Technical: How to lube a speedometer.

I read a few articles and decided to give it a shot.. I have taken gauges apart before, but this is the first time I have attempted to lube a speedometer.

From what I read, it seemed easy so here we go...

NOTE: Don't touch the numbers or the gauge face!! Over the years the paint will have become powdery and will smear. The oil from your fingers will mar the black and once you try to clean it you are f-ed. I'm not kidding. I learned this the hard way. The numbers on the odometer dials will also smear.

The work being performed is on the gauge from my 52 Chevrolet Styleline, but it should be similar on most speedos. It had been making racket and jumping all over the place so I had disconnected the cable a long time ago. I'm in the middle of a re-wire on the car, so this is a good time to fix the problem.

1 Disassemble the gauge. Take your time, don't pry too hard. I used a flat screwdriver to gently bend the stainless where it had been bent over to keep the bezel attached to the housing. No pix of the disassembly, it's pretty self evident.

2 Locate the brass plug. It will look like a tiny freeze plug.

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3 I taped up a small drill. Using firm hand pressure, twist the drill into the brass until you have a hole.

(had the camera set to "blur")

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4 It shouldn't take long to make the hole. Just keep twisting and using firm pressure. I did it by hand because I was worried that a drill or dremmel would tag the speedo shaft.

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5 Work a small screw into the hole you just made.

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Once it's in there, carefully work the plug out. I used pliers.

6 There is a felt wick under the brass plug, work that out. I used my drill.

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7 Put a few (like 4) drops of a good, light lube into the hole. Give the shaft a spin or two. I used some stuff that my wife bought for her sewing machine because I couldn't find the Marvel Mystery Oil. 2 in 1 oil would be good too.

(again with the camera set to "blur")

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8 Replace the felt wick and add a few more drops of oil.

9 You have to fill the hole in the tiny freeze plug. I mixed up some JB Weld and filled it to the top.

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10 Wait 24 Hours for the epoxy to dry. While you are waiting, defile your wifes sink cleaning out 58 years of crunchy yuck from the bezel.

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1 Here is the lube plug filled with dried JB Weld.

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2 Re-attach the gauge to the housing.

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3 The glass on my gauge was able to move pretty freely and would rattle before I disassembled it. I used a couple of rolls of hockey tape to secure the glass.

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4 Insert the glass and ring back into the bezel. With firm pressure, re-bend the stainless around the housing in the places that it was originally bent to hold the whole thing together.

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  1. There you have it.

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I liked seeing the picture of your handheld "SPEEDO"...

BTW:Beware of taking photos of speedo's in use (i.e. like when the pointer is near the 100 marking) unless it is taken on a track as folks have been cited because of their own "photo" enforcement!

For those that don't have the ability to do what you did and or the forgiving wife North Park has San Diego's best Speedo shop: "Foreign Speedo" (619-298-5287) at 2246 ½ University Ave...Great folks and real honest to goodness Service!

Great job and great blog post!

how very cool with the picture for each action..heading out to my car now



great blog Joe

BTW: I also liked the "JOE" brown paper work surface shown in your photos, (a nice touch) + I'm sure your Wife approved of your clean hands...

RE - #1

Founder, I have pix of the speedometer in my 59 Apache pegged at 110 mpg. It would bounce all over while driving, going from 10 mph to 110 mph like mad, making a terrible racket until it finally stuck at 110.

I undid the cable to stop the racket and it stayed at 110 until it gradually went back down to 0 over a month or 2.

I am hoping that the above fix resolves the issue with the Apache gauge.

  • Joe

Oh, Nan... I should have made the title say "How to lube an OLD speedometer"

I don't think that this is a process you should attempt on a late model car... But if you did have an old car, I bet you would do just fine.

  • Joe

4 If something like a speedo or camera or cell phone got wet or is just plain "sticky", here is another "trick" you can try: Get one of those containers that you squeeze the lid on to create a vacuum inside, maybe your Wife will loan one to you one of hers... Next put the object you want dried or "freed up" inside, along with some Amsoil MP (Metal Protector) or WD-40 sprayed on a paper towel NOT DIRECTLY ON THE OBJECT IF IT IS FRAGILE (like the painted speedo meter face). Cycle the inside "vacuum" a few times allowing a minute or two between each, then allow it to set over night under "vacuum". The water vapor inside will be replaced by the Amsoil's "lube". When you open the container, hopefully you will notice that what ever you placed inside is "fixed"... BTW: what sized photos (how many Mega Pixels) did you upload?

Cool tip!

It's a 7.1 mp camera, but I cropped the images to 800x600 @72dpi.

  • Joe


i only wish i had an old classic car Joe...the last one i had was a '71 240Z

~~now i'm gonna cry~~

Joe, Thanks for this post, my hubby may find this handy for his the 66. Know anything about gas gauges. Personally, I think it's the float and not the gas gauge. Just haven't had the time to check.

btw. Are you a mechanic or enthusiast of antique vehicles? Or both? We love antique vehicles. Have some old Apache chrome in the barn. :)

What is the exact problem with the gas gauge... it can be a few things. Most of the time it's the ground!

66 what?

I'm an IT Systems Manager... I drive a 59 Apache daily and my friends and I are hopping up my 1952 Styleline Deluxe. As far as know how: I read like crazy and pay attention when guys that know what is up talk. I love this stuff.

The guys that are "antique vehicle enthusiasts" usually frown on the stuff that hot rodders do to cool old cars and pickups!

  • Joe

66 Ford PU...when we fill the tank, full of course, the gauge shows half tank only....

I love classics and custom classics. I had a 68 Cougar, a while back. My father and I rebuilt the engine together, a 302, added a 720 Melling cam, and a 750 Holley was a floor shift automatic, but it hauled cookies! lol.

I really dig those mid-60s Ford pickups and I bet that Cougar was blast to tear around in! What a great time you and your dad must have had rebuilding that engine. I'm jealous!

I'd check the sending unit float... $6 for a new float, or if you want to go big and replace the whole thing it's $48.

  • Joe

Regarding #11 I bet your Dad had more fun than you did!

Thank you Joe. :)

@Founder, I'm sure he loved it! I enjoyed learning and hanging around and doing the grunt work. lol.

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