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1922 Buick speedometer rework

Mark Kikta

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When I purchased my 22 Buick over 2 years ago, the car had no speedometer installed.  It had been stolen.  So over the last two years I purchased 4 used systems from the internet in hopes of putting together 1 good working speedometer.  I believe the 22 should have had a #1249/ 131-A Stewart Speedometer.  As I started taking them all apart to evaluate what I had, I quickly saw that one had been destroyed by dropping and breaking the frame for the magnetic wheel.  Another had a cracked odometer frame.  I was actually wondering if I would have enough good parts to build one system.  I think I was able to build one good speedometer.  I haven't checked it yet but that will be next.


First photo below shows one where the odometer was a basket case.  You can see the pot metal wheels that had swollen and cracked beyond usable condition.  You can see how some have cracked and where some have swollen more than others.  The second photo show what happened to the odometer wheels when I tried to remove them from their shaft.


The third photo shows the MPH cup which rotates over an potmetal wheel that holds the magnet which makes the MPH cup spin.





odometer wheels crumbled when taken apart.jpg

131 insides before dissassembly.jpg

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The first photo below shows the back of the main frame of the speedometer after it was removed from the barrel case.  The second photo shows the front side of the same main frame with the MPH cup removed so you can see the magnetic wheel and its gears.


The third photo shows one of my speedometers that had a broken potmetal frame where the magnetic wheel was attached.

131 backside before dissassembly.jpg

magnet wheel re-assembled.jpg

magnetic wheel bracket broken.jpg

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The first picture below shows the MPH cup upside down.  This cup fits over the magnetic wheel shown in the second photo.


The third photo shows two of the shafts I removed from these speedometers. The fiber gears on the top of these drive the MPH wheel and the odometer.  These gears are totally stripped as shown on the left shaft and are workable on the right shaft.


magnetic wheel top view.jpg

speedometer drive shaft and gears good vs bad.jpg

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I was able to find a set of all 5 odometer wheels that appear to be usable even thought they are pot metal.  Hopefully they will work OK.  I also have an equally good set of trip odometer wheels.


I used my Harbor Freight ultrasonic cleaner with good results as shown in the second and third photos. 

odometer gears removed in order.jpg

cleaned parts before and after.jpg

Mph cup top cleaned and assembled.jpg

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Here you can see that I am stating to reassemble the odometer into it's frame. 


I started installing the odometer gear shaft and gears from the trip odometer side first, and worked my way across the odometer ensuring I got each of the small brass gears installed properly.  I took a mass of closeup photos before I removed any parts to ensure I don't screw that up.  There are 4-5 different little brass and steel gears that must go in the right places for this to all work properly.


After I put all wheels and gears into the odometer and ensured I put a drop of gear oil on all moving parts I reassembled both halves and put them back into the barrel case.


Now I need to carefully test this machine to ensure it's going to work smoothly and not eat itself up.  I think I'll check it slowly by hand and then try it with my hand held drill.


More to follow.

odometer beginning reassembly trip reset.jpg

both paarts cleaned and ready to assemble.jpg

131 cleaned and reassembled.jpg

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Wow Mark good job.

 I thought Hugh and I were the only ones to be working on lost cause speedometers.

 I thought that the Stewarts were a much more robust unit than the crappy AC examples.

DSCF7596.thumb.JPG.54fe164c11787e82d5b85a712a8552be.JPG  DSCF7599.thumb.JPG.55d744c4f9b78f9a0b413fe6f11f416d.JPG DSCF7600.thumb.JPG.866cda910578363c36f6b2baa812e5a9.JPG


DSCF7601.thumb.JPG.e53889a108c635eaa62e2fffb6cdb011.JPG   DSCF7726.thumb.JPG.19f618428f8c59e13626b89f5c0e60fa.JPG

Using the best parts from 4 different units.

Whatever you do make sure the unit works IN THE CAR before you button up the bezel and such. I made a fixture to set mine up and tested it with a flexible shaft and a drill. I thought all was good. I did not check it in the car till after I re-rolled the bezel back on. It works but is 13 MPH low. I would have to pull it apart to adjust. Don't forget to recharge the magnet.


Edited by dibarlaw
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Ha, we're all from the same Gang.


When I got my car years ago the SW speedo came in a cigar box, in pieces.  I spent many a night that Winter with a TV table tray in my lap to catch parts figuring out how it went together.  Made three stripped gear teeth and a big chunk of the body out of JB Weld.  It still works.  Not very quiet.  The dog leash that runs it is a hoot.  

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I worked it tonight by hand first and with a drill.  It all seems to work pretty well.  It’s not hard to get apart and together.  

I have already put it back together.  As soon as I get the trip odometer knob back from the platers, I’ll put it in the car.


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  • 1 year later...

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