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Re; 1999 Subaru Legacy Outback, 2.5 DOHC: I've a problem in that the speedometer doesn't activate until the car's engine has been running for at least 20-30 minutes. I've been told that I need a replacement speedometer head. My son is willing to see if this can be fixed by him, but I'm unable to locate a repair manual for the car. Is this something that must be fixed by a mechanic or by the dealership (really expensive!). Any thoughts out there?

Thanks for any advice on this problem.

bew

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It's pretty easy.

 

Basically, disconnect negative battery cable, wait 5-10 minutes for airbag to be safe, lower tilt wheel to lowest position, unscrew trim panel in front of instrument cluster, disconnect connectors going into switches in trim panel, remove trim panel, unscrew instrument panel, unplug connectors going into back of instrument panel, CAREFULLY remove instrument panel and squeeze it between the steering wheel and dash without goofing up the dash a little like I did, remove front bezel of instrument panel, unscrew speedo head from back of instrument panel, reverse to install.

 

This would also be a good time to replace any bulbs in the trim panel or instrument cluster that are blown.

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Thanks for the speedo head replacement instructions; I'll pass them on to my son. BTW, the dealership service rep mentioned something about the sensor to the transmission (?). Should this be a concern?

walkerb

 

My DH always answers my rhetorical questions!

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It could be the sensor. Here is my non-scientific test. Tap the front washer button several times quickly when the speedo isn't working. Do they come back on? If so, it is most likely the speedo head IMHO. The behavior you describe does sound like it could be the sensor, perhaps it needs to warm up before it works. I think the sensor is cheaper, you may want to start with that. There is a way to test the sensor signal, but I would have to look it up and I don't have time right now.

 

GOTCHA!!!! You just answered MY rhetorical question!

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There is another way to determine what the problem is. If your vehicle is equiped with cruise control and it keeps on working when the speedometer head fails, then most likely the problem is the speedometer head. The speed sensor feeds information to both the speedometer head and the cruise control. How about the trip and mileage counters, do they stop working when the speedometer does not work?

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There is another way to determine what the problem is. If your vehicle is equiped with cruise control and it keeps on working when the speedometer head fails, then most likely the problem is the speedometer head. The speed sensor feeds information to both the speedometer head and the cruise control. How about the trip and mileage counters, do they stop working when the speedometer does not work?

 

Didn't use speed control during the speedo head problem, so can't comment about that. But the trip/mileage counters worked while the speedometer failed. Replaced the speedometer head following 99OBW's excellent instructions in a previous thread (saved $s by ordering on-line, and no labor charge since the speedo head was replaced by my son), and haven't had a problem since. Thanks for your input, edoutback!

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