Speedometer stopped working

Tiny
BOSSY
  • MEMBER
  • 1991 DODGE CARAVAN
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 245,000 MILES
My speedometer suddenly stopped working, it tried to go out a few times before, now it does not work at all. Needle laying on peg. Any suggestions on the problem?
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Tuesday, October 4th, 2016 AT 5:34 PM

5 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Change the speed sensor.

You need to list the engine size. If you have the 3.0L Mitsubishi engine, those mostly used the really tough three speed transmission. Speed sensor failures were real common on the mid to late 1980's models. The 1988 model, (like mine), was the last year they still used a speedometer cable, so a sensor failure only affected the lock-up torque converter and cruise control. By the mid 1990's they changed the design to a very reliable three-wire "Hall Effect" sensor. Failure of those is rare. The earlier design used a reed switch and rotating magnet. The extremely common complaint was the speedometer and odometer would not work for the first two or three miles in the morning, then they worked fine for the rest of the day. Eventually the failure became permanent. This was so common, it was one of the few times we did not waste customer's time and money on testing anything. We just popped in a new sensor. Fifteen minutes and you were on the road again.

If you have the 3.3L Chrysler engine, almost all of those used the four-speed computer-controlled transmission. Those use an input speed sensor and an output speed sensor. The Transmission Computer calculates road speed and sends that information to the instrument cluster. If either of those sensors has failed, you have more problems than a non-working speedometer. Specifically, the system will be stuck in "limp mode" which keeps it in second gear.
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Tuesday, October 4th, 2016 AT 10:15 PM
Tiny
BOSSY
  • MEMBER
I found both the speed sensors, and my Van is a LE, V6, 3.3 Litre, two wheel drive, I had to order the sensors and will update as soon as I change the Input and Output Sensors, thank you so much for your answer.
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Thursday, October 6th, 2016 AT 12:50 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I wasn't expecting that. You should be stuck in second gear if either speed sensor is bad with that transmission. If it's shifting okay through all forward gears, the speed sensors are okay.
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Thursday, October 6th, 2016 AT 2:51 PM
Tiny
BOSSY
  • MEMBER
It shifts fine, no problem with that, the speedometer had been acting up once in awhile, then it just quit working, does my 1991 have a speedometer cable, some have suggested it does. Any info will be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance.
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Saturday, October 8th, 2016 AT 8:19 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The 1988 model, (like mine), was the last year they still used a speedometer cable. '89 and newer models used the Hall Effect three-wire speed sensor with no speedometer cable on the three-speed transmission, and two separate speed sensors with the four-speed transmission. If your four-speed is shifting fine, the speed sensors are working.

The first thing you need to observe is if the odometer is working. If it is, that limits the problem to the instrument cluster. If it is not, the problem could be in the Transmission Computer or the instrument cluster.

The next step is to use a scanner to see if the Transmission Computer is updating the current mileage, then see if the instrument cluster is updating.
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Sunday, October 9th, 2016 AT 4:30 PM

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