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TECH: Clutch Cable Installation w/Pics

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by D-Russ, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. When I ordered the center cross member for my frame, I was planning to run an automatic transmission. Well, after driving several legs of the Hot Rod Power Tour in 57 Heap's 4 speed Bel Air, I decided that shifting gears would be a lot more fun. So I found a T5. Installing the tranny and clutch was the easy part. I then needed to figure out how I was going to link the clutch pedal to the fork.

    I considered using a hydraulic set up as well as mechanical linkage, but I decided to try a modified 5.0 Mustang cable. I chose the cable because it seemed to be the easiest to set up and it was by far the least expensive option. I purchased the modified Mustang cable from Roy Brizio for about $70. The folks at Brizio start with a stock V8 cable and send it to a cable manufacturer to be shortened and to have heim joints added to each end. The price also included two weld on brackets that I ended up not using.

    Here's a picture of the cable from Brizio.

    The first thing I did was modify the stock Chevy clutch fork to accept the heim joint.

    Next, I cut off the tab located at the bottom of the clutch pedal and moved it to the top of the pedal so the cable pulled in the right direction. (See tacks on left pedal.)

    I then began to fit the cable to figure out where to place the brackets. (This in when I realized I would not be able to use the provided brackets.)

    I made a simple but sturdy bracket out of 3/16 stock with a gusset and tacked it in place.

    Then I made another gusseted bracket for the other end of the cable to fit on the tubular cross member and tacked it into place. (While this was a nice sturdy bracket, because I made it to fit the crossmember, in the end, it will not be used.)

    Here's a picture of the installed cable – my first attempt. As some of you pointed out in your comments below, I should not have attached both ends of the cable to the frame. This pulled on the engine/transmission when the clutch was depressed and the drivetrain movement was quite obvious.

    So to fix that problem I needed to fab up a bracket to attach the fork end of the cable to the transmission. Here's the pattern I made.

    Then I cut out the two end pieces from 3/16 stock and bolted them to the tranny so that I could fit the middle piece.

    I tacked the three pieces together while the ends were bolted to the transmission and then removed the assembly and finished the welding.

    Then I made another piece to hold the fork end of the cable and welded it to the transmission bracket.

    I had discovered that my original modification to the clutch fork (second pic above) put the cable/heim joint in a bind when the clutch pedal was depressed. Since I was fixing things anyway, I modified the tab position on the fork to alleviate the binding.

    And finally, here's a picture of the installed cable with the new drive train bracket. This new design completely eliminated the pulling and resulting movement on the drive train.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
  2. 57JoeFoMoPar
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 5,038


    That's some great looking work there man. How did you figure how far the pedal/cable would have to travel to fully disengage the clutch?
  3. mustangsix
    Joined: Mar 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,297


    Very similar to the one I rigged for my Locost with one end of the cable anchored to the chassis and the other end pulling the release lever. I just didn't have room to do anything else.

    One thing to keep an eye on since the cable is anchored like that. When you engage the clutch, the cable pulls on the entire drivetrain to the rear as it moves the lever. If an engine mount were to fail, the whole thing could be pulled back a couple of inches. Probably not an issue, but make sure nothing catastrophic could happen if it does.

  4. Actually, I haven't. I'm counting on the original engineering that went into the clutch pedal I'm using. I moved the tab that was on the bottom of the clutch pedal to a position 180 degrees from where it was, but kept the hole in the tab the exact distance from the center of the pivot point. So the distance the cable or linkage will move with my specific pedal has not changed. If I find that I need more movement, I'll make a longer tab for the clutch pedal and add several holes, perhaps a half inch apart, for more adjustability. It's going to be a bit of trial and error.
  5. gas pumper
    Joined: Aug 13, 2007
    Posts: 2,956

    gas pumper

    I think the motion ratio on clutches is 7 to 1, or 6 to 1 for a shorter pedal throw with a little more effort.
    I think you need to move the clutch fork 3/4 to 1 inch to disengage the clutch.
    So basically, if you have a 7 to 1, the pedal moves 7 inches to move the fork 1 inch.

    Nice looking job there,

    If you had the anchor on the trans instead of the crossmember, you wouldn't be pulling on the motor mounts, Also the motor jumping around wouldn't affect the clutch release, Kinda like what a Z-bar does. The pedal goes to the chassis side, the fork goes to the engine side.

    46international and Gotgas like this.
  6. Deadbird
    Joined: Jul 28, 2005
    Posts: 1,120


    Nice work Druss. I was wondering how to make that work. Looks like a clean, simple solution.
  7. WildWilly68
    Joined: Feb 1, 2002
    Posts: 1,724


    Nice work, definately cheaper than the hydraulic setup I was going towards. Thanks Druss32, you just helped me save a little bank...and probably a few others too!

  8. Thanks a ton for that feedback.

    I tested the system last night and it looks like the clutch will disengage adequately – I've got a little more than an inch of movement right now.

    When I was testing, however, as you and mustangsix pointed out, I did notice the engine/transmission moving when the pedal was depressed. I had no idea what to do about that.

    So as you've suggested, I guess I'll look for a place to bolt a new bracket to the side of the transmission to fix the problem and I'll be good to go. I'll post some new pictures on this thread of the new bracket once I've made and installed it.

    I don't know what I'd do without the HAMB.:)
  9. Just an observation, but didn't the stock Mustang install have the clutch fork side on a trans bracket?

    For that matter, what do the stock Mustang cable ends look like?

    Do the end pieces unscrew so you could add the Heim joints yourself?

    The turn looks a little tight, but probably the way it has to be for a lot of cars since there's not always under the body room for stuff.
    If there was and using your own Heims was easy to do and you retained the stock length you'd have a little shallower turn in the cable.

    How long is the stock Mustang cable?

    Shortening cables and adapting threaded ends is something that's not too hard to do at home.
    There's a bit of machine work involved, but it's quick and easy and wouldn't cost much.

    It may sound like I'm being overly critical here, but I"m not.
    Just doing a little 'out loud' thinking about other ways to do it.

    Heckuva good idea adapting the cable to your clutch pedal.
    Joined: Oct 8, 2006
    Posts: 300


    druss32 your cable installation looks great. I've done a fox body cable conversion on my '65 Mustang 5.0 T5 and this looks like the perfect application for the '34 pickup project i'm just now starting. I looked on the Brizio web site and didn't find parts for sale, I'll have to give them a call.
  11. SlowandLow63
    Joined: Sep 18, 2004
    Posts: 5,953

    from Central NJ

    I've been dreading this install once my motor and trans goes in. Same deal, stock mustang cable. This looks like what I plan to do, and exactly like you said, trial and error. If you here grinding when you go to gear, chalk it up to error. Nice work.
  12. According to the drawings I found on, on Mustangs the fork end of the cable is mounted on the bellhousing. Unfortunately, I didn't do any research before I installed the cable the first time.:eek: The stock cable looks to be about 3+ feet long based on the schematic. I can't tell from the drawings what the stock cable ends look like.

    On a side note, I appreciate your feedback as well as the others that commented. That's why I post the stuff I make. I just kind of figure out things as I go, and I depend on you guys to check my work. So thank you.;)
  13. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,688


    Digging through the search looking at linkage ideas and this oldie but a goodie popped up! (meaning I am bumping so I can read it later at home;))
  14. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,688


    So, Druss.........any more input on this idea? I know your car is still being built but curious?
  15. Yeah, I liked this one too.
  16. The chassis, including the clutch cable installation is finished, but untested. It looks like I have plenty of engagement and disengagement but I won't know until I've fired the motor and attempted to put the transmission in gear. I can take a few pics of the finished installation if you'd like.

    I'm roughing in body work right now and hope to have the body in primer in the next week or to. From there my plan is to put the body on the frame, do the basic wiring and get it running. So possibly in about a month I may have something to report on the clutch cable. I'll be sure to update this thread when I know something – even if it doesn't work.:eek:
  17. Old Rod
    Joined: Dec 5, 2004
    Posts: 627

    Old Rod
    from Brazil, IN

    Really nice job, please keep us informed on how it works. Much
    better than hydraulic and a bunch of linkage to activate. IMO
    46international likes this.
  18. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,307

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    Very nice tech article. I may go this route instead of building mechanical linkage for my 34.

    If you plan on doing some distance traveling in your rod, you may want to invest another $70 for a spare cable. That way you won't be stuck in BF Egypt if your (specialy built) clutch cable fails.
  19. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,688


    Cool, thanks. I would like to see more pictures.

    You also mentioned shortening your own cable. Since I do not have one in my hands to study, how does one go about this?
  20. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,428

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    Nice,take the time to lub up the cable inside the casing.
  21. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    from Texas

    Since clutch function is somewhat critical and it is easy to work on with the body off why not just put the chassis on stands, if it isn't already, hook up the engine to run and give it a dry run before going through all the work of installing the body etc.?
    It will certainly give you, and US, a big boost to see that your craftsmanship is on the money, or at least adjustable within the cable's specs, and everything is "GO" before the really hard work begins.

  22. I'll take a few pics tonight and post them. I think it was C9 that talked about shortening a stock Mustang cable at home in post number 10 above. The folks that I've talked to about doing that have all said that anyone locally that can fabricate AC hoses should be able to crimp the metal ends of the shortened cable. Speedway and many others sell the heim joints.
  23. That's a great idea – my anal retentive process often gets in the way of common sense. :D

    I don't have a drive shaft yet, but I could still fire the motor and go through the gears, right? The tranny fluid won't come out of the tail shaft without the yolk inserted will it?
  24. Uptown83
    Joined: Apr 23, 2007
    Posts: 722


    I used this tech when I made my clutch cable. Helped a lot. I used a stock mustang clutch cable, but do to poor adjustment from the way I designed it and what I could do with a stock cable I ditched it. I used it for about 2-3 little drives. Went hydraulic and man Im glad I did.
  25. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,688


    Yeah, we have a couple places here that can crimp them.
  26. Gotgas
    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 6,987

    from DFW USA

    The stock Mustang cable uses a "ball" that slips into a spot on the fork to engage it. The pedal is engaged with a similar "tip" that fits over a slight cutout in the pedal.

    Most of the aftermarket ones you find will have a different method of adjustment than the OEM cable came with - the factory adjustment is very limited and a ROYAL pain in the ass. It uses a nylon "pawl and quadrant" arrangement that is very light duty and not worth swapping into a custom application. The aftermarket clutch cables usually either adjust at the firewall with a threaded adjuster, or at the clutch fork with a threaded stud.

    The pedal side looks like this (OEM)

    The clutch fork side looks like this (OEM)

    I'll be using a similar setup on my Chrysler. Mechanical linkage is a pain to deal with, especially if it doesn't already exist! I don't trust hydraulic either, I've seen seal failures with high-performance pressure plates and they're just a mess anyway. Cable is THE way to go.

    Druss - you should drop a little silicone lubricant into the cable sleeve before using it. It will last much longer and be easier to use. ;) Good fab work man!
  27. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,688


    Thanks for those reference pics Gotgas!
  28. SlowandLow63
    Joined: Sep 18, 2004
    Posts: 5,953

    from Central NJ

    When you first posted this I was already planning to go with a cable. Since then, I learned about hydraulic slave cylinders and figured that would simplify things even more. Now I'm back on a cable after seeing this! Ugh! By the time I get to it, I'll have changed my mind 11,000 times.

    Is there any way to test to make sure you have adequate throw besides firing it up and listening for a grind?? Perhaps put it in gear and try to turn the output shaft and slowly step on the clutch. If the output shaft begins to turn homerun? Would you have enough torque to slip the clutch by turning the output shaft??
  29. Here are the pics of the finished installation.


    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
    kadillackid likes this.

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