Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Bad Classic Chevy Tri-Five Speedometer: How-To Tech

What’s that Noise?
Bad Classic Chevy Tri-Five Speedometer: How-To Tech
  -Alan Arnell

I’m on my way to the Dallas Area Classic Chevy Spring Show. I turn on the George Bush Tollroad and blended into 70 mph traffic.  Without warning, a terrible-howling noise droned from under my

dashboard.  Seeking for the problem, I notice the needle of my speedometer was flipping all around all cattywampus!

I was only a couple of miles away from from my destination, so I just motored on with the radio playing louder.  Turning up the radio will fix most Classic Car problems.

I had been riding with a friend years before when his speedometer took a dump.  He ignored the problem and the speedometer shook so bad the needle fell off to the bottom of the gauge.  That is why when I got to the show, I reached under the dash to unhook the speedo cable.  I wish I had done so at the transmission as well, since the metal shaft inside the cable broke because it was still turning against the friction of the bad cable on the 20 mile journey back home.

I ordered a new cable on eBay and after its arrival, I finally found some time to complete the repair.

I had to remove the the speedometer from the dashboard.  I have a ‘57, so I took the whole cluster off to remove the speedometer from the rear of the cluster.  With a ‘55-’56 you may remove the
speedometer from the dash.  I guess with a ‘57 you could take the speedometer out without removing the whole cluster, but I don’t see how.

When I had the assembly removed, I removed the actual speedometer head from the rear mounting plate.  I had to pry a small brass plug from the rear side of the speedometer head with a small screwdriver. With the plug removed I found was a small black wick.  I remove the wick as well.  

Taking my trusty can of WD-40, I sprayed a liberal amount of the penetrating-type lubricant into the opening. After letting the WD-40 do its job overnight,  I came back and turned the speedo drive by hand.  

I had some white lithium grease that I placed in the the unit to permanently lubricate the inner workings.  

Satisfied, I had done all I could do, I put the wick and brass plug back in place to then re-install the speedo in the dash cluster.

I had a new cable, however I still, lubricated the upper opening of the new speedo cable with white grease before re-attaching the cable to the speedometer.  I should be good for another 134,000 miles.

If you are reusing an old cable, I would suggest spraying it with WD-40 to clean it out before lubricating with grease.

A special note:  My Speedometer had always been 10 mph off.  I found that I could reposition the needle on its posts to show the correct speed.  

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