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Speedometer WAY off!


New Member
March 8, 2009
Reaction score
City, State
Sandy, Oregon
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 Explorer 4x4 5-speed
KLJ 9281 (CB Call sign)
Hey everyone - new to the forum.

Just bought a 1996 Explorer, 5-speed manual, 4x4 3:55 axle. Bought to fix up for my son - in pretty good shape but one of many little issues I thought would be easy to fix was the speedometer. It wasn't.

Previous owner said speedo was malfunctioning, so they had a shop put in a new VSS. But, still didn't work. When I got it home I pulled the replacement VSS and noticed the 19-tooth driven gear was cupped in the middle. Pulled a good 19-tooth gear from a '96 4x4 in the parts yard (internet says all 4x4's use the same driven gear), and it looked the same so put it in - and now the speedo is working...sorta. Jumpy needle and intermittent odometer, so I assume the speedo is going out too, so get a cluster from Pick n Pull (a '97, but the speedo/odo/tach part in the middle is the same) and it works great now...but reads about 30% too low. Had buddy pace with me in his car, when he's going 40 I'm going about 30. A route that his odometer clocks at 3.1 miles only clocks about 2.3 for this explorer. I go back to the Pick N Pull and get an actual '96 cluster, thinking that might be the problem - nope, same issue with speed and odometer reading low.

Even ordered a "correct" 19-tooth pink gear (the ones in the truck originally were tan and orange, because of heat discoloration? Look absolutely identical to the pink I ordered...and the pink one gives the same results.

This makes me conclude that the 19-tooth speedometer gear is the culprit, but calculations indicate I need something like a 14-tooth gear to correct the error, and they don't exist. I looked inside the VSS mounting hole and see a white nylon speedo drive gear inside - might that be the problem? Previous owner mentioned a recent tranny swap. I'm just grabbing at straws right now, need some wisdom, or else I'll just keep beating my head against the wall. (Most frustrating thing is I want to get it tagged and smogged, and can't do that until I reset the ECU with a full drive cycle...and can't do that without an working speedo. Aargh.)

Thanks in advance.

Realizing more and more that I need to get a new speedo drive gear in my transfer case. Felt around in there, and the existing gear is cupped, which probably explains my jumpy speedo and may even explain my mileage/speed inaccuracies. Anyone know what the speedo drive/driven gear combo is supposed to be for a 1996 Explorer 5-speed 4x4 w/ electronic transfer case and 3.55 rear end?