I am the proud owner of a 1998 Toyota Corolla E11 (bug eyed version, pre-facelift). It has suffered a problem whereby the speedometer is broken. I haven't been able to diagnose the issue, but it's one of the following items:
- The Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS) that sits on top of the gearbox
- The speedometer cable running from the VSS to the back of the speedometer
- The speedometer itself
I'm inclined to believe the issue is down to the VSS failing, as when the car is to temperature and you do 3,500rpm for 8 seconds the check engine light comes on. The code for this points to a VSS failure, however upon further research it basically indicates the ECU has no idea how fast the car is going, and that information is provided to it by the speedometer.
I've been looking around various breakers yards etc around me in the UK and in Ireland for a mechanical VSS and they seem to be rarer than hen's teeth. I've spoken to two guys who said they had one. I visited one and he promptly broke the VSS off the gearbox, meaning it was useless. The second guy has told me it's near impossible for him to get his VSS off his gearbox to give to me without breaking it. My car is 19 years old this month, I know full well I'm going to end up breaking the VSS off my vehicle as well. Plus I've had several arguments with my Toyota dealer, as they maintain my vehicle has 4 speed sensors on each wheel and that's the problem. The car has no ABS.
I have noticed though that the market is awash with the electrical VSS that existed on higher spec Corolla's, mostly on the facelift models from 1999 onwards. Even eBay lists these as brand new parts.
To top this off, the MOT is due in August this year. We're a long way off obviously, but the car will fail outright if the speedo doesn't work. So I have two choices, which is scrap the car or turn it in to a project in where I can convert the car to use an electrical VSS instead of the mechanical one.
From what I can deduce between the two VSS's, the mechanical one has a cable plug in to it and that turns the speedo in the cabin. The electrical one has a plug and no mechanical cable, so I would do away with the mechanical cable and would need to purchase a new electrical speedometer.
But it can't be that simple? Can it? Have I missed a step or would I also need to swap out the ECU?