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Speedo works but odometer doesn't? I fixed mine..

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by Curtis, June 18, 2009.

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    1. Curtis

      Curtis Well-Known Member

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      City, State:
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      Year and Model:
      04 XLT 4x4
      Almost at exactly 150,000k, my odometer and trip counter stopped working.
      I could hear a clicking noise in the dash.

      Did some research on the board, and it turns out the worm gears tend to break.

      Its near impossible to find just the gear, and when you do can be more than $40!
      And I didn't want a new cluster because I wanted to retain as close to my original mileage as possible.

      So while going through the junk yard a few weeks ago, I found a cluster that someone had removed already. I pulled the center section with the speedo in it and got it for $6.00

      When I got home I took it apart and could see the worm gear was intact.
      [​IMG]

      I removed my cluster (it wasnt hard)

      On the kitchen table...here is what I did.

      1 - I took the lens off and removed the gauges on the right (oil pressure and voltage).
      [​IMG]
      This section will just pull straight out with no screws once the lens is removed.

      Now you should be able to see the in though the side and check out the worm gear. Its probably broken.

      2 - I removed the odometer motor from the junk yard unit
      [​IMG]
      On each side of the motor here you can see the clear plastic clip that holds it in. The motor has tabs on it that when you twist it, go under the plastic tabs. So to get the motor out, you have to push down on it and twist to get it out.

      3 - Now comes the more difficult part.
      Turn your original cluster over and you'll see its covered in a circuit board.
      the bulbs have to come out to be able to lift the circuit board.
      I didn't want to take it all off, so I removed the following pieces only and was able to gently fold back the flexible board to see the back of the odometer.

      [​IMG]

      Bulbs just twist out.

      The hardest pieces to get out were the connections to which the oil pressure and voltage gauges push into. But they are just springy, using needle nose pliers I was able to squeeze them on the front and pull them out of the back, then the circuit board could be lifted.

      4 - Once the circuit board is lifted and gently folded back you should be able to see the existing motor through a round hole.
      From the front side, disconnect the wiring of the motor.
      now on the back side, push and twist to unlock the existing motor. It should come out. Turn the unit over and the remnants of the worm gear will fall out.

      Once you get it out, you have this
      [​IMG]

      6 - Reverse the procedure to put the new motor with good worm gear back in. it took me some time to get it to go in with the gear lined up enough so that I could lock it in place.

      7 - On the front connect the wiring for the motor

      8 - re-install the bulbs, push in and twist.
      also the gauge connections, they just push straight in.

      9 - push the oil pressure and voltage gauge set back into the front.

      10 - assemble the lens and gauges and re-install in the truck.

      Works perfectly!
       
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    3. ThePhoenix

      ThePhoenix Guest

      Great rite up. while you are in there, replace the bulbs! This should be a sticky
       
    4. Curtis

      Curtis Well-Known Member

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      Bulbs... good point... after I put everything back together, the top center bulb is not working in my speedo...:rolleyes:
       
    5. Turdle

      Turdle Step-buddy Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Thanks!!
      I added this to the How to section.
       
    6. Lemondrop

      Lemondrop Active Member

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      I did a little search on the internet and came across this thread while looking for worm gears for my explorer speedo. I bought an entire cluster from a LKQ U-pull it junkyard today to fix mine that was not working. I installled the replacement used cluster and low and behold the odometer was not working. So, I took my old unit apart to figure it out. I made a mistake of pulling the needle off the speed in order to remove the speedo body from the plastic bezel. I found the broken gear inside it and began searching for a replacement. My odometer stopped working a couple years ago, at 182,000 miles. Im certain it has 240,000 miles now so fixing my speedo does not matter as the miles will never be correct.

      One upside was the speedo I had bounced badly between 0 and 30 MPH and this used unit is nice and smooth. I'd just like the odometer to work because I drive to directions off the odometer ( turn left and go 3 miles to main street and turn left).

      I'm posting to give you a thanks for the motor part, but I'm gonna add the directions you have are kinda hard to understand. I removed the cluster and then removed the gold colored torx headed bolts from around the lense. Once the lense was off, I pulled the fuel/oil/coolant/charge gauge sections off by pulling the pins from the cluster. I then grabbed the speedo/RPM gauge section and pulled it off the cluster housing. I believe this is easier than pulling the bulbs and bending the printed circuit board over to gain access to the speedo/odometer gear motor. Also, I am pretty sure you can avoid removing the cluster from the dash for this repair. I think you *may* be able to remove the lense and then pull the gauge sections from the cluster housing while leaving the cluster in the dash. This would be easier for some people with automatics as the position indicator is slightly a butt-pain to remove along with the wires from behind the cluster.

      Just a shame these worm gears are so expensive. The cheapest worm gear I have found online is around $25 shipped. In my opinion, that is a rip-off for a piece that could not cost more than a penny to cast.
       
    7. Curtis

      Curtis Well-Known Member

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      Now that you mention you're probably right that you can probably pull the speedo from the front instead of removing bulbs and the circuit... that would be a whole lot easier :thumbsup:
       
    8. Davevic

      Davevic New Member

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      Followed all the directions and it works. Even got my gear part from the junkyard for free. Changed blubs also. Everything done for just the cost of some blubs.
       
    9. 1997_4.0XLT

      1997_4.0XLT New Member

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      Thanks for the pics and info. The bottom bulb on the gauge cluster just went out on me and I think I can switch it out now with this info.
       
    10. surfcjw

      surfcjw New Member

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      City, State:
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      Would a cluster from a 2000 Explorer work in my '96?...

      My odometer and trip meter are not working. The dealer said it would be $600 for them to fix it. I haven't opened up the cluster to see if i have the same worm gear issue. However i did find a whole used cluster on eBay with nearly the same milage.
       
    11. surfcjw

      surfcjw New Member

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      Would a cluster from a 2000 Explorer work in my '96?...

      My odometer and trip meter are not working. The dealer said it would be $600 for them to fix it. I haven't opened up the cluster to see if i have the same worm gear issue. However i did find a whole used cluster on eBay with nearly the same milage.
       
    12. Turdle

      Turdle Step-buddy Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      I think there are differences. Look for a 96 cluster.
       
    13. k5tpa

      k5tpa New Member

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      Thanks for this excellent how to! Has anyone even gotton the Ford part number for the gear? I have been to two dealers and they say you have to buy a whole new speedometer.
       
    14. ThePhoenix

      ThePhoenix Guest

      of course they do...$$$$

      I had a BMW where the headlight adjustment bar actually MELTED...making the headlights droop. Dealer says "you need a new complete headlight bucket...$900"...not including installation

      I said thank you, walked over to their parts counter and ordered the part for $27 - two plastic posts with screw thread...and installed them myself in abut 20 min

      saved...what $872...

      its a total rip off because their labor would be too much to take apart and re-assemble
      so they just want quick cash
       
    15. k5tpa

      k5tpa New Member

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      I spoke to the parts guy. Was he just being a jerk? Does anyone have a part catalog?
       
    16. Davevic

      Davevic New Member

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      Go to a junk yard. the small pieces you need are usually free, mine were.
       
    17. ThePhoenix

      ThePhoenix Guest

    18. carpboy

      carpboy New Member

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      I am finally getting around to my 97 explorer non-working odometer. The speedo is just fine, only the odometer. Would the things described in this thread (i.e. worm gear) be my likely culprit?

      What model years use the same components as mine?

      I don't care about the mileage, I'll own this to the end but here in PA a working odometer is part of the yearly inspection process.

      Thanks.
       
    19. jseabolt

      jseabolt Active Member

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      Excellent writeup. I'll be doing this in the near future. Someone posted a where you can get these gears for about $20.

      Mine stopped working one day when I reset the tripometer then worked for about a few hundred miles and has worked periodically ever since.
       
    20. 96ExplorerX

      96ExplorerX New Member

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      You can buy high quality replacements from here.....http://www.speedometergears.com/ford-odometer-gears
      They will probably outlast your Explorer.
       
    21. jseabolt

      jseabolt Active Member

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      My step who works at a salvage yard told me he found a guage cluster that is silver and has a white face plate. Since Ford is notorious for changing parts from one yet to another (wiper arms, seatbelts, etc.) he had to verify it's the same cluster.

      He thinks it's aftermarket or perhaps someone changed the faceplates.

      You mean someone actually made a set of white faceplates for a Gen II Explorer?

      I know Explorers were once one of the most popular vehicles on the road seems aftermarket parts are not widely available. Like dual exhaust, supercharger and turbo kits.

      He smuggles parts out for me so I have yet to see it. Once he brings it to me I'll post some pics.
       
    22. CJL

      CJL Active Member

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      My speedo works,my trip works but my odometer does not,is that a worm gear problem also?

      What would happen if you would pull the needle off the gauges?
       
    23. CJL

      CJL Active Member

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    24. CJL

      CJL Active Member

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    25. Curtis

      Curtis Well-Known Member

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      I would avoid pulling the needles off as I've read they are a pain to get back on and read correctly.

      I think the worm gear drives a main gear which in turns both the odometer and trip
      I went back though my pictures but could not see detail to confirm that.
      Either way, a gear is not working in there somewhere.

      As mentioned above, you might be able to pull the speedo off from the front (dont pull the needle) and then you'll see the gears.
       
    26. jseabolt

      jseabolt Active Member

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      My step-son finally got me that speedometer for me. It's got 195,000 miles on it. I haven't had a chance to install it yet.

      I'm wondering if the motor that drives the worm gear is what's bad? Mine tends to work sporadically. It may work for about 800 miles then just stop again.

      I bookmarked that website where you can buy new worm gears for around $30, just thought I'd try a used speedometer cluster before tearing mine apart.

      I love my Explorer but it's starting to show it's age after 15 years.

      On my to do list:

      1) Clean or replace the EGR valve (kicking the check engine light on)
      2) Replace PS exhaust manifold (it's cracked or the gasket is blown out)
      3) Replace hoses to the seat boosters

      I had the front end realigned the other day thinking it might take some of the slop out of the steering rack. Wishful thinking. There's some play between the 11 and 1 oclock position. I have to turn it past either or to make it steer.

      But once I drive the vehicle for about a week I get used to it and don't notice it.

      That's the first vehicle I have ever owned with a steering rack with play in it. I've owned Fiats and Yugos which have TRW racks, some with close to 200,000 miles and have nevered noticed that amount of play.

      I'm wanting to keep my Gen II Explorer because I like it's body style better than the newer ones but I'm starting to wonder if it's time I should trade up to a newer model.
       

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