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Speedometer stoppped working on 94 Ranger (not 4WD)


Active Member
February 16, 2012
Reaction score
City, State
Orlando, Fl
Year, Model & Trim Level
92 Explorer 4x4
My girlfriend bought a 94 Ranger (4.0 2wd) a little over a month ago and the odometer and speedometer were a little off. The odometer would read 8 tenths for 1 mile and the speedo was off about 5mph at 25 and 10 mph at 55, but it was constant and manageable so it wasn't a major concern. We moved to the panhandle of Florida (from Orlando so it's a lot colder here) and the next morning both the odometer and speedometer stopped working. Well every once in a while the speedo would jump and somewhere the odometer added a couple tenths. Of course some idiot packed up his Explorer's Chiltons manual (we need the head bash against the wall smiley) and I don't know which box it's in (we've only been up here for 2 days now).
Any ideas as to what could have happened? It worked when she pulled it up to the new house but not the next morning. It did get below freezing that night (might be relavent) for the first time since we got the truck.
Is the speedo cable driven or electronic and how is it connected to the odometer (or two separate problems)?
My brain is already mostly fried because of the move (we still have one more trip to make which is why I would like to get this fixed before we have to go back next week) so any help is appreciated. I did quick search but the results all came back up for 4WD and talked about the gear in the transfer case which I don't have.

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Either way if its electric or cable driven there will be a speedo gear in the tail housing of the transmission.

Thanks. I'll try to clear up some space in the garage (we put everything there before we moved it into the house) and pull it in to look at it. The house is on a hill so I'm not about to crawl under a vehicle parked at an angle.

I don't blame you. I wouldn't climb under it on a hill either. If I remember right the cable or sensor should be on the drivers side of the transmission.

There is a cable and a sensor typically; the sensor is inline. The speedometer and odometer are cable driven, all mechanical. Binding or kinking of the cable/sheath can cause the speedometer needle to bouce as the cable winds up and then releases. I believe the sensor is mainly used for cruise control and PCM input, and perhaps auto trans functions.

You still have a gear in your transmission and a gear it drives on the speedometer cable end. Sometimes one or the other strips out. The gear on the cable is easy to replace and inexpensive; a standard gear from a Fox Mustang for example will fit and is cheap and easy to get. Keep in mind the cable end gears for automatic and manual transmissions are slightly different and while they can sometimes interchange it's best to get the right one. Further complicating things, I seem to recall that an automatic or manual Mustang gear doesn't necessarily correspond to the same type of gear on the Explorer, and it depends on whether you have a transfer case or not. So you'll have to research which is the right gear before you buy one. I've done it though and it just takes some looking.

Hopefully the gear in your transmission is not at fault. That would be harder to remedy but at least you have a 2wd, manual trans which would be the easiest situation. Should be able to peek inside the hole where your speedometer cable gear fits and check the teeth on the gear inside the trans. It is a worm drive so the teeth will be spiral. I had a Mustang once where the retaining clip for the gear fell off inside the trans, so the gear in the trans slid back on the shaft and didn't engage the speedo cable gear. But hopefully you won't have that issue.

I would start with checking the cable itself for damage. Sometimes if they come unclipped from their retaining clips they can rub against moving or hot parts and melt through, binding the cable. Check that the cable is undamaged and spins freely, and check the driven gear. Also check that the sensor is not bound up, which is rare but can happen if they get real dirty.


Not sure if a 94 has the same dash or not, but I have a 96 Ranger that I bought with the odo not working. On mine, it was a gear in the cluster that's known to break.
I started changing out clusters - because I wanted to add a tach that mine didn't have - ended up trying about 4 or 5 before I found a good one.
Again, may not be a problems in the 94s, but might give you something to check.

94 would have the earlier style dash and interior. There are gears for the odometer in 94 but the speedometer is direct drive.

Thank you all for the input. Hopefully (weather permitting) I can get the car out of the garage and get the truck in to look at it. I'm really hoping it's just a loose cable, but not counting on it.

One way to test the gauge and cable is to unbolt the cable at the transmission and pull it free, then spin the gear by hand. The cable should spin freely inside the sheath. Have an assistant watch the speedometer needle. Figure out which direction the cable is supposed to turn to make the speedometer needle respond. Then, you can use a cordless drill to spin the cable and test the speedometer and odometer at varying speeds.

Possibly it's as simple as the cable is loose where it plugs into the trans, as in, in position but not far enough in to make contact with the drive gear.
The cable uses a bent wire clip to keep it plugged into the trans, maybe the previous owner had it apart and couldn't get it back together right.

Well I got the truck in the garage and crawled underneath to look at it. The bolt holding the bent wire clip is missing so the cable fell out. The cable spins freely so I should just be able to bolt it back in and be good to go (after I find out what size bolt to go buy).

I do have a question though about the clip though (I still haven't found the box with my book yet). The end (where it gets bolted on) is bent and right now it is bent towards the transmission but it doesn't lock in anywhere (the bow of the bend is up like I believe it should be) so the clip doesn't lay flat. Is this the right way for the clip to be?
Thanks again for the help!