If you adjust your own clutch, from time to time you may have experienced the deal where no matter what you do, it never gets up to the recommended ¾ of an inch of play in the pedal. As you keep adjusting the clutch seems to still be out of adjustment or worse even, it slips the disk upon launch from a stop. While the problem most likely is wear of the clutch disc, it can be in the clutch hook, which is through the center of the pedal assembly or the end of the clutch cable.
If you remove the two 17mm bolts holding the assembly into the tunnel, you can see the hook that is attached to the end of the clutch cable. The clutch hook is just that…..a hook – see figure 1 (Click on picture to enlarge)
The problem that arises is the hook has a fishhook plate on the end and it is subject to wear over time, because the edges are very sharp. From the factory these last 20 years or longer….unless you have replaced the pressure plate on the flywheel with a heavier one for ‘better performance’. The inside edges of the hook itself are sharp. This wears the eye of the clutch cable or the inside of the clutch hook itself. In either case the hook cuts itself or the end of the cable free.
If you install one of the heavier pressure plates meant for the ¼ mile strip you are shortening the life of the clutch hook. If you look at figure 2 you will see the difference between the old clutch hook and the new one. Notice that the old one is actually almost completely worn through the hook, and about to fail.
It is one thing to replace a clutch cable in your shop…but it’s far more trouble to replace the clutch hook on the road. Here is the fix – if it’s worn, replace it before you leave.
Pull the pedal assembly by removing the two 17mm bolts. Disengage the throttle cable and the end of the clutch cable. While you are here, replace the clutch cable as well as the throttle cable. Replacing the clutch hook & cable should set you up for a couple more decades of use.
Next you take a punch or something resembling one and drive the pin out of the shaft holding everything together – see figure 3.
Figure 3 – Sometimes a vise comes in handy to push the pin
out of the shaft.
A vice comes in handy but a good full Nelson grip on a concrete floor will do just as well. Get the new hook, and file the inside of the hooks edges to prevent the cable eye from being cut. A small rat-tail file works great for this. Lube the new clutch hook shaft and slide it back into the assembly and replace the pin you drove out. There are only two ways this hook will go in, and if you pay attention you will see it can go in 180 degrees off, and you just have to rotate it to the proper alignment.
Putting the spring under the pedal back on can give you a hassle. I use a small thin screwdriver and slide it back up on the perch. This is not a real bad repair to do yourself. Just check the hook when you get the opportunity, as the conditions you find yourself in when you actually do the repair can be critical. If you are on a dirt road in the back country somewhere over the horizon this can be a bad failure and disable your rig.
Keep in mind the heavier clutch plates are fine for weekend jaunts down the strip…but not for a daily driver. I’m talking Things here. I have seen guys put an 1800-2000lb pressure plate on their engines and promptly pull the eye off the end of the clutch cable. I’m not racing my Thing, and the new stock set up will work for many trouble-free years. I want reliability and longevity. These hooks cost about four bucks and sometimes I wonder why it’s the least expensive parts that can wreak the most havoc.
Any questions, feel free to email me – firstname.lastname@example.org