A faulty speedometer cable can cause your speedometer needle to not only go haywire, but eventually to not move at all. In either case, not knowing how fast you are going can cost you not only what you spend in parts and labour, but also a potentially small fortune in speeding fines. On the bright side, replacing the cable on a Ford Escort is not terribly difficult for the determined home mechanic with a guide to go by, the proper tools, and the right parts.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Battery wrench
- 1/2-inch drive ratchet
- 1/2-inch drive socket set
- Steering wheel puller kit
- Screwdriver set
- Torx driver set
- Speedometer cable
- Multipurpose grease
Disconnect the negative battery cable with the battery wrench to disable the airbag and wait one full minute for the backup power to discharge.
Remove the steering wheel column covers, the airbag module, and the steering wheel. Use the 1/2-inch ratchet with the appropriate 1/2-inch socket to remove the steering wheel retaining nut and the steering wheel puller to remove the wheel. Care must be taken with the airbag module.
Pry out the clip that secures the cable to the transaxle with a screwdriver and pull out the cable.
Remove the accessory switches or cover plates from the instrument cluster trim panel by prying them carefully out with a screwdriver and disconnect their respective connectors.
Remove the trim panel screws at the top and bottom and pull the panel loose.
Remove the screws that secure the cluster with the appropriate Torx driver. Pull the cluster out and disconnect the electrical connector and the speedometer cable.
If you are replacing the inner cable only, pull it out of the housing. If you are replacing the cable housing as well, skip Step 8, detach it from it's clips and pull it through the firewall.
Coat the new cable with plenty of multipurpose grease and slide it into the housing.
Replace all parts in the reverse order from that in which they were removed and reconnect the negative battery cable.
Tips and warnings
- Take extreme care when removing the airbag module. Do not neglect to disconnect the negative battery cable and wait for the reserve power to discharge. Remember that airbags contain an explosive charge and an unexpected airbag deployment can injure or kill you. Safety comes first!
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