Question about 1983 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup

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Loss of acceleration. Transmission? Clutch? Cable?

I have a 1981 vw diesel pickup.

Any thoughts on loss of acceleration (falling out of gear?). The problem is most noticeable while driving up hills.

If I give it too much gas it just revs; laying off the pedal gets it back in gear but makes it tricky to get up steep inclines and maintain a reasonable mph.

I had my transmission overhauled last year after similar symptoms manifested. The cable coming off the accelerator pedal appears quite slack and actually came disconnected from the pedal yesterday while shifting gears.

Frustrated and hoping I don't need to drop hundreds more dollars into the transmission I just had fixed,


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Try replacing the clutch cable first, these cars came with a simple clutch cable that is cheap & easy to replace. the end that hooks to the clutch pedal is plastic & can wear out. the later VW golfs came with an expensive automatically adjusting clutch cable. these can be installed in older VW's.

the old cables had to be manually adjusted like a motorcycle clutch cable. check a vw service manual. there needs to be a bit of slack on the lever that pushes the clutch disk.
if it is too tight the clutch may not engage fully & you will cook the clutch & flyweel.

Also check the shift linkages, there are many plastic bushings in the system that wear out
and can make the shifting sloppy. these are cheap and easy to replace.

Personally I have not had any real problems with the 5 speed transmissions in VW's.
although I have hear of a variety of problems with latter VW's trashing the transmissions. The automatics are another story.
The 020 transmissions were built to handle the 75hp/ 1800lb Schricco. putting them in a
Golf GTI with 150hp, or a 3000lb jetta 3 caused lots of problems.

ps: I would pick up a cheap used 5 speed from a junkyard, preferably out of a Rabbit, not
a golf or Jetta. take it to a machine shop to check for the usuall problems to see if it ok
before installing it. If that fixes the problem get your money back from the people that sold you the rebuilt transmission.

Posted on Jun 20, 2009

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The cable you are refering to should not be slack or, come off tighten it and, secure it also; check the transmission shift cable

Posted on May 29, 2009


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