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Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

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Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Old 11-04-2013, 10:09 AM
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Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

As stated, my odometer has quit on my Trans Am with the electric motor. I finally made time to pull the cluster this weekend and found that the stepper gears were seized and broken, which happened while being driven of all things. I pulled the cluster out of my GTA as well and it has the same problem.

As we know by now, the stepper gears are plastic and mounted to a stamped pin that can't really be removed and replaced. Over time those gears tend to seize and then crumble. I have no doubt I can find the gears, but replacing that pin or getting the gears on there is the problem.

I've dug around on the forum for a while and have found nothing of relevant value other than some getting lucky with junkyard clusters.

The only possible solution that my buddy and I have come up with is to grind out the pin, find the set of gears and another pin and somehow mount it back in there without breaking anything else, as it is only a matter of time before his fails as well. I've attached a picture provided by another member, to give those still researching a better idea of what we're discussing.

The question is, has anyone found a valid solution for this? We're going to keep throwing ideas around and it will likely be a junkyard solution, but if we end up doing something else, I will keep this updated.
Attached Thumbnails Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?-img00255-20100714-2033.jpg  
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Old 11-04-2013, 02:14 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

i would give scott speedometer a call. others here have used them and are happy,good luck
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:14 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Classic Industries sells the gears, not sure about your pin question, but it should be do able, if you have a spare sacrificial dash to work/practice on - might help.

I found a working dash/odometer and swapped the whole odometer part in and reset the mileage to what it was/on title etc. it then just plugs into circuit board. Can just spin the numbers as needed, and no I didn't cheat MV has all records of miles so its not worth it.
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:24 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by rusty vango View Post
i would give scott speedometer a call. others here have used them and are happy,good luck
I 2nd that motion. I sent mine to them and they did an amazing job!!
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:21 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

It does all tear down very easy and everything is replaceable except for that stupid pin/gear combo, its ridiculous.

I'm going to try to scrounge the junkyards, I think it'll be more cost efficient than sending it off for repair. I'm working on selling it so I can complete the GTA, so I don't want to sink much more into it. Its a beautiful car, but it's not going anywhere without an odometer.

How much did the repair run you all, out of curiosity?
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Old 12-14-2013, 11:36 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

I am working on the same problem. Believe it or not, the pin is the easy part. Getting the double gear is the impossible part. Nobody has that. Not even Classic Industries as someone else stated.
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Old 12-14-2013, 11:50 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

.

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Old 12-14-2013, 11:52 PM
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.

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Old 01-05-2014, 10:40 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

I am trying to tackle this problem on my formula. Were any of you guys able to find the stepper gear in question? If so, where? Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-30-2016, 09:23 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

I know that this is a rather old thread but I came across it while trying to figure out why my odometer didn't work. I wasn't really thrilled about the wait for sending the whole gauge cluster in or the unknown pricing so I decided to try my hand at 3d printing a gear. It wasn't very easy to replace I needed to tear down the whole cluster and bend the tabs holing the reels in place to get them out. That was somewhat unsuccessful so to get them all separated I had to bend the whole bracket outwards to get the pins loose from their holes. I couldn't get the pin holding the drive gear to come loose at all so it ended up breaking off and i soldered it back in place after grinding down the top lip so i could slip it on.

If you'd like to try for yourself i've got the gear up on shapeways.
http://shpws.me/MnHQ
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Old 11-23-2016, 09:15 AM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

....
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Old 11-23-2016, 10:34 AM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by lightsaber2003 View Post
I know that this is a rather old thread but I came across it while trying to figure out why my odometer didn't work. I wasn't really thrilled about the wait for sending the whole gauge cluster in or the unknown pricing so I decided to try my hand at 3d printing a gear. It wasn't very easy to replace I needed to tear down the whole cluster and bend the tabs holing the reels in place to get them out. That was somewhat unsuccessful so to get them all separated I had to bend the whole bracket outwards to get the pins loose from their holes. I couldn't get the pin holding the drive gear to come loose at all so it ended up breaking off and i soldered it back in place after grinding down the top lip so i could slip it on.

If you'd like to try for yourself i've got the gear up on shapeways.
http://shpws.me/MnHQ
I see that they offer it in Stainless Steel. Would that be cost effective so that you know the gear won't break again, or would that only damage the other gears?
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Old 11-23-2016, 11:14 AM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

I have 3 cars with this very problem. Any idea how long this material should last?

Ordered 3 of them.

Last edited by TTOP350; 11-23-2016 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 11-23-2016, 11:16 AM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

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Old 11-23-2016, 05:31 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by lightsaber2003 View Post
I know that this is a rather old thread but I came across it while trying to figure out why my odometer didn't work. I wasn't really thrilled about the wait for sending the whole gauge cluster in or the unknown pricing so I decided to try my hand at 3d printing a gear. It wasn't very easy to replace I needed to tear down the whole cluster and bend the tabs holing the reels in place to get them out. That was somewhat unsuccessful so to get them all separated I had to bend the whole bracket outwards to get the pins loose from their holes. I couldn't get the pin holding the drive gear to come loose at all so it ended up breaking off and i soldered it back in place after grinding down the top lip so i could slip it on.

If you'd like to try for yourself i've got the gear up on shapeways.
http://shpws.me/MnHQ
Does that operate both, trip and odometer? Mine just went
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Old 11-23-2016, 06:09 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Sure does. Good pic of it in the 1st post.
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Old 11-23-2016, 07:23 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Curiosity got me,I have a cluster from a 87 TA that has a 120 mph speedometer.so out of curiosity I took the speedo out to see how difficult it would be to change that gear,it looks very difficult to get that gear out without removing all the other wheels.The pin that holds the gear itself looks like it is machine pressed into it's place,I really don't want to destroy the gauge for the gear that is good,so I'm thinking what would I have to change on this part to make it compatible,do I change just the little motor and the circuit board or just the little motor.I have a 140 speedo and this is a 120.
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Old 11-23-2016, 09:30 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

I don't know if steel would be a good thing or not it might ruin the other gears in the long run. The white plastic should be nylon like the original gears so it shouldn't eat them and hold up. The reason that the original gear breaks is because it is not nylon like the rest and is meant to disintegrate as an anti tamper device. I'm not sure what the trigger is though that causes it to fall apart, its obviously too sensitive.
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Old 11-23-2016, 09:41 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by mantaguy View Post
Curiosity got me,I have a cluster from a 87 TA that has a 120 mph speedometer.so out of curiosity I took the speedo out to see how difficult it would be to change that gear,it looks very difficult to get that gear out without removing all the other wheels.The pin that holds the gear itself looks like it is machine pressed into it's place,I really don't want to destroy the gauge for the gear that is good,so I'm thinking what would I have to change on this part to make it compatible,do I change just the little motor and the circuit board or just the little motor.I have a 140 speedo and this is a 120.

I'm not sure exactly what part your referring to are you talking about the gear or swapping the 120 parts with the 140. I imagine that the parts are compatible you'd just need to swap the board and the face/needle between the 2. But you just about need to remove the electric motor to see if the gear is fully intact, mine looked good from the outside but the bottom was completely stripped out.

I posted some photo's in a different thread.
https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/elec...ml#post4638793
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Old 11-24-2016, 12:17 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by mantaguy View Post
do I change just the little motor and the circuit board or just the little motor.
The 120 odo will swap right into the 140 speedometer. The motor and odometer assembly is exactly the same. Remove the two screws on either side of the odo assembly to separate the speedometer from the odo. Unplug the motor from the board, connect the 120 odo motor, screw the speedometer back in and you're done.

Just be sure that the motor and the gears move freely on the parts you're using.
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Old 11-24-2016, 12:53 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

The pic above is the 120,so if I understand you correctly, I remove the motor(120) and connect the (140) motor,yes?
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Old 11-24-2016, 01:11 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Assuming you're having the seized gear issue in the odometer assembly, you want to swap that assembly and only that assembly. The drive motor is the same 120 or 140, but the assembly that drives the needle might not be. If the gear on the odometer drive motor is ok, and the motor turns freely, there wouldn't be any reason to change them, except it's easier to just unplug them from the board.


Just remove the two circled screws, and unplug the circled harness, and the odometer assembly can be removed complete. Alternatively, remove the two red circled screws on the drive motor and leave the motor plugged into the board.
Attached Thumbnails Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?-speedometer-edit.jpg   Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?-speedometer-002-edit.jpg  
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Old 11-24-2016, 09:00 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Assuming you're having the seized gear issue in the odometer assembly, you want to swap that assembly and only that assembly. The drive motor is the same 120 or 140, but the assembly that drives the needle might not be. If the gear on the odometer drive motor is ok, and the motor turns freely, there wouldn't be any reason to change them, except it's easier to just unplug them from the board.


Just remove the two circled screws, and unplug the circled harness, and the odometer assembly can be removed complete. Alternatively, remove the two red circled screws on the drive motor and leave the motor plugged into the board.
Thank You very much Drew,I really appreciate the help.
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Old 12-03-2016, 12:54 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Just got three gears in today. Will work on getting them in the cluster in a few days.
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Old 12-03-2016, 07:49 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by TTOP350 View Post
Just got three gears in today. Will work on getting them in the cluster in a few days.
I look forward to following that.
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Old 12-03-2016, 07:56 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by DynoDave43 View Post
I look forward to following that.

Me too.
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Old 12-03-2016, 08:37 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by mantaguy View Post

Me too.



Marlin says, "Frannie and I will wait here in the house, while TTOP350 works in the garage perfecting a method to install that gear."
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Old 12-04-2016, 12:40 AM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

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Old 12-04-2016, 10:08 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

I wasn't sure there were too many members here that would remember Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.
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Old 12-04-2016, 10:34 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by DynoDave43 View Post
I wasn't sure there were too many members here that would remember Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.
I used to watch back in the 60's. Marlin Perkins would always make Jim do the dirty work. Like water buffalo punching and 'gator rasslin.
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Old 12-13-2016, 12:42 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Well, I have one finished and it wasn't that bad at all. Still need to test drive it to make sure everything else works buuuut its in there.
My gear had shrunk, turned to a nasty sticky mess that had stuck to the metal shaft and had 3 teeth broke off.
I took the thing down as far as I could, ground the press fit end down flush with the bracket, drove the pin out, cleaned and polished the gear shaft. (being married,I'm good at that) Measured the shaft at .115, the gear needed a light honing with a .108 drill bit (closest I had) to fit correctly on the shaft and mine even had some gunk down the middle. Once I had a nice loose slip fit, I stuck the shaft in the hole and threw a quick spot weld on it to hold it. Didn't get it hot enough to melt anything and the gear still spun easy.
All and all I think I only have about 40mins into it but the cluster isn't put back into the car yet, maybe 10-15 mins more.

Only pic I took of it, you can see the old gear in pieces and barely see the new gear in there.
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Old 12-30-2016, 09:27 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Just FYI....rather than soldering the old pin back in, I found a shoulder screw that worked really well with the Shapeway gear. The link is:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...9SIA5D539X2038

If the link doesn't work, search "Ampg303 Shoulder Screw, 1-pack, STR60118C07 newegg". The screw is 1/8"diameter, and 7/16" usuable length. The threads are 4-40, so a thin nut will clear the outside odometer mounting screw.

You will have to take a 1/8" bit and gently run it through the shapeway gear until the gear will spin easily on the screw. Then, slightly file the flat side of the shapeway gear that has the small lip (I didn't have to file all the lip off) to shorten the gear a little. You need to do this so that the screw can be tightened, without putting pressure on the gear. After you grind down the back side of the old pin (so that you can remove it and the old gear), you will have to enlarge the hole enough to get the 4-40 threads through the hole (it was either 3/32 or 7/64, sorry dont remember).

Hope that is clear, but it not, let me know.
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Old 12-30-2016, 11:32 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Great idea !
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Old 12-31-2016, 01:36 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Not sure how I missed this. Glad you got it installed TTOP350. So this is working OK?

And thanks for the tip on the fastener ElCamino81.
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Old 12-31-2016, 04:56 PM
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I know you can replace them youself if your comfortable doing it yourself they are just pressed onto the shafts its little tricked to do I did one on a 1991 Ford Crown Victoria I don't think there is that much difference between Ford and GM on there clusters.

Its been a while since I did it so I don't remember where I got the gears from you could surf the internet for a supplier if I remember correctly they weren't expensive

But if you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself I recommend Scotts Speedometer in Pontiac, Michigan
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Old 12-31-2016, 05:22 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

I haven't had time or warm enough weather to go for a test drive yet
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Old 05-30-2018, 01:09 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Update, both clusters work, had 1 with a bad drive motor too but have both rocking and rolling with no issues.
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Old 07-26-2018, 06:59 PM
  #38  
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by TTOP350 View Post
Update, both clusters work, had 1 with a bad drive motor too but have both rocking and rolling with no issues.
What did you do to fix the bad drive motor? Did you replace with a new one? Or used etc.. If new, where can we find these?

thanks!


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Old 07-26-2018, 08:08 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by 1989karr View Post
What did you do to fix the bad drive motor? Did you replace with a new one? Or used etc.. If new, where can we find these?

thanks!
I have a few used clusters around for spare parts so I grabbed a good one from a parts cluster
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Old 07-26-2018, 10:03 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by TTOP350 View Post
I have a few used clusters around for spare parts so I grabbed a good one from a parts cluster

ahhh thats why its always good to have spares!!!
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Old 07-27-2018, 02:26 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

I gave scott speedometer a call as well as southern electronice and both don't fix these units because they are kinds complicated etc..

Does anybody know of any other shops that can repair these?


thanks!
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Old 08-02-2018, 07:35 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by 1989karr View Post
I gave scott speedometer a call as well as southern electronice and both don't fix these units because they are kinds complicated etc..

Does anybody know of any other shops that can repair these?


thanks!
I'm thinking you need to find a place that does gauge restoration. But that can translate into "expensive".

I've used these guys in Palo Alto, CA:

http://paspeedo.com/

It wouldn't hurt to drop them a note. They've been around a long time (since I can remember and that goes back to the mid-1960's). I've heard they can be a bit condescending unless you own a Ferrari or Lamborghini. But they were pleasant to me when I brought them my Camaro speedometer in for repair. But that was a long time ago.
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:08 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by paulo57509 View Post
I'm thinking you need to find a place that does gauge restoration. But that can translate into "expensive".

I've used these guys in Palo Alto, CA:

http://paspeedo.com/

It wouldn't hurt to drop them a note. They've been around a long time (since I can remember and that goes back to the mid-1960's). I've heard they can be a bit condescending unless you own a Ferrari or Lamborghini. But they were pleasant to me when I brought them my Camaro speedometer in for repair. But that was a long time ago.
awesome! i'll need to check out every possibility!


thanks!

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Old 10-24-2018, 03:19 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

We have been working in the shadows and didn't want to say anything until it was finally finished and proved to work. We are making the gears in our plastic injection machines now. Sorry for the plug but I do know it helps a lot of folks on this board. I'm happy to pay for sponsorship if you want me to.

We have been making replacement odometer gears for almost 20 years now but mostly for VDO, Smith and Jaeger instruments. These new gears and all that we sell are made by us in the states. Nothing is imported in and nothing is 3D printed. You will never have to replace the gear again. This is our goal.

Odometer Gears Ltd.
www.odometergears.com

You can call me anytime if you have questions. This forum has a wealth of information and we appreciate all that you have given us. For anyone who wants to work on a video or picture FAQ for us, I will gladly send a free gear.

Jeff Caplan 757-593-3478
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Old 10-24-2018, 07:11 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by odometergears View Post
We have been working in the shadows and didn't want to say anything until it was finally finished and proved to work. We are making the gears in our plastic injection machines now. Sorry for the plug but I do know it helps a lot of folks on this board. I'm happy to pay for sponsorship if you want me to.

We have been making replacement odometer gears for almost 20 years now but mostly for VDO, Smith and Jaeger instruments. These new gears and all that we sell are made by us in the states. Nothing is imported in and nothing is 3D printed. You will never have to replace the gear again. This is our goal.

Odometer Gears Ltd.
www.odometergears.com

You can call me anytime if you have questions. This forum has a wealth of information and we appreciate all that you have given us. For anyone who wants to work on a video or picture FAQ for us, I will gladly send a free gear.

Jeff Caplan 757-593-3478
Do you have anything to replace that horrible in the gear sits on?


the stock one is ridiculously hard to remove and seems unusable once removed.

thje best solution I can think of is the above screw that was mentioned.


thanks!

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Old 10-24-2018, 07:57 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Good to hear! I don't need it yet, but it's only a matter of time....
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Old 10-24-2018, 08:23 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by odometergears View Post
We have been working in the shadows and didn't want to say anything until it was finally finished and proved to work. We are making the gears in our plastic injection machines now. Sorry for the plug but I do know it helps a lot of folks on this board. I'm happy to pay for sponsorship if you want me to.

We have been making replacement odometer gears for almost 20 years now but mostly for VDO, Smith and Jaeger instruments. These new gears and all that we sell are made by us in the states. Nothing is imported in and nothing is 3D printed. You will never have to replace the gear again. This is our goal.

Odometer Gears Ltd.
www.odometergears.com

You can call me anytime if you have questions. This forum has a wealth of information and we appreciate all that you have given us. For anyone who wants to work on a video or picture FAQ for us, I will gladly send a free gear.

Jeff Caplan 757-593-3478

i just noticed this issue on my 91 formula today... sometime over the last couple weeks the odometer stopped... haven't taken it apart yet but likely is this issue.

i had proactively bought a couple of the 3d made gears but also tonight just placed an order for a couple of your gears and likely give yours the try... can you confirm the gear is the same for 120 / 140 MPH speedos (i personally haven't researched that enough yet)... i have 120 in this formula

my intention is to try and do it via the complete pin removal method and use a shoulder bolt... may be a couple of weeks before i try it but will post results ... i appreciate you added this to your catalog of available parts since this is such a common issue
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Old 10-24-2018, 09:48 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Always great to have options.

Jeff, What are the odds of doing VSS gears that have been discontinued??
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Old 10-24-2018, 11:34 PM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

Originally Posted by alan91z28 View Post
i just noticed this issue on my 91 formula today... sometime over the last couple weeks the odometer stopped... haven't taken it apart yet but likely is this issue.

i had proactively bought a couple of the 3d made gears but also tonight just placed an order for a couple of your gears and likely give yours the try... can you confirm the gear is the same for 120 / 140 MPH speedos (i personally haven't researched that enough yet)... i have 120 in this formula

my intention is to try and do it via the complete pin removal method and use a shoulder bolt... may be a couple of weeks before i try it but will post results ... i appreciate you added this to your catalog of available parts since this is such a common issue
Please do this!



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Old 10-25-2018, 10:43 AM
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Re: Firebird Odometer - Broken, but is there a fix?

We are working on securing a shoulder bolt that will screw into the metal housing where the old one was drilled out from. We should have the samples in tomorrow for a test fit. Each gear will come with the bolt. We have measured everything carefully so the gear should fit properly on the screwed in bolt with out any modifications needed.

There are a few speedometer shops listed on this thread for sending it to. They are all my customers. It seems they have turned all away in the past because the gears and installation methods haven't been available. I contacted all to give them the new information. They all should be stocking the parts now if you want to send them in. If you want to do the fix yourself, I can help with that.

Thank you again. I hope this helps and doesn't come across as total spam. Never my intention.


Jeff
www.odometergears.com
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