I was watching the odometer as it was moving round
to 60,000 miles, waiting to see all the zeroes line up, but wasn't
prepared for what actually happened. Instead there was a dreadful
clicking from the instrument binnacle and the numbers stuck at a
There was no doubt in my mind as to the cause –
the friction in the odometer had overcome the worn gears in the
right-angle drive at the back of the speedo, so everything had stopped
– except the car. It had been grumbling for a while, but I
had been waiting for it to declare its intentions, which it just
The speedometer drive cable is in two parts, the
lower one coming out of the left hand side of the LT230 transfer
box, crossing over the top of the bell housing and entering the
car to the left of the clutch pedal. There it is joined to the upper
section of the cable which is attached inside the instrument binnacle
Presumably this facilitated assembly of the car, allowing the whole
preassembled dashboard to be dropped straight in and then connected
The upper cable terminates at the back of the speedometer,
where there is a right-angle drive, as space is too tight for a
direct connection to the instrument. It was this which had failed.
Getting access to the instrument binnacle is very
much easier with the steering wheel out of the way, although it
is not essential. Undo the retaining screw at the bottom of the
central cover and undo the 27mm nut (same size as the road wheels)
and locking washer.
DO NOT try to remove the steering
wheel by force, as that will damage the telescopic steering column
irretrievably. It's very easy to make a simple puller, as the steering
wheel boss has two M6 threaded holes.
It's then a simple job to pop-off the cover at
the rear of the binnacle and release the electrical connections.
The next step is to remove the lower dash panel
under the steering column and separate the upper and lower speedometer
drive cables at the connector.
The binnacle is secured to the dashboard by four
M6 studs, with 10mm nuts and lock washers underneath. When these
have been undone, the whole binnacle can be removed.
The upper speedo cable is disconnected from the
right-angle drive, which is itself fixed to the back of the speedometer
by two screws.
If you are just replacing the right-angle drive,
that's all you need to do.
However, if you need to do more, then you will
have to undo the six screws holding the metal frame, as well as
the spring wires which hold the various plastic mouldings in place.
Before you can remove the speedo you have to unclip
the needle cover. Do this carefully, because there is a light duct
which has to be released – if you damage it, the speedo needle
won’t be illuminated in future. The speedo is held in place
by the two remaining screws.
Assembly is the reverse of the process, but note
the following pitfalls:-
the light duct is correctly refitted
sure there are no dirty fingerprints on the inside of the glass
refitting the lower dash, do make sure that the heater/demister
pipes are still connected
forget to reconnect the electrics in the lower dash – I
always get caught out by the radio aerial lead!
Overall this is not a difficult job and can be
accomplished in half a morning, but the instruments are delicate
and need to be handled with care.
Needless to say, when I’d put it all back
together, the speedo didn't register at all! After further exploration,
it turned out that the little nylon fitting at the top end of the
lower cable had become detached. As judged by the discolouration
of the cracked end, this had been developing for a long time. Just
as well that I had a spare cable!
I have had the lower cable fail previously. Where
the cable passes over the exhaust pipe, the heat destroys the waterproof
covering. Water ingress corrodes the inner cable, which frays and
hangs up on the outer, causing the speedometer to judder. I now
wrap this part of the cable in aluminium cooking foil and underseal,
which seems to be working so far.
Speedo cable 90deg
be warned, it's
make sure it's the correct rotation!
upper speedo cable
lower speedo cable