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Speedo Cable Question

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  • Speedo Cable Question

    The speedometer on my 41 Champion was making a ticking noise and the needle "bounced" at low speeds. I figured it was time to lube the cable so I removed the cable from the sheath, cleaned it, lubed it with white lithium grease, and put it back together. Now I have no noise and the low speed bounce is gone but the speedometer needle "shimmys" all the time at all speeds. What did I do wrong? I was thinking I might have put a slight twist in the cable. Does anyone have an idea?


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  • #2
    I can't really answer your question but I think lithium is the wrong lubricant; there is a specific lube sold for speedo cables. A couple of years ago I put a new core in the existing cable of my Chevelle and the packaging said to only use this type of lube. Hope this helps. I would wipe off the Lithium and try it, let us know.

    Happy Trails

    Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain !



    • #3
      the cable in my 63 Lark was ticking the last time I drove it...and the needle was erratic...then it stopped working. I am assuming the drive cable is shot. Is that a correct assumption?


      1963 Lark Daytona HT - 63V J8 175


      • #4
        Two items need examined, one, the core of the cable, and two, the interior of the speedometer. The core should be one continuous wound steel wire, the interior should be lubricated and turn smoothly.

        To lubricate the head, it should be removed from the dash. Find the almost tiny hole just toward the head from the cable attachment, and put a drop or two of sewing machine oil (three in one) in the hole. The cable can be found an almost any Stude vendor. Jon Myer recommended white lithium grease to me.

        Tom Bredehoft
        '53 Commander Coupe (since 1959)
        '55 President (6H Y6) State Sedan
        (Under Construction 474 hrs.)
        '05 Legacy Ltd Wagon
        All Indiana built cars


        • #5
          Thanks for the feedback. I spun the head by hand and it both felt smooth and the needle moved smoothly. I hate to pull the cluster. Maybe I can get in there with a mirror and a little oil. I will have to get under the car and disconnect the cable to see what might be up with that. It was intact with no kinks when I pulled it out.



          • #6
            I use graphite for the spedo cable. I also removed the spedo and cleaned the gears of old hard grease. I then used my wife's sewing machine lube on the spedo gears. There is an oil reservoir with a wick on the spedo. I used a non detergent oil for the reservoir. My spedo now does not jump, wine, or miss behave.


            • #7
              Stall is correct to point out that lithium grease is NOT the right stuff for a speedometer cable. Cable lubricant is really thin stuff (kerosene based?) with graphite in it. You need to do the best you can to get all that lithium grease out, otherwise it will turn gummy. The speedo cable might be kinked, but it could just as easily be "shimmying" because the grease is creating drag on the cable in the sheathing.

              1950 Champion 4 Dr.
              Holdrege NE
              1950 Champion
              W-3 4 Dr. Sedan
              Holdrege NE


              • #8
                Well, I pulled the cable again and it was all unwrapped at the transmission end . Did I put it in backwards or something? I bought a repair kit at NAPA to try today. I flushed out the cable sheath and bought the proper cable lube. Hope it works better this time.