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Nissan Speedometer Repair
If you are in a giving mood  

I recently bought a used '95 Nissan truck to use at work.  Given its task, I'm not too concerned about the general condition of the truck.  However, since I am being paid for mileage, it is important that the speedometer works.  In this case, it didn't.  After researching the problem on the internet, I saw several people describing the same problem.  I decided to take the time to document the repair.

My speedometer and odometer would stop working intermittently.  My first thought was that the speed sensor had failed however, if I smacked the dash, I would start working.

I found a used, base model cluster on ebay for a fraction of the cost of an upgraded cluster (with tach) and scavenged the parts to repair my original speedometer.  I wanted to retain the mileage as well as trip meter function.  In order to accomplish this task, I swapped out the motors and circuit board.

In my case, the motor itself was the problem causing a short that disabled both the needle movement and the odometer operation.

Before ordering any parts, test the vehicle speed sensor.  The factory service manual is a good source of diagnostic information.  If the sensor is in good working, try the donor cluster to verify that it's working properly.

These instructions will work for nearly any Nissan that uses a similar speedometer.  I know that the '95-'98 240SX's used a similar design.

Tools Necessary:

  • Soldering iron
  • Solder Sucker
  • #1 & #2 Phillips screwdriver
  • Small clamping piers

Remove the 4 screws surrounding the plastic circle:

After removing the screws the speedometer can be removed easily.

Before you can remove the circuit board, you will need to remove four screws, marked in yellow and unsolder four posts, marked in red.

The motor is attached to the speedometer with screws requiring you to remove the solder first.

Once you've removed the solder you can remove the board.  Be aware that the odometer's motor is plugged into the board. 

After removing the solder and the circuit board, remove the single screw that holds the odometer motor in place.

Remove the two screws that hold the motor in place.

The next step is a difficult part of the project.  If you try to pull the motor off without holding the shaft, you run the risk of pulling it through and ruining the small return spring.  You can try to rely on the needle holding the shaft in place however it's a substantial risk.  Using a very small set of locking or clamping pliers, hold onto the shaft.

The picture shows the base model speedometer which does not have a trip meter.  This area is much more congested with the trip meter present.

Once you have supported the shaft, slowly pry the motor off.  You can also use two spoons to help pry it off.

Now that you have everything apart and the donor parts ready to install, you can start assembling the speedometer.  I would suggest using all of the new pieces from your donor cluster.

First, install the new odometer motor.

The next process is complicated .  Both the shaft and the motor need to be at their "home" position which is 0 mph.  Returning the motor to its home position is the hardest part.  You may need to solder the motor to the circuit board, screw it into the cluster, connect the cluster and power on the ignition.  This will bring it back to the home position.  If you do not do this, you could end up with a needle that will rest at something other than 0 mph when the ignition is off.

The whole process may take some trial and error but it can be accomplished.

Once you get that resolved, screw in the motor, push on the circuit board and reinstall it's screws and solder the motor pins.

Set the speedometer back into the cluster and secure it with four screws from behind.

Finally, reinstall the cluster.

Ultimately, the easiest thing to do would be to use the entire donor cluster or possibly the speedometer itself (if your donor cluster is a base model version and you want to retain your tach).  If the mileage is close or if you don't care about a trip meter, you could skip the hassle of soldering and properly clocking the motor to the shaft/needle.

Good Luck!