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1984 Saab 900 speedometer problem

575 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  1976SaabEMS
My speedometer stopped working, or rather it worked intermittently and now has stopped altogether. The last time it worked was after I hit a big bump on the road and it abruptly came back for a couple hundred miles but stopped again. I disconnected the speedometer cable and lubed it and tried to spray some lube in the back of the speedometer as well. It worked for a while and has stopped again. The cable itself seems to be fine as the odometer is working correctly. Does anyone have an idea what's going on? I know with the odometer there is a gear that slides out of mesh with another gear and that's what seems like going here as well, but I don't know the inner workings of the speedometer. Taking it out seems to be a big pain in the butt, so I didn't want to take it out unless there is an easy fix or at least one I can do myself. Otherwise, I'll live with no speedometer, like on most of the Alfa Romeos I have!
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40 years ago I could have named a dozen or more shops that repaired speedo's 20 years ago I could name a few, today they are few and far between, and parts are the problem. Either replace the head or go on a search for a shop that can repair them. They are not that hard to repair IF you have the parts you need, or can make them.
Trucks just plain wear them out, If you get 1 million miles out of a mechanical speedo set up you are doing good, Electronics are good to 2 million or more (never owned a truck I put 2 million on). bushing can wear, thrust washers can wear, all change the alignment of stuff. Not rocket science, but more watchmaker, jewellry maker kind of work, if you have to make your own parts.
Many cars use a one piece cable which can transmit thrust force to the head, many truck set ups use a floating cable end at the speedo to prevent that from happening.
Point is: it is possable to make a long lasting cable drive speedo, but most cars aren't made that way and need parts after 30 years, you are on borrowed time. On the plus side, there are those that restore them and can make it good again, just not as many as there were 40 years ago.
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