
    Last edited by jm@ReischePerf; 01-03-2009 at 09:58 PM.

  6. #6
    Authorized Vendor jm@ReischePerf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FEARLE5S
    how do i make it stay what plate?
    In the first pic the yellow arrow points to a metal plate that stays stationary. When you operate the clutch pedal the adjusters move up and down and when the pedal is released quickly (or pulled up) the "release tension" adjuster comes into contact with the edge of the plate. This causes the adjuster to jump teeth and release tension on the cable. The top edge of the plate needs to be bent or cut so it can no longer make contact. This should become clearer once you get under there and observe the parts.
    Last edited by jm@ReischePerf; 04-13-2010 at 08:20 PM.

  7. #7
    2SSSlow SicStang03's Avatar
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    My clutch is a little squeaky at the top of it now... Kind of like wet shoes on tile floor. Anyone else have this??? The adjustment worked great though thanks

    spec 3 clutch, 26 spline input shaft, steel flywheel, Firewall adjuster/clutch quadrant, BF IRS brace, MMFLSFC's, dynojet WB, Oil pressure/engine temp, 2.76" BF pulley, Metco 2lb lower, LFP DP H/E, BBK LT's, BBK O/R H, Magnaflow CB with SLP LM2 mufflers, JLT RAI, Steig stage IV, ported plenum/TB, KB BAP, MAFia, 60 lb. injectors, PPRV delete, H&R race springs w/ LM drag bags, MM CC plates, MGW orange handle

    Quote Originally Posted by Jekyl View Post
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  8. #8
    SVT God divided's Avatar
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    I still cant figure it out, can you highlight the part i need to bend please?
    Born on 6/28/02...#617 of 5082...1 of 154~Mineral Grey Verts -- SOLD!
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  9. #9
    Authorized Vendor jm@ReischePerf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by divided
    I still cant figure it out, can you highlight the part i need to bend please?
    See updated procedure.
    Last edited by jm@ReischePerf; 01-03-2009 at 10:22 PM.

  10. #10
    Rookie SVT Poster hsssss03's Avatar
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    help mines fu*ked up...

    Quote Originally Posted by jmproductions
    Inside the black circle there is a white tab sticking down which is part of the adjuster that needs to be held or pushed up. Once you adjust some slack out of the cable you might have to wedge a screwdriver to hold it in place and just use the pedal pressure for the final clicks of adjustment because it will take a lot of force to hold it.
    ok i read this and decided that i was goign to adjust mine, so i am looking at the stuff underneath the dash and i mess with the hook and all of a sudden my clutch cable is so loose i can easily push it in wht my hand what the hell? help
    Last edited by hsssss03; 07-13-2007 at 11:04 PM. Reason: tied to do it
    GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

  11. #11
    Authorized Vendor jm@ReischePerf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hsssss03
    ok i read this and decided that i was goign to adjust mine, so i am looking at the stuff underneath the dash and i mess with the hook and all of a sudden my clutch cable is so loose i can easily push it in wht my hand what the hell? help
    Cable end probably came off the clutch fork, you're gonna have to jack the car up and put it back on.
    Last edited by jm@ReischePerf; 02-05-2009 at 08:01 PM.

  12. #12
    Do the Dew! MountainDew's Avatar
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    OMG, this is amazing!!! The car actually shifts now!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!
    -Joe-
    2003 Sonic Blue Terminator Vert

    Quote Originally Posted by Zinc03Cobra View Post
    lol @ "winter"

  13. #13
    Rookie SVT Poster hsssss03's Avatar
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    well i looked at teh clutch cable at the trans and it just come out i put it back and it was back to normal.

  14. #14
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    I'll say this, I have done many engine swaps, and many mechanical jobs... I have found this to be one of the hardest attempts in my life. The worse part was bending that metal plate. WOW....
    I got all bruised and even a small cut, I'm a big guy, barely fit under there...

  15. #15
    Authorized Vendor jm@ReischePerf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 03ShadowSnake
    The worse part was bending that metal plate. WOW....
    I feel your pain man. It's very awkward getting under there and getting enough force on it to bend it. Unfortunately this mod is a must.

  16. #16
    Street Beast... HwyKng's Avatar
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    So if you do this you dont need an aftermarket adjuster????

    Whipple Charged 623RWHP 575RWTQ...

  17. #17
    Authorized Vendor jm@ReischePerf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HwyKng
    So if you do this you dont need an aftermarket adjuster????
    Don't think so. I suspect the reason why so many people use aftermarket adjusters is that it's impossible to adjust the clutch properly without this mod.

  18. #18
    2SSSlow SicStang03's Avatar
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    My cable went a little loose again... I bent that metal thing out of the way so how do i readjust it???

  19. #19
    kirks5oh kirks5oh's Avatar
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    just did this the other day. what a pain in the ass. i only needed one click to re-adjust things properly. i kept hitting the button that would move the seat forward. i actually got trapped once. painful, painful mod to do, but a must. that plate is difficult to bend forward
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  20. #20
    Orange County Horsepower SIr RicCuS's Avatar
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    Sticky thread!


    610 RWHP/565 RWTQ [SAE] 6.968 @ 101.70 MPH [1/8 Mile E.T.]

  21. #21
    2SSSlow SicStang03's Avatar
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    How do i readjust if i broke the plastic hook and move the metal thing already??

  22. #22
    Authorized Vendor jm@ReischePerf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SicStang03
    How do i readjust if i broke the plastic hook and move the metal thing already??
    Don't worry about that hook, I broke mine off too. Just adjust it like you did before but are you sure that the plate is not making contact with the adjuster? It shouldn't have loosened up if the mod is done correctly.

  23. #23
    2SSSlow SicStang03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmproductions
    Don't worry about that hook, I broke mine off too. Just adjust it like you did before but are you sure that the plate is not making contact with the adjuster? It shouldn't have loosened up if the mod is done correctly.
    It didn't loosen up, I just still haver a little tension going into third at 6K... The plate is moved and i can't use a screwdriver to place on top of the metal and keep the white thing still while I adjust. I have tried everything but can't apply the pressure to adjust now that i moved the metal... what do i do?

  24. #24
    Authorized Vendor jm@ReischePerf's Avatar
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    You could try pushing up on the adjuster with a piece of wood or something that won't damage it. It's also possible that your clutch is adjusted properly already and maybe you have another issue. Changing the trans fluid over to Synchromesh made more of a difference with my car's shifting at WOT than anything else.

  25. #25
    Authorized Vendor jm@ReischePerf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirks5oh
    i actually got trapped once.

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