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Adjusting the Clutch

red_triangle.gif (202 bytes) Written by Chris Scarpulla

Your clutch gets out of adjustment from the clutch material wearing away and the clutch cable can stretch as it ages. I just adjusted my clutch yesterday (91 SE-r 130K), so it's pretty fresh in my mind, here goes:

  • Remove the small relay box to the left of the battery.
  • Remove airbox. I've had a Pop-Charger for a few years so you're on your own with this part.  You can now see the clutch lever and cable.
  • There is a small resonator box bolted to a bracket behind the battery. Get your needle nose pliers through the access hole of that bracket to grab the square portion of the cable end.
  • Loosen the 10mm locknut at the end of the cable.
  • Holding the square part of the cable with the pliers, turn the thumbwheel which will shorten or lengthen the cable. My clutch was engaging as way down low, about 1/2" from the floor. I shortened the cable to get the engagement point up higher.
    		/         |
    	       /        {}|[]       
    	      |o  ======{}|[]======#####-----------
    	       \        {}|[]   ^    ^     ^
    		\ ________| ^   |    |     |
    		  ^     ^   |   |    |    -Clutch Cable
    		  |     |   |   |   #Square part
    		  |     |   |  =Threaded
    	    Bracket     |   |   cable end
    	     {}Thumbwheel   |

red_triangle.gif (202 bytes) Comments by Ken Pratte

The above procedure was written for the 91 - 94 Sentra SE-R.   The procedure for the 200SX SE-R is a bit simpler.  There is no need to remove anything on the car, just remove the locknut and go to work.  You may need some vise grips to be able to loosen the locknut, pliers just didn't work for me.

A note on how to adjust the clutch:  when the clutch wears, it grabs higher and higher on the pedal, till it finally slips.  What this means under the hood is that you need to loosen the cable to get it to grab lower.  When you loosen the locknut, you need to add more slack to the cable.  

Where should the ideal grab point be? Different people prefer different things, but from the factory the clutch begins to grab about half way up and fully grab about an inch from the top.  You should be able to press the clutch with your hand and get about an inch of "freeplay" before it starts to slip the clutch.  The inch of freeplay is strictly by feeling it.  If you were to press the pedal and look under the hood you wouldn't be able to tell.  The Nissan service manual recommends 1/4 inch of freeplay in the cable under the hood.  The hard part is determining a 1/4 inch of freeplay.  I prefer to do it by feel, but whatever is easier for you.