how hard to install a speedo cable?

Discussion in '1979 - 1995 (Fox, SN95.0, & 2.3L) -General/Talk-' started by fivespeedsteed, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. mine makes a ton of racket, ive been told just replace it so how hard is that?

    thanks guys
  2. harder than changing the oil but easier than the engine
    karthief likes this.
  3. Not a biggie. Hardest part for me has always been getting the frickin' thing poked into the back of the speedometer, especially on '87+ cars. The cable seems to make a sharp zig-zag right after the firewall that kind of binds it up a bit, plus it has to go perfectly straight in there or it won't fully click into position, so that part can really suck to fight with ... especially with all of those sharp edges on everything behind the dash. :(

    The speedo in my '84 is driving me crazy with all the noise it makes. Changing the speedo cable out didn't do jack for it, the speedo gear on the tranny end is perfectly good, and it's hard to get a speedo for a four-eyed Fox in good condition at a resonable cost. Unless there's some way I can take the thing apart and spray it with some lube (silicone? WD-40?), I guess I'll just have to suffer. Hope you're not cursed with the same problem on your car. :shrug:
  4. i scrapped a couple 4 eye cars with good speedo cables should have told me
  5. I don't think the problem (in my case, anyway) is the speedo cable. Hell, even my '89 has a noisy speedo, too, and it has a new speedo cable AND a new gear in it. Both cars get the bouncy speedo needle thing below 30 MPH. It's annoying as all hell, but really, what can ya' do? :shrug:
  6. :shrug: you mess with the cluster or the cable once its usually never the same, especially if you put dumb white face gauges on there
  7. Be careful pulling the cable out of the tranny, mine pulled the casing away from the metal end and i banged my hand. Use a pair of channel locks on the end instead to pull it out.
  8. Speedometer cable replacement for 87-93 Mustangs

    Revised 12-Jun-2009 to break out separate sections for removal and replacement of the housing and inner cable assembly or only the inner cable.

    How the speedometer works:
    The indicator pointer has no direct connection to the speedo cable. It uses a drum with magnets on it to couple to the pointer. The drum turns and tries to twist the circular steel disk that is mounted on the pointer spindle. The magnetic force is all that connects the drum to the circular disk.

    Lubrication warnings
    Use a graphite based lubricant for the speedo cable. It is available at most auto parts stores in a very small tube. Lubricate only the lower half of the cable. The reason for this is that if you use too much lubricant, it works its way up into the speed head and gets between the rotating magnet and the drum. This causes the speedo to seize up and wring the indicator needle off the indicator spindle.

    Speedometer cable replacement.

    Note: All 89-93 cars have a VSS sensor even if they do not have cruse control. The 87-88 only have a VSS sensor if the have cruse control.

    Speedo cable housing assembly without cruse control:

    The VSS equipped cars have a speedo cable with a different fitting on the transmission end of the cable. It is the fitting on the LH side of the following picture.

    Speedo cable housing assembly with cruse control

    Preparation: if you are only going to replace the inner part of the speedo cable, get lots of newspaper or a painter’s drop cloth to cover the inside front of the car. About the time you have the dirty, oily speedo cable core all over your lap and the inside of the car, you will thank me for this suggestion.

    Replacing only the inner cable: see steps 1- 6, 12, 13, 17-21

    Replacing the housing and inner cable as an assembly: see steps 1-11, 13-21

    Inside the car:
    1.) Remove the shield around the steering column that covers the ignition switch & turn indicator switch.
    2.) You now have access to the two screws that hold the lower part of the cluster housing in place. Remove them and place them in a zip bag.
    3.) Use a stubby or an offset Philips screwdriver to remove the two screws on the top of the cluster housing. The screws are up close to the windshield, so they can be hard to get at.
    4.) The cluster housing will now slide forward: depending on your particular car, you may or may not have to disconnect the wiring for the headlights, hazard lights, or cluster wiring. All of the wiring uses plastic connectors with plastic spring clips on them. To release the connectors, lift the plastic clips and pull straight back.
    5.) The speedo cable is secured in the speedo head by a white plastic clip. Depress the clip or squeeze it and pull the cable out of the speedo head. This can be tricky, but it will come out if you have the white clip depressed enough.

    Speedo head cable clip

    Photo courtesy of Almost Stock


    6.) With speedo cable removed from the speedo head, try twisting the cable end with your fingers. If it turns more than 1/4 turn, the cable may either be broken or you have damage at the other end where the cable mates to the VSS sensor or speedo pickup gear in the transmission.

    Outside the car, replacing the cable housing assembly.
    The following steps are necessary only if you plan on replacing the cable & cable housing assembly.
    7.) If you are going to the replace the cable housing, the next step is important. Tie a study string or wire to the VSS sensor end of the cable housing. This string or wire is to be used to fish the cable housing back through the maze of wires that is under the dash. If all you are going to do is replace the inner cable, you can omit this step.
    8.) Jack up the car, all 4 tires must be off the ground. Place jackstands under the car for safety.
    9.) Locate the VSS sensor on the driver’s side of the transmission tailshaft housing. The speedo cable housing will be secured in the VSS sensor with a hairpin clip Do not remove the clip!!!: The hairpin clip stays in place. If you remove it, the odds are that you will not be able to get the cable to stay in place on re-installation. Pull firmly straight back on the cable housing and it will come out. A considerable amount of effort may be required to get the cable out of the VSS sensor, but it will pull out.
    10.) Release the cable housing from the clips that secure it to the car body.

    Inside the car:
    11.) The housing assembly can then be pulled out and the fish string or wire can be removed from the old cable housing and secured to the new one.
    12.) The inner cable can be removed by pulling it out of the housing assembly. Watch out for the lubricant so that you don’t get it on the car’s interior.
    13.) Lubricate only the lower part of the new cable with speedometer lubricant or graphite. Don’t use too much lubricant, or it will work its way up into the speedo head unit and damage it. Thread the inner cable into the housing, turning it as you go. When you are all the way in with the new cable, it will engage the VSS sensor and stop turning.

    Outside the car, replacing the cable housing assembly.
    The following steps are necessary only if you plan on replacing the cable & cable housing assembly.
    14.) Use the fish string or wire to feed the cable housing assembly through the dash wiring and out the cable hole in the firewall.
    15.) Secure the cable in the body clips, making sure that the cable isn’t rubbing against the exhaust pipe.
    16.) Push the cable housing assembly into the VSS sensor until it snaps in past the hairpin clip.

    Inside the car:
    17.) Push the cable housing back into the speedo head unit. You should be able to feel the white clip click into place.
    18.) Reconnect all the wires & connectors on the speedo head unit.
    19.) Re-install the cluster unit in the dash & tighten the 4 screws that hold it in place.
    20.) Re-install the cover for the ignition switch & turn signal.
    21.) If the car is up on jackstands, start the car, place it in gear & watch the speedo to see if it works OK. If you didn’t jack the car up, take a test drive.
    88mustang on a budget likes this.
  9. ive got an extra speedo cable if you want it dude
  10. Speedo cable in the way of left valve cover removal

    Greetings, Has anyone had trouble getting the left valve cover removed with the speedo cable in the way? This is a 1998 cobra. Any suggestions?
  11. Same problem I have and it drives me nuts!

  12. :nono: its not nice to thread jack with that said id do a search or ask in the correct section
  13. I installed one of the LRS cables and the thing leaked pretty well at the end of the cable where the metal crimp is on the cable end. I replaced the o-ring several times and reseated it and it still leaked enough to get the underside of the car coated in trans fluid.

    Ended up cleaning it up very well, smearing some RTV around the seam and putting a peice of heat shrink over the seam to seal it all up. Works great now...and no bounce.
  14. Im about to install a new cable in my 88 gt the motor is out.. Any pointers you could give me is great. Also have a adjustable clutch cable to install to but heard its easier when motor and trans are in.
  15. Hey so that hairpin clip does not get fully removed from the vss housing? Doesnt it keep the speedo cable in the housing?? And how does the cable pull out past the hairpin clip with that flange?? Ive found out how much of a pain it is to re-install that clip when you take it fully out.
  16. That hair pin clip stays on the sensor, just pull it back enough to get the sensor out of the trans. I was having the same problem. I replaced that sensor, new cable and even changed speedometers. The second speedo is better but still jumps a little and is a little quieter. I cleaned the speedo head with brake cleaner and it made it better for a while, then acted up again. The new sensor fixed my cruise but I would sacrifice no cruise for a quiet and smooth cable. Frustrating. I just think some foxbody speedos make noise and jump and some don't. Never had an issue on my three other foxbodys just this stupid 88gt I got recently. Clean car, no rust, 100k. all stock when I got it. So I guess ill live with it.
  17. Correction, pull the hairpin out just enough to get the cable out of the sensor!!!!!
  18. Okay i will pull out on the clip just enough to pull the speedo cable out if the vss housing. Luckily i have another clip. But i might have to pull the whole vss housing out of the trans to make it easier to access and work that clip in. Will alot of trans fluid spill out?
  19. Not too much, it least mine didn't and my trans is a brand new Z trans.
    fredfifty likes this.
  20. Ill be worked. Thanks!