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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Speedometer (only) just quit - updated w/more symptoms

Driving home right now, noticed the speedometer is reading 0 mph. This started right near the end of my trip, when I disengaged the cruise control (pressed the side button to turn it off entirely). The odometer still shows the mileage, though it isn't incrementing. All other gauges are normal and the truck starts, drives, shifts, etc. normally.

I am curious if disengaging the cruise might have blown a fuse. Too much of a coincidence to have the speedometer stop reading at exactly that instant.

I checked the fuse block but don't see anything marked Cruise Control. Is there a fuse for it somewhere?

Any other ideas? I'm not at home now so I don't have a multimeter with me.

Thanks.

Update: drove it a little over a mile back home. About 1/10 of a mile down the road, it started bucking as if I was turning the ignition on and off rapidly. If I let off the gas, it would stop doing this. Also, I noticed that when I first started it, while still in Park, the O/D Off light was flashing. That stopped when I started moving.

When I did get it home, I plugged in my code scanner but there are no codes registered, nor has the CEL come on at all. Frankly, I wish it HAD thrown a code so I'd know where to start.

Now I'm really at a loss as to where to start.
 

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Check engine light on?

Initial though is the vehicle speed sensor in the trans but I believe a code is thrown when it malfunctions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No CEL. I'll put the code reader on it tomorrow and see.

I still can't get over the fact that this happened exactly when I disengaged the CC. Maybe a voltage spike took out the sensor?

Any idea how accessible the sensor is? I haven't climbed underneath yet.
 

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It did throw a code...a transmission code...when the O/D light was flashing. You could follow the transmission self-diagnostic procedure in the service manual to retrieve the code if it isn't still flashing. As far as the speed sensor, the typical code is P0500 for a vehicle speed sensor circuit malfunction, however, that doesn't necessarily mean it's the sensor, itself. If there was a problem with the speedometer circuit in the cluster, or between the cluster and speed sensor, it would still trigger the same code.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok thanks. I'll check the flashing O/D light to see if there's a pattern and research that. Also I'm going to check every fuse with a meter. I still think it's too much of a coincidence that this started exactly at the same time I turned the CC off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Ok. Checked all fuses, no bad ones. Pulled the battery cables and held them together for a bit, then reinstalled. Ran the truck, no codes and no O/D light flashing.

Went out on the road, ran fine (but no speedometer still) for a bit, then after a short while it started the bucking routine again. Turned around and headed back home. After a while, no more bucking. Also, it would engage O/D, and kick down when I stomped on it (yes, hard to tell on a VG33 :-( .

Got it home, and one time I was able to get the O/D lights to flash when turning on the ignition - 16 even, same-duration flashes.

Took a couple of pictures... can anyone confirm that the one marked Passenger Side is the vehicle speed sensor? I did hit it with Blaster to soak overnight (replacement should be at AutoZone tomorrow) and of course the connector is between the transmission housing and the tunnel... but I think I can release the catch to unhook it.
 

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When it starts acting up, you should try banging on the dash or tapping on the cluster to see if it has an affect. If it does, it's the cluster and not the sensor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update: took it to the local shop. They found that the speed sensor is bad and replaced it. Now, it runs fine but the speedometer and odometer still don't work. They are going to swap in a used cluster.

So two questions: one, what would cause both the speed sensor and cluster to go bad at exactly the same time? Second, will they be able to set the odometer on the new (used) cluster to the correct mileage as was on the original?
 

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As far as to why both failed at the same time, there is no answer other than coincidence. As far as the mileage, if memory serves correct, it is stored on a soldered chip inside the cluster. Personally, I wouldn't install a used cluster as these clusters have been prone to problems, usually caused by solder breaks on the circuit board. I would send the original cluster out to a place like Circuit Board Medics or Mr. Whizard and have it repaired; this will ensure your mileage is the same. With a used install, you will likely get the mileage that was on the donor vehicle. On later Nissans, they stored the mileage in the ECM.

www.circuitboardmedics.com

http://www.mrwhizard.com/
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Good idea. I'm going to have them install a used one so I can use the truck, but I'll then send my original out to be repaired.

How hard is it to swap them once I get it back?
 

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It's not hard. Mostly Phillips head screws. I think there are three plugs on the back of the cluster. With all of the cluster problems they have, I would imagine there has to be some vids on YouTube on how to R&R the cluster. Another issue with getting a used one is getting the "correct" one, as there were several different clusters that year.
 
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