1995 Toyota 4Runner Speedometer Cable operation

Tiny
GREGKT
  • MEMBER
  • 1995 TOYOTA 4RUNNER
  • 3.0L
  • 6 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 240,000 MILES
Hi, I have a 95 Toyota 4Runner 2WD. No ABS. Has a cable driven speedometer, which is not working.
Originally thought it was the speedo, which I replaced with a known good speedometer from another 4runner. Didnt fix the problem. Drove the car with the gauges out, noticed that the end of the speedometer cable wasn't moving as I drove the car. Disconnected the speedo cable from the trans housing, noticed cable wouldn't turn freely when turned by hand. Replaced cable with a new part from dealership. Drove car again, noticed that the new cable is not moving either, have not tried with the cluster in. The cable turns freely by hand. No apparent damage to the keyway or the drive in the transmission housing as far as I can tell.

Should the cable be turning to drive the speedo or am I missing something? Could the drive in the trans be damaged/not working? What could other problems be?
Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 AT 3:06 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
It's surprising to find a speedometer cable on a vehicle this new. It would also be surprising to find a speedometer cable-driven cruise control servo, but just so we don't overlook something stupid, check if the cable goes into the cruise control servo. I'm 99 percent sure it doesn't, but if it does, it will have flyweights that come out due to centrifugal force, and those can come apart and catch on the housing. That will cause the lower cable to lock up at higher road speeds, and will twist that cable off.

Next, use a piece of the old cable to try to hold the pinion gear in the transmission from spinning. If you can do that with not too much force, either the teeth are worn off or there may be a plastic gear on the tail shaft that is cracked and slipping.

A less-common thing to consider is on most transmissions, the speedometer drive gear is set in a housing that can be rotated to three different positions when it is installed. The position is determined by the diameter of the gear which is a factor of the number of teeth it has. Different numbers of teeth are needed and determined by axle ratio and tire size. Larger gears are installed with the shaft further away from the gear on the tail shaft. If a smaller gear is installed that way, there will be very little tooth contact, and it will be easy for enough to wear away to the point the speedometer gear stops spinning.

On some designs, the speedometer gear slides over the metal part of the housing, and heat deforms that part of it and makes it stick. The gear can get so tight that the teeth get chewed off, and it stops spinning. You'll find that when you try to pop the gear off and you'll have to tug really hard on it.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 AT 3:40 PM
Tiny
GREGKT
  • MEMBER
The car does not have cruise control. Apparently Toyota regressed to cable driven speedos for part of the 95 production but it was the last year before they went to an electronic speed sensor. At least, thats what ive read.

I went ahead and pulled out the speedo drive pinion gear from the trans housing. The way its set up is the keyed end of the cable slides into a notched shaft that rides in a sleeve that snaps into the trans housing and is held in by a tab and bolt.
N the other end of the shaft is a nylon/plastic, concave gear which meshes with a spiral-cut gear on the output shaft of the transmission. There is a little wear on the plastic gear, mostly just feathering/deformation of the gear teeth, but it doesnt look stripped. Don't have a new gear for reference though. When everything is assembled, the pinion shaft has maybe 5-10 degrees of play against the output shaft gear.

As that pinion shaft is free floating, I was thinking maybe theres a missing spacer somewhere in there that is causing it to move side-to-side, so that initially the gear is turned by the output shaft but then gets pushed to one side or another and disengages? Doesn't look like theres much room in there for it to move.

Dont know what else it could be.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 AT 4:28 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Use a long flat-blade screwdriver and reach into the transmission and try to turn that gear. I ran into a plastic gear like that in a Villager that had cracked. It slipped on the shaft after the transmission had warmed up. The original speed sensor was found in three pieces. Apparently it locked up and broke the tail shaft gear. The new sensor showed normal road speed for about 20 minutes, then it bounced a little, then went to 0 mph. That one was a pretty miserable design. The transmission would have had to come out to replace that gear. The customer decided to trade it instead.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 AT 4:37 PM
Tiny
GREGKT
  • MEMBER
Well I think I've figured it out. I have another parts car that I pulled the speedo driven gear out of, and looked at it. By that reference, the one in the trouble vehicle is totally shot. What I think happened is the original problem, the speedo cable, seized and caused that gear to strip out. Luckily Toyota had the sense to design the easily replaced speedo gear in plastic, and not the drive gear on the output shaft!

Thanks so much for the help and insight!
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 AT 12:37 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Dandy. Happy to hear it's solved.
Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Thursday, February 12th, 2015 AT 9:46 AM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides