Vanagon – fooling around with gas pedals

Clossic displacement behaviour, I should have been doing other more important things. But I’ve been sort of obsessed by what I thought was sloppy gas pedal feel. You know, the pedal moving sideways. So instead of looking at my pedal to see what’s what, I put it down to the stock design that uses thin plastic to act as a hinge. Spoiler alert, the hinge was partially broken and that caused the sloppy feel.

But I went ahead and made a couple of pedals to try out. Here they are, pretty rough but as I said I’m just trying things out. I have a spare stock pedal, shown in the pics, I could have just installed that, why didn’t I?


Yes, pretty crude but good enough to try out. I decided on the middle one, has a spring return built in. Thought it might be interesting to see how helping the throttled close will feel. As usual installing the pedal took longer than I thought. You know I have the factory rubber mat laid over the composite foam underlay that came standard with carpet but not with the rubber mat. The rubber mat therefore didn’t fit in quite as nice as it should. It was ok though, but this time when I pulled the underlay out and it broke up even more than before I decided to trash it. There was a bit of surface rust starting in the driver’s side footwell, I wire brushed that and treated it with rust converter then a couple of coats of paint.

The stock pedal was attached to the floor by a couple of pop rivets. I drilled them out and enlarged the holes to take a pair of 10-24 threaded inserts ( I don’t have any metric threaded inserts) .

Test fitting the pedal.

I agree, without that pressed foam underlay will be more road noise coming through the floor. Haven’t figured out completely what to do about that but made a start by sticking down some thin self adhesive asphalt based tape. Yup, tar based not butyl. It’s what I had on hand and I don’t think off gassing or the tape sagging during hot weather will be an issue in this location. Good god but I ramble on. 

I have to find a better route for those wires running forward. They haven’t been taped down in place when I took the pic, bout where I did tape them really wasn’t that great. You can feel them under the mat.

Mat back in, pedal installed. The top surface of the pedal is removable. I’m thinking I might make another that is slighlty wider at the top, the extra width on the brake pedal side. It feels ok underfoot and I can feel the resistance of the extra spring. I’ve yet to road test it. 

 Ok, tried it out on drive to work. Yes it feels firmer, a little more effort to depress it. But I don’t find it a probelm. But what is a problem is that it’s too narrow. It’s approximately the same width as the stock pedal. I know I must be obsessing over this but it bugs me that half my foot is hanging off the side. Do I have some sort of mental issue, i quickly made another pad to replace the narrow one.

Oh yeah, as clunky as it looks, it’s so much better. No really, it is. I mean it, I’m not kidding. It’s the best things since the last thing I thought was the best thing since…

  1. #1 by Robert on September 6, 2016 - 3:49 am

    You are just amazing how without having any fear whatsoever, you go after any and all issues on a Vanagon. It’s really cool to follow your adventures of maintenance, design, upgrades and Vanagon travel. it is all well explained and supported with nice clear photos too, Thank you!

    • #2 by albell on September 6, 2016 - 7:45 am

      Hey Robert,

      It wasn’t as brave as you say 🙂 I mean, the stock pedal was broken ( I’ll get a pic of it posted) and I had to put replace it with something. So what the heck I have a spare but why not try something different? And that meant drilling out the pop rivets… Then the decision of threaded inserts or pop rivets on the re-install. When I lifted the mat and insulation and saw the surface rust I was forced to deal with that before doing anything more.




  2. #3 by Paul on September 6, 2016 - 3:28 pm

    Top shelf work! P 😉

    • #4 by albell on September 6, 2016 - 7:29 pm

      Thanks Paul, but it really was a make it up as you go thing. After its made one can see where it should be improved. But that’s the way with things isn’t it?




  3. #5 by David on September 15, 2016 - 8:44 pm

    Do you reckon it’ll be slippery when your boots are wet?

    • #6 by albell on September 15, 2016 - 9:55 pm


      Only one day of rain so far and I was surprised that it wasn’t slippy. It had thought of stick on grip tape and maybe that will happen. Well see. And besides, I’m making another 🙂




  4. #7 by Andy Bobby on July 30, 2017 - 9:00 pm

    Ever consider making a small batch of these to sell? Or just one?

    • #8 by albell on July 31, 2017 - 7:27 am

      Hi Andy,

      Yup I have but couple of things holding me back. One is lack of time, second is finding a better, or should I say an off the shelf, clip to hold the a accelerator rod that comes up from the floor. I milled a clip out of plastic, but boy that’s tedious.
      I dunno, maybe I’ll revisit the thing.



  5. #9 by Leon Korkin on August 27, 2021 - 10:16 am

    Many years ago i came to Cedar City to ski at Brian Head. It was pleasantly warm the night before ski day. Next day temp dropped, it was COLD. Went to warm up Syncro. Tried to start but pedal was FROZEN! Did not move at all. I was so frustrated that i hit pedal with force…it broke off…Skiing was slipping away. Then it occured to me that tube inside of which throttle cale was had water from crossing Mojave river few times and it froze solid. Starter was frozen too. So i asked my wife to boil water in a kettle. Poured hot water on starter and Syncro started!
    had to do the same with throttle cable, this was much harder but after splashing hot water along the plastic tube cable finally started moving. But what to do about broken pedal?
    So came the idea of using ordinary hinge but i had to get to hardware store somehow. I rigged some rope to pull throttle by hand and drove to Ace. Borrowed drill, drilled couple of holes thru the floor, attached pedal to hinge with screws, installed new hinges with bolts/nuts and it worked well. In fact i am still using same kind of hinges on both of my Vanagons. At some point woild like to find better hinge with less movement. I carry spare pedals just in case.
    I like the pedal you made, looks like much better hinge and being wider helps. As you mentioned that groove for connecting to that piece is hard to make out of metal, perhaps cut this piece out of stock pedal and attach with screws. One thing i really don’t like is sloppy design under floor. Did you ever think of improving this mechanism?

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