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I've got an older vehicle with sentimental value that unfortunately has had the dashboard and instrument clusters damaged and removed. I am considering whether or not to build a custom dashboard to give the vehicle a new lease on life.

What I want to know is whether or not speedometer cables are a universal interface?

If I purchase a cable driven speedometer to install in a custom dashboard is it likely to plug into the existing speedometer cable or will it need to be replaced?

  • You could always consider a gps based speedo, but idk how well it would work if you wanted to keep it with the old vibe – sjfklsdafjks Nov 20 '17 at 14:32
  • It really depends on how old we're talking about and what you'd be replacing it with. You'd have to check the cable itself. Most "older" spedo cables I've seen have a square drive to the driven part, which was pretty universal. It's the connector which pushes into the speedo and holds the cable in place which will probably give you issues. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Nov 20 '17 at 15:12
  • What's the make and model of the car? – GdD Nov 20 '17 at 16:49
  • It is a 1993 Mitsubishi Triton and it is probably on the verge of being ready for disposal. Not really worth a lot of time and effort but does have some sentimental value so considering what it would take to bring it back to life. – Tim Nov 20 '17 at 22:03
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As far as I know, there are two main groups of speedometer cables...

  • Mechanical
  • Electronic

The mechanical cable connects to a geared output of the transmission which then drives a mechanical speedometer. The length of cable as well as the connectors themselves will vary with make and model of vehicle.

The electronic cable connects to an electronic speed sensor output of the transmission which connects to the electronic speedometer. The length of cable, the connectors, the power cabling, etc will vary with make and model of the vehicle.

You'll probably have more luck if you are replacing a mechanical drive with an electronic drive, since there will be no need to figure out the electronic sensor output.

I've never had much luck replacing electronic dash components with anything other than OEM parts. However, I've tried a few times with vehicles that were on the edge of disposal.

  • It is a mechanical drive speedo at the moment. On an older 4g54 engine petrol engine. – Tim Nov 20 '17 at 22:05
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The easiest method I found to “make” or replace a “weird” cable was to go to a commercial vehicle tachgraph specialist who had a variety of “end” molds and a very wide range of fittings as they often made intermediate gearboxes that fitted between the speedo and gearbox drive - usually necessary as tyre sizes were changed when the weighted capacity was altered...

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