Speedometer not working?

Tiny
ANONYMOUS
  • MEMBER
  • 1996 TOYOTA 4RUNNER
  • 240,000 MILES
How to troubleshoot the speedometer?
Friday, December 7th, 2012 AT 5:10 AM

18 Replies

Tiny
2CEXPT
  • MEMBER
Inspect and test the vehicle speed sensor. Check out the diagrams (below). Please let us know what you find. We are interested to see what it is.
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Friday, December 7th, 2012 AT 5:20 AM
Tiny
KASEKENNY1
  • EXPERT
You have two speed sensors. Speed sensor number 1 is used for the speedometer. The way this works is the speed sensor sends pulses to the cluster where the speed is displayed and then it is sent to the ECM.

The way we test this is to monitor voltage coming out of the speed sensor. Here is a guide that will help with using a volt meter:

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-use-a-voltmeter

Once we know we have voltage that cycles up and down coming out of the sensor then we can move onto the cluster but I suspect we will not get this voltage. If not, then the speed is not registering.

I attached the info on this system for your review but I suspect you are going to need to replace the sensor.

Let me know what questions you have. Thanks
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Tuesday, December 1st, 2020 AT 1:41 PM
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?
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 AT 8:14 AM (Merged)
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.
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 AT 8:14 AM (Merged)
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.
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 AT 8:14 AM (Merged)
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.
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 AT 8:14 AM (Merged)
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!
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 AT 8:14 AM (Merged)
Tiny
PORTHOS1
  • MEMBER
  • 1995 TOYOTA 4RUNNER
  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 154,000 MILES
When I roll the switch to headlight I get the parking lights but no low beams. But if I pull away from me the high beam work great. I checked the bulb and it looked fine. Any ideas. Also my speedometer doesnt work. I had inquired to the dealer about a speed control device on the transmission but after giving my vin he said that mine isnt applicable. Which I assume means I have a cable instead of newer technology.
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 AT 8:14 AM (Merged)
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Hi porthos1,

Thank you for the donation.

Yes, it means your vehicle ia equipped with a cable for running the speedometer. The cable is attached to the transmission on the right side near end of transmission. Disconnect the cable and turn the inner cable while getting an assistant to check if the speedometer works. If no, pull the inner cable out to check if it is broken.

The meter cable has to be replaced as an assy.

As to the lighting issue, I believe you have faulty light switch.
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 AT 8:14 AM (Merged)
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Dandy. Happy to hear it's solved.
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 AT 8:14 AM (Merged)
Tiny
PORTHOS1
  • MEMBER
About the headlight issue. It seems to be that when I turn the switch to headlight, the dash lights come on and when the door is ajar it beeps. Even when u put the lever forward the high beams comes on. How is it the switch?
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 AT 8:14 AM (Merged)
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
The headlight switch is a 2 position switch. One is for the combination lights while another is for the headlight circuits. Wuold you be able perform test with a test lamp?

The door ajar light indicating could mean either the door switch circuit is shorted or the switch is not being closed properly, could be an out of adjustment door.
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 AT 8:14 AM (Merged)
Tiny
PORTHOS1
  • MEMBER
By the way. Speedometer cable was just loose behind the actuall speedometer. Works fine. Ok back to the healight. I checked with a meter that when the headlight is fully on I have 12volts at the relay. I even replaced the relay thinking that this could be the issue, but I read the schematic on the side and it works fine. So where to next? To me it seems to producing the power to at least that spot but not turning on the lights.
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 AT 8:14 AM (Merged)
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Is your vehicle equipped with Daytime Running Lights? Wiring schematics are different for with and without.
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 AT 8:14 AM (Merged)
Tiny
DILLIGAF371971
  • MEMBER
  • 1994 TOYOTA 4RUNNER
Transmission problem
1994 Toyota 4Runner 6 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic

I am purchasing a 4 runner tomorrow afternoon from a used cars lot. So far the only thing I can find wrong with it is the speedometer doesn't work. I asked the dealer to check it out and he told me they won't put any more money into the vehicle and they don't know what's wrong with it. What is the worst case I'm looking at?
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 AT 8:14 AM (Merged)
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Hi dilligaf371971,

It could be a bad ground connection at the meter cluster, seen quite a few of them, a bad Vehicle Speed Sensor, worn VSS drive gear, bad gauge and worst case would be the trans if it is not moving.
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 AT 8:14 AM (Merged)
Tiny
PORTHOS1
  • MEMBER
My 4runner doesn't have daytime running lights
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 AT 8:14 AM (Merged)
Tiny
KHLOW2008
  • EXPERT
Test the left and right head light fuse for battery voltage. Voltage should be present with headlight switch turned ON.

If voltage is not present, at headlight relay, ground the Red/Blue wire, headlight should turn on, if noty, the realy is faulty.

If headlight turns on, at headlight switch, ground the Red/Blue wire, if headlight turns on, the headlight switch is faulty.

If headlight does not turn ON, the wire between the headlight relay to switch is open(broken).
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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 AT 8:14 AM (Merged)

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