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Brandon Todd

'57 Buick speedometer help!

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Hello.

I know this is a common issue for these era of Buicks. I've haven't had the car very long, but since I've had it the speedometer hasn't worked right. When I first picked it up, it was all the way up (100+ mph). However, when I first got to test drive the car a couple weeks ago, the speedometer went all the way down, and as soon as I started driving forward it would shoot up to about 35mph, and then to 100+, than back down to 35.

The other day, the car was out of transmission fluid (another project I got going on), but with the car set in "drive" if you would give it gas, even though the car did not move, the speedometer would jump up and down like crazy. back and forth from 0 to 100+. instantly. the whole time it would also kind of make like a "slurp" kind of sound. Not really sure how to explain it.

I was wanting to ask if anyone here has had a similar problem: where the speedometer was broke but did move on its own at random times. I wanted to get a possible fix before I have to send it in somewhere. I'd like to try and figure these kind of things out and fix them myself besides just "send it in!" But am more than willing to if I have to.

Thank you for your time! I appreciate it. I will include a picture of my speedometer and at what mph it is stuck at as of now.

-Brandon T.

post-104443-143143016911_thumb.jpg

Edited by Kickin_kenny (see edit history)

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I've considered several '58 Buick's over the past year, and all of them had the same issue. The speedometer doesn't work. Some jump around like crazy, some lay on 100, some lay on zero. They were just a bad idea. I found a speedometer repair shop in Florida who says he can six them. The problem may be disassembly and reassembly. A man I know who has had many 1956-1958 Buick's over the years tells me it is an awful job, whereby you have to virtually dissassemble and reassemsly most of the dash to do it. I'm interested in a '58 Buick now, of course with a broken speedometer. I'm going to look up that speedometer shop again and if/when I find the information I'll let you know about the repair. I emailed the man who has changed them, for a refreshment on the information, but haven't had a reply yet.

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since the speedometer cable works, and the speedometer gauge works, the problem has to be at the speedometer drive on the transmission. Actually, since the drive works too, otherwise none of the rest would move at all, it has to be the matching drive ring on the output shaft. I have never had one of these apart, but it sounds like the drive ring on the output shaft is not secured, in whatever manner it is to be secured. I am not sure but I think this drive gear is inside the main trans case, and probably not serviceable while the trans is in the car. But check your manual. there is a possibility it is right behind the universal joint, and if so you may be able to get to it when you replace the torque ball seal. I'm thinking there is a keyed shaft there for the drive gear and the key broke or is missing.

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This is almost certainly the speedometer itself, and not anything in the transmission. These speedometers have a small copper cup that sits over the end of a tube which has the red line on it you see that indicates the speed. There is only a small gap between the two, and the relation to one another must be just right. As the cable turns, it spins the cup and creates an electromagnetic force which moves the cylinder.

What normally happens is that this cup comes loose or the tension spring on the cylinder breaks, and the cylinder and cup begin rubbing. At this point, you will have sporadic jumps in current, cylinder moving about from not being secure, and/or physical biding between the two pieces causing the erratic function. The sound you hear is the rubbing. If this is caught quickly enough, it can sometimes be re-soldered but getting the clearance correct could be a nightmare. If it goes too long then one or both of the pieces will be destroyed from the rubbing.

There is a guy who advertises in the Bugle that repairs them, along with radios named Alan Kriss in PA. He has repaired two of my Wonderbar radios and he does great work, so I'd highly recommend him.

Edited by lancemb (see edit history)

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X2 for Alan Kriss...but wait till he finishes mine before sending:D.

In the meantime if you want to drive it, disconnect the speedometer cable and use a GPS.

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Lancemb has pretty much the right answer from all I have been told, including a speedometer repair guy here in Florida. I will try to find his information in my cardex. If I do I'll post it.

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Hello, i want to thank all of you for your responses! What lance said sounds exact to what mine is doing. Let me know if you find that number. If i have to send it in, does anyone know price estimates?

Thanks again!

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Also, i wanted to ask steps for removing the speedometer. I have all the lights out, does the speedometer cable just pull out? I wanted to make sure there arnt any forsteps in case i mess it up more

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Since you are in Missouri, Scott Speedometer out in Michigan may be of assistance to you as well. www.scottspeedometer.com, (248) 338-4148. He repaired my mechanical speedo off my '50 Special. Sounds like the latter 50s speedos can be a bit of a headache, but he may be worth trying to get a quote from. The thing I like about his service was that after you send in your item, he'll do an assessment on it, and call you back with what he feels needs to be fixed/replaced before he starts work. No surprises.

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Also, i wanted to ask steps for removing the speedometer. I have all the lights out, does the speedometer cable just pull out? I wanted to make sure there arnt any forsteps in case i mess it up more

Remove the dash cover. It will require removing the trim from the bottom of the windshield. You will see the fasteners that attach the cover to the cowl. Remove them. Then just under the lip of the dash cover are some small screws. Remove them. Now, pull the cover toward the rear of the car a couple of inches. Carefully reach under the cover and remove the radio speaker wire from speaker. Assuming this is not a air conditioned job, the cover removal will expose all behind the dash items.

Dan

'57-76C

'57-56R

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Since you are in Missouri, Scott Speedometer out in Michigan may be of assistance to you as well. www.scottspeedometer.com, (248) 338-4148. He repaired my mechanical speedo off my '50 Special. Sounds like the latter 50s speedos can be a bit of a headache, but he may be worth trying to get a quote from. The thing I like about his service was that after you send in your item, he'll do an assessment on it, and call you back with what he feels needs to be fixed/replaced before he starts work. No surprises.

X2. He did mine a couple of years ago. Very happy with him.

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Kenny,

Here is how you remove the instrument cluster with the speedometer:

To remove the instrument cluster, you need to remove the top panel.

1. remove all the lower windshield garnish moldings

2. there are 4(?) fasteners holding the top panel down along the front. Remove those.

3. There might be 2 or 3 Phillips head screws on the underside of the panel (corners / center?) Remove those.

4. The panel is also held in by the 4 chrome ribs on the dashboard, but it should slide out at this point with a little work. Be careful not to tear the vinyl covering as you remove it from the IP structure.

5. You should now have access to the instrument cluster and the associated ganglion of wiring attached to it.

6. Take a picture with your digital camera of the back of the cluster so you remember where all the wires go later on. Take a few pictures, they are cheap, and will help in the re-installation!!

7. Remove all the wires. Tag them to identify where they will go back on when you re-install the cluster.

8. Remove the speedo cable from the left side of the cluster.

9. Remove the trip odometer cable by disconnecting it from under the dash by the ignition key area. You will have to remove the black knob, and a nut holding it to the dash.

10. Remove the speed sensor cable right above the speedometer cable on the left side of cluster.

11. Remove the temp and oil pressure gauges. 2 screws hold them in the cluster. Otherwise you have to remove the sensors from the engine block and pull the sensor tubing through the firewall when you remove the cluster.

12. Push / move the temp and oil instruments away from the cluster if you did not remove the tubes from the block.

13. There are 4 fasteners holding the cluster to the dash structure. Remove those.

14. Push all the wires, cables and stuff out of the way.

15. Remove the cluster

There you have it. How to get the instrument cluster out of your 57 Buick. Hope this helps.

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Kenny,

Here is how you remove the instrument cluster with the speedometer:

To remove the instrument cluster, you need to remove the top panel.

1. remove all the lower windshield garnish moldings

2. there are 4(?) fasteners holding the top panel down along the front. Remove those.

3. There might be 2 or 3 Phillips head screws on the underside of the panel (corners / center?) Remove those.

4. The panel is also held in by the 4 chrome ribs on the dashboard, but it should slide out at this point with a little work. Be careful not to tear the vinyl covering as you remove it from the IP structure.

5. You should now have access to the instrument cluster and the associated ganglion of wiring attached to it.

6. Take a picture with your digital camera of the back of the cluster so you remember where all the wires go later on. Take a few pictures, they are cheap, and will help in the re-installation!!

7. Remove all the wires. Tag them to identify where they will go back on when you re-install the cluster.

8. Remove the speedo cable from the left side of the cluster.

9. Remove the trip odometer cable by disconnecting it from under the dash by the ignition key area. You will have to remove the black knob, and a nut holding it to the dash.

10. Remove the speed sensor cable right above the speedometer cable on the left side of cluster.

11. Remove the temp and oil pressure gauges. 2 screws hold them in the cluster. Otherwise you have to remove the sensors from the engine block and pull the sensor tubing through the firewall when you remove the cluster.

12. Push / move the temp and oil instruments away from the cluster if you did not remove the tubes from the block.

13. There are 4 fasteners holding the cluster to the dash structure. Remove those.

14. Push all the wires, cables and stuff out of the way.

15. Remove the cluster

There you have it. How to get the instrument cluster out of your 57 Buick. Hope this helps.

Jim!!!

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