How to test a speedometer cable

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How to test a speedometer cable

Speedometer failure is likely to be caused by a fault in the cable that runs from the gearbox to the back of the speedometer gauge.

How to Connect a Speedometer Cable to a Transmission

If the gauge needle does not move at all, the inner cable or drive may be broken; or the cable's square ends may have become rounded with wear and fail to engage in the sockets. If the gauge needle swings or moves sluggishly, gearbox oil may have seeped up the cable and got into the speedometer itself.

In that case, you must replace the speedometer. If the needle twitches rapidly, see whether the cable is crushed, kinked or too sharply bent. Intermittent twitches can be caused by loose connections or by worn and slipping ends on the cable. To examine the cable for any of these faults, support the car securely on axle stands or ramps.

Make sure that the cable follows a smoothly curved route and is not kinked or crushed. There should be no bend within 50mm of either end. Bends elsewhere should have a radius of not less than mm. Unscrew a thimble nut with your fingers, starting it with large grips if necessary. Squeeze a circlip free with circlip pliers. The top end of the cable is harder to reach. If you cannot reach it, remove the speedometer or the instrument panel.

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The top connection is a knurled thimble nut, or one of several types of clip. Most clips release when they are pushed in and turned sideways; one type has a ribbed area on one side, which you depress to release the clip. Turn one end of the drive by hand while a helper watches the other end. If the other end does not turn, the drive is broken. If the drive turns stiffly or you feel it snagging, check that it is not kinked or crushed by a sharp bend or a guide clip.

Pull the drive out of the casing, clean the drive with petrol, smear it sparingly with grease and slide it back. Some inner cables, however, have captive ends and you cannot pull them out.The speedometer tells you how fast your vehicle is traveling for the purpose of obeying speed laws.

How to Repair a Boat Speedometer

The speedometer, in combination with the odometer, has usefulness for computing distances and travel time. Most vehicles use a manual cable hooked to the transmission case to decipher the rpm revolutions per minute signal. The speedometer cable, although simple in design, breaks down like any other component. Speedometer cables fail from lack of lubrication, impact, wear and cable breakage.

how to test a speedometer cable

Connecting a speedometer cable requires a few simple steps and basic tools. Place the vehicle in "Park" or neutral with the emergency brake set. Raise the hood, and disconnect the negative "-" battery cable. Use a floor jack to lift the vehicle high enough to place two jack stands under the front of the frame near each wheel.

Use the floor jack to lift the rear of the vehicle and place two jack stands under the frame near each wheel. Use a tape measure to measure the length of the old speedometer cable, if you have removed it from the vehicle. It should be the exact length. The fittings on each end should be identical, as far as the connection device and the diameter of the coupling device, which will look like a threaded cap.

Slide under the vehicle with a shop light.

How to check your speedometer for accuracy

Look for the cable mounted on the transmission case. Remove any heat shield or mud sheath to gain access to the cable using a socket and wrench. Wipe the speedometer cable connection with a rag. Use a pair of pliers to pull out the metal horseshoe spring clip that connects the cable to the transmission housing, if so equipped.

For the threaded cap design, grip the cap with the pliers, and turn it counterclockwise to unscrew it. Pull it out, and notice the square notch on the inside of the cable.

Insert the replacement cable into the transmission housing, and screw it on by hand only a few threads in.The most common type of boat speedometer has a tube called a pitot tube that runs to the back of the transom, or through the lower unit of the outboard motor.

When the boat is in motion, water flows into this tube, compressing the air in the tube. As the air in the tube is compressed, it moves the needle on the speedometer, much like the needle on a blood pressure cuff. The most common cause of speedometer failure is a plugged pitot tube. Look under your boat's dashboard and find the tube running from the center of the back of the speedometer.

how to test a speedometer cable

The tube probably will be black plastic and thicker than most boat wiring. Trace the speedometer tube to the back of the boat, where it will connect either to a pitot tube under the transom or to the lower unit of the outboard motor. Inspect the length of the tube for holes, cuts, kinks or wire ties that visibly pinch the tube.

If the tube is cut or has a hole, replace the tube. If a wire tie is pinching the tube, remove and replace the wire tie, making sure not to pinch the tube. Disconnect the speedometer tube from the pitot tube or lower unit, either by releasing the quick-connect joint to the motor or by using the screwdriver to unscrew the connector at the pitot tube.

Inspect the pitot tube for breaks or holes; if any are present, replace the pitot tube. If your speedometer tube connects to the lower unit of your outboard motor, open the case of your motor's lower unit and visually inspect the tube for cuts, breaks, holes or kinks. If any are present, replace the speedometer tube. Tell your assistant to watch the speedometer and let you know if the needle moves, then blow into the tube for 10 seconds. It takes very little breath to make the needle move as high as 5 mph.

If the needle does not move when you blow through the tube, disconnect the tube from the back of the speedometer it should simply pull off and use a compressor--at a very low pressure, under 10 psi--to blow any debris out of the tube. When the compressed air blows freely through the tube, reconnect the tube to the back of the speedometer and blow through the tube again while your assistant watches the speedometer. If the speedometer still refuses to move, replace the speedometer unit on the dash.

This unit is not repairable by the consumer. Will Charpentier is a writer who specializes in boating and maritime subjects. A retired ship captain, Charpentier holds a doctorate in applied ocean science and engineering. He is also a certified marine technician and the author of a popular text on writing local history.A broken motorcycle speedometer can be incredibly frustrating.

The number of potential issues seems endless — needle stops working, needle bounces around, odometer stops rolling, etc. The good news is that the trouble-shooting part is relatively easy.

In general, you are looking at three potential problems: 1 broken or worn out cable, 2 broken speedo drive, and 3 broken speedometer. First, disconnect your cable from the speedometer drive end. For those less familiar with speedometers and how they work — basically there is a single cable that runs from the back of the speedometer to either the transmission or front rotor.

Grab your power drill and close the chuck down around the interior cable. First make sure the internal cable looks okay i. When the cable breaks, it often breaks at one end or the other. Use your power drill cinched down around the internal drive cable to spin the cable and see if the speedometer needle moves. Honestly though a broken motorcycle speedometer usually comes down to the cable first, speedometer itself second, and drive unit third.

This is where you need to borrow a cable from a buddy and repeat the same test. Similarly, if you have a spare speedometer sitting around, you can do the same process of elimination by attaching the good speedometer to your cable. Either way, the whole idea here is process of elimination.

Ultimately, if you find that it is the speedometer itself you have two choices — get a replacement aftermarket or OEM from a swap meet or attempt to repair. Truth of the matter is though, that speedometers from Harley were not really designed to be user friendly when it comes to doing a repair.

Put another way, they were not really designed to be disassembled. That said, stay tuned because HappyWrench is going to do a post on how to repair that OEM speedometer.

If you enjoyed this blog post on how to deal with a broken motorcycle speedometer, please like or share on Facebooktweet on Twitteror like on Instagram.

It is a one-stop shop for all your DIY motorcycle repair information needs. Chris was born in a small-town NY and, over the years, owned a couple dozen different motorcycles, ranging from cruiser to enduro, Japanese to American. He started HappyWrench in as he wanted to share his passion for motorcycles with other people.Have you ever taken a look at the speedometer on your classic car and the needle was shaking in rhythm with a horrendous high-pitched sound?

Fortunately, problems with mechanically operated speedometers can often be resolved with a little effort. Here we'll talk about how they work and common problems on vintage automobiles. A signal originates from a driven gear that meshes with the transmission tail shaft. This set up rotates a flexible metal core inside of a speedometer cable, which in turn, connects to the back of the speedometer head mounted in the instrument cluster.

The faster the tail shaft spins the higher the reading on the dashboard. This type of implementation provides car makers with some flexibility to change calibration by changing the size of the gear that mounts on the transmission.

For this reason, you often find a specific colored speedometer gear for different tire sizes and rear differential ratios. In fact, counting the number of teeth on the gear and knowing its color are helpful in diagnosing speedometer calibration issues. One of the most annoying speedometer problems is squeaky operation. A high-pitched sound is generated by the metal core rubbing inside of the cable sheath. A speedometer head can also generate noise, which also spins along at the same speed.

If you disconnect the cable from a speedometer head and it still makes noise, then you have just isolated the problem as the cable itself. However, if the noise disappears when it's disconnected then the head contains the issue. As mentioned above, another common problem is the calibration of the reading. Sometimes owners don't find out just how far off a speedometer is until they're driving down the highway at 55 MPH and receive a speeding ticket for traveling 10 MPH over the limit. Changing a rear differential gear ratio or the wheel and tire size are two reasons for the speedometer to provide incorrect readings.

However, other upgrades like replacing a three-speed automatic transmission with a four-speed automatic or switching a three-speed manual transmission to a modern five-speed overdrive unit will also cause erratic readings. When they assembled the speedometer cable at the factory, they filled the cable with bearing grease and then sealed both ends. This lubricant can leak out, deteriorate, or dry up over long periods of time.

Without lubrication, the operation becomes noisy, but this is not the only problem. Since the cable runs from outside the car to up under the dash it takes a few twists and turns along the way.The speedometer cable translates the transmission gear speed through a cable housing and up to the speedometer gauge in the back of the instrument cluster. Connected at both ends by two small gears or slotsthe speedometer cable rotates within the housing and tabulates the speed of the vehicle.

At times the speedometer needle can bounce, fluctuate and jerk wildly, or there might be no reading at all. Repairing the speedometer cable can be a simple chore if you pay attention to a few repair tips and some troubleshooting advice.

Put the vehicle in park and set the emergency brake. Open the hood. Hoist the vehicle with the floor jack high enough to place four jack stands under the frame next to each wheel.

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Make sure the vehicle sits level and that all the jack stands have been set at the same height. Position yourself on the driver's side floorboard where you can look up under the dashboard. Use the shop light to illuminate the area. Where the speedometer gauge sits in the cluster, you will see a large black cable coming from it and angling downward to pass through the firewall. You'll need to use a pair of channel locks or pliers to remove the circular retaining ring on the head of the cable where it joins the speedometer gauge.

Turn it counterclockwise until you can remove it with your fingers. Remove the cable from the cable housing by trying to pull up on the cable end. If it remains fixed and immobile, you will have to move to the engine compartment.

how to test a speedometer cable

There will be a grommet on the firewall through which the cable housing passes. Detach the grommet from the hole and pull the cable housing through, being careful not to bend it at sharp angles. Detach the cable housing from any other guide clamps or wire loom fasteners that lead down to the gear box or transmission housing.

How to Properly Lubricate a New Speedometer Cable

Remove the ring retaining nut from the gearbox or transmission housing. In the case of a small plate and bolt that holds the retaining nut in place, use the appropriate socket to remove it. Once you have the retaining nut off, pull the cable away and place it on the floor.

Use carburetor cleaner to spray down inside the housing either end and shake several times. This will remove dried grease that has turned to gum. Pull the cable gently out of the housing with the pliers. Soak the inside of the cable housing again with carburetor cleaner and let it drain.

how to test a speedometer cable

Compare the length of the new cable with the old cable. Make sure they are the same length and have identical slot ends. Lubricate the new cable with lithium grease, spreading a medium-thick coat over all sides of the cable. Insert the new cable inside the cable housing, gently twisting and pushing it until it protrudes from the other end.

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Wipe off excess grease. Move to the underside of the vehicle. Align the slot end of the cable to the inside of the gearbox or transmission housing, turning the opposite end of the cable with your fingers until the slot seats.

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Connect the gearbox-transmission side of the cable housing, turning the retaining nut clockwise until it seats.Thank you for your patience as we and many other small businesses dealt with the fallout of the recent tariffs with China. We are now seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. We have a waiting list of people from all over the world who have reached out to us looking for a solution to their speedometer drive issue.

We have now thoroughly developed, proven out, and streamlined the manufacturing, delivery, sales and marketing processes for Classic Speed. As such, we have decided to sell the Classic Speed part of CAI including the IP and are in discussions with several interested parties who we feel have the capability to bring Classic Speed to the next level. If you, or someone you know, are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please reach out to us for additional information.

Watch here for further updates!

How to Fix a Speedometer Gauge in Your Car (Speed Sensor)

Simply unscrew the speedometer cable from the original source and screw it onto the end of the Classic Speed unit. CAI can also provide a new custom cable. If your vehicle is 12v, negative ground, Classic Speed U. Patent No. Currently out of stock. Classic Speed. Spec Sheet:. Installation Guide:. Installation Photo Gallery. Click here to check out some of our. Read the. For the engineers among us Elements such as varying tire diameter, drive system gear ratios, and aging mechanical systems can severely alter the accuracy of both the speedometer and odometer.

This can result in expensive and unnecessary speeding violations, along with a reduced vehicle value due to a higher than actual odometer reading.

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Tracking up to 22 satellites on 66 channels, there's a small, active antenna that sits anywhere there is line of sight to the sky. It uses that signal to calculate ground speed, and then uses the internal software of the program to change that ground speed into a signal to drive an electric motor in the Classic Speed unit. Classic Speed takes the place of the transmission to drive your speedometer.

You simply unscrew your speedometer cable from the transmission and screw it onto the front of the Classic Speed unit. Installation requires only basic knowledge and tools.

Other solutions such as recalibrating the speedometer or adjusting gear ratios are vehicle dependent.


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