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Thread: How To Adjust Clutch Cable
05-18-2007, 01:27 AM #1
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.
05-18-2007, 10:30 AM #2
thank you2003 Black Mach1 :: 5SPD, IUP
FRPP Rear Girdle
05-22-2007, 03:32 PM #3
how do i make it stay wat plate? is there anyway u can point it out and which way do i bend it to?
2004 Ford Mustang Cobra (Gone)
[email protected] 1.78 60'
2011 GMC SIERRA DENALI
2001 Ford Lightning
05-28-2007, 12:38 AM #4
any way to get a clearer pic can hardly see2003 Zinc Cobra...Born 4/4/03 (aka Zincy)
2003 Sonic Blue cobra
Mods: back to stock
05-28-2007, 12:20 PM #5
Last edited by jm@ReischePerf; 01-03-2009 at 09:58 PM.
05-28-2007, 12:32 PM #6Originally Posted by FEARLE5S
Last edited by jm@ReischePerf; 04-13-2010 at 08:20 PM.
06-24-2007, 07:45 AM #7
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
07-13-2007, 08:12 PM #8
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!
Magnaflow Catback, MGW ShortShifter, K&N FIPK2, MM FLSFC, Fiore Firewall and Clutch Quadrant, Spec 2 Clutch, Spec Flywheel, CDC Lightbar, Lethal TOB Retainer
2006 C230 sport -- Stock FOR SALE
07-13-2007, 09:06 PM #9Originally Posted by divided
Last edited by jm@ReischePerf; 01-03-2009 at 10:22 PM.
07-13-2007, 11:02 PM #10
help mines fu*ked up...Originally Posted by jmproductions
Last edited by hsssss03; 07-13-2007 at 11:04 PM. Reason: tied to do itGONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
07-13-2007, 11:59 PM #11Originally Posted by hsssss03
Last edited by jm@ReischePerf; 02-05-2009 at 08:01 PM.
07-18-2007, 04:33 PM #12
07-26-2007, 05:43 PM #13
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.
08-21-2007, 11:01 PM #14
- Join Date
- August 2007
- Miami, FL
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...
08-27-2007, 04:42 PM #15Originally Posted by 03ShadowSnake
08-27-2007, 05:12 PM #16
So if you do this you dont need an aftermarket adjuster????
Whipple Charged 623RWHP 575RWTQ...
08-28-2007, 12:20 AM #17Originally Posted by HwyKng
08-31-2007, 09:28 PM #18
My cable went a little loose again... I bent that metal thing out of the way so how do i readjust it???
09-02-2007, 09:00 AM #19
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 forwardCURRENT CARS::
2014 SVT raptor super crew
2013 nissan GTR
2009 corvette z-06
1985 t-top GT: mild h/c/i
09-02-2007, 11:12 AM #20
610 RWHP/565 RWTQ [SAE] 6.968 @ 101.70 MPH [1/8 Mile E.T.]
09-02-2007, 03:59 PM #21
How do i readjust if i broke the plastic hook and move the metal thing already??
09-03-2007, 09:22 PM #22Originally Posted by SicStang03
09-04-2007, 01:20 AM #23Originally Posted by jmproductions
09-04-2007, 05:50 PM #24
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.
09-04-2007, 05:52 PM #25Originally Posted by kirks5oh