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Replacing Your Mercedes Benz Speedometer Cable
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Your Mercedes Benz Speedometer Cable

Steve Vernon

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$40

Talent:

**

Tools:

10mm socket, pliers, Mercedes-Benz tool 140-589-02-33-00

Applicable Models:

 
Mercedes-Benz W124 (1986-95)
Mercedes-Benz W126 (1981-91)
Mercedes-Benz W201 (1984-93)

Parts Required:

New Speedometer cable

Hot Tip:

Replace your gauge bulbs

Performance Gain:

Knowing your speed

Complementary Modification:

Clean everything while you're in there

If you have a bad speedometer cable and need to replace it, the gauge cluster needs to come of the dash.

Begin by disconnecting the speedometer cable from the transmission. It is held in place by a 10mm bolt that holds it its mount. You will need to fully remove the bolt, nut just loosen it.

Next disconnect the clip that holds the cable to the transmission. Remove this clip from the cable to reuse later. Also the clip will not fit through the hole in the bulkhead so you should remove it now.

Now move up to the interior of the vehicle.

There are basically two methods for removing the cluster. The first method is really only for people with smaller arms and hands. If you have Popeye forearms and or can palm a basketball, chances are you will be using the second method. The first method also does not involve special tools. I will explain both methods here and, in both cases you do not need to remove the steering wheel.

First, the small-arm method:

If you have smaller arms you will be able to reach in through the driver's side air vent opening and release the speedometer cable from the back of the cluster.

Begin by removing the driver's side air vent. It just pulls straight out. Wrap a cloth around some pliers and gently pull it from the vent. With the air diverter removed you have access to the four clips that are holding the vent to the dash. Gently pry up the four plastic clips holding the vent in place and pull it forward. The vent and face plate will come off together. There is a rear cabin light switch attached to the plate that just pulls apart to disconnect.

Once the vent plate is removed, reach through the opening and disconnect the speedometer cable from the back of the instrument cluster. You will be working by feel and are feeling for a round cable that screws directly into the back of the cluster. Just unscrew it counter-clockwise. Once this is done, gently push the instrument cluster forward from the rear. The unit is just held in by friction and will slide out. With the speedometer cable disconnected, you can remove the gauge far enough forward to disconnect the rest of the accessories connected to it.

The second method:

You will need to purchase the Mercedes-Benz instrument cluster tool 140-589-02-33-00 or make two metal pullers of your own. Most people take a straight length of coat hanger around eight inches long and bend a 90 degree turn about a quarter inch from the end. Now, while this will work, it is a substantially thicker wire to force through the dash opening than the Mercedes-Benz tool: there is also the possibility of scratching the cluster or the interior if you are not careful. Sitting in the driver's seat, slide your pulling tool in the gaps between the instrument cluster and upper section of the air vents on both sides. Turn your tools handles so the hooked end turns in towards the cluster. There are ridged areas on both sides of the cluster that the tool will hook on to and allow you to pull the unit forward.

With the cluster pulled forward and sitting on the top of the steering wheel shaft you can reach in and disconnect the speedometer cable and all the accessories attached to the unit.

With everything disconnected and the gauge cluster out of the way you will need to reach into the panel and pull the cable out through interior of the car. The cable must be removed from the dash and reinstalled from that direction as well. There are two pieces of sheet metal the cable passes through. The first is the back of the dash housing and the second is the wire wall. There is about 16 inches of space between them. Reach in and pull the rubber grommet out towards you with a pair of pliers. If you know you are going to be replacing the cable, go out and cut off the rubber grommet from the bulkhead. Now pull the complete cable out through the dash. Don't forget to remove the transmission cable as it will not fit through the bulkhead. When inserting the new cable carefully line up the transmission end and pass it through both openings in the sheet metal. The rest is just resetting the grommets and hooking everything back up.

From underneath the car, take a 10mm socket and unscrew the bolt holding the speedometer cable in the transmission.
Figure 1

From underneath the car, take a 10mm socket and unscrew the bolt holding the speedometer cable in the transmission. You must fully remove the bolt to get the cable out. Gently wiggle the cable out, if you just grab it and yank on it, there is a good chance you will damage it.

Next, remove the clip holding the speedometer cable to the transmission (red arrow).
Figure 2

Next, remove the clip holding the speedometer cable to the transmission (red arrow).

Here is the instrument cluster on a W201 with cruise control.
Figure 3

Here is the instrument cluster on a W201 with cruise control. You do not need to remove the steering wheel as there is plenty of room between the dash and wheel to remove the instrument cluster.

Method One: Remove the air diverter from the vent by wrapping a cloth around some pliers and pulling the diverter straight out.
Figure 4

Method One: Remove the air diverter from the vent by wrapping a cloth around some pliers and pulling the diverter straight out.

Gently pry up the four plastic clips (red arrows) holding the vent and face plate to the dash, and then slide it forward.
Figure 5

Gently pry up the four plastic clips (red arrows) holding the vent and face plate to the dash, and then slide it forward.

Disconnect the rear light switch from the face plate.
Figure 6

Disconnect the rear light switch from the face plate. It pulls straight off

If your arms are thin enough reach in behind the cluster through the opening in the air vent and disconnect the speedometer cable from the instrument cluster.
Figure 7

If your arms are thin enough reach in behind the cluster through the opening in the air vent and disconnect the speedometer cable from the instrument cluster. Once the speedometer cable is disconnected, push the cluster out from behind enough so you can grab it and pull it forward from the front.

This photo shows what the end of the speedometer cable looks like.
Figure 8

This photo shows what the end of the speedometer cable looks like. This is what you will be feeling for, and unscrewing when reaching through the vent opening.

Insert the Mercedes-Benz pulling tool, or your own homemade version the tool between the upper part of the air vent and the instrument cluster.
Figure 9

Insert the Mercedes-Benz pulling tool, or your own homemade version the tool between the upper part of the air vent and the instrument cluster.

Turn the tool so the hooked end rotates in towards the cluster.
Figure 10

Turn the tool so the hooked end rotates in towards the cluster.

The insert lower left shows what the Mercedes-Benz pulling tools look like that Pelican Parts sell for under $15.
Figure 11

The insert lower left shows what the Mercedes-Benz pulling tools look like that Pelican Parts sell for under $15. As mentioned, you can always make your own. In the main photo you can see the area on both sides of the instrument cluster that the tools hook onto (red arrow). With the tools hooked on you can pull the cluster from the dash.

The speedometer cable passes through the bulkhead behind the air filter and to the driver's side of the oil filter (red arrow).
Figure 12

The speedometer cable passes through the bulkhead behind the air filter and to the driver's side of the oil filter (red arrow). The old cable needs to be pulled out through the dash into the interior of the car, and the new cable needs to be fed in through the dash. If you know you are replacing the cable it is easier to cut this large rubber grommet off.

This photo illustrates what you will see once you get the gauge cluster out.
Figure 13

This photo illustrates what you will see once you get the gauge cluster out. You will need to pull the rubber grommet (yellow arrow) through the bulkhead. You can use the end of the speedometer cable (green arrow) to help pull the cable.

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Comments and Suggestions:
waheed Comments: Dear sir,

We have mvc. 600 buses.

I want to know the speed of the bus.driver is driving.
For that we have a monitoring box.where can i get this voltage output from speedometer.can u send me details of speedometer user by tour company.

Replay me on mohammad.waheed@Kgl.com
November 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Viggo Comments: Hi again,

Thanks. I eventually figured it out. The duct I thought was a vent. is actually the duct for the shaft + its rubber sleeve. It leads the cable right into the speedometer house, thus avoiding any bend or kink.

Btw. the 300E doesn't have the cable go through the firewall. It goes through the foot well and under the car back to the transmission.

BR
Viggo
October 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Viggo Comments: Hi Nick,

I am in the process of replacing the cable now. I got the old detached and removed, but now I am having a little difficulty routing the new one back behind the dashboard. On the 300E, it runs from the foot well along the brake pedal, and should come up somewhere behind the instrument cluster. Of course I was stupid enough to forget to note where exactly it enters the space behind the instrument cluster. Right behind the speedometer dial there is a vent and some ventilation tube, so I guess it has to come up either left or right of that vent. Do you know how I am able to get the new cable back. Obviously, I am changing the whole thing, not only the cable, but also its tube.

BR
Viggo
October 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I dont recall which side it comes in on, but we can figure it out.

To determine where the cable comes in, measure where the attachment point is on the cluster and then measure which side of the tube seems the best fit.

Start at the grommet on the firewall side. Feed a piece of wire through the hole into the vehicle. Once the wire is in place, attach it to the new cable and use the wire to pull it through to the cluster. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Viggo Comments: Ok, that is not possible on my vehicle because the flex disc is in the way. It would at least take some U-joint or other extension to get around the edge of the flex disc. I have ordered a crowfoot-set, that might do the trick.

July 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: A long 1/4 extension should do it. It the bolt is blocked, try a long wrench, or like you said a crows foot. Once loose, try to unscrew by hand. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Viggo Comments: Sure. And you are detaching that cable from the transmission in fig. 1. So my question is how exactly you approached that task, since space is quite confined. Did you use a special wrench?

I have a W124, 300E

BR
Viggo
July 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The 10mm fasteners is removed using a universal socket on a long extension. Then detach it by pulling. Article notes to yank it off. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Viggo Comments: How did you manage to remove the nut on the transmission?
My flex disc is obstruction a straight shot with a ratchet wrench, and there is hardly enough leeway to loosen it from the side.

BR
Viggo
July 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What vehicle do you have? The article you commented on was for speedo cable. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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