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How many clutch cables can you build on film in 3 hours?
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:42 pm    Post subject: How many clutch cables can you build on film in 3 hours? Reply with quote

If you're as confused at this thread title as you should be, please let me explain.

Last week, I responded to a post in the bay window forum looking for busses to be shot driving around for the documentary "I am Kombi", by French film-maker Claudia Marschal. The trailer is here:

http://vimeo.com/42637151

The film is told from the 'Kombi's' point of view, and features a fun and interesting narrative of the history and people behind these wonderful vehicles.

First we shot Buddy, my bus, at the Hollywood sign, then the Hollywood hills, later to downtown LA, and through the Civic and Music Centers.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

star bus by asiab3, on Flickr

After that, we headed to Santa Monica Beach and shot there. For an interview, I decided to take the crew of one to Santa Monica Pier, being as it is a great backdrop, is great for sunsets, and has all kinds of people who appreciate the bus lifestyle.

Well, that is until I pressed the clutch pedal in to stop at the stop sign before turning in to the "NO FREE OUTLET" of the $$$ parking lot. After waiting in N for the traffic to subside, I wanted to go in to first gear, to do that thing where the bus drives and eventually gets into second gear. Clutch goes down, gears go GRIIIIND and clutch does not come back up. "Great," I thought. "Classic clutch cable moment."

Luckily, Buddy the Bus rolls well down a hill, and the parking lot entrance was down hill enough to only require one scooter push by my left leg.

The Gate Keep was a Royal Jerk, and he wouldn't open the window to speak to me until I pulled out my cash to pay. Didn't have any. Oops. I honked my horn, and yelled, "My car is broken and I couldn't stop it. Can I just fit it here and then I'll leave?" Since there was no 'free turnaround' option, he gave me 2 minutes to fix my car or I would have to pay. I guess people do take credit cards after all when you don't have cash and they don't have dishes for you to clean. Now on flat ground, I tried Ye Olde Start In First Gear trick that I have only read about. Luckily, the only open parking spots nearby were close to the gate, and I pulled it into one and got it shut off.

Cool, I thought, I will get to fashion a clutch cable out of the bailing wire I keep here for the sole purpose of fashioning accelerator cables. Except said wire was left at home.

My parts box (relative to this fix) included:
-50" of parachute/army utility cord (kevlar reinforced)
-15" of tiny-gague electric wire
-pins, eye hooks, and all kinds of things for attaching bailing wire
-old used fuel line from PO. I'm a hoarder.

Now, remember the movie shoot I'm supposed to be doing? Yeah, the cameras are still rolling. Yeah I'm missing the best sunset light for an interview, and yeah, the camera operator is laughing hysterically at my spare change of clothes, comfy ground towel, gloves, tools, work light, and no clutch cable. I called 4 parts houses, found one that was open, and couldn't get a ride there. There is film record of phone calls to everyone in my phone that I like that lives nearby. There is evidence of me making some calls to "people I don't like, but keep in my phonebook for emergencies." Then there is the moment where my phone battery dies and I can't read my pdf AIRS list that I made for occasions like this.

5:15:
Can't find bailing wire. inventory things that won't work but have the same shape. (see above)

5:30:
Think about driving home clutch less, starting in first and syncro-shifting. I have practiced it, but LA traffic means a stop and start ration of 10:1 for every mile you drive. Not happening.

5:45:
Cut and pull out old clutch cable. Become COVERED in grease. Oops. Should have seen that coming.

6:00
Fish electrical wire through clutch tube starting in the front, wire get's stuck in bowden tube.

6:02:
Run wire starting in rear. Wire goes through. Tie it onto transmission arm, and get stumped at trying to tie it to the clutch pedal.

6:30:
Move wire out of clutch cable tube, run under bus and up through brake pedal hole. "At least I can pull it with my hand to get the bus started from a stop. Then I'll syncro-shift."

6:45:
Untie cable and use old fuel lines as bowden tubes to prevent the wire from chafing and splitting on the undercarriage.

7:00:
Test assembly. Start in neutral, pull wire. Hurts like Hell. Slips into first, off I go, car stalls. Forgot the parking brake. Crap.

7:05:
Try again.

7:06:
Wire breaks.

7:07: begin to repeat process with utility/parachute cord.

8:00:
Finish repeat assembly, test.

8:02:
WOOO!!!!

8:05:
Pack up, clean up, change, start the bus.

8:10:
Stop and go traffic in parking lot.

8:11:
Rope breaks.

8:12:
I'm glad the PO installed a brand new starter. Off we go like a bucking bronco.

9:00:
Drop off film crew, dinner.

11:00:
Home. From location, including dropping off the crew and grabbing a burger, I rough-started the bus 5 times. This included 4 freeway ramps and 2 residential neighborhoods.

If you read that, I salute you. To the designers at VW, I salute you even more. To The Samba folks that detailed race car/clutchless shifting even though it caused a debate, I salute you the most. And Buddy the Bus, who after a 1100 mile road trip decides to play a joke for the camera, we'll have a talk.




And I don't know about you, but my answer is 3.
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Devon-Dyno-Soar118
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOl, the clutch cable always goes when it's embarrassing! I drove a 67 split 15 miles in traffic with no clutch after it broke. Up shifts are fine but not down. Where did the cable break, at the pedal or gearbox end?
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It broke at the transmission/wing nut end. I had a terrible time going from 1-2, but the rest was cake. I even went 4-3 and 3-2 around town by matching revs..

Gotta give credit to the Muir book for tellingly me to practice that... But shhh don't tell the Bently only purists Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't get out of third! Film looks like being really good too, did they film you covered in grease? That is a typical bus fixing look.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We took Claudia around last Thursday. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills Hotel. Hollywood sign, and Randy's donuts. My grandaughter and her friend Nani coordinated on cell phones. Refueled on the Sunset Strip, Lunch at Mel's in Hollywood. Good Times.

Aloha
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drove my beetle over 1000km loaded up to the roof, roofracks too with a broken TOB. Couldn't declutch either.

Drove my bay over 100km with a broken cable including through towns, roadworks and up a mountain pass before I could get to my mechanic which had a cable.

The clutch pedal broke off Surprised in the Falcon in the town before reaching the place we were moving to. The kicker was I had a car trailer in tow with the bay on it which had an effectively dead engine and was unregistered so i couldn't drive it.
In spite of everything I used it the next day to return the trailer at the crack of dawn. they didn't charge me extra thankfully, It could do maybe 60km/h. Oh and I had to drive past the police station. Also the exhaust got damaged when taking it off the trailer the night before. Yeah... I got lucky that day. I guess that clutch problems are contagious?
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic sounding narration and writing (video clip). Best of luck with the project.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was cool, if that's the trailer I'll be waiting to watch the doc, let us know!
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

that's quite the story...
but seriuosly, you carry work clothes & a drop towel but don't have a spare clutch cable & clevis pin?
Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

borninabus wrote:
that's quite the story...
but seriuosly, you don't have a spare clutch cable & clevis pin?
Rolling Eyes


The trans was replaced with a rebuilt one two years ago. I ordered a pin, nut, and cable with my fuel lines from GS over two months ago. I know the kits take a while to arrive, but I was just being dumb I guess. I think that, because I bought the cable, I never gave it a second thought to it breaking :/
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could have you a fuel line "kit" & clutch cable tomorrow.
why is it so hard to cut 4 pieces of fuel fuel line, grab a fuel filter & 8 clamps?

or better yet you could buy all that stuff @ one of your area VW shops--or samba sellers--& support your VW community instead of wasting your time & money (trying) to get fuel line & clutch cables from Canada.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

asiab3 wrote:
shhh don't tell the Bently only purists Wink

I doubt there are any Bently purists that even own Bay buses. But for a quarter of a million dollar Bently they arn't going to be concerned with a little clutch cable.
Now anyone that owns a Robert Bentley service manual knows that how to service a clutch cable and how to drive a bus are two totally different things.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great story. We have allll been there. Now I keep several on hand. Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dang I can't get a break! Embarassed
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

asiab3 wrote:
Dang I can't get a break! Embarassed


Dude, you did excellent with what you had to work with. Adapting and improvising with the tools you have to get something done is a huge accomplishment. Nobody is prepared 100% of the time.

Like Kirk said, we have all been there. Those who criticize need a reality check and to ease up with the shitty comments.

Plus, you got a cool story out of it all Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikewire wrote:
asiab3 wrote:
Dang I can't get a break! Embarassed


Dude, you did excellent with what you had to work with. Adapting and improvising with the tools you have to get something done is a huge accomplishment. Nobody is prepared 100% of the time.

Like Kirk said, we have all been there. Those who criticize need a reality check and to ease up with the shitty comments.

right next to my spare cables is a roll of duct tape & some bailing wire Wink
not trying to come off so harsh, just truthful Smile

my spare fuel pump got my friend's splitty home from BBB in January.
it's one thing to be prepared to work on your bus but it's another thing to have what you will need to fix it.
especially in the middle of the night in BFE, AZ.

we all started somewhere and experience is the best teacher.
"now get back truckin' on!"
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Mike

I guess what I should have said, is that two months ago when I bought the bus. I USED THE SEARCH Wink and found that most everybody on here reccomended the GS kits for a line change. I was diligent in ordering them, not driving the bus until I got them replaced. Knowing that the kit might take a while, I bought two busses worth from a LOCAL VW SHOP. Changed my Dad's bus lines and my lines. 1100 mile round trip and I'm loving the bus
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applause
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also Mike, I'm typing this from the Bozeman airport! Driving all around the state this week. Unflrtunately my mom chose the vehicle... So if you see a young bearded fellow waiving from a giant RV, waive back!


I think this thread turned into a mini-example/microcosm of TheSamba in general... There is SO MUCH helpful information on here, that it took me over a year to finally make an account to ask a question. There are so many wonderful discussions going on that one can easily build a bus from scratch properly or poorly from reading the same threads.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey wow, small world. Well I'm in Billings/Laurel, so if you are headed this way give me a shout and you can drop by the house for a beer!

And you're right, that's what TS is all about, lots of sandboxes for everyone to play in, and most of the time we behave. Laughing
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