I have had many issues with the speedometer in my 86 Vanagon, the odometer was not working when I purchased the van. The vehicle title states that the actual mileage can not be determined. So I felt like I could explore the issue a bit and see what had actually gone wrong with the gauge (without breaking any motor vehicle gauge tampering laws).

Gauges were all broke.

Gauges were all broke.

You can see in this photo that the entire rack of numbers is tilted down and backwards to the right side.

Taking the speedometer out of the gauge cluster, you get a good view of most of the parts, but some are still hidden under the speedo face plate. Before you remove anything else, just understand that this next step IS the point of no return, the performance of this instrument will be effected. I felt like if remained observant and careful, I could get the instrument back together and operational, but possibly not back together to precise factory settings, very close to factory though. This is my dilemma.

The speedometer dial is pressure fit on the spindle. It has been spring loaded very slightly to rest on the little pin rest at the zero mph mark on the dial. How much spring load is the big question. I decided to wing it by observing the dial return rate. I would hold the dial at the 30 mph mark and let it go, visually observing the speed the dial returned to the pin. Super unscientific and also relies heavily on my memory, I still felt confident enough because really (it’s already broken).

Pull the dial straight off and then undo the two little black screws, the face plate is removed. This next photo shows what you see next. (sorry this photo shows the tumbler fixed already)

My odometer issue was evident here as the entire rack of number tumblers had jumped out of the right side pin hole. That gear you see on the right side was no longer in contact with the gears below it, and so the odometer no longer recorded any miles.