Speedometer bouncing erratically....... - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community

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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-24-2011, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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Speedometer bouncing erratically.......

What would cause my Esprit's cable driven speedo to be bouncing all around erratically, it is so bad it cant even be used to even guess speed. Is there a simple fix for this?
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-24-2011, 09:01 PM
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Generally it is a binding speedometer drive inner cable that is jerking and not spinning smoothy. When the drive cable binds and jerks in its housing, the speedometer needle follows the movement of the cable and bounces accordingly. You might be able to lubricate the inner cable, but usually the best bet is to replace the cable with a new one. If it is not the cable binding, the next thing to check is the speedometer itself. It is not uncommon for the bearings inside Smiths gauges to wear and when it gets bad enough the spinning magnet will make physical contact with the metal cup that is attached to the spindle that moves the needle. Normally the magnet spins inside of the cup without touching it and the faster it spins the more the needle moves. If the magnet touches the cup it will bang the needle around making the speedometer readings useless. If this is the case with your speedometer the only option is to send it to a speedometer shop for repair and recalibration or try to find a replacement speedometer.
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-24-2011, 10:08 PM
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I just fixed this on my 89SE, it is actually probably the magnet cup has become loose on the shaft and is moving around. I took mine apart and pressed the magnet back down,and then used some wicking grade loctite to hold it. Speedo works fine now.

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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-24-2011, 10:42 PM
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I just fixed this on my 89SE, it is actually probably the magnet cup has become loose on the shaft and is moving around. I took mine apart and pressed the magnet back down,and then used some wicking grade loctite to hold it. Speedo works fine now.
Ah yes, I forgot about that scenario with the magnet falling off. You just have to love these quality built speedometers!
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 04:10 AM
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You just have to love these quality built speedometers!
Right - but they are LIGHT-WEIGHT..... thats what matters.

Page 65, Section LD - what ya wanna know?
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 05:52 AM
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Pull the inner core out and lay it on some clean newspaper. It should lay flat in a large circle with no kinks, bends, lumps or bumps. The ends should not be frayed or rounded over. If it looks good, lubricate and reinstall. If the problem doesn't go away it is probably a problem in the head. I also have seen where they are just a little bit short and are catching only on the tip. Make sure the inner core is fully inserted into both ends when connected.
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 07:44 AM
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My fuel gauge bounces around a lot, but only while driving. Could there be a short in the gauge like ing the speedo? I have been assuming that its in the sending unit, and haven't been real excited about looking into that.

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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Vulcan Grey View Post
I just fixed this on my 89SE, it is actually probably the magnet cup has become loose on the shaft and is moving around. I took mine apart and pressed the magnet back down,and then used some wicking grade loctite to hold it. Speedo works fine now.
I had to do mine as well...

here's a pic of the problem - just add some lock tight and tap it back flush
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 09:33 AM
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My fuel gauge bounces around a lot, but only while driving. Could there be a short in the gauge like ing the speedo? I have been assuming that its in the sending unit, and haven't been real excited about looking into that.
Di-electric grease on connector, and it helped alot when I cleaned the sender!

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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 12:34 PM
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remember that the old level senders did not use electronics to 'buffer' the readings from the gas sloshing around in the tank - so it's kinda normal for the gauge to bounce with the gas slosh - take off, braking, turning, uphill, ...etc
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post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 01:55 PM
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remember that the old level senders did not use electronics to 'buffer' the readings from the gas sloshing around in the tank - so it's kinda normal for the gauge to bounce with the gas slosh - take off, braking, turning, uphill, ...etc
Thats kinda what I figured...

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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 02:28 PM
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I had to do mine as well...

here's a pic of the problem - just add some lock tight and tap it back flush
I just had to do this as well. The speedo was jumping around erratically and then it finally stopped and the whole speedo actually spun 90 degrees in the panel. Only on a Lotus.

On an '88 the whole binnacle comes out/loose after unbolting the four bolts under the dash. Unlike later (89+) Esprits, the top of the binnacle doesn't come off separately from the instrument housing.

To access the internals of the speedo requires unbolting the binnacle, lifting it up and away a ways, then reaching around and unscrewing the mechanical drive cable. Then unscrew the retaining nut and clamp on the back of the speedo and slide it towards you out of the instrument housing.

On the bench you have to gently pry the gauge ring off the gauge housing, then unscrew the retaining nut (22mm) on the back. Slide the internals out and undo the two small screws holding the magnetic wheel in place. Slide the magnetic wheel back onto the shaft with a small dab of locktite. Installation is the reverse of removal.

Works great now.
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post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-06-2014, 05:07 PM
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[snip]
On an '88 the whole binnacle comes out/loose after unbolting the four bolts under the dash. Unlike later (89+) Esprits, the top of the binnacle doesn't come off separately from the instrument housing. [snip]
For those more visually-inclined, here's my video of removing my 88 binnacle (for both removing/replacing the speedo (fixed at shop) and doing a vacuum/turbo gauge upgrade). It's long but there is a time index up front - jump to the section you want.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgAD...ature=youtu.be

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post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old 08-16-2014, 02:10 PM
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My speedo needle just starting doing the jumping around the other day. My car is a 2004 and I'm not sure if it's cable driven. If so, is this repair DIY the same?

TIA.

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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old 08-17-2014, 08:21 AM
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The speedo in the 2004 is completely electronic. Start by checking electrical connections. It could have something loose internally.
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post #16 of 40 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 03:00 PM
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Any luck on this Docl? Mine on my 2001 is jumping around when I am stopped. It jumps up to like 10mph, holds and then goes back down. It is annoying! It does not seem to affect the mileage on the car though, but I could be wrong.

I can probably break it.
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post #17 of 40 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 03:37 PM
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Any luck on this Docl? Mine on my 2001 is jumping around when I am stopped. It jumps up to like 10mph, holds and then goes back down. It is annoying! It does not seem to affect the mileage on the car though, but I could be wrong.
I haven't attempted to address the problem. My speedo jumps around whether I'm at a stop or moving, and has pegged 200mph. LOL.

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post #18 of 40 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 02:31 PM
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I don't know if the V8's mentioned are equipped with them, but on some cars there is a Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS) connected to the transmission that can eventually go bad, causing symptoms similar to those described.
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post #19 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-15-2015, 05:47 PM
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The speedo on my '90 SE just started lightly buzzing and bouncing erratically (tends not to move while I'm at rest). The bounce is about 5 mph and produces an audible buzz. Might this be the magnet problem mentioned above?
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post #20 of 40 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 11:33 AM
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I have a 95 S4s and mine just ed jumping also. Is the pinnacle difficult to remove?
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