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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-05-12, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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Speedometer Cable and VSS

I switched out the instrument cluster in order to fix the fuel gauge, that is now working but for some reason the Speedometer does not move. When I was taking out the cluster the speedometer cable did come all the way out and into the drivers seat... probably about two feet or so worth of cable... it was mostly round but at the end it was squared. I put the cable all the way back through where it came out and reinstalled the cluster. It was not working.
At this point I looked under the hood to try to find the vss and up by the dipstick I found where the cable from the cluster goes down to the vss. Now I am pretty confused about this, because it seems like it is a 2 piece cable almost. the cable can disconnect from up near the dipstick but then if you feel down more the vss is further down I believe... even though I still haven't been able to get down far enough to see or feel the vss.
When I detached the cable from the top section I could see that there was probably about a 1/4" of that squared cable sticking out from the adapter piece.
I'm not really sure where to go from here, I feel like the cable broke and really is supposed to extend further down but I could be wrong. If anyone knows let me know.
This is for a 1989 Mercury Sable 3.8l v6 automatic tranny, with a mechanical speedometer and Cruise control.

Also, I did spin that 1/4" of cable by hand to make sure the speedometer gauge was not just broken. The speedometer works fine when the cable is spun by hand.

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-07-12, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Speedometer Cable and VSS

So I have solved this issue, figured I would post the result here in case it can help anyone in the future.

In my situation, the metal adapter piece that crimps onto the sleeve part that the speedometer cable goes through had come off, extending the length of the sleeve(on the cluster side). This made it so that only that 1/4" of squared cable was showing on the other side. I was unable to get the sleeve back into the crimped metal so I ran out to the pick-n-pull where I got the new instrument cluster from and grabbed the upper piece of the 2-piece cable.
When I got back home it didn't take very long to install the new cable, although now that the cable was all in tact it did make it more difficult to get the cluster back in... I ended up having to take off the plastic cover of the cluster.... which I'm sure failing to do in the first place probably caused the cable to break.
With the replacement upper cable installed through the firewall, I went under the hood to install it into the lower cable... first I looked at the cable coming out of the sleeve and it was now a good 3/4" or so... noticeable longer than the broken one. I spun the cable by hand and had someone check that the speedometer was working right. Everything was working good but when I went to plug in the upper cable to the lower cable, it was almost as if the exposed squared cable was now too long and not able to fit securely into the lower cable. I tried just leaving it without the clip and it wasn't working. So after a couple hours of trying I called it a day.
Earlier this morning I went out to take another shot at it, I had been thinking about what the problem could be all night and I was even close to just trying to replace the whole vss, but luckily I didn't because I didn't wanna take apart the exhaust system... To get this thing to finally work I took a small flat head screw driver about as wide as the cable that is supposed to turn the lower cable and I put it into the lower cable pushing downward (trying to make the lower cable go more into the vss... also when trying to turn it did not spin freely). So I am not sure if the order matters but I got into the car and started it, then got out and placed the clip into the white adapter piece that attaches the lower cable to the upper cable then I pushed the upper cable into the lower cable and it went all the way into the adapter and wasn't even trying to push itself back out like it was the day before. A test drive around the block, where the pedal needed to be pressed a bit showed a working speedometer.
Now I am not sure if it was pushing the cable downward that helped or having the car running that maybe did something in the transmission that allowed the cable to be pushed in... I just know it is working now and I'm happy.

I really hope that this will help save someone time if they ever come across this situation.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-07-12, 09:32 PM
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Re: Speedometer Cable and VSS

Glad to hear. Thanks for the update.

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