Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fixing a VW bugs odometer.

My bugs speedometer worked fine but the odometer never did work when I got it. I track all my maintenance and gas mileage with my odometer so it was driving me crazy! I decided it was time to see if I could fix it. The first thing to do is open the trunk and get access to the back side of the speedometer. I had to loosen and move my fresh air box out of the way and remove a brace that covered the speedometer. This is the time to take some pictures, then take some more pictures and again take some more pictures. Unless you want to label all the wires. You can do that but I find it is faster and easier to just take a bunch of pictures from all angles so you can get all the wires hooked back up correctly. Just make sure you don't delete or forget what file you put the pictures in. Here are all my pictures. I added them all just in case someone could use them on their own project someday.

 OK after you have all the wires disconnected, disconnect the speedometer cable and loosen the 2 screws that hold it in. You don't have to remove the screws, just loosen them and turn the speedometer counter clockwise to remove it. Pull it out carefully and this is what you have.
 Make sure you don't loose the rubber gasket. You then need to uncrimp the bezel slightly to remove the glass. When the glass is off be careful not to damage the speedometer needle.
Next, flip the speedometer over and remove the 5 screws on the housing. Once these screws are out, ypou can remove the gas gauge. I left the vibrator hooked to the gas gauge.
 I heard something rattling around in the speedometer when I was handling it and this was what I found. It's the gear for the odometer. It had busted in half and that was the reason it did not work. This is fairly common on later style bugs and it is fixable. Some people have success using super glue on their gear but mine was not so lucky. It was missing some pieces so I decided to purchase a new gear.
 The screwdriver is pointing to the shaft the gear was suppose to be attached to.
 Here is the parts and pieces of the speedometer.
Here is a better view of where the gear should be. It ties into the spiral gear and in turn runs the numbers of the odometer.
 I purchased this gear from a guy in Canada. He makes these gears out of brass and they fit perfectly. He was great to work with and shipped it to me quickly. If you are interested in buying one, Go to and search the classifieds for brass odometer gear.
 This is the way the gear goes on. It is a tight fit and it installed perfectly onto the shaft.
 This is the way I pressed on my gear. It worked great, just make sure you don't press it on too far.
Make sure you align the gears before you press it on so you do not damage the spiral gear. Make sure the numbers still have slight movement and are not bound up. I suggest hooking a drill up to the speedometer and test the odometer out before you install it back in the car.
Now you just reassemble everything in the opposite order you removed it.
 Before you install the glass, make sure you clean the inside of the gauge and the glass very good. If you don't it will bug you every time you see the smudges on the inside of the glass.

 That's it for this speedometer. I also replaced all the light bulbs in it before I installed it back in the car.
It works great now and I can't wait until I can check out my gas mileage. Until the next post, Enjoy the awesome weather we have had lately. It's great cruising weather.


Todd Norman said...

This is actually really helpful. I'm going to have to do this to my bug pretty soon. Thanks!

Todd Norman

Shabby Bug said...

great tutorial. Thanks Im gonna fix my odometer now

The Bug Boys said...

Thanks. It's still working great!

Jack Locke said...

I would like to know the name of the place in Canada where you found the brass gear. No luck with Samba. I like the details you show in your blog. Thank you in advance.

The Bug Boys said...

The seller is bugbus66. He is on the samba. Search brass odometer and his ad will pop up. He shows it for a superbeetle but says how many teeth his have. If yours have the same amount of teeth it will work.

ahmed saleem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ahmed saleem said...

that was really helpful! but i want to know what is that symbol lays between 90 & 100? in the speedometer of my car it lights all the time with green light! do u have any idea?

The Bug Boys said...

That’s for the rear window defroster. There should be a switch under your dashboard that will turn it off.