speedometer cable lube? - Chevelle Tech
Transmission & Driveline Transmissions and Differentials

  • 1 Post By Don B
  • 1 Post By brown1972
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 14th, 20, 9:01 PM Thread Starter
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speedometer cable lube?

Hello, I reviewed a few old posts however I decided to start this one. My speedometer was erratic. I replaced the cable with a new one by a company called Pioneer(from Rock Auto). I also replaced the plastic gear in the trans. I did not lube the new cable. The old cable had a removable insert. The new one has crimped on collars on each end, so you can only pull the cable out of the casing by about an inch. Drove it and the cable is making this tapping/clacking sound that increases or decreases with speed. I disconnected it from the dash and drove it. Same noise so I guess the speedometer head is ok. Shall I lube it and with what. I saw chain lube at Auto Zone by PB Blaster. I did not buy it but it looked promising. Any other thoughts out there? Thanks!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 14th, 20, 10:48 PM
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Re: speedometer cable lube?

Whatever you find for lube, be sure that it won't congeal and drag the cable in cold temperatures. When I was in Alaska one winter, on a real cold morning (for Anchorage), the cable "wound up" and when it unwound, there was the most ungodly noise and the pointer got "pegged" hard. Busted the pointer off. Didn't even leave enough stub to eyeball a speed indication. Got a junkyard speedometer to replace.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 14th, 20, 11:38 PM
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Re: speedometer cable lube?

Auto parts stores sell a graphite oil specifically for cables. Does yours spin freely when disconnected?

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 14th, 20, 11:45 PM
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Re: speedometer cable lube?

Lock-ease made by AGS was the one we used to use. Sometimes I used ATF, but it's not recommended.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 15th, 20, 5:00 AM
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Re: speedometer cable lube?

dry graphite powder
sewing machine oil [very thin ]
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 15th, 20, 7:50 AM
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Re: speedometer cable lube?

I'm confused? Never saw a cable with something crimped on both ends?(sounds like a throwaway) If you can move the cable in and out of the housing 1" I'd say the cable is to long? Original cables were formed square on the trans end and had a metal end with a male square end that went into the speedo head and the cable would slide out of the housing if it needed to be lubed or replaced..G.M. made replacement cables that could be cut to length on the speedo end and came with a plastic drive end,you'd heat the cable up on the end and push it into the drive end as there was some kind of hot glue inside,lube it withG.M. speedometer lube,install it in the original housing and you were good to go.
The G.M. lube had a slightly tacky texture and they recomended to lube the lower two thirds of the cable,we did this often back in the day.
I lubed the cable in my "66" with Lubriplate white lithium grease(paste form) and it worked well.I'd say throw that cable out and get one that is better quality and can be serviced if need be. Sorry for rambling on,sometimes it feels good to reminisce about the old days when we worked on these cars when they were just cars and still in service.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 15th, 20, 1:26 PM
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Re: speedometer cable lube?

Originally Posted by brown1972 View Post
My speedometer was erratic. I replaced the cable with a new one by a company called Pioneer(from Rock Auto). I also replaced the plastic gear in the trans.
Mine as acting flaky too..but I just pulled the original cable, removed the rod, hung the sleeve and sprayed wd40 down it until it came out clear. Wiped down the rod with wd40 until clean. Relubed with a graphite grease and put it back. You probably didn't need a new cable at all. If you still have it, use that instead...
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 15th, 20, 2:53 PM
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Re: speedometer cable lube?

See if you can find a good trans shop that will lube the cable for you or lend you their tool that isn't used much anymore.You'll have to find one that has an older trans tech there though.The tool hooks up to a drill and then to the cars speedo cable without even removing it from the car.Spin up the tool and it sends the lube up through the cables casing.You have to be careful though cause spinning it too long will load up the underdash area with cable grease.
In your case it would probably be better to just bring the cable and the speedo gear *bullet with you as I think it may hook up to that part.Of course you can use an extra trans bullet/gear as they mostly all use that small squared end.
This used to be a tool that was needed occasionally back then but is pretty much useless now since in the 80's cars started using the computers VSS for the speedometer and speedometer cables went the way of the carburetor and aren't used in new cars anymore.
*not sure what the part that holds the gear is really called
You might be able to stick the cable in a length of clear plastic tubing hose (sold by the foot at HD or Lowes) and then seal one end and fill the tubing with oil leaving just a small amount sticking out that you could spin up with your cordless drill.The spinning action will cause a capillary action of the spinning cable to draw fluid up into it because of the way it's wound. That is exactly how the speedo cable lube tool works too.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 15th, 20, 8:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: speedometer cable lube?

Thanks for so many replies. I am grateful. I don't mind that Don chose to reminisce. My wife often tells me that I "live in the past". I forgot to mention that I replaced the cable 20-25 years ago and I don't recall why. The cable that I removed is aftermarket. Both the new and old have the square tip that was mentioned. The trans end of the cable is threaded and dash is a push on so its in correctly. The crimp that I mentioned involves a small c shaped collar that the factory crimped onto each end. This prevents removal of the cable from the sheath. I imagine that I can remove one to draw the cable out however I have not yet. I will begin with greasing it and see what happens. I also like the idea of a spinning the insert to draw the lube noted by 71350SS. I guess I should consider a better quality cable. The Pioneer from Rock Auto was only 10 bucks.
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