Speedometer Cable Replacement for dead cluster

For one reason or another, the R32 was plagued with a mechanical speedometer cable, which had a weak point just at the plastic part which attaches to the rear of the cluster. This long cable literally runs from the transfer-case, under the car, up through the engine bay, through the firewall and into the cabin where it drives the mechanical gears inside the speedometer, to provide the driver with the current vehicle speed. In later models of the GTR this was converted to an electronic speedometer sensor instead of a cable, as Nissan became aware of this common problem. If you own an R32 Skyline for any length of time, chances are you're going to need to repair this cable. The problem usually presents with the following symptoms:
  • Speedometer suddenly stops working along with odometer as well
  • After surpassing 80 km/hr the power steering will shut off and feel stiff
Often this problem can be hard to diagnose, but 90% of the time, it's the Speedometer Cable. Start by removing the screws from the cluster surround and the lower panel to gain access to the screws hidden under neath, and pull the surround outwards. You may need to tilt the steering wheel as far down as possible. Then reach behind and unplug the connectors for all the various switches. Now you should be able to see 4 screws holding the cluster in place, with those screws removed, the cluster slides out forward, and you can unplug the harness and place the cluster somewhere safe. The picture demonstrates what you should see now:
Broken Speedometer Cable Replacement
It should be pretty clear right away whether or not the cable is broken, the photo below shows my cable which was definitely broken. That white plastic part is the only thing that drives the speedometer, and is the weak point here. If it all seems in-tact, try to rotate white plastic drive, see if it spins freely, as the cable may have broken somewhere else along the line.
If you still can't tell if the cable's broken or not, the sure fire test is to crawl under the car, and unplug the speed sensor from the transfer-case, then use your fingers to turn it at one end and see if it results in the other end turning as well.
Broken Speedometer Cable
You'll need to remove the old cable first, so start from under the car by disconnecting it from the transfer-case, and follow it up towards the engine bay pushing out from it's retaining clips as you move along. Eventually you'll reach the point where it goes up and into the firewall, where its bolted in place by 3 screws. At this point you should be prepared to lose some skin from your arm and hand, it's somewhat difficult to get either a screw-driver or small spanner up in there to remove the screws. Once the screws are out, the bracket should pop out and you can now feed the cable down from inside the car and it should come free with a little bit of shuffling about. The picture below shows this exact part:
Installing new Replacement Speedometer Cable
With everything out now, you can install the new cable. A new cable can be had from any Nissan dealership, or any local tuner shop and they are quite costly considering what its made of, and that it's likely to break again sometime down the road. When installing the new cable its best to start from under the car feeding it up through the fire wall and through the plastic guide by the steering column, and lock it into position behind the cluster. Then you can push the triangular bracket into place and secure it with its 3 screws. Now its simply a matter of securing the cable into its clips and tightening it into the transfer-case. Put the cluster back into the dash, and take it for a test drive. It should now be working 100% and you can re-install the trim pieces. 
Speedometer Cable

Comments

  1. I'm Halfway through doing this and I must say its not the most easiest of jobs. I found if you can get a small ratchet and 10mm socket in first and back off the bolts then you should be able to undo them buy hand. This was done underneath the car. I sure hope I its a little easier putting the new cable on!! Great write up!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks!
      Exactly... it's that narrow space between the firewall that makes this difficult for people with large ham fisted hands.

      Delete
  2. Mine stopped working and I found it snapped right where the cable comes out to the gauges. I just ordered a cable and will be doing this next wednesday.

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