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Thread: Speedo Problems

  1. #1

    Default Speedo Problems

    The speedo on my '55 had been bouncing for months, and eventually quit functioning. So I replaced the cable with a reproduction part from California Pontiac Restoration (the old cable had a break), but there is still severe bounce. After pulling the speedo from the dash the head seems to be froze up. Should I even attempt to have this repaired or should I start over with a part off of ebay, etc?


  2. #2


    Before you start over, take the speedo apart and see if you can fix it. They aren't that difficult to work on. Just pay attention to what you are doing when you disassemble it. If nothing else, you'll learn how a speedo works.
    Larry Gorden, POCI 1956 Tech Adviser

  3. #3


    There was just an article on this in the Nov or Dec Smoke Signals

  4. #4


    Thanks to you both of you for the advice. I was actually following the article, which was great. The only thing I didn't like about the article is that it didn't quite show exactly where the speedo was lubed (at least as far as I could tell). It seemed like the author was saying that the lubrication point was under the magnet cover. On the 1960's style speedo in the article there was plenty of room to lift up the cover without further disassembly to the speedo. But the '55 speed does not have that much room as the odometer dial rests directly on the cover. In order to get the magnet cover off it appears that I will need to pull the dial off the shaft and go from there. I'm not very educated on speedometers and am afraid that I'll kill it. On the other hand, I wouldn't be much worse off. How bad of an omen is it to have a frozen head? Does this problem have a high rate of success with repairs? Is it worth an attempted repair at this point (done at home or contracted out)?

  5. #5


    Go for it Kelly, take it apart.

    The speedo indicator presses onto the shaft. Carefully pull it off (Note the position of the indicator because you'll need to reinstall it in the same position). Remove the two screws from the back face and remove it. Remove the odometer pack. You'll have something like this.

    Now take the speedo head apart, here's what you'll have.

    Now lube the shaft and insure you can get it to spin freely.

    At each step, insure you can reverse the step for putting it back together. I sometimes photograph things as I take them apart so I can put it back together.

    If you have defective internal parts, look for a 55/56 speedometer on ebay. The ugly ones go cheap but will likely have good internal parts.

    (Note this is re-submission of earlier post where photos were out of order. I did some diddling to try and fix it, I won't know until after it is submitted)
    Last edited by lgorden; January 24th, 2012 at 16:45. Reason: photos not correctly ordered???
    Larry Gorden, POCI 1956 Tech Adviser

  6. Default

    I know it's frustrating, the only work around that may work is numbering the .jpg photos in alpha or numeric order, I'm thinking maybe that's the logic it uses, but I'm not 100% sure...
    Paul Bergstrom
    POCI Club Office Mgr.

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by POCIClubOffice View Post
    I know it's frustrating, the only work around that may work is numbering the .jpg photos in alpha or numeric order, I'm thinking maybe that's the logic it uses, but I'm not 100% sure...
    I was able to get it ordered correctly by editing my original post with the photos. It displays correctly now. I edited the HTML to reference the correct internal number for each photo. Then photos didn't show up correctly in edit mode but show up correctly when posted. I deleted those other posts that I had put there in frustration. Whew!
    Larry Gorden, POCI 1956 Tech Adviser

  8. #8


    After hearing your collective advice, I took apart my speedometer myself. I was able to remove the bracket that the odometer face plate mounts to without pulling the dial off of the shaft. From there things got much simpler. I made my own lubricant, as Ron Panzer mentions in the article, and applied it to the bushing on the inside and outside of the head. Since the bushing was froze up I first moved it by hand back and forth to work in the lube. After the part rotated with limited resistance I then cut an end section off of my old speedo cable, put it inside my drill chuck and let the drill work in the lube for me. I took 10-15 minutes on this and when I was finished there was only very slight drag at one small point in the 360 degrees of travel. I then reassembled the part, reinstalled it and went for a test drive. I drove at residential, city and highway speeds and found the speedometer to be functioning almost perfectly (there seems to be a very slight delay during deceleration, but nothing I would've ever noticed if I wasn't looking hard for a malfunction). I am really excited about what I learned during this project and with how well things turned out, especially since this gauge had never really functioned properly since I purchased the vehicle. I'm also appreciative of the fact that this repair cost me $0.00 to do, and I'm on a limited budget! I posted pictures of the project in the" '55 Speedo Lube" album on my profile. Thank you to all for the collective advice, reference pictures and encouragement. It really helped a lot.


    P.S. - Since we are on the topic of technical difficulties: I was unable to directly organize the order of the pictures I put into my albums, but have noticed that if I upload them in reverse sequential order one at a time they show up in the folder in proper sequence. In other words, whatever I upload first shows up last in an album, and whatever I upload last shows up first in an album. Hopefully this is helpful to someone as well, haha.
    Last edited by JKelly55; January 25th, 2012 at 23:48.

  9. #9


    HI, I thought I would add to this as I have a related problem with our '59. It bounces even though I lubed the cable during interior restoration. We were living with it until the "Safeguard Speedometer" (optional and annoying buzzer that sounds over a set speed) broke it's spring and sounded the alarm constantly. I didn't have time to deal with it the night it happened so just pulled the fuse, which deactivates the heater/defroster too.

    So, I'd like to ask if anyone could tell me if this can be repaired with after market supplier parts or not, though I am thinking I would not want to repair it but just deactivate it and fix the speedo as Jeff did.

    What do you guys think?

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