Replacing the clutch cable on a 2CV is a fairly simple job. From time to time it is a good idea to inspect both ends of the cable to ensure that it is not fraying. This would probably be noticed by the clutch feeling ‘rough’ and by free play on the pedal increasing, resulting in a crunch when you change gear. If it is fraying, replace it immediately as it will soon break! It is worthwhile carrying a spare cable in the car as replacement at the roadside is preferable to driving home with no clutch! The only tools necessary are 16mm and 19mm open-ended spanners and a pair of pliers. The procedure is as follows.

(If the existing cable is actually broken, rather than just damaged, go straight to the next paragraph). Lift the bonnet and locate where the cable comes through the bulkhead. Hold the adjuster nut with the 19mm spanner and loosen the locknut with the 16mm spanner (see photo). Unscrew both nuts down to the bottom of the thread.

You now have to stand on your head inside the car! You may find it easier to remove the driver’s seat but it is not essential. Depress the clutch pedal and hold the cable with the pliers to prevent it from running back into the threaded tube as you allow the pedal to return to its rest position (see photo). You can now unhook the end of the cable from the pedal bracket. The pedal end of the cable can now be withdrawn into the engine compartment.

Working underneath the car, locate the clutch end of the cable where it enters the gearbox, near the gearbox oil drain plug (see photo). Push the operating lever towards the rear of the car and unhook the cable from the fork at the bottom of the lever. The cable can now be withdrawn from the gearbox - it may be quite tight and you may need the pliers to pull it free.

Take the new cable and ensure that the adjuster and lock nuts are at the bottom of the thread. Working from above, locate the cable in the bracket on the top of the primary silencer (see photo). There should be a rubber sleeve on the new cable and this should be slid along the cable to where the cable passes through the silencer bracket.

Push the pedal end of the cable through the bulkhead. Now go back under the car and locate the cable into the gearbox, making sure it goes fully into place. Now hook the cable end into the fork of the operating lever.

Inside the car, locate the cable into the pedal bracket. Now screw the 19mm adjuster nut up the thread until there is free play of no less than 1/2” at the pedal. Operate the pedal a few times and make sure that the clutch end is still properly located in the operating lever fork. Finally, tighten the 16mm locknut on to the 19mm adjuster nut.

If you find that you cannot change gear without ‘crunching’, it is likely that there is too much free play on the cable. Conversely, if the clutch slips there is not enough. Adjust the 19mm nut accordingly, making sure that you always lock it securely with the locknut.
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