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Mike R
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm a Mercedes guy that has fixed several of their bad odometers which means I'm an "expert" now. Darn.

A friend with an '84 Mercedes 500SEC, which I've fixed, has a '91 Esprit with a bad odo.

Coupla questions - how is the speedometer removed? Do I remove the entire instrument cluster?

Can I fix his odometer and if so where do I get the parts?

Garagistic sells Mercedes parts on ebay. The little pinion gear on the stepper motor shaft gets old and when it dies, takes the next gear with it. The odo package is that pinion and the next *two* gears so while it's a bit fiddly, for an old instrument tech like me it's not hard to do. But...I've never played with a Lotus.

Help!!
Thanks,
Mike
 

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S4s
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678 Posts
Hi @Mike Ramay

Welcome to LotusTalk!

I suggest searching the Lotus Esprit section of the forum for "Speedometer" to get some good results.
I've got a speedometer with the same issue and decided to replace mine with a digital one from the manufacturer. A lot of the repair places just said they "might be able to fix the old one with no warranties of course. For the cost of repair vs new, I decided to ad a few dollars to get a new one. (https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f164/caerbont-speedometer-wiring-465962/).

Here is a good one from the search results: https://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f164/speedometer-works-but-not-odometer-464684/

I 1st suggest using something like low adhesive painters tape all around the dash area to prevent accidentally damaging the interior. (see pic below)

Your binnacle removes by having to get used to the "Lotus Position" laying upside down to get your head under the dash. From underneath the dash, there is a single bolt that is about 2 or 3 inches long towards the center. You have to remove that 1st. This will loosen the entire binnacle.

Then you will find there might be some very small wood screws near the bottom of the front edges (mine appeared to be missing when I took mine apart) that connect the wood paneling to the binnacle.

Once all of the screws are removed, the tricky part of delicately removing the binnacle will be the next step. I think you have to pull/spread the binnacle wider to get around the wood dash panels one side at a time. I recommend the left side 1st and possible removing the corrugated air hose to the left vent since it gets in the way (bottom pic). Then tilt the side nearest the windshield upward (be careful not to accidentally hit the windshield because some people have broken their windshield in this process. I suspect there was an LED for their car alarm on top of the binnacle which caused the windshield to crack). Then sort of rotate the binnacle towards the center console above the radio. This probably sounds confusing. I am probably going to make a video of it this weekend when I install my new speedometer and put it back together.

Feel free to email me on gmail at mrjpstone if you have more questions on the binnacle removal. I can send you more pics or links to videos if needed.

Regards
 

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Mike R
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Great, great reply!! I searched for "odometer repair" then "odometer" and read them. Didn't think of "speedometer".

Mark should have the top of the dash off later today. It's his Esprit, I'm the Shade Tree guy that fixes our Mercedes (Mark's '84 500SEC, my '87 560SEL & '87 560SEC), including the electrical / electronics (thank you USN). Looks like the last guy to work on the Esprit only did the front two screws on that cover so assuming the Mercedes Position of on your back, head on the brake pedal, wasn't necessary. Anyway, he's going to take off the steering wheel, which should get the cover off, and then we can see what's next. Does he need to put in those Cover bolts when we're done?? What size are they as his were missing.

To clarify terms, my Benz has a "cluster" which is the big plastic lump in the dash with all the instruments in it. I look at a "binnacle" as the assembly containing the instruments, so I use "cover" for the leather covered part that is on top.

It sounds like there is no easy source for parts for the Esprit VDO speedo. For the Mercedes VDO speedo, I can buy the odometer gear set on ebay, but they made a few more Benz's than Lotus's. The two choices then for Mark's speedo / odo seems to be rebuild by a pro (Palo Alto Speedo is my thought) or follow your lead and get a digital speedo. But...can you get a digital speedo with an odometer in it??
 

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Mike R
Joined
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Well, this is my third attempt to reply to this great response. If there is a delay in posting, I couldn't find it in the New Guy stuff.

Great, great reply!! I searched for "odometer repair" then "odometer" and read them. Didn't think of "speedometer".

Mark should have the top of the dash off later today. It's his Esprit, I'm the Shade Tree guy that fixes our Mercedes (Mark's '84 500SEC, my '87 560SEL & '87 560SEC), including the electrical / electronics (thank you USN). Looks like the last guy to work on the Esprit only did the front two screws on that cover so assuming the Mercedes Position of on your back, head on the brake pedal, wasn't necessary. Anyway, he's going to take off the steering wheel, which should get the cover off, and then we can see what's next. Does he need to put in those Cover bolts when we're done?? What size are they as his were missing?

To clarify terms, my Benz has a "cluster" which is the big plastic lump in the dash with all the instruments in it. I look at a "binnacle" as the assembly containing the instruments, so I use "cover" for the leather covered part that is on top.

It sounds like there is no easy source for parts for the Esprit VDO speedo. For the Mercedes VDO speedo, I can buy the odometer gear set on ebay, but they made a few more Benz's than Lotus's. The two choices then for Mark's speedo / odo seems to be rebuild by a pro (Palo Alto Speedo is my thought) or follow your lead and get a digital speedo. But...can you get a digital speedo with an odometer in it??
 

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Registered
Joined
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70 Posts
Feel free to email me on gmail at mrjpstone if you have more questions on the binnacle removal. I can send you more pics or links to videos if needed.
Thanks for this. I might have a bad oil pressure gauge that needs replacement and was just about to start looking at how to remove binnacle. Saved your instructions.
 

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Mike R
Joined
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Tried three times to post a response on this over the last couple days.

What went wrong? Did I do something wrong? Should it have been posted by now?

Whassup??
 

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Super Moderator
Joined
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3,859 Posts
You can post to the THREAD just fine.
But you cannot reply to private message until you have 10 posts - it's a anti-spam feature to keep spammers at bay.

We do see your duplicate replies - I'll delete the duplicates for clarity.

RE: VDO Speedo

1. late 88 Esprit speedo failed (~35K miles) and had fixed by supposedly reputable shop and had set to 50K miles as my gas log said that's how far I traveled since 35K.
2. at about 75K (25K since repair) the odometer started to stick and stop.
3. car was totalled at 80K miles

I repaired a 76 VW Scirocco VDO odometer - cheap plastic gear cracked (forgot mileage but maybe 180K) and never found a replacement gear. Today you can find one on eBay.

FYI I have a video showing how to install VDO Vacuum/Turbo gauge that shows how to remove the 88 Esprit dash pod.
Note that is different than 89 and newer dash pods (newer lifts off more easily).

Note the subject index in first 5 secs and skip to section interesting to you (it's 38 mins long hence the index)

 

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Mike R
Joined
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Well, I responded to this posting three (3) times over a couple days and then to a moderator once to find out why my responses were not showing up. You said that you saw my duplicates and would delete them, but still nothing has shown up here.

This is a Quick Reply to the Odometer posting.

What is the problem?

Sent 6/1/19 at 16:30 PDT.
 

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Super Moderator
Joined
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3,859 Posts
Well, I responded to this posting three (3) times over a couple days and then to a moderator once to find out why my responses were not showing up. You said that you saw my duplicates and would delete them, but still nothing has shown up here.

This is a Quick Reply to the Odometer posting.

What is the problem?

Sent 6/1/19 at 16:30 PDT.
Hmmm - I'm seeing your posts but as a moderator, maybe I can see and others cannot?
I also notice your post counter isn't working. I'm going to report as an error and see if the folks can determine the issue.
 

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Acme Super Moderator ** The Enforcer **
Joined
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7,378 Posts
Hmmm - I'm seeing your posts but as a moderator, maybe I can see and others cannot?
I also notice your post counter isn't working. I'm going to report as an error and see if the folks can determine the issue.
Should be good now.

San
 

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Mike R
Joined
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
You can post to the THREAD just fine.
But you cannot reply to private message until you have 10 posts - it's a anti-spam feature to keep spammers at bay.

We do see your duplicate replies - I'll delete the duplicates for clarity.

RE: VDO Speedo

1. late 88 Esprit speedo failed (~35K miles) and had fixed by supposedly reputable shop and had set to 50K miles as my gas log said that's how far I traveled since 35K.
2. at about 75K (25K since repair) the odometer started to stick and stop.
3. car was totalled at 80K miles

I repaired a 76 VW Scirocco VDO odometer - cheap plastic gear cracked (forgot mileage but maybe 180K) and never found a replacement gear. Today you can find one on eBay.

FYI I have a video showing how to install VDO Vacuum/Turbo gauge that shows how to remove the 88 Esprit dash pod.
Note that is different than 89 and newer dash pods (newer lifts off more easily).

Note the subject index in first 5 secs and skip to section interesting to you (it's 38 mins long hence the index)

--snip--
Wow, that is some tight quarters under there and I'm pretty sure I won't fit under the dash with my head on the brake pedal! Thanks for the video. I think we'll need to find a smaller person to get under there to the binnacle bolts!

Do you remember who was the vendor for the gear(s) you got for the VDO gauge?
 
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