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That pesky ol' Speedo Head


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6 replies to this topic

#1 deyoungc

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 07:28 PM

As many of you have relayed, the intermittant failures of the speedometer (predominanty on the '99 OBW, as far as I can tell) are a pain in the rear. I have been driving mine for about a year now and for the most part have gotten used to it. I have read many of the posts in regard to it and determined that mine is a failure of the speedo head (speedo and odo stops working, but tach and cruise are fine), while the washer/wiper trick worked for awhile...it doesn't any longer. Recently, I bought a used instrument cluster off eBay. Purportedly in "good working order"...I slapped it in today and took off for a drive. No luck, its still not working. I didn't drive it long enough to give it time to work...if indeed it would???

So, I cleaned the contacts on the back of my original instrument cluster for the speedometer (which they looked good already) and slapped it back in. Still nothing right off the bat. Probably is still working intermittantly. Since my cruise control still works...from what I have gathered it is not likely a VSS concern.

Are there any other diagnostics I can try before to make sure that if I do need to purchase a brand new speedo?

One last thing...If I do try and replace the VSS on my 2.5 manual tranny. Is it the one on the drivers side of the transmission?

Thanks

#2 nipper

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 07:37 PM

Pull your codes first. a bad VSS sensor is very good about triggering a CEL light. ALso a bad VSS will shut down the AWD. If one VSS goes bad, the good one will take over its duties.
So do you feel like your AWD is still operating? If it is, ild go for the head being bad. Usually its the heads in the forester that go bad. I would get one from a junkyard and try that before going out and buying a new one.

nipper

#3 deyoungc

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 08:01 PM

The AWD is working, so I guess it wouldn't be the VSS. I did try another head (well, a whole new instrument cluster taken from a '98 OBW), that didn't work.

Pull your codes first. a bad VSS sensor is very good about triggering a CEL light. ALso a bad VSS will shut down the AWD. If one VSS goes bad, the good one will take over its duties.
So do you feel like your AWD is still operating? If it is, ild go for the head being bad. Usually its the heads in the forester that go bad. I would get one from a junkyard and try that before going out and buying a new one.

nipper



#4 johnceggleston

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 09:19 PM

if this is a manual trans, isn't the AWD unit different than the auto. i thought it was a viscous something and not controled by the computer.???

i 'm suprised that you got 2 speedos that have the same problem. i would guess that it is something else. i'd try the sending unit before i tried another speedo. i'm not familiar with manual trannys, but on a/t it's the VSS#2 or the front one that sends to the speedo.

good luck.

#5 nipper

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 09:41 PM

My mistake, i didnt see the automatic/manual part. Now i dont know if the manual has two speed snesors (anyone), but if it has only one, and that fails, it usually throws a code and you get really odd behavior from the car. The car will go into limp mode and limit performance (well its supposed to anyway).
I too am surprised about the failed head. There is a method of testing the speed sensor, but it has to be removed to do it. It can be done in the car, but i cant tell if the front wheels or rear wheels need to be off the ground on a manual.

nipper

#6 ofairlane

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 09:59 AM

Deyoungc, My speedo in my 99 Legacy does the excact same thing, I also have just gotten used to it, but what i do on occasion is pull outward on the odometer reset pin on the cluster, that is where the breaks in the circuit board most commomly occur from what I read in previous posts. This confirmed to me mine was in that area, not the sensors in the tranny. Oh, by the way, mine is an automatic tranny. I also checked the wire coming from the sensor to the speedo for voltage and it was working fine, sending a varient amount according to the speed of the car. Sorry you bought one on Ebay, I have thought about it also, just didn't want to replace mine with someone elses not working one.
I hope this helps you, the new one at the dealer is pricey, try other sites on the web like firstsubaruparts.com or somewhere else.
Good luck ,

DanO

#7 deyoungc

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 03:27 PM

I will see if I can get a reading from the sensor first....plus I will try and pull out on the odometer reset pin.




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