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1968 el Camino SS 396 L34, TH400, 3.55 posi, Factory A/C, P/S, P/B, Remote Driver Mirror,
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Discussion Starter #1
Last year I started noticing my '68 speedometer needle jumping around ever so slightly. I didn't really bother with it because I had other things to work on. So today on my way back from a long drive, I heard this kind of a ticking sound as I was slowing to a stop. It's hard to explain the sound, kind of a soft clicking type of sound that just happened to be in sync with the slight bouncing of the speedo needle. Do I just purchase a new speedo cable, or is the speedometer itself starting to fail? I'm asking because I don't want to spend the money on a cable if I don't need to. I am hoping that one of you have been down this road before and could offer some help. I don't believe that I have replaced the original speedo cable yet and the vehicle has about 71,800 miles on her now.

Steve
 

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You need to lubricate the inner cable. Disconnect the cable on both ends and pull the inner cable out and give it a good lube and put it back together. I actually used a cam lube seems to work good but there are many lubes that work. Choose your best one Steve

Bill
 

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Premium Member
1968 el Camino SS 396 L34, TH400, 3.55 posi, Factory A/C, P/S, P/B, Remote Driver Mirror,
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549 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Lubricate the cable, that is probably all it needs. The lube gets thick over time and causes it to bounce. Cheap job - just have to be a contortionist to disconnect the cable from the speedo.
Thank you! I will do that tomorrow and report back.
 

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Premium Member
1968 el Camino SS 396 L34, TH400, 3.55 posi, Factory A/C, P/S, P/B, Remote Driver Mirror,
Joined
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549 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
You need to lubricate the inner cable. Disconnect the cable on both ends and pull the inner cable out and give it a good lube and put it back together. I actually used a cam lube seems to work good but there are many lubes that work. Choose your best one Steve

Bill
Thanks Bill, I will do that tomorrow and report back.
 

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While you have the cable out. clean it(the inner cable)with a solvent rag to get most of the old lube off of the cable and good luck. I used white lithium, your choice!!
 

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1967 SS396, now with SBC, T700R4, 17x9.5 wheels with 275/40/17 tires
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Thanks Bill, I will do that tomorrow and report back.
If he doesn't report back, that just means his arm is stuck in the dash, or he's in bed with a bad back. I just let my speedo bounce.
 

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While you have the cable out. clean it(the inner cable)with a solvent rag to get most of the old lube off of the cable and good luck. I used white lithium, your choice!!
You know Leo the more I used lithium grease in the past the less I like it. It dries up and collects a lot of dirt. Probably the lube I use the least. Plus the spray can makes a huge mess. There has to be way better synthetic lubes these days...I do agree about cleaning off the cable.
 

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1968 el Camino SS 396 L34, TH400, 3.55 posi, Factory A/C, P/S, P/B, Remote Driver Mirror,
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549 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
No where to hang your feet while upside down in a Camino!
It can be a little tricky, but you have to move slowly and carefully and hang your legs right out the drivers door. Getting back out is always a little bit harder. It would "almost" be worth it to remove the seat to get better access.
 

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we used to use dry graphite powder for lubricating the speedo's. Always found anything else always got dried out and stiff. Actually had a cable break in half due to lubricant years ago, and that's what made me change to the graphite.
 

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Premium Member
1968 el Camino SS 396 L34, TH400, 3.55 posi, Factory A/C, P/S, P/B, Remote Driver Mirror,
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549 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
we used to use dry graphite powder for lubricating the speedo's. Always found anything else always got dried out and stiff. Actually had a cable break in half due to lubricant years ago, and that's what made me change to the graphite.
Yes, thanks for the reply. I have been doing a little research online this morning and it seems graphite lubrication is the way to go.
 

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1968 Malibu sport coupe, 489 ci. 590 hp 600 tq, RV T-400 Freakshow 3200 stall, 3.73 12 bolt posi
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I have the same problem I have motorcycle chain & cable lube in a spray can that I'm going to use, mine started working fine again so it's on the low priority list, and I don't drive the car much lol
 

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You know Leo the more I used lithium grease in the past the less I like it. It dries up and collects a lot of dirt. Probably the lube I use the least. Plus the spray can makes a huge mess. There has to be way better synthetic lubes these days...I do agree about cleaning off the cable.
When a job calls for white lithium, I mostly use the stuff in a tub and put it on with a small flux brush. The spray stuff seems to be mostly propellant and solvents and very little lube, and 105 Lubriplate in the tube has its uses, but is too runny for many applications.
 

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1970 El Camino SS396, VortecPro 467, ATI TH400, Moser 12 bolt /TruTrac 3:42, Hedman headers
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Graphite is the preferred way to go, check out bicycle supply stores for speedo cable lube,,no teflon lube, no carbon fiber lube, no lithium lube, graphite........ like you should be using in your key locks.
 

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1968 Malibu sport coupe, 489 ci. 590 hp 600 tq, RV T-400 Freakshow 3200 stall, 3.73 12 bolt posi
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7,784 Posts
IIRC the MC cable & chain lube is graphite
 

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1968 el Camino SS 396 L34, TH400, 3.55 posi, Factory A/C, P/S, P/B, Remote Driver Mirror,
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549 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Well, I disconnected the cable from the speedometer and then removed the cable and cleaned it well. I then lubricated it thoroughly with this dry lube I had in my garage. I really didn't feel like removing the cable housing to clean the inside of it, even though I probably should have. The cable was fairly dry, but looked to be in good shape otherwise.

708219
This liquid dry lube contains petroleum distillates, corrosion inhibitors, naphthenic oil, molybdenum and graphite. I thought I would give it a shot. I then reassembled everything and took it for a drive. The needle is still bouncing around about the same, jumping about a 1/8" up and 1/8" down, so maybe jumping between a 1/4" to 5/16" span. I really couldn't tell if it was still making the noise or not because the vehicle is pretty loud inside, I have measured it at an average of 71 decibels. So maybe now I just have to drive it some more and it will settle down, but I doubt it. One thing I did notice is that it only bounces around at 35 mph or less. Will a new cable fix it? Or is it the speedometer itself? BTW, my back is feeling just fine. 😄
 

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definately the cable. in my case, i pulled the cable from the sleeve and it had already frayed a wire or two so i had to replace the whole cable. it's a real pain in the arse to connect the cable to the back of the speedo. i was very careful when connecting to the speedo because it all seems very fragile as old as it now is.
 

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Premium Member
1968 el Camino SS 396 L34, TH400, 3.55 posi, Factory A/C, P/S, P/B, Remote Driver Mirror,
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549 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
definately the cable. in my case, i pulled the cable from the sleeve and it had already frayed a wire or two so i had to replace the whole cable. it's a real pain in the arse to connect the cable to the back of the speedo. i was very careful when connecting to the speedo because it all seems very fragile as old as it now is.
Thanks for sharing your experience, I appreciate it. Looks like I will be replacing the whole cable soon.
 
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